Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

See? I recycle.

Friday, December 23, 2011

NYC Flash Tour 3: December 2011

Traveling to New York City in record time again, we were early for even early check-in so we headed down to Chelsea Market in the Chelsea/meat packing district neighborhood. We walked around the crowded but very cool foodie heaven for a little while stopping in the Buon Italia where we ogled the proscuitto, the Manhattan Fruit Exchange where we admired the bin of salsify, and the Bowery Kitchen Supplies where we found specialty bowls that Stephen has coveted but been unable to find anywhere else.  He got excited for a second, but was going to leave them there until I convinced him that fourteen bucks a pop is a small price to pay for realizing a culinary vision.

Speaking of culinary vision, we didn’t spy any Food Network personalities even though the studios are in the building, but we did add Morimoto to our list of NYC places to eat for the next Flash Tour.
Self-timer on stairs of amphitheatre on the High Line.
While we were in the area, we hiked up to the High Line linear park and walked along it a little way in the drizzle. It was an interesting space and one I imagine is quite idyllic in the summer and fall, rising above the busy city streets. While walking we spied Collichio and Sons and made another mental note for next time.

Interesting windows under overpass on High Line.

A room with a view.
We then headed to the Marriot Marquis in Times Square. We had stayed there before and I loved the d├ęcor and the location, so I was happy that it was our destination. (Did I mention that this Flash Tour was my Christmas present?)  Well, it wasn’t so much our destination as the place we could leave the car and get away from the human density for a few minutes. The view from our room was perfect. High above the madding crowds, we took in the motion and sights of the heart of theatre district. After dropping off our stuff, we headed down to Eataly in the Flatiron district.  (I have no idea if this is a district – but that’s what I’m calling it. I love the Flatiron building; it’s so site specific and iconic!)

Anyway, Eataly was another fantastic food market/retail specialty bazaar! It was crazy busy and we both regret taking no pictures in the market as we strode through it. It was a seriously bustling place filled with foodies, fresh food, butchers, a fishmonger, a cheesemonger, a salumi department (any place that has a salumi department is my kind of place), and sundry food, kitchen, and food-related paraphernalia for sale.  We decided to eat in the rooftop beer garden where sausages and sauerkraut, not Italian food, was the specialty.  While the rooftop aspects of the restaurant did not meet my requirements of a rooftop bar in NYC (it was only eight floors up with seriously obstructed views of the surrounding buildings and a scant view of the Empire State building), I thought the food was terrific. Who knew I would like a 2.5” in diameter pork and beef sausage over sauerkraut?  Well – I did! Most impressive to me, however, was the olive oil. It’s the first time in my life that olive oil tasted faintly of olives. I forgot to ask about it and therefore am left with only a gustatory memory rather than a pint of it.
Jumbo sausage on sauerkraut with mustard. Yum.

Top of the Flatiron building over the kegs at Birriera.
Before leaving Eataly, we were sure to get a little gelato.  Again, this creamy culinary adventure marks the first time I’ve had pistachio ice cream (or gelato) where I tasted the actual pistachios!  Yeah. Good food is good.

Lots of folks hanging out on this balmy evening.

As we wended our way back to our home away from home, we saw some fabulous Christmas windows, some Christmas carolers, and some general Christmas revelry in the unseasonably warm and wet city weather.

Then we got ready for our actual destination: a night with Hugh Jackman.

Sadly, this is as close as I got to Hugh that night.
Okay , that was my destination – Stephen’s was only to make his wife happy (which is rather my permanent condition resulting from being married to him, so this was just a super-duper bonus). Hugh was a terrific entertainer. He sang. He danced. He told little stories. He charmed the whole audience (even the men – sometimes especially the men depending on why each was there) with his delightful personality. (What was oddest to me was that due to my physical distance from Hugh, the entire time I kept wondering . . . is this Hugh Jackman or David Tennant?  I decided that I needed to stop listening to one of my friends and my youngest daughter who often extol the virtues of Mr. Tennant.) At the end of his song and dance review, he raffled off his sweaty t-shirts and sold opportunities to have one’s picture taken with him. Because we didn’t have an extra $2500 with us, we left the theatre, walked down the alley and across 45th street and into our hotel lobby. This proximity to the theatre was particularly fortuitous because it had begun to pour buckets as we say.

Making the most of the 24-hour Flash Tour, we changed again and headed to the Broadway Lounge overlooking Times Square for a late night cocktails and snacks. 

In the morning, after a quick Starbucks run across the street (forgetting there was one in the hotel), we made our way the open road.  Well, not so much the open road as the gridlocked streets of New York City where I was let out to roam for 11.4 minutes (or three passes around the Mac Store block) to  eyeball the Bergdorf Goodman Carnival of the Animals Christmas windows. Cool beans!

Because it was so unseasonably warm and we were without the kids, I lacked the inspiration to reenact any scenes from Elf.

Maybe next year.

Merry Christmas, friends!

May all your flash tours of the impending holidays be happy and healthy ones wherever you are!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Incomparable Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

The Dowager Countess of Grantham delivers.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

He's Right!

It does fit on there nicely. Get yours here.

Monday, December 5, 2011