29 December 2013

Meadowlark's Winter Walk of Lights

May told me about a light display at Meadowlark, a small botanical garden in Northern VA, and I thought it would be a fun way to see lights.  I really miss driving through neighborhoods decorated with lights and an occasional tacky blown up Santa.  A group of us bought tickets and went over after work a couple of weeks ago.

We walked through and soon realized it was something that was more for kids but it was nice to see all of the effort that was put into it.

I was so happy at the end of the walk to see a giant pit for roasting marshmallows and warming up.  I really miss having a fireplace these days.

It was even more lovely to find an unexpected package from Allison full of one of my favorite candies.  It's a gift to be thought about and loved.

26 December 2013

Cronuts & Dim Sum at Redfarm

This trip to NYC was going to revolve a little more around donuts but our time in a line for cronuts satisfied all donut cravings.  We got in line around 7 on Sunday morning (the Dominique Ansel Bakery doesn't open until 9 on Sundays only) and we knew that we were close enough to get them.  November's flavor was salted de leche and I thought this would be worth our 2.5 hours in line.

We arrived to see this fine automobile.  I'm not sure what or why but it's been spotted around the area by others.

The line in front of us.  The shop started selling coffee and hot chocolate around 8:15.   They also passed out free madeleines for all those in line which was very nice.

Although the shop opened at 9 am, it took a while for each group of 10 to get into the shop and make purchases.

Along with the cronuts, we also the bought the DKA (below) which is like a caramelized croissant and a frozen s'more where a melty marshmallow surrounds ice cream.  We decided both the DKA and s'more were much better than the cronut.  Neither of us like creamed filled donuts and this was just too sweet.  Maybe it was the flavor of the month but I would never stand in line for this again.  I'm happy to go to the shop during the middle of the day to try any of the other more delicious desserts.

We headed back to the hotel right by the World Trade Center (view from our window) to warm up, shower and pick up Tim.  He was wise and didn't go on the cronut adventure with us.  Jenica gave him one of hers and he immediately dropped it on the floor.  He still ate it but it just shows how much he appreciated the gift. 

I took Tim and Jenica to Sockerbit in the village before eating dim sum at Redfarm.  Ty and I ate her a while ago for dinner and it was one of my favorite meals.  I was excited to try their new brunch menu which is relatively new.

Our server was wonderful.  He saw our Sockerbit bags and introduced himself as being a Swede.  I've met so many Swedes who introduce themselves when they see me carrying around Sockerbit bags.  He helped us pick our meal which we loved.

I enjoy how they decorate their dumplings.  These were the pac man shrimp dumplings.

These deserve so much love - the pork and crab soup dumplings.  I wish I could find a place in DC that serves soup dumplings.  

After our delicious meal, I said goodbye to Tim and Jenica who were heading back to DC.  I traveled to Brooklyn to visit Alvar Lambson - Suvi and Paul's 4 day old baby son.  He was so very precious and I think it's the youngest baby I've ever held.  It was good to visit with the family at such a life changing moment for them.

And then dinner with Dan and Jackie.  I was happy to wish them congratulations on their engagement while eating Korean tacos in Williamsburg.  After dinner, I headed back to Ty's place where he had wassail waiting for me.  It was such a lovely surprise.

24 December 2013

The Green-Wood Cemetery on a Gorgeous Fall Day

I love playing tour guide around NYC especially for friends that are willing to not do the usual.  I kept asking Tim and Jenica what they wanted to do and where they wanted to eat and I think most of us were happy most of the time.  I don't think everyone loves cemeteries as much as I do.

We ran over to Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria for one of the best breakfast sandwiches I've ever eaten.  This is the one.  I thought it was far too large to finish but we all did without any problems.  It's filone bread with salame rosa, Rupert cheese and a baked egg. We shared some of the house pastries but this is what I will remember from this meal.

We decided over breakfast to see a show that night so we traveled down to the ticket booth in south street seaport.  It was an hour wait but I was really excited that we got tickets to see Peter and the Star Catcher since I've heard a lot about it from winning Tonys and from my friends on Facebook.

And then to Brooklyn to hike through 478 acres of gorgeous trees, lakes and statues.  It was one of those autumn days where the blue sky perfectly framed the colorful leaves.

This is not an easy place to tour.  They visitor center has maps but there is so much on one small map.  One of the gardeners told us where to go but it was really a lot of the three of us just looking around. 

We found Bill the Butcher who I would not know about it if it weren't for Gangs of New York.  My friend told me that his funeral was the largest attended at that time.

Samuel Morse who was up on a hill with a very grand monument.

Boss Tweed and his family.

Jean Michel Basquiat.  I loved looking at the notes and tokens that were left for him.

One of the most beautiful memorials.  I can feel the grief the loved ones felt.

We walked a lot and visited the highest point of Brooklyn which didn't feel like it was.  Just for the fun of it I had Tim and Jenica walk backwards and forwards to see which looked more natural in a photo.  Can you tell which photo is which?

We climbed to the Revolutionary War monument where the Battle of Long Island was fought in 1776 and also stumbled on Leonard Bernstein.

There was so many folks that we missed but our 3 hour tour would have increased to 6 to see all of them.

I remembered that Four and Twenty Blackbirds was nearby so we paused there for a pie break.  I love the salted caramel apple.

I perfectly caught Jenica's resting face.

We quick stopped at the Bryant Park Christmas Market for a hot apple cider break.  I tried to get us into Momofuku Noodle Bar but it was a 2 hour wait so we grabbed pizza and Whole Foods and headed up to the play.  I love this play and highly recommend it to everyone I meet whether or not they ask.  I laughed a lot and it's always a treat to find something that makes me laugh.

We headed back to the hotel and collapsed.

Today:  Find out where your accent belongs.  Have you answered the questions on the NY Times dialect map to see where your accent places in the USA? I took the test and was pretty much shocked that I ended up in Kansas City/Missouri.  I've never even been to these places.  It's my west coast accent migrating to the east.

23 December 2013

Vermeer, Chinese Food and a Canadian Jewish Delicatessan

I woke up Friday and went straight to Buvette to drink hot chocolate.  

And then traveled back up the island to the East Side for the Vermeer exhibit at the Frick Collection.  I'd been to this museum before and it's gorgeous.  It's worth a trip again to see what's going on there now until January if you like Dutch paintings.

I walked by Central Park and saw this monument which I had never noticed before. 

I was happy that she was all cleaned up and on view again. 

I kept traveling south to Han Dynasty where I met Brigham to finish a meal we started in October that was interrupted by the health inspector.  I wish I could remember everything we ate but 

I do remember this was the dry pepper chicken.  All of it was so very good and there is speculation that the owner is looking to DC to open a restaurant and I really hope that is true.  

I walked around Brooklyn after lunch and ate ice cream at Oddfellows which I always recommend.

I usually send an email to friends when I know I'm coming into town telling folks to meet for dinner.  I never know who is available and it's a surprise when I see who can make it.  We met up at Mile End Deli in the Bowery.  We ordered lots of food and shared everything.  I was feeling such happiness being with all of these friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in over a year.

Broek had to leave but the rest of us walked up to the Little Cupcake Bakeshop and ate slices of cake the size of our heads.

I ran away to meet up with Jenica and Tim who had just arrived in the city but this felt like home for a little while.