Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 & NYC {day 2}

12 years ago, I was sitting in Chapel at my high school with my new friends. I had just started that week as a 9th grader, and it was my first school assembly. I remember exactly where I was sitting in our school's gym when they told us. We were all sitting in wide-eyed disbelief that this could happen to our beloved country.

The rest of the day was a blur. But I remember going home that night and sitting on our porch watching the news, and seeing the planes crash into the buildings over and over. I called my best friend, who was going to a different high school, and we just cried about how horrible it all was. We knew that things would be different from then on.

I feel sad on this day each year: Sad for the families affected by this tragedy, sad for the hate a group of people shared for our country, sad for how it changed the world we live in. I usually try to keep things positive on here, but today is about reflection. Thank you to the troops here and abroad that keep us safe.

I hope you can take time today to think about what matters most, and hold your loved ones extra close.

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It also seems fitting to wrap up our NYC trip today.

Sunday, we woke up and Connor and his sister fixed breakfast: waffles and an egg! And yes, we did put cheese on our waffle. Their family tradition!
We got ready for the day, and headed out towards the East Village to get coffee. We made a pit stop first, at Chikalicious. Have you ever heard of a Cronut (tm)? It is croissant dough, shaped into a donut, deep fried, and stuffed with pastry cream. Needless to say, I needed one. The original is trademarked and sells out so fast, you have to line up at some ungodly hour like 5AM. Luckily, there are copycats out there that serve them, and we found one in the East Village at Chikalicious.
The Dough'Ssant was INCREDIBLE!
The 3 of us split 1 chocolate. We were happy campers!
 Sugar high
 
We walked around a bit, and stopped by Florence's old apartment she shared with her sister. That day was actually her 10 year anniversary of being in NYC!
Then we stopped at a tiny little hipster coffee place to refuel. It's called Abraço
and it was delicious!
They don't have seats like in Italy...you stand and sip
Then we moseyed on down to Chinatown for some good grub
I loved walking through all of the markets. There was just so much to see! All of these spices that I have never seen before
It was such a perfect day to walk around outside...not too hot!
I really liked the arch and columns at the beginning of the Manhattan Bridge
Our first stop of eating our way through Chinatown: Prosperity Dumpling {46 Eldridge St}
Connor and I wanted to try some soup dumplings, and this was the top-rated place on Yelp. There must have been a food tour that was in line right before us, because it was a whole group of people who all ordered a zillion different things and then left all together
 So he ordered us the pan-fried dumplings that everyone else around us ordered, and "boiled soup dumplings". Which were NOT what we thought we were ordering. They instead gave us a hot quart container of broth, cabbage, and boiled dumplings {we though they would be the steamed dumplings with the broth inside. Whoops} In case you're wondering, these were amazing dumplings! 
We then met up with my friends Carly & Dave at Tasty Hand-pulled Noodles {1 Doyers Street}
The tiny restaurant was full, so they took us to the basement where there were 3 more tables. Luckily it was cooler downstairs!

I ordered a beef soup noodle bowl, which was like a mild beef ramen. The noodles are made from scratch each day. They were yummy! This was a hearty, soul-stirring soup that brought me back to my ramen-for-dinner days in college. But this was obviously way better.  
Sorry for the blurry pictures. For some reason I took a lot of blurry pics from my iPhone that weekend! Connor ordered the pan-fried pulled noodles with chicken and shrimp. It was like lo mein but better
  
After our lunch, we walked around a bit more. We needed to wash down our lunch with a nice bubble tea, obviously
We stopped in Mei Li Wah bakery for a steamed bun and bubble tea. That definitely put us over the edge!
We walked around through some cute neighborhoods and were ready for a drink! I mean, it was vacation after all. We stopped at Tom & Jerry's in NoHo {288 Elizabeth St}. I got a yummy watermelon margarita
We then made our way in and around SoHo, stopping in art galleries and consignment stores. We even found a Sample Sale that had amazing shoes, fur vests, and crazy expensive ugly blazers. It was a very NYC experience!

After walking around for a few hours, it was time to head back and get ready for dinner. We had late reservations at Babbo with our friends Paul & Trish (they're getting married in May! WHOOP WHOOP!). And funny story: When we got to the restaurant, who was walking out but Deb from smitten kitchen! I pulled her aside, told her I was a huge fan and that it was our first time at Babbo. She told me what she liked and didn't like and we chatted for a minute or so. She was so sweet to talk with me!
To make a long story short, I will never ever ever return to Babbo. I had a horrible experience with the manager and sommelier. The food was good, and we had a great waiter, but the other staff made the experience so bad that I will not go back.

The menu:

We started off with a chickpea bruschetta
And then the grilled vegetable caprese
Connor and I each ordered a pasta, and split an entree. We got the pappardelle bolognese...
...and the bucatini all'amatriciana (which had guanciale/pig jowl as the meat base). These pastas were the star of the meal by far
We split the Rabbit with black olive tapenade and eggplant. It was just OK...
And for dessert, we split a blackberry crostata that was pretty good. Paul and Trish got the polenta budino that was heavenly!
 We rolled into a cab and headed home.

Monday we had to get up pretty early to make sure we got to JFK on time. We of course needed one last NYC experience: BAGELS!

We split a lox & herb cream cheese everything bagel from Gramercy Bagels { 246 3rd Ave}. And it was divine.

We had to take the subway, the air train, and then a plane to get home. But boy, were we glad to see Bowser and be home! It was quite a weekend!

xoxo
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