Saturday, September 19, 2009


We're back!

Brandon and I ditched the kids (I mean, left them in the loving care of their Grand Doug, and in Harper's case, Ms. Ellen) this week and headed to NYC with our friends Brent and Karen. I. love. New York. It is one of my favorite cities to visit. I think I could go on a dozen NYC vacations and do completely different activities and eat great meals at all different restaurants each time. We had four days, and we made the most of them.

We got in Monday afternoon, and got checked into the Barclay Intercontinental. We got a great deal on the rooms, and were very impressed with the hotel and it's $8 mini-bar Snickers. (We didn't eat one). No free Wi-Fi in the rooms was kind of a bummer, but I miraculously survived 4 days only minimally "plugged in". After dropping our luggage, we headed out to wander midtown Manhattan for a few hours. We dropped by St. Patrick's Cathedral, and took bad pictures of stained glass.
We headed over to Rockefeller Center and stopped for some snacks at Dean & Deluca, and pretty much marveled over the perfect weather (mid 70s and sunny). We kept on walking to Times Square, where we had our first of several celebrity encounters of the week.

I've heard of the Naked Cowboy in Times Square, but this is the lesser known Naked Cowgirl.

You're welcome for not posting the picture of her with Brent and Brandon.

We walked a bit further, by Bryant Park, the library, and checked out Grand Central Station. We headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up for dinner, determined to find a nice little restaurant with outside tables so we could absorb as much of the perfect weather as possible before having to return to the cesspool of humidity that is the Houston area.

We had stopped to read the menu posted outside a little Italian restaurant, when we hear a slightly familiar New York-accented voice behind us say, "This is a good restaurant. I've never eaten here before, but I've heard it's really good." We turn around to find none other than the Honorable Judge Judy. I almost didn't recognize her without the robe and ticked off look on her face, but it was definitely her. Feeling like we had little choice in the matter, we did indeed select that little Italian place for dinner. And she was right, it was good.

Tuesday morning, we set off bright and early to enjoy a rush-hour packed subway on our way to Statue of Liberty.

Have I mentioned that the weather was perfect?

Brandon couldn't resist picking Lady Liberty's nose while we were in the pedestal.
And then he made me pose by the giant foot so he would feel less like a dork for picking her nose.
We climbed 156 steps up the pedestal at the Statue to take this picture:
And this one, the only (decent) picture of all four of us:
We were STARVING after our Statue of Liberty jaunt (we also went to Ellis Island, but that was a little disappointing considering none of us knew of any relatives who had come through there), and we headed to Little Italy to Lombardi's Pizza.

It might be the best pizza I have ever had. I want to go back tomorrow, and it may be worth moving to NYC someday just so I can eat there.

Coincidently, the Feast of San Gennaro was going on in Little Italy while we were visiting. San Gennaro is apparently the patron saint of cannolis and unlimited Daquiri refills with purchase of a big pink souvenir cup.
Walking around the streets of Little Italy and enjoying the sights and sounds of the festival was one of the unexpected highlights of our trip, and we returned the following day for some more cannolis and pasta, as well as people watching and witnessing our first probable Mafia sighting.

Wednesday night we enjoyed great seats at West Side Story on Broadway, and wondered why the Jets and Sharks didn't get beat up by the more macho street gangs for dancing and singing all the time.

After the show, we went to Serendipity for some desserts. Brandon was feeling especially hungry, so he ordered a plate of nachos for us to share, then ordered a half of a fried chicken for dinner, and then ate the biggest dessert I have ever seen in my life. Some kind of ice cream sundae, with a piece of pecan pie, ice cream, lots of nuts, and whipped cream. The dessert was so big that it took Karen (who ordered the same thing, minus the giant fried chicken) about 15 minutes of eating before she even found the piece of pecan pie in the dessert.

(Please excuse the bad picture. I think the flash was turned off for some reason).
After rolling Brandon back to the hotel, we finally headed to bed after a very busy, fun day.

Wednesday morning arrived and Karen and I were ready to hit up Chinatown for some long-awaited knock off shopping while our sweet husbands wandered around solo looking at the Chinatown sights. We stepped onto the street from the subway and were immediately assaulted by the "You-Want-Gucci-I-Got-Prada" lady. Karen and I followed her into her shop where she opened the back wall to reveal a tiny hidden room no bigger than the backseat of our Camry, covered floor to ceiling with counterfeit goods. A true Chinatown experience not to be missed. After we had bought a few purses and souveniers in Chinatown, the four of us headed a couple of blocks away back to Little Italy and the festival for a little lunch and people watching.

Wednesday night we had early dinner reservations at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, where I decided two things: 1. Of course Bobby Flay was really cooking our food. No way he could have had better things to do (like various Food Network shows or running one of his other restaurants) than to cook our food that night. He was just too busy to come out and say hello. 2. I had the best corn (yes, CORN) that I have ever had in my life. Like "highlight of the meal" corn. And it was a really good meal.

After dinner, we headed up to see the lovely Gina Gershon and John Stamos in Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway. Great show. If you have a chance to see this, please go. And sing along to the songs like Brandon did. It will really enhance you theater experience.
Speaking of enhancing your theater experience, we met up with this guy after the show and let him take a picture with me and Karen:
I'm pretty sure it was the highlight of his evening.

Thursday morning we had a few hours to kill before sitting on the tarmac at La Guardia, so we headed out to brave a small piece of Central Park in the rain. It was lovely. Even in the rain, Central Park was beautiful. We thought about jogging, so we could say "I went jogging in Central Park", but we didn't want to actually have to jog, so we didn't.

I have no idea what Brent and Brandon are pointing to in this picture.
Did I mention we sat on the tarmac at LaGuardia? For an HOUR. Before our 3 HOUR flight back. I finished an entire book on the airplane. All in all it was a wonderful, fun, busy, tiring trip, and I wish we could go every month. I loved going with our friends, which was a first for us. So if any of you out there want us to go somewhere fun with you, chances are pretty good that you could talk us into it.

1000 Schrute bucks to you for making it to the end of the longest post ever.


The Driskells said...

Schrute bucks? Obviously imaginary, but where did that come from?

Cool trip too! My mouth started salivating at the first line when you said you ditched the kids!

: ) Kara

Jana said...

Your post left me hungry for pecan pie, pizza, and ice cream:)

I'm so glad you and Brandon got to have a fun getaway.

Can I get paid in Stanley Nickles instead of Schrute bucks???:)

~The South Dakota Cowgirl~ said...

Your vacation sounded awesome! I'd love to go to NYC, but only when I've saved enough money to shop at Prada, or Jimmy Choo, or Manolo Blahnik or Christian Loubitan so I can buy some glorious shoes that I'll never get to wear here on the ranch!

I loved your celebrity encounters! And John Stamos is really yummy.

I totally know who to call if I ever get the chance to go!

~The South Dakota Cowgirl~ said...

I meant to tell you earlier today that I ate at Mesa Grill in Las Vegas- I love Bobby Flay's restaurants. I love his recipes too. I've made several that he's shared on Food Network or in Bon Appetit- his ancho chili rubbed fillet mignon. Yummy!

Dana Dill said...

Fact: I loved your post. :) I haven't been to NYC, but I definitely have no reservations now. Great pics!