There are no if's-and's-or but's about it - my parents just don't really like NYC. They think it's dirty, crowded, expensive as hell, either too cold or too hot, and unfriendly. And you know what? I'm not going to disagree with them on those points; however, NYC has positive attributes that completely outweigh the negative. So, for Mom's visit last weekend, I was hell-bent on changing her pessimistic outlook on what I find to be the greatest city on earth.
"You and Dad totally have to come in for the NYC Wine & Food Festival," I mentioned, while chatting on the phone with Mom. "It's October 11th through the 14th, which means that the weather won't be insanely hot - or cold. Plus, y'all haven't been here in like 2 years!" While Mom agreed that the Festival sounded fantastic, Dad decided to stay behind, which would allow for the two of us to have a proper "girl's weekend."
Mom arrived at my apartment around 5pm and was eagerly greeted by me and Lucy, the dog. The jury's still out on who she was more excited to see. Since I knew that she'd be famished from the *lack* of airplane food/meals, I made sure to have my kitchen stocked with some of my favorite local treats: Super Duper Spicy Rosemary Nuts and *salted caramel chocolate chip cookies* from new obsession, Gotham Cookies (her Twitter handle is @GothamCookies).
For dinner, we headed to The Cellar at Beecher's, one of my favorite 'semi hidden gems' in the Flatiron neighborhood.
There was not a shortage of delicious things to eat and drink...
And lots of yummy sweets...
Before leaving the brunch, Mom wanted to freshen up in the ladies room. To her surprise, it was a unisex facility! Since she had never seen/encountered this type of bathroom arrangement before, she made me snap a photo so that she could show all of her friends back in Texas...
Mom and I arrived back at my apartment around 12:30pm and fetched Lucy. The three of us spent the afternoon shopping and running errands.
Just before 6pm, we headed back out to attend Cooking Channel's Meatpacking Uncorked, "...an open-air walk-around exploration through the Meatpacking District’s bountiful boutique shops and eclectic eateries." While most of the shops and streets were jam-packed with fellow guests, Mom and I sought refuge at non-Festival-affiliated "Urban Space," a multi-vendor marketplace. This is where I discovered - and fell in love with - Kirakira Jewelry by Suz Somersall.
Luckily, we made it just in time for our 7:30pm dinner reservation at Rubirosa, my favorite Italian. After our meal, Mom and I headed back to the Dream Hotel for Cocktails Ever After with Bethenny Frankel. The event was presented by Skinnygirl, Bethenny's line of lo-cal alcoholic beverages.
After Bethenny posed for photographs, the party officially began! In fact, the music was so good, that even the DJ could not stop dancing!
Considering it was a Saturday, Mom and I got off to an early start. While I squeezed in an 8:45am workout at Barry's Bootcamp, she watched Lucy and got ready for the day ahead.
Having walked past the outrageously-long lines outside of Serendipity on numerous prior occasions, I made sure to call ahead and snag a lunch reservation. When we arrived for our 11:30am seating, I was greeted by a scary host who barked at me to "wait at the end of the line!" Yikes. When I informed him that I had a reservation, he was taken aback - apologized - and we were seated immediately.
Serendipity also happens to have a pretty cute gift shop where I scored this little number: A Chanel-esque iPhone cover!! Note the quilting!
After lunch, Mom and I window shopped before heading to my new favorite place on earth, The Plaza Food Hall. While I couldn't tell you much about the revamp of Todd English's restaurant (I have not dined there post-revamp, though I very much enjoyed it 'pre.'), I can say that the marketplace - featuring tons of products from local artisans - and kiosks - including FP Patisserie, Lady M, William Greenberg Desserts, and Sushi of Gari (among many others) - are fcuking fantastic. Both tourists and locals, alike, will fall in love with this gourmand's paradise!
After window shopping along Madison Avenue, Mom and I decided to go 'high-class bar hopping.' We had about 1.5 hours to kill before we were to meet up with some relatives, so we grabbed one drink at each of the following fancy watering holes: Bar Pleiades and Bemelman's Bar.
While waiting to meet our relatives at The Library, I was shocked - and ecstatic - to see alma mater's football team kicking the crap out of WVU. It's not often that I see a college football game being televised at a fancy hotel bar!!
Full from munching on gratis bar snacks and too tired to dine-out, Mom and I ended up eating Beecher's cheese/crackers and ice cream for dinner. :-)
Mom and I slept in until about 9am, then headed downtown to the World Trade Center. Prior to her arrival, she informed me that, in order to see the 9/11 Memorial, one must request a free visitor's pass. Otherwise, entry is prohibited. Unfortunately, I was unable to procure passes in time, as my schedule that weekend was purely determinant upon which media tickets I would receive for the NYC Wine & Food Festival. "That's fine," Mom said, "we'll get passes the next time I'm in town."
I never purposely go down to the World Trade Center site. It's too much. Just as it's a sensitive place for everyone else, I did my internship there in the summer of 2001, and returned to college in Texas just weeks before 9/11.
Since Mom had not been to the site since 2005, she wanted to see the progression of the Freedom Tower.
Afterward, we walked over to Battery Park City and grabbed lunch at PJ Clarkes on the Hudson.
Since she had never eaten Lebanese, I made dinner reservations for Mom and me at ilili, one of my favorite restaurants. After all, I wanted something special for her last night in town.
Mom and I shared the following mezze (small plates):
There were additional dishes but, since I took all of the photos with my iPhone, many of them did not turn out very well. Especially given the dimly-lit dining room.
So, you ask, did Mom enjoy herself? Yes! I was so thrilled and overjoyed to watch as her face lit up upon meeting and spending time with Lucy - tasting new cuisines - attending a major food event - window shopping - and not being struck by too crappy of weather. Believe it or not, Mom's already talking about her next visit!
All in all, it was a very successful, delicious, and action-packed weekend.
Until we eat again,
The Lunch Belle