Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Taking New York by the seat of your pants

There is something about New York City that makes you feel invincible.  This past weekend, my friends and I took an impromptu trip over to the Big Apple and I think we can all agree that the for those two days, the world was our oyster. 
We didn't go with a plan, but just allowed the city's 24hr energy and constant pulse to take us where it would.  Here are some of the highlights!
On Saturday morning, Emily and I found one of our favorite Belgium (opened in New York) cafés, Le Pain Quotidien.
This place has beautiful coffee, served in large bowls, which make you feel like you are drinking out of an everlasting pool of comfort.  Unfortunately, the open bowls make for quickly cooling beverages, but that was not something I was about to complain about.

The true highlight however are their spreads.  Le Pain Quotidien is known for its incredibly indulgent spreads ranging from sweet jams to decadent chocolate and hazelnut spreads.  Our favorite is the Blondie, which is a maple nut spread, so smooth it practically becomes one with the bread.  Combining the Noisella (like Nutella) spread with their apricot or raspberry preserves was an instant hit as well!

After our good morning awakening, we ventured out to fifth avenue, stopping here and there where ever our hearts decided.  We were utlimately on our way to Eataly, an incredible Italian Marketplace I had read about a few months ago. I was very curious as to whether this place would be as good as it sounded, lucky for us, it was better.  Essentially, it is an Italian market, with produce, fish, cheese, pasta and all other kinds of stalls displaying Italian artisinal treats.

As if that didn't spell out Italy enough, the whole place is set up around a Rotunda of sorts where you can set yourself up with Vino and paired antipasto dishes.  We went straight for the wine, and, as we had observed others doing, casually strolled around the rest of the market with it in hand.  I got a great proseco and Emily enjoyed a hearty red.

It's incredible how much easier it is to spend money when you are in such a good mood!
My favorite, naturally, was the chocolate display where I got a valentine shaped dark chocolate covered nougat and pistachio treat.

This all went down quite nicely with a sample (or five) of their market special apricot and dried fruit panetone. 

The Italian theme seemed to have inspired us, after our stint in Italy, we went uptown to Lexington where our friend's father had a photography exhibit.  Feeling quite artistically accomplished and peckish, we found ourselves in a cute little Italian restaurant, Lex Restaurant.
What was hilarious about this place was that apart from our table, everyone around us seemed to be...well full of life experience, to put it nicely.
Our waiter however was very attentive and seeme dto appreciate the young blood. We ordered various pastas, salads and paired the entire meal off with a great Côte du Rhône bottle of red. 

Still chock full of momentum, we headed to Lincoln center and watched the New York City ballet perform a mixed bill. I am not sure if it was our activity filled day, the effects of the wine or the performance, but we were all finding it difficult to stay awake by the end of the program.
After such a day of excursion and spontaneity, Sunday had to be simple.  Up we got and Zabars seemed an ideal place to grab a nice breakfast and snacks for the trip back.

They really do have the greatest coffee and their coffee shop set up right beside the grocery store is a fine idea.
It was so nice to just sit and chat New York style that we lost track of time and ended up missing the bus we had intended to make. Lucky for us, there was another one departing a meer thirty minutes later.  New York just seems to be the city of opportunity, when one thing slips up, another option presents itself.
I think the trick is to keep the trips short and sweet, then you leave wanting more, instead of wishing for less.


  1. Good advice Froogie, which can be applied to anything! BTW "about which I would care to complain" is stylistically more correct,and "mere" is etymologically correct. Never mind, spontaneity wins, hands down.

  2. haha, well I am always looking to improve my style and my etymology..so I will keep the tips in mind:)