In the spirit of 'get your own happiness' I planned a trip for John and I to NEW YORK CITY to celebrate my
birthday. In the past we have stayed at the Waldorf Astoria but when I went to make reservations I couldn't believe how their prices went up so instead I booked us at the Millenium Hilton
. I must say, I was worried because I can be a little uptight about my hotel rooms and I had never stayed in the Financial District but no worries. We really lucked out because for some reason they weren't busy and we were able to check in early. Our room looked exactly like the one on their home page and we loved the Financial District. Now we were a little surprised when we opened the curtains in our room. As you can see in the photo we looked right down on the WTC site. Hmmm....
But we had a great view of the Hudson River.
So after John unpacked his bags (umm...who puts there clothes in the drawers when you are only there 2 nights?) we ventured out into the city!
First stop...Lucky Brand Jeans Store in Soho because the birthday girl needed some new jeans. And so for the next couple hours we shopped in Soho, the Village, canal street (I wasn't prepared) and then back to Soho where we stumbled upon Balthazar! Yes, that's right the same Balthazar where Carrie and the girls from Sex and the City had trouble getting a table to sit at and drink Cosmos and eat the fabulous food that Martha Stewart is always raving about. Yes my friends that Balthazar . As it was around 2 p.m. I kind of thought we had a slim chance of getting a table. I was right! It was every bit as good as everything I have ever heard. We ordered a glass of wine and John had the Grilled Chicken Paillard salad w/roasted tomato and Parmesan and I had the Grilled Brook Trout over a warm spinach, walnut and lentil salad. Dreamy.... We got our check and a signed copy of their cookbook...
Eventually we got back to our lovely room where I went over all the "leads" I had for dinner. I always save recommended places from In Style Magazine for future trips to NYC. Strip House was one of those. It was right in the Village and plenty of stars had made the scene. We called to see if we could possibly get in and yes they could give us a table in the lounge..."Take it!" I say to John. "Gisele prefers the dimly lit bar." Let me tell you, we were not disappointed.
We started w/Cosmos natch...
John ordered the Strip Steak because when he asked the waiter what would be better the strip or the tenderloin he said "well...here's a clue. The place is named STRIP HOUSE." Ummm...okay. I ordered the tenderloin. 'Cause whatever...I can't eat a whole big ass steak. John also ordered the fries because the article recommended them and I got a side of creamed spinach because the waiter recommended it and I do love spinach.
Then another Cosmo...
I must say this was THE BEST food I ever ate. We enjoyed every bite. I wish I had taken a picture of the food. The fries came in a silver bowl and my spinach in a cute little copper pot. Way too much. Next time I would order one side and share. It is definitely a share size order. Of course I don't like fries and John doesn't like spinach so...
John goes to the men's room and because we want you to share everything w/us....
I didn't have to go. Sorry ladies. I did ask the bus boy to take a picture of the cooks in the kitchen. He obviously didn't understand me.
Well, even though we were stuffed we couldn't leave without ordering the 24-layer chocolate cake. Of course a certain someone didn't think to ask for a candle but whatever.
It was huge! I had a couple bites and John had more than a couple and then we wrapped it up for a midnight snack later.
On our way home we saw a DSW. No biggy for the rest of you but we live in Worcester County so we had to stop. I found a pair of really cool Chinese Laundry shoes and John comes around the corner w/the biggest grin on his face and a box of SALE WORK BOOTS!!!!! Oh my god! Could it really be true? The only thing that makes John happier than a piece of chocolate cake is SALE WORK BOOTS. We were quite a piece down the road when I asked "Hey, where is the cake?" That's right...John left the cake right where he found the boots. We tried to tell ourselves we didn't need the calories but...man.
John goes to the gym and I order a pot of coffee and lounge. Sorry...I did not come to NYC to workout.
It looked like it was going to be a nice day.
Today we had tickets for the 2:00 showing of The Pajama Game
starring Harry Connick Jr. so we were in a hurry to fit stuff in before then. We shot up to Zabars and then went to the Chelsea flea market. The Chelsea flea market is kinda gone. There is still stuff there but the main flea market has moved to Hell's Kitchen. So now it's the Hells Kitchen Flea Market
One of my favorite stalls (and actually I can't remember if this one was in Chelsea or the new place) is this one with metal furniture. They sandblast all this ugly painted stuff. I love it but where would I put it?
But we got nice magazine rack.
After that we dropped everything off at the hotel and we were off to see Harry! We were a little early so we were on our way to the lounge on the 5th floor when we ran into Carla's friend Megan Lawrence. She plays Gladys in the show. She was very sweet and talked to us and let me take her picture. She was great in the show. Very talented.
We had met her on another visit to NYC w/Carla, Scott, Rita and John when we all went to see "Urinetown". Great show and she was fabulous in it. Of course she didn't remember me from that time and didn't know who the hell I was and I had to announce I was Carla Della Torre's sister. Like Rita when she saw Harvey Keitel in the Manolo Blahnik store I wouldn't have said anything if it weren't a friend of the family. John would.
The show was awesome. Harry's voice was like "butta". I loved the set design and was totally entertained. It really was a fabulous show. Go see it!
So after the show we did more shopping. My wonderful,wonderful husband never complains. And he handles all the wild-ass cabbies beautifully. I wish I would have taken a picture of the cab riders rights posted in the cabs. I have none of those rights I assure you. A cab driver who is polite and courteous? and doesn't speak on a cell phone? and obeys traffic laws? AN ODOR FREE CAB? I always feel like I am on an amusement park ride.
Anyway I did try on a lot of jeans because that was my mission. We went back to the room and I had hoped we could eat at the infamousOdeon
where in the 80's the SNL gang and others used to eat and party. It was very close to us in Tribeca. We called and got a reservation for 9:30 which was fine w/me because I needed a nap. It was hard to wake up but I wasn't going to wimp out while I was in NYC. So off we went to another great dinner at a great spot. I got my ticket too.
When it came time for dessert we just couldn't think of anything we wanted except that damn chocolate cake from the night before. So hey! why don't we go back and get a piece to go? We tried to get a cab but due to the rain it wasn't working. So what the hell...John gets us a town car. I like this guy. Later back at the room...
Oh yes we did!
Day 3 sadly checked out of our room and then took one last spin around NYC. We had to make a stop at Grays Papaya where they serve the best hotdogs in the world. A visit to NYC would not be complete for John w/o stopping here. We shopped some more and then ate some more. Our favorite pizza place in the city is Angelo's. Okay, now we can go home. Or should I say now we have to go home.
Mary Della Torre