Bonjour mes chers lecteurs. Désolée…I took last week away from my blog, but I’m back. I did something a little different last weekend, and I took my friend’s daughter to NYC. We went there to see my flute teacher, who gave a concert/master class in New Jersey. No offense to any New Jersey-ites out there, but I thought it would be way more fun to stay in New York and just take a train to NJ for the concert 🙂 It was her first time in NYC (and my second time!!) I’m pretty sure she liked it. We did a lot of things, including walking over 30 miles in 3 days! She gets a lot of points for being such a trooper, and indulging my obsession with walking everywhere in a big city. We got there Friday afternoon, and I had only one real “errand” to do — I had to go back to the beautiful French librairie, “Albertine”, and pick up the books I had ordered for my French class. As it turned out, we couldn’t find a place online to order 7 copies at once, and Albertine could do this. So rather than pay shipping 7 times, I offered to just go to New York and get them. Really, it was no problem! So Friday, I asked my young friend if she’d mind going with me to pick them up. She said no, so I asked if she’d like to walk there and check out 5th ave? “Sure,” she said. So we did. It was about a 38 minute walk one way. We walked there on 5th Ave, and back on Madison, so we could see the maximum number of shops where we couldn’t afford to shop. Which was kind of awesome.
It’s funny, but when I travel with my husband, it is *all* about the food. We travel, and one of the first questions is, “But, where will we eat??” However, traveling with la jeune fille, I had to change my ideas about this a little bit. First of all, we wanted to be more frugal than my husband and I normally are, and secondly, although she is definitely an adventurous diner, I didn’t want to push that limit too far. So, what to do? Well, the first night, we stood in line to eat at “Ellen’s Stardust Diner” and it was worth the wait! Ok, the food is just so-so. But that’s not why you go there. You go there because for the price of a rather expensive hamburger, you basically get a mini-Broadway show! Since we weren’t going to an actual Broadway show, this was perfect. All the servers are aspiring Broadway stars, and they have an emcee who runs the place, calling various servers to sing continuously during the night. They have a mic in one pocket and an order pad in the other, and they sing and wait tables at the same time! They sing Broadway tunes, standards, and even Disney. It’s very loud, and very active, and overall pretty fantastic. You will not have any “dinner conversation” here. But that’s ok! I would absolutely take kids to this place. The hamburgers are huge, BTW. We actually shared one, and then shared a sundae afterwards.
So…what else did we eat in NYC? Well, the next day, we decided to go to Chinatown. It just so happened that it was “Super Saturday” in Chinatown, the 2nd Saturday after the lunar New Year, and there were lion dancers parading in the streets there. (click for a story with video) Many of the streets were closed for this, and there were people all over the streets with these big sort of “crackers” that rained confetti everywhere! It was quite the sight. We checked out another video on this site (click) which offered a couple of restaurant recommendations at the end. One of them was Dim Sum Go-Go, and we chose that, liking the idea of getting several small things to share. As you can imagine, there isn’t a whole lot of dim-sum in Colorado, so we were both dim-sum first-timers. But like I said, la jeune fille is willing to try just about anything, so she was game for it! After visiting the MoCA (Museum of Chinese in America) where a lady wrote our names in Chinese calligraphy, and we tried some “different” Chinese treats and heard the story of the Lunar New Year, we made our way to the restaurant. It was full, and the host asked us how many we were, I said “two” and the lady in front of my also said “two”, so he pointed to us and said “You are two, and you are two, you share table?” Sure, why not? So that is how we ended up sharing a table with a couple of real New Yorkers. That’s always a sign that you’ve chosen a good place, if the locals go there 🙂 They talked to us a little bit, telling us that everything was good. This place, unlike many dim-sum restaurants, had a menu that you marked on, kind of like a sushi place, instead of the traditional cart that you would choose from. Truly, there wouldn’t have been room for a cart! Not knowing what to get, we chose one thing from each “category”, so that meant we had one fried thing (sesame balls), one “stuff rolled up in large rice noodles”, one duck dumplings, one vegetarian dumplings (I think it was pea shoots or something like that), and one steamed buns. It was the perfect amount, very reasonably priced, and fun to share a table with the charming NY couple. They were fascinated that we found this place amongst all the food in Chinatown!
After that we realized how close we were to the World Trade Center, so we walked there, and decided to go up the One World Trade Center Tower for a great view. It’s kind of expensive to go up the Tower, but it is totally worth it. Let me just say that you will never have another elevator ride like that! Don’t ask, just go. Here’s the view, and you can go all the way around, 360º ! We also visited the 9/11 memorial, although we did not visit the museum. The memorial is beautiful, and sobering.
Looking at my fitbit, I noticed that while we had done 20k steps the day before, this day we hadn’t yet done 10k. So I looked on the iphone and found that it would take a little over an hour to walk from One World Trade Center back to Times Square. I asked la fille if she was up for that. She said “sure!” So we set off down Broadway, and marched steadily through neighborhood after neighborhood, watching in fascination how the ambiance of NYC changed every so many blocks. TriBeCa, SoHo, NoHo, The Strand Bookstore (yeah, I know that’s not a “neighborhood” but it’s so big you’d think it was!) Union Square, The Flatiron district, I don’t really know what else. We ended up by checking out the Empire State Building all lit up and then finally settling into John’s Pizzeria back near Times Square for a ginormous (and delicious) salad and a traditional NY style pizza. Yum!
I will have to write a whole other post about the “main event”, that is, the real reason we went to NY, the concert! That was Sunday. Upon arriving back in NYC afterwards, we found ourselves walking from Penn Station NY back to our hotel, in a drizzly sort of rain, and we were stopped short by the existence of something new (to us) and bizarre. Did you realize, chers lecteurs, that two American Classics have been combined into one big delicious mess at a place called Schnippers? We were walking down 8th Ave, minding our own business, in fact, kind of searching out the gelato place we’d gone to the night before, thinking that a gelato would suffice for dinner. Then, we saw this bright white beacon of a restaurant, offering shelter from the rain, and….“Mac and Joe” !!! Yes, friends, baked mac and cheese and sloppy Joe, no bun required, put into a dish together, two forks, yin and yang, sweet and savory, you absolutely cannot get more “American” than this. And sweet potato fries. We partook. And it was everything you’d hope it would be.
After this “grand repas” we headed back to the hotel for a little nap before taking a taxi back to LaGuardia the the ungodly hour of 4am Monday morning. What a weekend! I hope la jeune fille enjoyed it as much as I did! So for SoCS, that was the “food” part of our trip. I am working on another post to tell you about the unforgettable musical part of the weekend.
à bientôt, chers lecteurs!
This post is part of Linda G Hill’s “Stream of Consciousness Saturday” — Click and read, click and join in! Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “food.” Make food the theme of your post. Have fun!