Monday, December 26, 2011

New York 2011

OK, my parents and I went to NYC quite a while ago. About 3 weeks if you're really curious. I have been meaning to do this blog ever since we got back but I got sick and have been sick pretty much all of these 3 weeks. Boo. :( Anyhow, I am much better now and finally ready to tell all of you lovely people about my NYC experience! (Insert crowd!) We flew in on November 30 and landed in The Big Apple at about 9:00p.m. and we were greeted by an airport that smelled like pizza. LaGuardia. Once we got to our hotel at about 9:30 and I was anxious to go to Eataly, Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich's foodie wonderland!  It's a 50,000 square foot Italian emporium! My mom went back in January and had been taunting me ever since with tales of luscious lasagna, perfect pizza, and dreamy gelato. I was a little ticked off at her for a while. ;) You can and should visit Eataly's website because explaining it would take an entire blog post. Our hotel was just a few blocks from Eataly so my ever loving parents and I walked down there at 10:00p.m. When we got to the entrance it was like opening the pearly gates to a food lovers heaven and I could feel the non-exsistant Italian blood rushing through my non Italian veins! We decided to eat in the La Pizza & La Pasta restaurant just one of twelve restaurants in Eataly. Here are the pictures...

 This was our fresh baked bread with authentic Italian olive oil. Not normally a bread person but that was sublime.
Our lovely saucer of the best olive oil that will ever so perfectly coat your mouth.
 My dad ordered the lasagna made with fresh pasta. I will never eat another lasagna again. Ever.
 My mom and I ordered the pizza special. A Margarita pizza with prosciutto. I was always considered a misfit child because I did not like pizza. After eating this pizza I most definitely will not be eating pizza from a chain. Only from Eataly. Or in Italy if I ever go. :)
 My Italian soda.
 My latte. I always wanted a latte with a cute cream design on top!
The most decadent tiramisu ever.

The next day the company my mom works for, BrainPOP, held a luncheon. That was the whole reason we went to NYC in the first place because BrainPOP is based there. The luncheon was held at the acclaimed restaurant Boulud Sud with Chef Daniel Boulud hailing from Lyon, France. Here is the website Boulud Sud specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. I believe Mediterranean cuisine is an acquired taste. I have never really dabbled with it so there were a lot of firsts for me. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed everything. Here are your pictures.
The outside of the restaurant.
 The menu cover.
The actual luncheon menu.
 They personalized the other half on the inside of the menu with the BrainPOP logo. How cool is that??
 This was not part of our meal. These are the cocktail appetizers that were set up at the before meal cocktail party in a separate room in the restaurant.
 They had quite a few little plates, amuse bouches if you will, set out on the table right after we sat down. Starting from the left we have a grilled manouri cheese stuffed with a tomato confit, olive tapenade duo in the center, and a ricotta with olive oil and micro greens on the right. My two favorite things all together. Absolutely divine.
Here we have house made lamb kebbeh with swiss chard, feta, and pine nuts. Yum.
 Starting from the left we had babaganoush, lavash bread, and red pepper hummus to go with the falafel below.
This was the bread to eat the cheese and tapenade with.
 Herb and eggplant falafel.
 The most amazing Greek salad I have ever eaten. And I have eaten a lot of Greek salad. Actually that is my favorite salad next to Caesar.
Harira Soup. Lamb meatball, lentils, vernicelli, and chickpeas.
 Ribeye Steak. Rare. Perfectly Cooked. Exquisite.
 Charred Broccoli Rabe with pepperocini and crispy shallots and olive oil crushed potatoes with garlic chips. A-MA-ZING.
 Organic Farrotto with wild mushrooms. Farrotto is similar to risotto, except farrotto is a different grain from the traditional Arborrio rice used for risotto.
For dessert we had a Cassata. Chocolate sacher, ricotta-cardamom mousse, candied fruits, and a coffee gelato. I don't really care for dessert but I truly cared about this one.

At the luncheon I met almost all of the employees on BrainPOP and I met the owner/founder, Dr. Kadar, who is the most kind and generous man you will ever have the honor of meeting. More about that in a little bit. I also met two co-workers that will come into play later on in the trip. Micah, my fellow foodie, Allisyn and her husband Jason who works for a magazine. A very special magazine. After the luncheon we walked around for a bit because we were going to see the Rockettes at 7:00 and it was already 4:00. We visited the Time Warner Center and went to see the Rockefeller Tree. Even though it might not seem like it I do have a few non food pictures on my iPad and here are a few.
Lighted trees in front of the Time Warner Center
Lights inside. They actually changed colors but I didn't get a very good video.
 Giant Nutcrackers.

 Rockefeller Tree. No, I did not skate. I'm not that coordinated.
 Radio City Music Hall sign.
The chandeliers inside of Radio City. The Rockettes were fabulous and the 3-D part of the show was mind blowing.

The next day was was like a dream for me. You might remember Allisyn and her husband Jason. Well, when I said Jason works for a very special magazine I meant he works for Martha Stewart Everyday FOOD Magazine. At the luncheon we set up a time for me to come and take a tour of the magazine headquarters. It was like a dream come true! That morning my mom had a company meeting so it was just me and my dad who took the tour. Payback for taunting me about Eataly. :) I was too shy to pull out my iPad and take pictures but here are some I found online. Believe me it was everything you would expect from Martha Stewart. Her prop room has everything. I mean everything. Every piece and pattern of china and silver ever made, all sorts of clocks, every patter and material of fabric, typewriters, chairs,  cookbooks, normal books, you get the idea.
The cover of Everyday FOOD
All of the cookbooks


Cake Plates





The test kitchen. They were actually cooking a raspberry trifle when I was there but I was too shy to taste it.Needless to say I was on cloud nine for the remainder of the day! Thank you Allisyn and Jason!

After that we went to go pick my mom up from her meeting. So, not only did I get a tour of the Martha Stewart Living headquarters I got a tour of the BrainPOP headquarters thanks to Margaret, one of the animators. After we left the office we went to a little shop called Le Maison du Macaron. It serves French macarons and sweet meringue cookie with divine fillings. Oh, and they also come in the most beautiful colors and the widest array of flavors.We got ours to go. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at Argo Tea. It's like the Starbucks of tea. One thing I have been on the trying to scout out for almost 5 years is bubble tea. I bought a bubble tea kit to make it at home but it's just not the same. Ya know? Savannah is nice for a lot of things but bubble tea is just not one of them. When I saw that on the menu I almost fainted.  I knew though, when you are in NYC you can find anything you can possibly dream of and I found one of my many, many dreams. Now here are your pictures!

 The front window of Le Maison du Macaron.
 Display cases. Look at all of those pretty colors!
 If nothing else it sounds cool to say, "Oh, yes I was munching on some macarons." Don't ya think?
 We got them to go and they packed them in these cute little boxes. My mom got Raspberry White Chocolate, that's the pink one, my dad got the Vanilla. Snooze. And I got the Caramel Fleur de Sel. Delicious.
My bubble tea. Oh Yeah.

We relaxed in the hotel room for a few hours before we went to wd~50.
My mom has the best boss ever. Officially. Way back in March is when I first met her boss. They were in Tampa, FL on business and we were going to meet him for dinner. Once we sat down at the table we hit it off. We started this in depth conversation about different restaurants and food and chefs. He mentioned that he used to play softball with Wylie Dufresne, head chef of wd~50, in college. The church choir started blasting in my brain. He said that he could get us reservations to wd~50 and maybe even set up a meet and greet with Wylie and a tour of the kitchen.At that moment I saw God.  Mind you this was way before a trip to NYC was even a twinkle in anybody's eye. By the time November rolled around I was hopeful but not counting on getting in to wd~50 because that is one of the most popular restaurants in NYC. When my mom told me that not only did her boss get us reservations but that the chef agreed to do a meet up and a kitchen tour I thought I was hyperventilating. Really. One of the best phone calls of my life. When the big day rolled around I was through the roof with excitement. But first I must explain. I mentioned Micah earlier. He was a last minute addition to our reservation but he completely enhanced the entire experience. It was nice to have a fellow food/restaurant aficionado to converse with over the meal. As for the pictures the restaurant was rather dark and the iPad is not the greatest quality in low light so a few of the pictures are not great but you will still get the idea. Also wd~50 specializes in molecular gastronomy. That means taking normal everyday meals and making them look completely different but taste basically the same. You'll get it as you read.
Me and Chef Wylie Dufresne

 Menu Cover
My special mocktail. Celery, Lemon, and Lime Juice. Surprisingly Delectable.
 Flat bread crisps. They were as thin as tissue paper. No joke.
 Our amuse bouche. Seared mackerel, over a corn hushpuppy, with a grapefruit compote, and corn crumbles.
 Modern Eggs Benedict. Those little cubes are actually the Hollendaise sauce, the yellow cylinders are egg yolks, and the squares are paper this slices of prosciutto. Yeah, it was THE BEST APPETIZER EVER!
My dad's appetizer was bay scallops, cauliflower, caper, and preserved lemon.
 My mom got the cold fried chicken, buttermilk-ricotta, tabasco, and caviar. The dish is actually served cold.
 Micah got the aerated foie gras, pickled beets, mashed plum, and those squares sticking up are brioche.
 Micah and I ordered the same entree seared duck breast, black sesame dumplings, red cabbage, and a parsnip consomme. I had a bad experience with duck before but I figured that if I was going to eat it again that this would be the place to do so. I was right. That was one of the best entrees I've ever had.
 My mom ordered the baby back ribs, cheddar, brussel sprouts, wheatberries, and beer-miso. The "ribs" are those disks at the top of the plate.
My dad ordered the Mediterranean bass, artichoke, forbidden rice, white chocolate-green olive.
 This was our pre-dessert. A coffee ice cream in a chocolate shell with a lemon preserve sauce, candied lemon peel, and freeze-dried crushed peanuts.
 The ice cream inside of the chocolate shell.
 Micah ordered the liquid churro, bitter cocoa, chilies, and meyer lemon. The swirly in the front is actually the churro with a liquid center.
 My parents ordered the warm spice cake, coconut, tamarind, coriander, pineapple, and freeze dried corn kernels. The corn tasted just like popcorn except it was hard and cold. But very delicious.
 I ordered the Soft meringue, passionfruit, banana, star anise. The passionfruit was like a gel inside of the meringue, and that was a banana and star anise sauce. The little whit chips sticking out of the meringue are still meringue just with a styrofoam fell instead of a being soft. Very delicious.
Last but not least these are rice crispy treats. Yeah. I saw these on the website ( but I did not see them on the menu. They brought them out after the meal as a palate cleanser you could say. It is frozen ice cream like marshmallow in the center coated in a chocolate shell and the covered in the puffed rice cereal. Absolutely marvelous! This without a doubt is the best dining experience I have ever had!

Saturday we went and shopped in Macy's which was a madhouse even on December 3. However, the highlight of Saturday was going to see Wicked. Originally we chose between a Broadway show and the Rockettes and the Rockettes won out because we went to see Phantom of the Opera back in 2009 and the Rockettes were perfect for holiday time. At the BrainPOP luncheon when Dr. Kadar came to talk to us he insisted we see a play while in NYC. He told me to pick out any play and he would cover the tickets. See why I said he is so kind and generous. On Friday when we were getting ready to leave the office he called me in to make sure we got the tickets. Here is a picture I took with him.
It wasn't really his birthday but his assistant thought the sign would make a nice backdrop for the picture.
I chose to go see Wicked because everybody who has seen it loved it and my family was no exception. I thought it was spectacular. I can't choose between that and Phantom thought because they are two completely different plays so I will say that they are equally mind blowing! I didn't gat a picture under the Wicked sign but I did get souvenir sippy cups. That counts for something. :)

Sunday was our last day in NYC :( but our flight was not until 6:00p.m. The last thing on my list was to go to Lady GaGa's Workshop on the 5th floor of Barney's. This is a temporary shop in Barney's that has all sorts of stuff and 25% of all sales from all items goes to The Born This Way Foundation. Lady GaGa's charity for youth empowerment. It did not disappoint. Here are a couple of pictures.

 That's the entrance. Yeah.
This lovely statues sits smack dab in the middle of the store.
 And I will let you take in the GaGa Spider. Oh Yeah.
 You can visit for more pictures.
And just like you thought it was full of over excited kids and not so excited parents. And you had a few disturbing cases of was to excited 25 year olds. It was scary. I bought a T-shirt, pen, and marker all emblazoned with the GaGa's Workshop emblem. It is awesome. After that we took a taxi to get our bags and go back to LaGuardia, the airport that smells like pizza.

If you are still here you understand why it took me 3 weeks to attempt this monster of a blog. But I assume if you are still here you enjoyed it and you were not bored for more than 3 paragraphs. :) Until next time!

Ciao for now,
-Savannah :)

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