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Trip Report yk's leisurely NYC trip - March 2012

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Last week I spent 4 days/5 nights in NYC (DH joined me for just the weekend). I didn't do much except ate a lot and went to the Met Opera 3 times. Here's a brief recap.

DH & I took a Friday evening Amtrak train from Boston to NYC. We were able to get discount tickets for $49pp one-way. It arrived at Penn Station right on time at 10:50pm We then headed to our friends' apartment in midtown East.

Saturday - we had a leisurely morning in, while both my friends went to work. At 11am, we set off for Lincoln Center area and ate lunch at my favorite - Nanoosh. We shared a tabouleh salad and a chicken hummus plate. The tabouleh was good but I prefer the quinoa salad that I usually order. http://www.nanoosh.com/

After lunch, we spent the next few hours at the Metropolitan Opera for the afternoon matinee performance of Macbeth, starring Thomas Hampson and Nadja Michael. (more details about the opera performances can be found on the Opera Chat thread in the lounge.)

We headed home to rest and change, then ventured out to Astoria, Queens! DH's friend has recently opened a Greek restaurant there. The food was fantastic! I didn't realize Astoria is home to the Greek population in NYC area; the food is more authentic than any I've had. I also did not know Astoria is just a short hop on the subway from Manhattan. It took us 35 minutes to get there door-to-door, which is about the same amount of time for me to get to Lincoln Center!

The husband of the couple we stayed with unfortunately had to work this Sunday, so he couldn't join us and his wife for brunch. She picked Friend of A Farmer in Irving Place. There was a line on this cold & clammy day at 10:30am; we waited about 30 minutes for our table. The cafe is quite cramped but my French toast was really good - the bread was light and fluffy. DH also gave thumbs up to his blueberry buttermilk pancakes. We shared a side of sausages and that was delicious. My friend said her smoked salmon scramble was average. Coffee was served in French Press pots and of excellent quality.

BTW, I didn't realize Irving Place is named after Washington Irving?! I saw a plaque commemorating his residence there. http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/pp146/y2000k/2012/IMG_7201.jpg

After consuming all that food, we walked South to SoHo and window-shopped for a while, before heading back home. After DH finished packing, I walked with him to Penn Station area where he took the BoltBus home. On my way back, I swung by Magnolia Bakery in Grand Central to pick up their to-die-for banana pudding and half a dozen of cupcakes for dessert. My friend cooked a superb chicken curry for dinner that night (with special curry sauce brought all the way from Macau by her mom)! The banana pudding was out of this world, however, the cupcakes were disappointing (I'm not into the cupcake fad, but bought them for the 1st time because of some good reviews I've read.)

Another lazy day for me. I ran some errands in the morning, then met up with my friends for lunch at Don's Bogum in Manhattan's Korea town. They offer a weekday lunch menu which consists of a meat dish, a bowl of rice, plus a soup stew, not to mention the banchan. Of the 3 we picked (beef short ribs, pork belly, beef meatballs), the beef short ribs tasted the best. There was an enormous amount of food but somehow, we managed to polish it all off!

With my friends heading back to work, I went home for a nap. That evening, I skipped dinner and ate snacks instead during the two long intermissions of Manon, starring Anna Netrebko & Piotr Beczala, at the Met. As it was the opening night gala, I spotted Barbara Walters and Dmitri Hvorotovsky among the gala attendees dining on the Grand Tier restaurant.

I headed to the Metropolitan Museum just before noon. I was hungry upon arrival so I ate at its self-service cafeteria in the basement. Did they renovate the space in recent years? It has a much nicer ambiance than I recall. The food is most certainly over-priced but at least the cream of spinach soup I got tasted pretty good.

After lunch, I first saw the small Rembrandt and Degas exhibition in the Lehman Wing. This show came from the Clark in Williamstown, and I'm glad that I didn't bother to head out there for it! As I said, the show is tiny, and honestly, I don't really see much correlation between the two. One unexpected surprise was a Rembrandt self-portrait on loan from Rijksmuseum. I actually bought its poster back in the early 1990s when I visited Amsterdam, and it's been hanging on the bathroom wall since our recent move. I didn't realize it has traveled to the US... when DH came back from Amsterdam earlier this month, he said he didn't see the painting at the Rijksmuseum and I blamed him for overlooking it!

Next, I went to see The Steins Collect show. I liked it a lot; especially when seeing the paintings with the context of the family's saga in Europe. However, it is a huge show and just keeps on going... I got tired towards the end; fortunately, most of the famous paintings are hung in the earlier galleries. Apparently, the paintings on view in NYC are quite different from the SF MOMA show last year.

I was thoroughly exhausted after this so I headed home for a much-needed nap, before returning to Lincoln Center to meet some fellow opera fans for dinner at Arpeggio right inside Avery Fisher Hall. Food is certainly not cheap there due to its prime location; but at least the food was well-executed. Not wanting to get too full, I opted for 2 appetizers: a beet, arugula, and goat cheese salad, followed by a app portion of Funghi risotto. http://www.arpeggiofoodandwine.com/home/default.asp

The highlight of the evening was most certainly seeing L'Elisir d'Amore, starring Juan Diego Flórez, Diana Damrua, and Mariusz Kwiecien. Our group of fans were able to meet at Flórez at backstage after the performance.

I went home by Megabus on Thursday.

One thing I regretted was not getting to MOMA to see the Cindy Sherman show. I most certainly could have fitted that in on Monday. Oh well; I think I'll be NYC again in May or early June, so I should be able to catch it before it closes on June 11.

Thanks for reading!

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