Entries Tagged as 'New York'

A Quick Trip to New York

January 28th, 2014 · 1 Comment

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For Christmas Dallas got me the airfare to take a quick trip to New York to see friends and I took the trip this past weekend.

I finally got to see Jess and Ted’s apartment in Hudson Heights, since they let me crash in their spare room. Their space is a work in progress, they think, but so far it’s so big and spacious and knowing Jess, you know how nice and stylish it looks! The apartment is FAR north in Manhattan, but they have a straight shot down on the A train to work. And actually, it wasn’t too bad getting around, even when we went to Queens. The Hudson Heights neighborhood seems really cute. I can’t wait to go back and visit in nicer weather so that we can check out The Cloisters and Fort Tyron Park.

I arrived late on Friday night because my flight was delayed. Ted was still at work so Jess and I got late drinks and dinner at 181 Cabrini. Jess’s apartment is only a block away from the train stop and a strip of commercial stuff – restaurants, delis, bodegas, bars – so it’s nice and convenient. It’s not like there are a million restaurants, like in some neighborhoods, but there is one of everything, and how many do you really need? Anyway, 181 Cabrini was cute and had a friendly bartender and waiter and good food. It was great to sit and catch up.

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The next day Jess and I met up with Jeannette and Yvan and Juliette, who is now 9 months old. The last time I saw Juliette was in June, when she was about 6 weeks old! Jess and I took the A train to the 7 and went over to Long Island City, Queens, where they all live. From there we drove to Sripraphai Thai restaurant in Woodside. I realized that I’d been to Sripraphai TEN years ago and didn’t really care for it so much. But this time I loved it! Yvan said that the restaurant has really changed and grown since we first went a decade ago. I remember sitting in a dank basement and this time I saw they’d expanded their storefront on both sides. Everything was nice and bright and pretty. And the food was great. I loved the massaman curry we got with beef. The beef wasn’t like you usually get with the slices of beef, it was more like stewed. YUM!

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And then because nothing changes, Jeannette wanted to get dessert. And she REALLY twisted our arms to get us to agree. We headed over to a gem of a French bakery that was hidden in a strip mall in Jackson Heights: Cannelle Patisserie. It had started snowing and everyone got coffee to warm up as well as a sampling of some of the delicious tarts. We had the praline crunch, napoleon, apple strip and lemon square. They were all SO good. We ate away and talked some more while Juliette, who was an angel the whole time, flirted with an older man enjoying a cup of coffee at the next table! We also all took something home. How could you resist the thought of a chocolate croissant for breakfast the next morning?

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Jess and I headed back to Hudson Heights and because we’re all wild and crazy party animals, we cozied under some blankets and watched a maritime double header on Apple TV. We saw Robert Redford in All is Lost (good) and Captain Phillips the movie about the cargo ship taken over by Somali pirates (really good).

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The next day was time to leave already. We got up and got ready. Yvan ran a half marathon in the morning but was still up for meeting with us in Jess’s neighborhood. So, Jeannette, Yvan, Juliette, Ted, Jess and I had brunch at Le Chéile. Afterwards, we stopped by Moscow on the Hudson, just to check it out. I guess it’s known to be the best Russian market in Manhattan. I had fun looking at all the different canned goods, candies, pastries and meats. And then? We stopped back to the apartment and it was time to go. :/

This was my first time away from Makai for more than a few hours, and it was hard to leave. Dallas was pushing me out the door, practically, but once I was gone, I was good. I mean… I still missed him like crazy, but it was great to see friends and be in New York and I’m glad I went. Thanks for the fun weekend, everyone!

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A Few More Days in New York

June 10th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Last week I was out in New York for work for a few more days.

tortas_frontera_ohare
Like every trip, mine began with a stop at Tortas Frontera at O’Hare. I was actually kind of afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop because of timing, but then my flight got delayed an hour and I had more than enough time. I changed it up this time and instead of getting a torta, I got the tortilla soup and the fully loaded guacamole. The soup broth was really rich and flavorful. The guacamole was good, but getting all of the toppings was a mistake, I think. I’d stick to just one or two or none next time. Also, maybe it was a fluke, but the chips were SO salty.

long_island_city
Even though my flight was delayed, I arrived early enough to visit with Jeannette and Yvan and Juliette (6 weeks old now, I think). The skies were bright and mostly sunny in Long Island City, so I don’t know what was up with the delays. It seemed fine on the Chicago side too. It didn’t even start raining in New York until later at night. Dallas was flying to Newark at the same time I was flying to New York and he had way more issues than I did.

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I stayed at an SPG property called the Element Times Square West, located at 39th and 8th. I booked the room because it was a good rate, but it ended up being pretty nice and spacious for a New York City hotel room. Not that I used it, but each room in the hotel had a kitchen with a big fridge, two burners, a sink, dishwasher, microwave, dishes.

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Even though I think the Element was on the lower end of the SPG spectrum, they still had the Heavenly bed that they have at the Westin, which was nice.

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The view from my room at the Element.

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Most days I took the subway to and from work, which made me feel like I was living there again.

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While at work, one of my coworkers was on vacation for two weeks so I used his desk. He has a pretty nice view of the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge!

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The food in New York is always great! With my coworker, Stephanie, I had lunches at Flavors Cafe, where we got some great salads, and CRISP, a modern Mediterranean spot. My coworker from Chicago, Ranee, has been traveling to New York a ton and took me to Zaitzeff, a great burger spot. The menu is short and to the point, not straying all over the place with fancied up burgers. All the beef is grass-fed here. I got a cheeseburger with avocado and grilled mushrooms and it was amazing. Ranee and I split fries and neither of us finished them, but I was so full from the burger that I didn’t even eat dinner really! I think I had a fruit cup!

I also met up with Jess one night and we had dinner at Tia Pol, a tiny little Spanish tapas spot on 10th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd. I’d hoped to see her new apartment that she just bought and moved into the week before, but it was getting late. I was still glad we could catch up while I was in town!

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Lastly, but not leastly, the food highlight of the trip was when I finally visited Eataly with Ranee and her cousin, Isabelle. Eataly is a high-end 50,000 square foot Italian food market and shopping center. Mega chefs Mario Bitali and Lidia Bastianich teamed up with restauranteur Joe Bastianich (Lidia’s son) for this amazing creation. The shopping and the tasting rooms are all mixed into one huge crazy experience. You walk along and look at meats and cheeses and then theres and area to sip wine while eating meats and cheese. You’re looking at the bins of fresh produce, when you stumble upon the vegetarian restaurant. There’s seafood and freshly made pasta, a beer garden, an amazing bakery, meats and produce and a whole line of Italian desert stands. I could have spent all day there!

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In the end, we put our names in for the pizza and pasta spot and there was a wait, so we went to the vegetarian restaurant, sat at the bar and shared and artichoke that was BY FAR the best artichoke I’ve ever eaten. As we were finishing, with perfect timing, we were texted that our table was ready for dinner. I love gnocchi, but a lot of places screw it up, so I don’t order it too much, but I figured this was the place to get it. The gnocchi here was served with braised lamb shank ragu and was AH MAZE ING! To finish, I had the salted caramel gelato. OMG. So done. I’m sort of glad I don’t live in New York because I’d go broke at this place!

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6 Days on the East Coast

May 23rd, 2013 · 1 Comment

Day 1:

tortas_frontera_ohare
My trips these days always begin with tortas from Frontera at O’Hare. YUM!

Day 2:

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The view from my New York hotel. Empire State Building on the left!

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After a long day of meetings, my team went out for dinner at Brasserie Les Halles. This is the French restaurant that is the home base of Chef-at-large Anthony Bourdain. I had the French onion soup and the cassoulet (a French casserole with a white bean base, three kinds of sausage, duck confit and pork belly!). For dessert I had chocolate mousse that was made with Valrhona chocolate, a high-end French chocolate. Everything was SO delicious. My coworkers and I just kept commenting how great everything was!

Day 3:

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There was a Dean & Deluca cafe just down the block from my hotel. Very different than the Soho market I used to visit, but still very good when I stopped by for breakfast.

freedom_tower
The Roundarch Isobar office is not far from the Word Trade Center. This is One World Trade Center, otherwise known as “Freedom Tower.” Just a few days earlier, “on May 10, 2013, the final component of the spire was installed atop the skyscraper, making One World Trade Center tentatively the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the third-tallest building in the world by pinnacle height, with its spire reaching a symbolic 1,776 feet (541 m) in reference to the year of American independence.” Look at how incomplete the building was about a year ago when I was in New York.

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Security badge photos are the worst!

seltzer
The East Coast has the best seltzer. I used to drink the Adirondack seltzer when I was traveling to the Boston office a lot last year.

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The Garden was around the corner from my hotel.

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Going to meet up for dinner at Chelsea Market… Ze Olde Office is across the street.

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Chelsea Market

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I was a little early so I walked around Chelsea Market….

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…. and went to my favorite chocolate shop, Jacques Torres. Remember when we got a personal tour from the man, himself?!?

giovanni_rana
I met Jess, Tien, Jeannette, Yvan and Juliette at Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina in Chelsea Market. This was Juliette’s first dinner out. She’s only 4 weeks old!

rana_ravioli
I had ricotta ravioli with asparagus and it was served in a crispy Parmigiano Reggiano bowl! The food here was so good. All of the pasta was freshly made on site!

Day 4:

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I left New York to go to Boston, but before going to the airport, I met up with Jeannette and Yvan and Juliette for coffee.

juliette
Juliette is so precious! Only a month old!

Day 5:

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Dallas used to live in Boston and I spent a lot of time there last year so it was fun to walk around and talk about places we both had visited. This building is behind a plaza where I used to visit food trucks at lunch. It wasn’t painted like this last year!

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Dallas showed me this place, Chau Chow City where he used to go to dim sum with Billy and Ging and Josh. He said it was the best dim sum in Boston. Funny because I used to walk past this place every day when going from my hotel to the office.

annas_taqueria
Dallas loves Anna’s Taqueria, so we had to go there for lunch.

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After lunch we walked around Beacon Hill and then through Boston Common, where there was a Youth Pride event going on.

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I stopped at the Intercontinental Hotel to use the bathroom and we ended up staying for a while to watch the Blackhawks lose to the Red Wings.

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That night we went to Colleen’s wedding. More on that later!

Day 6:

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I had to head out of Boston in the evening, but before doing that, Ross and Chelsea picked us up and we went to visit Matt and Molly. We’ve hung out with their daughter Lucy many times, but it was our first time meeting their identical twins, Theo and Quinn!

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I’m holding Theo and Dallas has Quinn. They are about three months old.

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Uncle Ross, Lucy and Quinn.

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Aunty Chelsea and Lucy were picking flowers in the backyard. We had an impromptu barbecue and sat outside to eat. It was so nice out. And Matt and Molly’s whole yard is in full bloom. I especially liked the lilacs and they have a ton of them!


Excitement at the airport in Boston. I was just sitting there when all of a sudden flashing lights and an alarm went off… throughout the terminal. Everyone just acted like it was nothing but then I saw some firefighters walk by. A few minutes later the alarms turned off. False alarm?

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In the cab home. I never noticed the vomit clean up fee.

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