A New York Thanksgiving….
November 30, 2010

Doughboy, doughboy, doughboy, doughboy.....

I must first apologize for no blogs last week…it’s just that my kitchen was gutted on Wednesday…what a word, gutted…but it perfectly captures the scene. I was attempting to get things at home ready for the carnage, though as it turns out, I didn’t do such a good job…and trying to go to New York for Thanksgiving and working. Just…too much. You know?

Spidey from my vantage point...

My son and lovely Jennifer declared this Thanksgiving a travel free(for them) holiday, but any and all were welcome to come to NYC to celebrate. So via Megabus, we made the trek and created our own little Miracle on 34th Street, starting with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade….something my husband has ALWAYS wanted to see in person.

Argh, hurry...there goes Kermit!

Two of us(my daughter had a sleep-in) got a cab to deposit us on the East side of Central Park and then followed the crowd to the west side…where the parade was just kicking off by the time we arrived. Wait, Kermit…don’t go! But the balloons just came and came and came….and we didn’t have a problem finding a good place along the route….not where the bands performed but we got to see the cantankerous but talented  Kanye West and the much maligned Jessica Simpson on their respective floats as they rolled by. Great fun…

Cheese and chive biscuits anyone?

And of course we had some fabulous food….New York is chock-a-block( is that you spell that?)with wonderful little eateries and bakeries and cheese shops. And we stayed in a VRBO apartment-click here in Grammercy, about 15 minute walk from the west village. It was small for 3 people(which we knew) but just fine as we didn’t spend tons of time there…comfy mattress, tiny well equipped kitchenette(though we always had breakfast at the Moonstruck diner down the block). The apartment was clean, and adequate for us(and $200 a night).  Funny story…the first night we were there(exhausted)…the windows of this first floor apartment(with bars so no worries) were open because the heat was POURING in and you couldn’t stop it. Three guys decide to stop right outside our window about 3:30 am and argue in Spanish for about 20 minutes…and then they light up a couple of joints. So we can’t sleep, and the smoke is floating in and no one wants to say anything because hey, we don’t know these guys aren’t packing heat, but we do know they’re high. Just before we think about calling the cops, they leave. Best Thanksgiving Ever!! More of my special kitchen hell tomorrow. Did I mention we are covered in dust?

Tales out of school…from the kitchen….
March 5, 2009

My sweet daughter gets home Friday for spring break…..”my last spring break “, she says mournfully….she graduates this year, so it is indeed,  the “last” spring break. And there are no great trips this year…in the past couple of years we have traveled en famille to Charleston, which I’ve written about here before….. Let me just say….I love that week, that we are all together in that lovely city. Love it. Great food, lots of fun…but let’s be honest, it is also a lot of money. Even if you’re cooking a lot, and we do, we eat out a couple of dinners, and with the house rental, food, blah, blah, travel…..it’s just a lot, you know?

So this year Cada and I are gonna Megabus it up to New York for two nights….we found a pretty inexpensive place to stay on a website I’ve never seen before…Antique Cafe B & B….rents apartments in the Chelsea/Greenwich Village/Sohoarea. And they’re renting them for quite a bit  less than the prices on the website. But for the same money as a hotel room, you get a one bedroom apartment…cute…wifi, flat screen tv, tiny kitchenette(NY style) with a separate living room. Looks nice, so I’ll let you know how it goes. It might be a real find, to have a little more room than a small hotel room. Especially with a daughter who likes to stay up LATE.

 Another time, and this one much more memorable, I asked her to put a roast in the frig, in the oven, for dinner that night. “Put it in about 4:00, and at 350 degrees, ok? Just salt and pepper it a little…. thanks sweetie “, says me.  She calls me about 4:30…”Mom, the roast is really smoking in the oven..” I assured her that sometimes meat did that when it is roasting, but she said “No I mean REALLY a lot of smoke is coming from the oven!” I asked her could she tell what the source of the smoke was…and she replied…”It’s coming from the stuff dripping onto the bottom of the oven!!”  That’s correct….she had not put the roast ON A PAN!  My girl. But as she pointed out, “You didn’t say to put it on a pan…you just said put it in the oven!”……..and that’s exactly what she did.

The perfect roasted chicken....a thing of glory...

The perfect roasted chicken....a thing of glory...

Otherwise, I’ll probably have my girl do some shopping and cooking for me next week…but I’ve learned to be quite specific with my instructions, after a few culinary mishaps. Once, I sent her to the store to get a small, whole chicken(a perfectly roasted chicken is one of the best things in the world). “Not one of the huge oven-stuffer chicken…the smallest chicken you can find.” She returned with….a turkey breast. She had mistaken it for…. a small chicken. My baby girl.

Back from New York….it’s quiet there…
September 17, 2008

All packed for New York...what did I forget?

All packed for New York...what did I forget?

Spent a long weekend in New York…sounds decadent but it was a definite budget trip. Here’s how I roll…when my son is who lives in the West Village is out of town, and he was, we go to NY and stay in his apartment. Free lodging…kind of….we are expected to leave gifts in return. And for the first time ever, I took Megabus! Their buses leave hourly for NY from the White Marsh Park and Ride…and if you book relatively far ahead(a few weeks) you can get away with maybe, a 20 buck round trip. Not too bad. Here’s what I learned about Megabus, for those of you who may consider a trip.

Waiting on line for Megabus..bring something to read.

Waiting on line for Megabus..bring something to read.


Get there early. If you have a 9:30 am bus arrive by 9. Why? Because something I didn’t know is that there may not always be room for you and it’s first come first served. I truly assumed when you booked, you had a seat. Not so, at least not on this bus….some folks booked on the 8:25 (and the bus was a half hour late), didn’t get on until the 9:25 came in. That was a little unsettling.

#2.They do have wifi, but there’s no plug-in. So you better have a good battery for your computer.

#3. They do have bathrooms, but it’s like a port-o-potty…just blue stuff in the bottom…no flush. That wasn’t too bad, but there’s also no sink to wash your hands, though they did have a limited supply of antiseptic wipes. Oh, and I had to ask the driver for toilet paper before we left as there was none. He did have a supply.

#4.Other than that, the ride was fine…we made good time…in NY by noonish. Dropped us off at Penn Station on 8th Avenue, and that was that. And compared to the stress of driving and the expense of Amtrak, it’s a hassle free bargain.

No, I didn’t see shows or sightsee or shop…just hung out in the village. Walked around, found a few really good and pretty inexpensive restaurants….you know, kind of like I live there. Only I don’t. Recommendations for eats?  

Gottino in West Village

Gottino in West Village

Gottino…new wine bar on Greenwich Ave….very chic, small plates, great cheese, glasses of wine-good! Perilla  on Jones Street for brunch…again minimalist, good food(fabulous grilled-or as they called it “griddled” cheese). And it’s Perilla soundingthe l’s ….it’s actually an herb…which I have never heard of!  And my favorite find, on Charles Ave just off Greenwich Ave…El Charro Espanol..small, intimate Spanish place with wonderful Sangria and Paella…and I’m pretty tough to please when it comes to that famous saffron, rice and seafood dish. Oh, and the place is a bargain. Jack’s Coffee in the morning…very earthy but oh so fashionable and javalicious.  On the weekdays, you might see a movie star there, but they disappear on the weekends. Lots of beautiful skinny girls in summer dresses and fall boots…that was all the rage this weekend. But man, those boots looked hot, and I mean sweaty hot, when the temps got close to 90!

But it was also a quiet sober weekend in the Big Apple…that’s where the economic debacle is hitting the hardest, at least for the moment. Lots of people worried about their jobs, their firms, how the whole mess may impact them. Of course, many people are feeling that same uncertainty right now. It’s not a good feeling. Not at all.