I tried to make this Report short as not to bore the daylights out of you. Just some thoughts and generalities..
Flights to and from (LAX/Newark)on AA were fine, mostly uneventful, the way all of us want them. We were over an hour late leaving Newark but I should have booked an earlier departure since afternoon flights tend to back up.
We used Dial-7 for our airport transfers and I would highly recommend this service. It must be pretty compatible with a taxi, but the price is fixed ahead of time so one does not need to watch the meter. One lands, picks up luggage and calls the tool-free number. A Lincoln sedan shows up within five minutes and off one goes. It was about $60 each way. A deal!
The Michelangelo hotel was very nice. Great hotel in a fabulous location (51st and 7th), with a lovely lobby, nice rooms, pretty good service, great bar and bartenders. One thing that ticked me off about it is that the rooms they show on their website are all mini suites, so it was disappointing to be led into a room with a window looking onto a brick wall. I asked for a better view and we got a room with a window out on 50th Street. Much better but still not like the website. The room was of a good size, nicely decorated with lovely cherry furniture and a pretty modern marble bathroom.
The very nice assistant manager told me that they had better rooms yet, which we could have for more money but I figured that it was not worth it, which I was right. Who stayed in the room? However, the Tripadvisor is full of gushers who say that they were graciously upgraded.. Not us and I was nice! Still, it was a beautiful hotel and I did score some Spring special of $295/weekend and $395/weekday, which I was told was dirt-cheap for the location. Another deal then!
The Michelangelo serves coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc., croissants and delicious biscotti every morning from 7:00 until 10:00 and a bit later on a weekend. The thing is, one better be there early, since once the croissants are gone, they are gone. Not refillable. In their defense, some people were taking three-four-a plateful of croissants at a time, and one would wonder whether this was a function of the domestic air carriers doing away with meal service... But I digress here..
Bartender Bernie made the meanest Side Cars! Lordy were these good!! Bernie is a real pro and we had great fun hanging out with him before--and sometimes after--dinner.
Curtains was an absolutely fabulous play!! A definite highlight of our trip. Great talent, terrific musical numbers, and just hysterically funny. I am sorry that we did not go to more plays, but at least I will know what to do next time we go. Husband is ready to go back, even though he was all worried about NY being too much for him.
We enjoyed a pretty good weather, except for last Monday when it poured half a day and we got pretty wet on our planned boat ride to see the Statute of Liberty.
Museums.. We went to the Met, MOMA, Frick Collection, and the Guggenheim, which I did not enjoy at all. There was way too weird of an exhibit and I generally do not do well with political issues..
They had about 50 stuffed tigers with at least 50 arrows stabbed into each one, into eyes, noses, ears, hearts, in different poses and planes of suspension, and all of them tigers looking like they were in pure agony.. And then one of the guides there tells me that it is actually a good thing that there were that many arrows stabbed into each stuffed tiger, since one should get it right away that it is not real, that no tiger would still be roaring after all those stab wounds. HA?!?!?!? What is so good about seeing that many tigers in such agony, whether real or imaginary? What is the great allegory all about here??
I loved the Met and, of course, this is a huge place that would call for many more additional visits, but we joined a free tour and took the time on our own and generally enjoyed our visit very much. Husband particularly loved the section with Egyptian mummies (he was born in Cairo). I just loved it all.
The food tour of the Greenwich Village was a total hoot! http://www.foodsofny.com/greenwichvillage.php There was plenty of food to the point that I had to stop tasting. We had a few varieties of local pizza; salami, cheese, and olives from some famous Italian Deli; variety of olive oils and fancy vinegars to taste on breads; Thai dumplings; cheese canolli; chocolate cheap cookies, and I am probably forgetting a bunch of stuff. Anyway, the guide Bari took us around to show different architectural styles, structures on a preservation list, different restaurants, bars, etc. And the three hours just flew by..
We made our one-single NY purchase in the Village. We bought a jar of chestnut honey so that we could reproduce this amazing arugula salad with pecorino cheese and chestnut honey that we had in Venice last Fall.. or maybe we are kidding ourselves since where are we going to get the amazing pecorino we had in Venice?
So, museums, the Village, Statute of Liberty, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Fifth and Madison Avenues, Empire State Building, Chinatown and Little Italy, and a walk past Ground Zero just to absorb the energy, feel the pain of these poor souls and their families and children and parents...broke our hearts all over again.
We did all the tourist stuff. Of course, we took a few stabs at a Central Park, once crossing it from East to West, and another time from South to North, following someone's advice as to the most scenic route. Tulips of all colors were blooming all over NY, everywhere. It was lovely.
Food! We followed the reported suggestions of Fodorites here and did pretty good:
We loved Rue 57 for breakfast. http://www.rue57.com/#Home My eggs, lox and onions scramble was full of lox and Husband's banana pancakes were awesome. Very French and very wonderful. The rest of the time we stuck with The Michelangelo's breakfast, stalking the croissants, and it worked out fine and allowed us to have lunch.
Before our fight home, we ate at Carnegie Deli which was o.k. Nothing incredible and pretty tourist trappy. But, because those sandwiches were such monsters, we saved our second halves and brought them on the flight home. And it was hands down better than whatever AA was selling in flight.
Zabar's on 80th and Broadway was fabulous! Best pastrami sandwich for Husband, tongue sandwich for me (to be closely followed by a cholesterol pill), ice coffee, new pickles! Heaven! http://www.zabars.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Zabars-Site/default/Default-Start?gclid=CPfD25HMk5MCFQp2gwodNTFd2g Not to be missed under any circumstances and to be sought out again and again...
Our first night in NY, we headed to Trattoria Del Arte. http://www.trattoriadellarte.com/ Note the very interesting decor (we were seated in the "lip" room, but there are also nose, ears, etc. rooms) and the place was packed to the gills. The food was very tasty but really expensive ($47 for a veal chop) and it was just a casual place. In addition to the veal chop, we also enjoyed an appetizer of grilled vegetables (asparagus and that anisette bulb, the name of which escapes me right now $16) and rigatonni with eggplant ($25), all delish, not plentiful, but costly. So, we gave up on dessert at the Trattoria and, instead, headed for some Drambui with Bernie at The Michelangelo. A much better deal at only $10!
Next night we dined at Cafe Des Artistes http://www.cafenyc.com/cafedesartistes/html/index2.htm . A beautiful restaurant with gorgeous murals on the walls and ceilings, pretty tasty food, high prices, very NY. My lamb chops were very-very good. A sort of middle aged and obviously not married, at least not to each other, couple were making out across the room, which provided for a great entertainment..
I think that Vice Versa is more hype than good http://www.viceversarestaurant.com/index2.htm, but maybe we ordered the wrong stuff, maybe it was an off night, etc., I am not sure. They totally screwed up/overcooked my scallops (lentil ragu the scallops rested on was very good) and Husband's veal, which I expected to be pounded into cutlets, were two large cubes, breaded and fried. In their defense, the veal was tender but it was an odd looking dish.
The consierge from The Michelangelo, knowing where we were dining, "sent" us a pana cotta with cherry sauce for dessert. Let us just say that it would have been a better deal if we paid for the pana cotta ourselves, but James the consierge was happy. The restaurant itself is beautiful, romantic, and the service is pretty good too but, like I sad, it was not all there ..
A definite winner was Roberto Passon http://www.robertopasson.com/media/robertopasson.html. Very good food, terrific prices (most dinners under $20), appetizers large enough to share ($10-$14 range). An appetizer of white asparagus with proscutto and poached egg on top, veal scaloppini w/lemon and capers and greens, whole grilled branzino, and veal osso bucco with a marrow bone (!) were all exceptional. We ate there twice. I understand that they also do Sunday Brunch. The restaurant itself is a very modern looking trattoria/osteria. No white tablecloths - no high prices either.
We had a dessert and tea at Chez Josephine, an interesting place with a piano bar and with nudes of Josephine, pink ruffles, mirrors, etc. all over the place. http://www.chezjosephine.com/ There were people having dinner there and they all looked pleased, so I can only imagine that it is a good restaurant. A bunch of people piled in after a show let out and the atmosphere was very nice.
After five days of hard-core touring, I was ready to come home to our provincial California. Like I said before, Husband is ready to go back to NY.
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