Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Report: Mama and Mollie, Eating Our Way Through NYC

I’ve blogged before about tourism with my mama (catch up on her first DC visit, and her second). When we get together, things are inevitably intense. This weekend for example, we headed to NYC with very minimal plans…and somehow managed to walk a gazillion miles and see everything in a day and a half. I don’t mind – I’m happy to do it all!

We stayed at the Newbie’s apartment in Harlem, and she and I went for a 6-miler (the long run in her 25 days to a 10-Miler plan) on Saturday morning. Then my mama and I went museum-ing. We visited the Cooper-Hewitt, a design museum in Andrew Carnegie’s mansion on the Upper East Side. 

The special exhibition was “Set in Style, The Jewelry of Van Cleef and Arpels” – we learned about jewelry innovations and saw many many gorgeous pieces. I really liked the zip necklace/bracelets (which we later saw in a window on 5th Avenue).

[Sidenote: Have you seen The Devil Wears Prada? You know the part where the assistant, Emily, says, “I'm on this new diet. Well, I don't eat anything and when I feel like I'm about to faint I eat a cube of cheese.”? Well tourism for us is kind of like that. We go and go and go and go until we’re about to faint, and then we eat. But that’s where the similarity ends – “Emily’s” cube of cheese is my mama’s and my piece of pie with ice cream, hamburger, chocolate chip cookie, etc. We needed fuel for all our activity!]

After the Cooper-Hewitt we were off to the Museum of the City of New York. But first I needed food. STAT. So we stopped in at El Museo del Barrio to take advantage of their South/Central American cafeteria fare. With plantains and chicken in my tummy I was ready to go once again.

I really liked the Museum of the City of New York – their main exhibition on “How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment” was interesting, but I liked the smaller exhibits even more. Moveable Feast: Fresh Produce and the NYC Green Cart Program” was a beautiful photo exhibit of street vendors in NYC. And “Denis Wortman Rediscovered” showed cartoons of New Yorkers 1930-1953.

We ended with “Timescapes: A Multimedia Portrait of New York” – a film tracing the entire history of NYC. Twenty-two minutes of warm dark movie time was exactly what we needed to rest our feet.

By the time we reemirged into the spring sunlight it was late afternoon and we needed food and coffee. We wandered down Madison Avenue and stumbled into Nectar of 82nd Street. Pie and ice cream and coffee? Done and done and done. It was homemade and delicious. I got cherry and my mama went for the blueberry.

Then we wandered through Central Park and down 5th Avenue, eventually making our way to meet the Newbie at Social Eatz, Angelo (from Top Chef)’s new restaurant. It was very good! And cheap! Mama got the Charred Bibimbap Burger (Korean for "mixed meal", it's ground beef with a slow cooked egg, covered in lettuce and served with pickled carrot and cucumber - $12):

Newbie went for the Hanoi Burger (ground beef with mint, lemongrass, cilantro and red onion topped with lettuce and served with a chili-mayo and a sweet onion jam - $10), and I got the Chicken Corn & Coconut Tacos (organic chicken, sweet corn, tender coconut relish in lime, cumin, and chipotle - $7). The food was delicious and the atmosphere was fun - nicer than fast food, but not too fancy or expensive – Social Eatz would be a great place to meet friends for a casual dinner. (The portions were good for the price, but be warned, the tacos are literally just two tacos, so you may want to order a side or an appetizer too!)

On Sunday we walked a ton (again). We retraced LLC’s and my best-eating-day-ever steps: Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookies and Elephant and Castle brunch. This time I took pictures – I got the Eggs’n Apples Benedict on Brioche French Toast with maple syrup (picture above), and my mama got the Canyonland Poached Eggs with balsamic jus, fresh tarragon, tomatoes, avocado and wild mushrooms, and toasted english muffin. Yummmmm.

(Evidence shows we're good eaters, right?)

And it’s not a trip to NYC without some cake! We got a slice of Magnolia Bakery’s Caramel Cake, and a slice of Billy Bakery’s Coconut Cake (both to bring back to DC with us - we can eat a lot in one afternoon...but two pieces of cake would have put us over the top).

The weather was beautiful, the food was great, and our NYC weekend was (per usual) absolutely exhausting but altogether fun!