Monday, December 30, 2013

Locals Only // NewYorkCity

One of the many well known things about this city is its obscene amount of things to do. 
"Bored" is not a word in a New Yorker's vocabulary.
Adopting this local mindset, we took off in Greenwich Village on the Lower West Side in search of a classic underground Jazz Club.
Not long after searching did we find idea of a blues heaven.

And there's only one way of knowing you've gone to the right jazz club....a hipster with a turtleneck sweater and a glass of wine.
Mission Jazz Club: success.
The next thing on our hit list was hands down to find $1 pizza slice. So with a little more meandering we stumbled upon the perfect place to fuel up.

With pizza in hand we went over to NYU territory to meet up with one of my old friends from school for drinks and dinner round two.

We woke up the next day feeling rejuvenated by the crisp air blowing through our window and the momentary rays of sunshine. So - wide awake - we threw on our close and trekked up to the Upper West Side near Columbia U for brunch.
But not just any brunch...
A Seinfeld brunch.

Complete with memorabilia from the show, we sat down and made some cut-throat decisions as to what we were going to order.
We first decided on bottomless coffee.

And then on a spinach & feta omelette with sweet potato fries and the renowned NYC reuben sandwich.

Having hit the spot, we moved on to our next venture in Manhattan: the Natural History Museum.

Dinos, fossils and Dum Dum, oh my!
As the museum kicked us out, we popped out onto the street and took a stroll before running into one of my favorite pastries in New York.
The Black&White cookie.
But it's not just any cookie. It's more like a fluffy cake artistically painted half white-chocolate-white and dark-chocolate-brown to come together to form the ideal bite of bakery heaven.

Once Isabelle was introduced to this delicacy, we meet up with another good friend on mine for drinks and the most magnificent piece of food my tongue has ever tasted.
Now, some of you might think that is absolutely, 100%, positively repulsive, but let me assure you you will never have tasted something so beautifully created in your whole life.

I might be living this pizza up just a bit but I am recalling the experience now and it seems more than accurate.

Bless you, Jonny, for introducing us to such a mind-blowing meal.

It was so good that I even risk putting this photo of me up; complete with pizza cheesy goodness on my nose.
Worth looking like a slob?
No question about it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Eloise Exploits // NewYorkCity

Some of my most cherished memories as a kid were of me tucked away in bed with my parents reading bedtime stories to me. 
But not just any stories, the best stories. 
We would circulate a few different books but one was always 3 more times than the rest....Eloise.
I absolutely, positively adooooored her! She was absolutely lovely, lovely, lovely and I very much though of myself as a Californian version of her.
So when the girls and I were walking through Central Park one morning and realized The Plaza hotel was only a stone throw away, we decided that it was time for this suburban Eloise to make her big city dream come true.

It was only a matter of time I bumped into the child-version of myself so it was only fitting to take a snap of the occasion.
...and the rest of the day as well.
We made our way to the tea room in The Plaza where I asked the waitress for a table for three. It was there that the future of my dream coming true (having an Eloise-eque high tea at The Plaza) seemed dim. She replied, "I'm sorry but the tea room is completely booked today."
With my esteem crushed, I told the girls what she said.
But midway through my sentence I stopped and realized something very important.
I did not come all that way to get rejected from something I'd been dreaming of since I could read. No way. Not today.
So I straightened my spine, spun 'round on my heels and went back to the waitress and said, "I'm sorry to bother you again but we travelled all this way from Hong Kong just to have high tea at The Plaza. It has been my dream ever since I could read Eloise to enjoy crumpets and jam and it would mean the world to me if you could sneak us a seat."
Shocked (but not terribly surprised) she replied, "Well, we do have a few no follow me and I can seat you three."

I was beaming. Beaming more than any time I had ever beamed in my life.
Little cheeky Eloise was present and in full control.

Seated and ready to be treated royally, we opened our menus and decided on our sets.
I went for the Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages...
And the girls went for The New Yorker.
I would have joined them except I saw this little note at the bottom of the menu which absolutely sold me.
"Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages pays tribute to The Plaza's most legendary patrons, F. Scott and Zelda. The offerings are inspired by the popular cuisine of the jazz age and the era of The Great Gatsby, in which the hotel plays an epic roll."

No second thoughts needed.

After our tea was served, a slurry of tea sipping pictures were taken.
For documentary purposes, of course.

But then the food arrived.
And boy did it arrive in style.

So much so I had to break character and let my excitement shine through.


After sandwich
After sandwhich

And then onto dessert - the best part of any meal.

And during this course, my life changed forever.
The Amarena Cherry and Chocolate Sachetorte happened to me.
I was shocked. Blown away. Completely speechless as I marvelled in how some mastermind created such a perfect little petit four.
Completely smitten with the entire outing, we took one final snap and left with grace, full stomachs and a joy radiating through every fiber of our bodies.
To finish the night off, we took Isabelle to FAO Schwarts for her first dose of a NYC childhood.

Hands down my favorite day in the city.
Little did I know, though, that the rest of stops on the trip would have me falling even deeper in love with this magnificent city.