2013 Vacay: Part 1


Sorry for the lack of postage this week, dear readers. Life post vacay caught up with me, as it tends to do... sociopathic neighbor back to his old noisy tricks again, trying to get our apartment management to do something about it, and my mom's back in the hospital. Good times. But enough of that, I am going to write about our trip before I start to forget it all, leeched from my memory from stress and lack of sleep.

(Picture Heavy)

G and I rented a car to make the drive to Manchester, Connecticut, where our friend J lives. We got a brand spanking new Malibu, and it was quite the Jetsens car, even had a camera in the back to let you see if anything was behind you. It was pretty cool (or maybe we are just really behind the times). It took us from around 9 in the morning (after the car rental stuff was taken care of) till around midnight to get there. J recommended we stop at Grandpa's Cheese Barn for a break on the way, and we ended up spending an hour there because there was just so...much...food (and cheese). We plan to go back next time we go to Mohican State Park, since it's on the way. The coolest thing I saw there was a Merlot jelly. Yeah, jelly made of wine. They had samples available of pretty much every product they offered, and this stuff was so glorious, like grape jam turned to 11, just sparkling sweet and rich. I am still kicking myself for not buying it, but it was around 11 dollars, and I didn't want to start spending money frivolously so early in the game. I wish I had though! I am suddenly considering trying to make some myself, though I've never made jam or jelly. A culinary challenge!

So, the first day other than that was just a lot of driving...and driving...and driving. Not much to do going through Pennsylvania, honestly. We were totally beat by the time we got to J's and we slept late the next morning. We went into Hartford late in the afternoon and walked around and went to this tapas restaurant, Barcelona. It had a great atmosphere (too dark for pictures, alas) and the tapas format was great for trying little bites of a variety of things. J (who is notorious for not liking anything more exotic than chicken fingers and PB and J) and I tried the Grilled Morcilla, not knowing what morcilla is, as the description just stated: potatoes and saffron aioli. It was absolutely delicious, but it had these mysterious, rich, tender, meaty-tasting chunks in it, and though we had no idea what it was, we just kept eating it. However, when searching for the restaurant link just now, I decided to look up morcilla, and apparently it's blood sausage. I just don't know how I feel about this. I will admit, it was really good, and I don't think either of us would have ordered it knowing what it was. So, yay for new experiences?

The next morning we were off to NYC, a good two hour drive. We swung by our hotel first, The Belvedere Hotel, and even though it was early we were able to go ahead and check in, which was great because we didn't want to have to pay for parking one place and then pay again when we checked in. Even though we haven't been to NYC since 2008, it still felt familiar, busy and frenetic, but good. We had made plans to meet up with one of G's best friends, M, who lives in Philly and we haven't seen since around 2007. He was nice enough to get a train to meet us even though he was only able to stay a few hours. We didn't have much time until we were scheduled to meet him at the Main New York Public Library, so we quickly got a bite to eat at a nearby Italian restaurant, which was unfortunately pretty forgettable and blase, but that's the risk you run if you go somewhere unresearched. I can't even remember the name of it!

We took the subway to the library, which I have always wanted to see. It was massive and surprisingly quiet, full of artwork and amazing architecture, almost like hallowed ground. Exactly what a library should feel like. I was a bit jealous.

We caught up with M soon after getting there. That's M, G, and J below, catching up on old times.

After we were done there we started walking along Fifth Avenue, and M found us a bar we could pop into so we could talk. We went into this swanky bar connected to the Setai Hotel, the Bar on Fifth. I got this drink, called the Jazzy Razz, which was
Grey Goose Vodka, Mathilde Framboise, Godiva Liqueur, Espresso, Cream. It was yummy and I highly recommend it!

G ordered a chocolate sampler, which had four artfully arranged mini-desserts for the insane price of only 12 dollars. My drink was more than that, so I think he got quite the steal. Look at all that chocolatey goodness!

The other exciting thing about this bar is that we had a celebrity sighting! I saw this girl walk in and she was wearing this amazing, structured vintage style coat. I don't know why I thought it, but I was like: she's somebody. OK, so I don't know who she was, but M caught a glimpse of the guy she met up with there, and it was actor Adrien Brody. He was trying to go incognito because he was wearing a beanie hat and was looking a bit scruffy, but after M pointed him out, it was pretty clear, as he has a distinctive look about him. Sorry no pictures, he was on a date and I would have felt like a jerk.

After we were done there M had to leave, so the rest of us walked around Rockefeller Center and bought our tickets for Top of the Rock, which we planned to do the next day.

After some research, it seemed like Rockefeller Center's view was amazing, and not quite as busy as the Empire State Building, plus with the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, you can actually see the Empire State Building.

Rockefeller Center, pretty tall:

After that it was time to get some noms. G and I had decided to try Tamarind, an Indian place touted as the best in the city. J wasn't that interested so we split up and he went to get a sandwich or something *yawn* like that. I believe Tamarind has a Michelin Star, or the sister restaurant in Tribeca does. I couldn't take great pictures, as it was quite dark and I didn't want to use the flash. We ordered marinated paneer and vegetables as an appetizer, and it was stunning, the best paneer I've ever had. Sometimes paneer can feel a little rubbery or "squeaky" when you bite into it, but this stuff was tender and yielding, and visually lovely.

I decided to go with a basic, Chicken Tikka Masala, and honestly, for the price, $21.50, it wasn't really any better than more basic Indian restaurants I've been to. The presentation and service was attentive and exemplary, and they had a neat viewing window where you could see the chefs cooking in the tandoors, but a few pieces of the chicken were bland and a bit tough. I expected  more of a mind-blowing experience considering the prices and reputation. It was satisfactory, mind you, but I could get satisfactory a lot of places. The paneer was the best part!

Finally, it was time to get on the subway once again and retire to our room. Nighty-night, New York!

Part 2 soon!

You may also like


  1. Sounds like an absolutely awesome trip! :)

  2. What a wonderful trip! You look lovely in that outfit.
    The paneer looks great. I love me a good paneer, roasted on the outside and tender inside :)

    1. Thank you! The paneer was awesome... a shame though that the rest was a little ho, hum.

  3. The library is breathtaking! Thank you for sharing the photos. :)

    1. It was so gorgeous, regal, and quiet! I would love to work in a library like that!


Please leave me comments if anything strikes your fancy or if you have any helpful suggestions. Remember, I'm no expert and am just sharing my truth. Hopefully you will find something useful to take with you!

Powered by Blogger.

Popular Posts