Enchanted Manhattan

manhattan skyline

I'm back, and I don't know where to begin.  Maybe with the fact that is was 70 degrees in NYC every day we were there.  Or maybe with this photo of dearest Bethany, jet-lagged and beautiful, standing in front of the fountain in Madison Square.

bethany in madison square

Our three days seemed liked twice that many.  We took the Staten Island Ferry, had a long walk through Central Park, visited Jordan at her charmed Brooklyn apartment, took a million subway rides, spent hours at the Natural History Museum.

I'll get to the food in a minute, but I have a confession to make first.  I didn't think I'd be crazy about Broadway shows (i.e. Why don't tourists just spend their money on food?), but I'm converted.  Big time.  Bethany's sister Kaitlyn is an assistant wardrobe supervisor for Dreamgirls, which just opened at the Apollo.  I wasn't that hot on the movie, so wasn't prepared for what I saw. Countless costume changes, a stunning set, emotion and passion to boot. And then getting to pick Kaitlyn's brain afterward about life on Broadway.  Who knew that it took so many wig supervisors to put on a show?  I'm still in awe over the whole thing, and Kaitlyn was the consummate host.  She slept on the floor and gave us her bed, and she was the one working 18 hours a day. Thank you, Kaitlyn.  I am heading up your fan club now.

central parkwalking with jordan in brooklyn

So much amazing food...a few highlights:

  • Dinner and a bottle of sake with Jordan and Bethany at Momofuku Ssam Bar.  Though we had so much to say to one another, we hardly looked up as the plates came--pickled shitakes and turnips, pork belly steamed buns, apple kimchee with horseradish cream, chewy rice cakes with spicy sausage, fried brussel sprouts with fish sauce.  And the most surprisingly incredible pie for dessert--concord grape sorbet on a ritz cracker crust, all atop a salty peanut butter nougat.  PB& J pie, in other words.  Only David Chang could get away with that.
  • The olive bar and cheese counter at Zabars.
  • Sitting on sunny church steps with too-hot-to-hold bagels from H & H, split open and filled with lox.
  • Soft-boiled eggs at Balthazar.
  • "Cereal milk" soft serve and banana hazelnut cake at Momofuku's Milk Bar.
  • Cloudy pork ramen and fried shoshito peppers at Ippudo.
  • Dinner with my Aunt Rose at The Modern--a cilantro martini and beignets with mango marmalade, maple ice cream, and caramel sauce for dessert.
  • And the highlight of the trip for me, dinner with Kaitlyn and Bethany last night at Casa Mono, Mario Batali's tiny tapas restaurant near Union Square.  Description will be hard.  Pumpkin and goat cheese fritters, served piping hot with fried sage.  Mussels with chorizo, crispy caramelized lamb chops with harissa and eggplant, fried cuttlefish.  And the most perfect créme brulee I've ever had, served with little doughnuts fried around fresh bay leaves.  Every minute of our cozy dinner there felt quintessentially New York.

clothesline in brooklyn

Bethany and I sat in the middle of Times Square last night, wondering at the city that never sleeps and comparing it to our staid little lives at home.  I'm already scheming about a return trip ,but here's what I know for sure (do I sound like Oprah?)--all the lights, action, and perfect meals in the world don't hold a candle to this little life that I love, home with my family in Seattle's rain.  They're my people, and I loved Manhattan all the more because I was coming home to them.

Thanks for these perfect days, Bethany.  When we're trying to get a word in edgewise to one another in the next year, between doling out graham crackers and changing diapers, I'll pull up this post and take a little sip. I love to enjoy the world with you.