Archive for May, 2010

This is the second year we’ve taken a little holiday around our anniversary in New York City!

Leaving TO on our Porter flight!

Through Facebook, I find out Carmen will also be in NYC (shopping with some ladies) during the same time so we promise to text eachother and try to meet up!
Our flight with Porter was uneventful, other than the plane was bumpier than the larger jets seem to be. The staff was incredibly friendly; not the usual surly staff at AC!

Our trip in from Newark was not so smooth. Super Shuttle, not so super!

It started with where to wait; upon arrival I called to let them know that we’d arrived. They said to wait by the Customer Service Counter, which happened to be directly beside the phones. The driver will be there within twenty minutes; 30 minutes later we go looking arround. Woman at the CS counter tells us that SS pick ups are downstairs. Oh. We shuffle downstairs to the OTHER CS counter and I call to confirm. 20 minutes later we call again. Apparently, we were listed as a ‘no show’ because…guess where they tried to pick us up? Upstairs. Not happy. Finally they call our name. We are one of three couples in the van. We drive about a hundred yards and pick up couple #4. We drive again about 200 yards and pick up couple #5. We are now chuck full and 1.5 hours since we arrived. Finally we are on our way! The trip into Manhatten is faster than expected. Traffic in Manhatten is bad. We drive in through Lincoln Tunnel so we’re in lower Manhatten; this bodes well for us, our hotel is in the lower east side. We are the second couple to be dropped off. Two hours and fifteen minutes later! 😦

The Hotel on Rivington is a lovely young, trendy hotel. Our room is huge even by Toronto standards – about 15′ x 20′; even the bathroom is large! Two complaints: there is no dresser and the bathroom is rather dark. Other than that for $200/night, it’s a deal in NYC! I absolutely loved the location! Short walk to restaurants, bars, a Steve Madden outlet (nothing good in my size, even at 2 for $20!) and the subway.

Not much of a view, but it sure is quiet!

Lunch is at Cafe Frieda’s on the Upper East Side – I know, been there, done that—but it had to be done…again! The guacamole and the chicken soup are wonderful, as is the white wine sangria.
Cafe Frieda Overall rating (in my opinion): decor 3/5, service 3.5/5, food 4/5, Value 3/5, Noise: 4/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being quiet)

Next was Loehman‘s, Filene’s Basement and my new favourite gourmet kitchen place: Zabar‘s! I bought a couple of things I could easily make into appi’s in our room!
We headed back to the hotel for a quick cocktail and got ready for our 8pm reservation at Tabla Restaurant on Madison Avenue!

Small Appi’s with our cocktails!

We had looked forward to Chef Cardoz’s fusion food for about a month to celebrate our 24rth wedding anniversary but was quite disappointed. We had the grilled calamari which was so scorched the little tentacles were possible to eat! Next was the chicken tikka which I found inedibley salty and last but not least was the saag paneer pizza – which would have been good except for the sand in the spinach and the paneer which tasted more like creme fraiche than paneer. Unfortunately not at all to our taste. When we mentioned the sandy spinach to the waiter, he did nothing. On a positive note, the ambiance was great and not noisy at all! JT gives me a gorgeous ring for our anniversary!
Tabla Overall rating (in my opinion): decor 4/5, service 3.5/5, food 3.5/5, Value 2.5/5, Noise: 4/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being quiet)

On the way back we stopped at Schiller‘s in our hood for a very noisy nightcap. Incidentally the exact same executive chefs az Balthazar’s! I would like to try this place for dinner sometime!

Cool wine list!

Day two got off to a late start because someone slept in! We tried to have breakfast at this cutie little crepe place but was closed, so we headed back to the hotel for some continental nosh. We are met by Melony who manages the hair salon next door. She is totally wild and invites us to have one of the Brooklyn bagels she just bought for a staff meeting! She introduces us to Carrie as ‘her friend’s from Toronto’. We can barely escape! THIS was our New York moment! She tells us about a great Peruvian Restaurant in the hood. We decide to try it for lunch.

But first: Century 21!

Shoe Success!

JT scores two pairs of shoes and I get one! I just love that place! It was just a little madhouse because we got there a little late! We had a coffee at Starbucks and while we were there got a text from Paul and T that they’ve arrived. Unfortunately they don’t heed our advice on Super Shuttle and they arrive to the hotel with much the same experiece as we had! They check in; their room is one that is pictured on the website, WOW! We walk to the Peruvian Place for lunch, Mancora. I had the seafood civeche and everyone else had the lunch specials (way too much food). I finished off JTs chicken soup – yum.
Mancora Overall rating (in my opinion): decor 4/5 (very Peruvian), service 4/5, food 4/5, Value 4/5, Noise: 4/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being quiet)

On the way back we find a very nice lounge Libation to have cocktails. The bartender was lovely (and I am sure the boys thought she was cute too); She sampled 5 vodkas for us! For free!
On the way back to the hotel I spot a Steve Madden outlet (right across the street from our hotel) shoes or boots are 2 for $20! No, really!!! Unfortunately, nothing in my size 😦

We had reservations at Balthasar. We were glad that our table was indeed ready (they are famous for over booking and making you wait), but it was not a great table, and it was noisy and a little rushed. I had the Steak Tartar, which was wonderful. Balthasar Overall rating (in my opinion): decor 4/5, service 2.5/5, food 4/5, Value 3/5, Noise: 2/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being quiet). We called it a night and headed back to the hotel.

The next day we met around 9:00 so we could take advantage of the weather and walk through Central Park to the Boathouse Restaurant. Jill (Paul’s daughter who is going to Harvard for a post graduate degree) was in town visiting her beau, so we met them at the restaurant too. Unfortunately, it was raining, but we didn’t let it stop us, we walked across the park to the restaurant. We had a lovely brunch. The boys were then off to a ball game and we went shopping!

Brunch at the Boathouse with Jill and Arin

T and I hit Loehmans between 83 and 84rth; T scored a pair of walking shoes! I tried a pair of Rocket Dog workout walkers and decided that look wasn’t for me! I wanted to find an Aldo’s to pick up some incredibly high red shoes, so we subway to Rockafeller Centre and try to find it. After some reorientation, success! Unfortunately, they didn’t have my size 😦

Next, we walked to Macy‘s to try to meet up with my Facebook pal, Carmen. Walking through times Square is a mistake; sooo many people, it’s nuts! We stop at a Starbucks to renourish and Carmen texts that they are one the fifrth floor at Macy’s on 34rth.

Éva and Carmen @ Macy’s on 34rth!

Macy’s was also totally nuts – what recession? Though, no success at Macy’s!
Off to Union Square for some DSW and Filene’s Basement;

I scored another pair of shoes at DWS and a lovely shirt for JT and a cute sweater pour moi at Filene‘s! NOW, we are totally bushed! We subway back home!
The boy’s ball game is into overtime but they take off to meet us at our agreed spot for cocktails @ Libations; they ignore our text about rescheduling.
Our room hadn’t been made up yet so I call down to let them know. I jump into the shower to freshen up; T calls and we decide to meet the guys anyway! Holy fast getting ready! 15 minutes later, I meet T downstairs and we walk to Libations. Friday night, 5:30ish and the lower east side is already wild!

We have reservations at 7 at The Jazz Standard (thanks for the tip Antigone!) it was lovely! Dinner was scheduled for Il Buco at 9! We arrived on time, but our table wasn’t ready; they offer us a glass of Prosecco which was lovely! We are seated a short time later and it’s really wonderful! The sommelier reminds me of one of the waiters at Batifole in Toronto! We shared our orders: charcuterie plate and a small portion of freestyle lasagna – WOW! They aldo ordered dessert, some kind of gelato! Il Buco Overall rating (in my opinion): decor 4.5/5, service 4.5/5, food 4.5/5, Value 4.5/5, Noise: 2.5/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being quiet)!

The Jazz Standard

We plan to meet at 9am so we could get breakfast and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and explore DUMBO (Down Under Manhatten Bridge Underpass). We met at 9:30! I found a LES (Lower East Side) diner called Remedy Diner, it’s 24 hours so we don’t have to worry! We each order our own food which is a mistake — the portions are enormous and pretty good! Service is slow and coffee is seldom refilled! Remedy Diner Overall rating (in my opinion): decor 4.5/5, service 2/5, food 3.5/5, Value 4.5/5, Noise: 1/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being quiet)

Remedy Diner

We head over to the subway to get to the base of the Brooklyn Bridge (Chambers street exit). The walk is a bit chilly but it’s beautiful and lots of people; I certainly wouldn’t want to do this later in the day, way too crowded! My iPhone died after I took this photo, not enough juice! The walk around DUMBO was very cool. We stopped in a deli for a coffee, very cool! I’d like to spend an afternoon here sometime soon! We walked along the Hudson River enjoying the New York City skyline — until the wind pushed us away! We headed back to the subway because we had to check out for our return trip! Next time I’d like to subway to DUMBO and walk back to Manhattan to enjoy the skyline!
After a bit of charging, my phone went back to normal, thank goodness!

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