15 September 2008

Eating our way through the Big Apple

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Our adventure has begun, albeit a little bit late... Rex and I flew to New York City yesterday, arriving there about noon. David met us at our hotel, the Royalton on 44th Street, and we walked down to Five Napkins Burgers for a late lunch. Since it was Saturday, they were still serving brunch, Rex had a bacon and cheese omelet, but David and I opted for burgers. Predictably, David had the bacon and cheese burger, and in an attempt to watch my no longer girlish figure, had the veggie burger. All of our selections were delicious! On the walk back to the hotel, we stopped in at an Office Depot so that I could buy a new camera. Why, you ask, did I decide to purchase a camera in New York City, while on my way to Europe? Well, the night before we left, I charged the battery in my little Canon, but when I opened the battery cover something was not right. When I reinserted the battery, I couldn't close the cover and the camera would not work properly. So, I was in the market for a new one, just to have a backup for my good camera. After some hemming and hawing, (David was getting impatient) I purchased a Nikon CoolPix and a rechargable battery charger for my other camera. We got back to our hotel room and turned on the football games and started opening packages and getting things set up. I decided to give my Canon one more try, fiddled around with it a bit, and of course, it worked. Bummer. I mean, it was good news and bad news, since the other camera was no open and working. So, David got a new camera!
David and I watched a little football – what the heck, UCLA – why couldn't that team have played Tennessee? - while Rex napped.

A word about our hotel – the Royalton is across the street from the famous Algonquin, where Dorothy Parker used to hang out. It has been renovated and is very sleek, modern, and dark (in an energy-saving effort?) now. Many elements of the room were reminiscent of a ship - “portholes” next to the head of the bed, one for the phone and one for the remote, polished mahogany doors to the bar and the bureau, sliding pocket doors to the closet and bathroom, the fast, powerful flushing toilet – but the best part of the room was the fantastic shower! Gray concrete tiles lined the floor and walls of the bathroom and shower, and the shower had one of those rainwater showerheads and a magic wand. Heavenly! The lobby and bar of the hotel proved to be happening places, but thankfully, not everyone was trying to come upstairs. The three elevators could hold four people semi-comfortably...

Anyway, Dave went back to his dorm while Rex napped and I formatted memory cards and watched football. An exciting way to spend the afternoon in NYC, but since it had started raining, it was just as well. We had dinner reservations at the Gotham Bar and Grill, where we were meeting my cousin, Melanie, and her husband, David for dinner along with our David, of course. Rex and I got a car (ever try getting a taxi in the rain in New York?) and picked David up at NYU, then made our way to 12th Street. We were early, but we took our table and had a cocktail while waiting for Melanie and David to get to the city from their home in Croton-on-Hudson. Once they arrived, the fun began – what a great menu! I'll see if I can remember what everyone had, just to give you an idea. David M. and Melanie started off with risotto with shrimp, David G had the special trout /frissee salad (with figs – yum!), Rex had the seafood salad, and I had tuna tartare. For our main courses, Melanie had (I'll have to fill in the blanks later - can't remember now!), David G had the duck special, Rex had David M had a strip steak, and I had two second courses – an heirloom tomato salad and the risotto with shrimp. Dessert looked too good to resist, so David M had a TEENY piece of raspberry cheesecake, Rex had a piece of chocolate cake, and I had s'mores of the totally uptown variety – a graham cracker round filled with chocolate and topped with a lightly broiled homemade marshmallow, garnished with homemade mini-marshmallows and served with homemade hazelnut ice cream. It was a delicious meal, and as always is the case, stimulating conversation with Melanie and David.

By the time we left, it had stopped raining, so we walked down to David's dorm so that I could see where he's living this year. Quite a change from his apartment in Durham, but he has a corner room with good views down 6th Avenue and Washington Square West (McDougall Street). And it was much nicer than his freshman dorm at NCSU! His classes are going well, he gets along with his roommate, and just this week, he's met a guy who graduated from NCSU in 2005 (same year David did) and a guy who was in Kim's class at Duke. Small world. There are a lot of kids from Durham living, working, and going to school in New York., so he should have plenty of people to watch basketball games with! Speaking of... Go Duke! Way to win against Navy! We love Coach Cut!

Rex and I had no problem getting a taxi back to the hotel, where we promptly crashed for the night. This morning, David came back to the hotel and we just had 'brunch' in the hotel's very overpriced restaurant. The guys had eggs and bacon and I had oatmeal. I didn't see the final bill, but I'm sure it was at least $60. David's biggest challenge so far has been to find a place (besides the hot dog vendors on the street) to get a sandwich for $5. He's still looking, since adding cheese and mustard puts it over the limit!

We left for JFK at noon and stood in a long line to check in at Alitalia, but we scored exit row seats, so you can color us happy and comfortable! As I write this, we are somewhere over the Atlantic. We've had dinner and drinks, Rex is asleep, and I'm not. I had dozed on the ride to the airport, and then I snoozed while we say on the tarmac for 90 minutes. Our flight departed an hour and 15 minutes behind schedule, so it could be interesting in Rome, since we had an hour and 15 minutes to make our connection to Venice... Oh, forgot to mention that our traveling companions, John and Judy, made it to Alitalia in plenty of time to check in and even get a bite to eat. They're a few rows right behind us, so we're all in this together! John got stopped for a pat down at security (somehow those artificial knees set that metal detector off every time...) but he cooperated and was let through.

Well, that's all for now! Guess I should try to get some sleep now.

High in the sky,


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