We interrupt this garden blog for a story about one couple’s love for the Big Apple …
My wife and I have an annual tradition where we spend one night in New York City over the course of President’s Day Weekend. It is a gift from my parents each Christmas and something we long for each friggin long winter. We always head out that particular weekend as it is THE only weekend all fall/winter where there are no basketball games, dance classes or any other school related activities.
This past weekend was “Operation Escape the Snow, Ice, Kids and All Other Daily Responsibilities” and when all was said and done, our escape was right around 28 hours in duration. And while it cannot be classified as “sufficient”, it was still pretty kick-ass.
Here are the details:
- 11:30 AM – Arrive in the Tribeca section of Manhattan in yet another snow storm. The GPS indicates the hotel is 100 feet away yet we see nothing with the word “hotel” in sight. I think NYC gets off on not making things easy for visitors. It is part of the charm.
- 12:02 PM – We pull up along side of the unmarked, legendary Tribeca Grand Hotel in the valet area that is clearly not marked.
- 12:15 PM – Drop the bags off because it is too early to check in. A quick glance around the lobby and I know I am not hip, young or European. Love it.
- 1:00 PM – Here is why NYC is the greatest place on earth. A quick Yelp search and we find a world renowned coffee shop within two blocks. The expectations are off the charts and yes, they are exceeded. La Colombe coffee is the best coffee I’ve ever had. And there was no menu. So cool.
- 2:30 PM – Show up at Artisanal Bistro for our lunch reservation after a fun and terrifying cab ride. Here is our M.O. Eat a huge mid day lunch and then snack at night while hitting up the bars/lounges/speakeasies. Lunch lasts for two and a half hours and we eat like kings. My wife introduces me to the world of gougeres and I am a better man for it. Frites are to die for. I can’t walk and it hurts. Perfect.
- 4:50 PM – This was the cab ride from hell. Like for realz. Worst in my lifetime. Dude had the scariest looking scowl I’ve ever seen in a mirror. And he doesn’t talk. And has orange hair. He takes us to the wrong hotel but we happily jump out and walk the remaining three blocks.
- 6:15 PM – Power nap. First in like a decade.
- 8:10 PM – I use Google map to give us walking directions to our first destination for the evening. It is only .4 miles away. I still screw it up as we head in the opposite direction. We both step in puddles a foot deep. It is snowing heavily and an impossible walk. Couldn’t be happier.
- 8:30 PM – Arrive at Brandy Library. Again, no indication you have arrived other than the address. Meet the hostess and all tables upstairs are reserved. All others are filled by hipsters with cool caps and horrendous shoes. I still look all kinds of awesome in my sensible jeans and sneakers. We are taken downstairs where old people go but it still rocks. Fireplace, wooden shelves filled with all sorts of spirits. Cozy as hell. We are each given the drink “menu”, which has a Table of Contents and is no lie, eighty pages long.
- 8:50 PM – $18 drinks arrive and they are worth every penny. No sarcasm. We do it once a year and why not do it big. I have no memory of what I had other than there was ginger beer and fresh ginger involved. Food was a version of sushi including egg whites and guacamole and then simple ham and cheese sandwiches, which by the way, were the best ever because of the comte cheese. My wife promises they will be duplicated and I fully trust her. My foodie wife has never let me down.
- 10:00 PM – Arrive at B Flat after yet another frozen sojourn down the streets of lower Manhattan. Still fun when you are with your bestie. Best drink of the night had here. “Autumn Leaves” with dark rum and cinnamon.
- 11:15 PM – Back to the hotel bar. The weather and our age and the non-stop-on-the-go the week prior have worn us down. A bunch of hummus and an Ithaca Flower Power IPA and I am good to go. We attempt some selfies with my phone and fail miserably, like twelve year olds. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else on the planet at that moment.
- 9:00 AM – Slept late. No call from the dog at 5:45 AM. No kids arguing over the TV. And most importantly, no headache. Heaven.
- 11:00 AM – Check out and pay a most reasonable fee of $65 for the car to be parked overnight. That is sarcasm.
- 11:30 AM – Arrive at Locanda Verde for brunch. This is vintage NYC in the “Village”. Hipsters, vaguely familiar local celebrities and all other walks of life all enjoying their coffee and New York Times, most reading on their phones. We have done our homework and know what to order first.
11:45 AM – We have finished our Sheep’s Milk Ricotta with local honey and thyme on burnt orange toast. We cannot stop talking about it and I cannot stop tweeting about and taking photos of it for Instagram. Must be top 5 best thing I’ve ever eaten. No exaggeration. Are you sensing a theme from this little trip?
12:25 PM – I cannot move after having downed an order of lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberries and lemon curd. I am now ready to take on the job of a food critic. I just want to eat my way through New York City and write about it. I will one day convince my wife to quit our jobs and team up with me to do just that. I even have a name for the blog picked out. It is killer.
2:15 PM – We arrive at my parents house to get the children and cry when we arrive.