ohlalaali

NEW YORK CITY

Late Thursday afternoon I packed up my carry-on luggage and headed off to New York city.
I spent five amazing days in the city with my dear friend Sam, finally understanding the lure of the big apple. The main purpose of the trip was to see Sam graduate from college, a worthy excuse for any vacation. Sam and I met years ago as counselors at a summer camp and grew closer as each summer drew to a close. She is going to be a teacher in the coming year and I have no doubt that she will spearhead an amazing program in her first school.
My adventures began as I boarded the plane to LGA. In a groundbreaking turn of events I packed all my things in a carry-on duffle. I generally purposely bring my Longchamp tote and Vera Bradley duffel so that if the plane is overcrowded my non-rolling bag will not be gate checked. This flight proved that my plan is not airtight. I was halfway to my seat when I realized all of the overhead bins were shut and full. After begrudgingly gate checking my bag I settled in for the flight.
Sam met me at the airport with a smile and wine in her backpack, she knows me too well. After a gorgeous night cab right to her bite sized New York city apartment I discovered one of the biggest perks of the city, delivery. At any time of the day/night. This meant that we could get pizza and salads, which we did, at midnight. Wine and pizza is one of the more simple ways to my heart.
We woke up the next morning with one goal: bagels and iced coffee. Sam led me a few blocks over to Tompkins Square Bagels. Every Seattle bone left in my body flinched while jaywalking from street to street, the Seattle police happily give tickets to jaywalkers, but Sam assured me I would be more penalized if I waited for the light. Tompkins Square was crowded, which was a good sign to me. We moseyed on over to the counter where I ordered a sourdough bagel, classic cream cheese and a hazelnut latte. I quickly learned that my natural demeanor meant that people knew right away I was not from the city and quickly called me “sweetie.” A city child I am not. Oh well! We sat on the sweet back patio area and throughly enjoyed our breakfast. 
Later that day I had my first New York subway experience to the Plaza hotel for my birthday present, a Rawther Fancy Eloise Tea! The Plaza is just as magical as I had imagined and the whole basement was filled with a feast of varying cuisines. At first glance we appeared too old for the tea, but I assure you that we had the best time, if you love Eloise I would recommend this to you chid or grown up. Everything was pink, swoon, and we were served tea or pink lemonade along with a fantastic assortment of finger foods. The whole experience was tasty and wrapped up with the most adorable goodie bag! I am still swooning over those plates and plotting my next trip to the city around obtaining a set for myself. Sam and I could not resist picking up some decor items for our apartment that I am sure will show up in later blog posts. 
That night for dinner I had my first Shake Shack experience. I have to say, the burger was pretty good but the Seattlite in me must say that Dick’s has better fries. 
Saturday morning we had iced coffees delivered to Sam’s apartment, I am already going through withdrawal as I actually had to put on a bra and leave my apartment to get coffee this morning. We spent the good part of the morning relaxing at met up with Sam’s wonderful parents at the Hilton Garden Inn in Times Square. I have to admit that Times Square never made my list of must sees and I quickly discovered why. The much less crowded hotel bar overlooked the crowded madness and that was enough for me. I had a Green Tea Mojito which was good, but not my favorite drink by any means. We hobbled across the street to St. Andrew’s, which is a little unassuming Scottish pub type restaurant with completely delicious food. We started the meal off with buffalo calamari, amazing, a glass of cabernet and then Pan-Seared Mahi-Mahi for dinner. I am not one for red meat but I tried a bit of steak and decided St. Andrew’s was doing something right. After dinner we ducked our way into the M&M store for a treat and filled our bag with mint, almond and crispy M&Ms.  
Obligatory Kinky Boots Jumbotron photo for my Nonnie
Sunday was filled top full with cardio, and some good eats of course. Sam took me on an amazing walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, where we spent most of the time dodging and passing meandering tourists. We walked through Brooklyn, which hello is adorable and I want a townhouse there, to a food festival at the Brooklyn Bridge Park called Smorgasburg. Like most things in New York, it was crowded but worth it. We started with macaroni and cheese from Milk Truck which was upscale yet down home delicious. This was followed by elote, seasoned corn on the cob with butter and cheese, and a watermelon agua fresca that tasted like pure watermelon juice, no qualms there. We went for a wildcard taste next and tried shrimp teriyaki balls from Mimi & Coco. These were basically dough balls with shrimp cooked inside and teriyaki, mayonnaise and Sriracha drizzled on top. They were worth a try but not something either of us would indulge in again. The crowning glory of the trip was the ice cream sandwich from The Good Batch. Sam and I both got The Goodwich, which is an “oat chocolate chunk cookie, sea salt, drizzled fudge and vanilla ice cream.” Goodbye Brooklyn bridge workout, hello delicious. 
That night we had a simple dinner at Junior’s in Time Square where I had a giant burger and way too many fries. 
Monday was a big day of celebration. We got up early to get Sam ready for graduation and took a cab to Madison Square Garden. This was the only time I was alone in New York and I will admit I was a bit terrified. I was instructed to march myself three blocks to the nearest Starbucks where I would hitch up with Sam’s parents. After ordering my usual I sat myself in a little corner booth and people watched. My bright Lilly for Target dress stood out in the crowd and I was enthralled by the different people living and visiting the city. Sam’s graduation was wonderful. I felt this overwhelming sense of pride to know such an amazing person and it helped me to be less woe-is-me about my not graduating this year. We had more drinks at the Hilton following graduation, I had something called a Bramble Over Broadway? Delicious and stronger than the previous day’s.
That night for dinner I had one of the best meals I have ever had at a Greenwich Village Italian restaurant called Arte. Per usual, I followed Sam’s drink lead an ordered a Bellini. By the end of the night I would have two and a half more, making for a hearty celebration. We had something delicious for an appetizer that Sam picked out, topped with truffle oil and cheese. For dinner I had thought about ordering a ravioli on the menu with lobster and after asking the waiter about it he created an entirely different meal for me. It was amazing. I couldn’t tell you what to order since it was his creation but I know that the most amazing ravioli was swimming in a puddle of butter topped with succulent crab meat. You will have to trust me on this and wander over to Arte if you are in the city. 
After a very tipsy cab ride back to the apartment, I wandered into a wine store where I insisted on purchasing a bottle of red for Sam and her sweet roommate, who had also graduated. We ended the night playing some video game and planning a fabulous, but alas fictitious, wedding.
Tuesday was my last half day in New York and everyone was exhausted. That morning we ordered bagels from Tompkins Square straight to the apartment. I decided to splurge and get a french toast bagel with three berry cream cheese and it was worth every calorie. We did some errand type things and ended up at Cafe Mocha for one last drink and some finger food. After that I took a $55 cab ride that left me glad to be alive and spent too many hours at La Guardia watching one delay after another.
My time in New York was amazing and flew by. I would love to go back to the city again and explore more that is has to offer but I am so glad to live in a slower paced city. I am so grateful to Sam and her family for the unconditional warmth and hospitality they showed me on my trip, something I will forever remember.
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