Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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Antarctica, South Georgia, Falkland Islands: Part 5 – Packing

March 28, 2012

I spent a lot of time thinking (and worrying) about what to pack for this trip. Our tour company gave us a list, but I found more helpful lists online. Most of the lists I found online had similar items on them, so instead of a detailed list, I’ll mention some specific things.

My Top Tips

This packing and tips list is great. We didn’t travel with that company, and I don’t know anything about them, but I got some good information from their list. My favorite tip from that list was to bring handkerchiefs. My nose runs a lot in cold weather, and I tissues can get away from me when I’m wearing mittens. I brought a bunch of men’s handkerchiefs and found that they were easy to handle with mittens, nice and large, and soft on my nose. They were also handy for drying off my glasses and camera. I washed them out in the sink at night and dried them on the clothesline in our bathroom.

One tip I saw on a lot of sites is that it’s not as cold as you think, but it’s windier. This proved to be true, and I’ll add that it was also wetter than I expected. I was prepared for wind, but not prepared for being pelted by cold rain in the Falklands and South Georgia. Not exactly pleasant, but I knew this wasn’t a tropical vacation! Waterproof everything (coat, boots, pants, mittens) is a must, and the waterproof gear helped a lot with the wind.

Along with waterproof mittens, I bought some stretchy gloves that I could wear under the mittens or on their own. They kept my hands covered and allowed me to operate my camera.

Sunblock for your face and lips is essential. We forgot to reapply sunblock one afternoon and quickly burned. Someone on our trip had a miserable-looking case of sunburned lips. In Antarctica, the ice and snow and water reflect the sun and can toast your skin quickly.

This isn’t exactly a glamour trip, but some beauty products are in order, such as moisturizer! It’s dry outside and on the ship. I brought a big tube of some really nice body lotion (Bliss Body Butter) and my super-duper winter face moisturizer. Hydrate from the inside too – I brought a water bottle. They did provide moisturizer and water bottles on the ship, but I like to have my own stuff.

Space Bags. As Seen on TV! These were an impulse buy, but I liked them because they compacted my clothes and they helped me to organize my items. I will definitely use them again on future trips.

You can’t go on a trip this long without dealing with laundry. I washed some clothes by hand, both in the (tiny) sink and by putting clothes, detergent, and water in a gigantic zipper bag and swishing it around to wash it. That’s my least-favorite thing to do, but it’s worth it because laundry costs can add up quickly. We did send pants and pullover tops to the ship’s laundry.

I think it goes without saying that you should be prepared for motion sickness. I brought prescription scopolamine patches, meclizine (aka Bonine), anti-nausea tablets, and ginger candy. Everyone is different, and of course, you should talk to your doctor. I am very sensitive to motion and spent a lot of time hoping I’d be OK and wouldn’t regret the trip.  I also tried out the scopolamine patch ahead of time and knew that it had some side effects and that I didn’t want to wear the patch constantly if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.

Some days, the patch was necessary! Other days, I was fine with meclizine. On the rough days, we saw a lot of trays of tea and broth being delivered to cabins. I’m happy to report that I did not miss a meal! When there was a lot of motion, I spent most of my time sitting in our cabin reading, but I was fine with that and happy not to be ill.

You’ll need some entertainment for the airplane and for days at sea. I stocked up my iPad with a lot of books and a few movies, and we brought more movies on a laptop. On the days with rough seas, I was really happy to have a variety of books to read to pass the time. And there was some time to pass – a couple of days, we were woken up at 4am, feeling like we were going to roll out of bed. There was no way I was getting back to sleep, so out came the iPad. They did offer a lot of lectures on our ship, and we attended many of them, but there weren’t live shows or gambling or limbo contests like you would find on a large cruise ship. You do need to be able to entertain yourself.

What I Wish I’d Brought

I didn’t bring a face mask, but that would have been nice to have to protect my face from the wind.

You will need waterproof boots. Some ships provide them, but ours didn’t, so we needed to buy them ahead of time and bring them along. We got some basic knee-high waterproof boots at a local farm supply store. They worked great and were comfortable to walk in, but if I did this again, I’d get insulated “arctic” boots. My feet were cold, even with foot warmers.

What I Brought But Didn’t Need (or didn’t need so much of)

I brought workout clothes to use in the ship’s fitness room. We had about 6 days at sea, and I planned to exercise on those days. Well, those days at sea ranged from sort of rough to really rough, and after stopping in to visit the fitness room, I realized that I was doing good if I could just walk around the ship – there was no way I was going to be able to walk on a treadmill or ride an exercise bike without falling off and/or getting sick from the motion.

I brought too many instant hand and foot warmers, and too much long underwear, but since there’s no way to know how cold it will be or how cold you’ll feel, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I always overpack snacks when I travel. I had quite a stash of granola bars, salted nuts, cocoa almonds, hard candy, and gum. Again, better safe than sorry!

That wraps up my posts on this trip. You can find all of them in my Antarctica category.

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Antarctica, South Georgia, Falkland Islands: Part 4 – Side Trip to Iguazu Falls

March 25, 2012

When you’re going on a 3 week trip, what’s a couple of extra days? That was my reasoning when I decided to add a side trip to our trip to Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands. I love waterfalls, and when I found out we’d be in Buenos Aires for this trip, I looked into what it would take to visit Iguazu Falls. To get there we flew from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls, which was a 1.5 hour flight. That was on top of a long overnight flight and then a ride across the city to transfer from the international airport to the domestic airport. We crashed at our hotel that day, but the next day we saw this!

Iguazu Falls is on the border of Argentina and Brazil, and both countries have access to the falls. There is much debate over which side is best, and a lot of people insist that it must be seen from both sides. We decided to just visit the Argentinian side, and while I don’t know what we missed by skipping Brazil, what we did see was spectacular.  If you want to learn more about Iguazu Falls, check out World of Waterfalls, which is a great site with tons of information and ideas for your waterfall bucket list.

I can’t say enough good things about Iguazu National Park. The trails were well-marked, it was clean, and there were a lot of bathrooms! The employees were friendly and helpful. Though I think it’s a good thing we didn’t have any complaints.

Iguazu is actually a series of falls almost two miles long. Walkways throughout the park take you to various viewpoints, some up high and some at water level. We took a boat ride that took us right up to the falls, giving us an up-close and very wet experience. They gave us a dry bag for our cameras and other belongings, and my husband had the fabulous idea to put our shoes in the dry bag too. I was soggy after the ride, but so happy to be wearing dry shoes and socks.

The beautiful butterflies in the park loved me and landed on my shirt throughout the day. I thought it was the color of my shirt, or perhaps that I was a butterfly whisperer, but eventually I had to face the fact that I spilled jelly on my shirt at breakfast and apparently hadn’t washed it out as well as I thought! Well, now I know that butterflies like jelly and that I have no hidden butterfly-attracting talent.

The park was very serious about not feeding the animals. This sign sends a clear message not to feed the Coatis.

We did see a few Coatis, but didn’t get a good photo. We also saw this cool bird!

And this pretty flower.

We spent two days at the park, which was more than enough, but we were glad to have plenty of time to explore and to walk on the nature trails in addition to seeing the falls. When we flew back to Buenos Aires, we literally had a couple of hours to walk around the city before meeting up with our tour group to start the next part of our trip. So what did we do with our limited time in Buenos Aires? We ate gelato, of course! A while before our trip, I saw an article in National Geographic Traveler magazine that mentioned a couple of gelato places in Buenos Aires. I mapped their locations and found that one of them, Arkakao was a five-minute walk from our hotel. It was meant to be! The staff was so friendly and willing to translate the flavors, but I didn’t need too much help with that. Ice cream is the international language and I speak it fluently.

Mine is on the left: dark chocolate and coconut. My husband had raspberry and caramel. It was a sweet end to the side-trip part of our trip before heading off to another continent.

Next, I’ll wrap up this trip with some packing tips.

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Antarctica, South Georgia, Falkland Islands: Part 3 – Falkland Islands

March 11, 2012

On November 10, 2011, it was with great excitement that I wrote in my travel journal “First penguin!” The Falkland Islands were the first stop on our trip, followed by South Georgia and then Antarctica, and on our first day there, on Carcass Island, we were welcomed by penguins. In the Falklands we saw two kinds of penguins that I haven’t covered in my other posts about the trip.

First up: Magellanic penguins, which we saw on Carcass Island.

I won’t leave you hanging. The other type of penguin that we saw was the Rockhopper, which were on West Point Island. I probably shouldn’t pick favorites, but since I know none of the penguins are reading this, I’ll admit that I think the Rockhoppers were the cutest. The crazy hair won me over!

Also on Carcass Island, we saw the Upland Goose.

And this guy. I made a note that it’s a rare raptor, but I don’t know the name of it. Bird watchers, you have my respect – I just can’t keep up with all the birds.

Here’s an albatross in flight. The wingspan of an albatross is about 10 feet. Big wingspan, big droppings – I’ll spare you the photo of what happened to me, but let’s just say that I’m grateful I had my hood up!

It was a nice day, yet not quite as tropical as this photo makes it look. It was pretty windy most of the time.

In Stanley, the capital, we took a bus tour of the city and spent some time walking around town on our own. There were lots of gift shops, so I bought a few things and sent some postcards.We visited the Falkland Islands museum, where I looked longingly at this trunk. Oh, for the days when there were no checked bag fees!

Our tour guide passed around this landmine, a reminder of the war between the UK and Argentina.This one was inactive, thankfully.

Here’s the whalebone arch. These are jaw bones from two Blue whales. We did see some whales on the trip, but nothing nearly that large.

Whales or not, the penguins were still the star of the show for me.

I’ve covered all of the ports of call on our trip, but there’s more to come!

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Antarctica, South Georgia, Falkland Islands: Part 2 – South Georgia

February 25, 2012

Before planning our trip to Antarctica, I don’t think I’d heard of South Georgia. It comes up often in stories of Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer, but if I learned about him in school, it was long forgotten. Now that I’ve been there, I can say that it was worth the trip. And it was quite a trip: from the tip of South America, it took a day to sail to the Falkland Islands. From there, it took two days to sail to South Georgia. We were out there.

When I wrote about Antarctica, I included photos of Adelie, Gentoo, and Chinstrap penguins. In South Georgia, we saw King Penguins:

Lots and lots of King penguins. This photo is from Salisbury Plain, which was our first stop in South Georgia. I came to see penguins, and I was not disappointed! The brown fuzzy ones are called Oakum Boys, but I call them the teenagers. They’re pretty big but not yet full-grown and don’t have their adult feathers yet.

We also saw Macaroni penguins in Hercules Bay.

I’m not a birdwatcher, but it’s always interesting to see different types of birds in other parts of the world. Here’s a baby Albatross sitting in a nest on Prion Island. Albatrosses are huge, so even the baby is pretty big.

We also saw the elusive South Georgia Pipit. I don’t have a photo of it, but the bird expert on our ship was really excited about this bird. It’s South Georgia’s only songbird and is threatened by rats. Rats were introduced to South Georgia by ships, and now there are measures to prevent further infestation (which is great, because I hope there were no rats on our ship!). We didn’t see any rats in South Georgia, but we did see some Reindeer. Reindeer were introduced by humans and are not native to South Georgia. They also don’t quite look like Santa’s Reindeer.

We also saw lots of super-cute baby Elephant seals (note that the babies were about 400 pounds).

And full-grown Elephant seals. They were fine as long as you stayed out of their way.

Plus a lot of Fur seals, which look regal, but stay out of their way or they will come after you! There weren’t any injuries in our group, but they showed us photos of a mangled hand as a warning not to get too close to the Fur seals.

We also visited Stromness and Grytviken, both of which are former whaling stations. In Grytviken, we visited Shackleton’s grave and toasted him with whiskey. At least I’m pretty sure it was whiskey…it was cold, windy, and rainy, and I appreciated the burst of warmth from the alcohol. But nice weather wasn’t one of the selling points of this trip. The scenery and the wildlife more than made up for the weather.

Still to come…the Falkland Islands, featuring two more kinds of penguins.

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Antarctica, South Georgia, Falkland Islands: Part 1 – Antarctica

January 26, 2012

Back in mid-December, I mentioned that my husband and I took a month-long trip to Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands in November. It would have been fun to blog along the way during the trip, but we didn’t want to advertise that our house was empty for a month, plus internet access was really expensive. In hindsight, I should have written posts along the way and then posted them when we got home. Next time I guess! For now, I thought I’d try to sum it up with some photos, starting with Antarctica.

Did you see the movie March of the Penguins? I loved watching them slide on their stomachs in the movie, and was really excited to see it in person. This is an Adelie penguin at Brown Bluff. The day we visited Brown Bluff was the only super-cold day of the trip. Before we got off the ship, we were advised to “put on everything that you own,” so I knew it was going to be bad! It was our first day in Antarctica, and I think everyone got pretty worried about the weather.

After Brown Bluff, we really lucked out with the weather. Most days were around the freezing mark, sunny, and no wind. We had a great day in Neko Harbour, which I think is one of the prettiest places we visited. It felt great to take my parka off!

Speaking of gorgeous weather, it was nice enough to go kayaking in Paradise Bay. We had to navigate through some ice, but there was no wind and the water was smooth. This was our first time in a double kayak, and after unsuccessfully trying to coordinate our paddling, I discovered the solution: let my husband do all the paddling and the steering! Heck, next time I’m not even going to bother taking a paddle; it just got in my way.

We had some rough seas between South Georgia and Antarctica. A prescription motion sickness patch got me through that…barely. Our ship’s chief engineer didn’t fare so well – he broke his hip and had to be flown to Chile on a medevac flight. The flight departed from King George Island, which is home to Chilean and Russian research stations. This Russian Orthodox church was built in Siberia, then taken apart and shipped to King George Island to be reconstructed. It’s tiny, but I don’t think they get large crowds for church in Antarctica!

A Gentoo penguin hopped up to check out a camera in Dorian Bay.

In Port Lockroy, there’s a small museum at a former British base. One of the items was a cookbook…with a recipe for Casserole of Penguin Breasts! That’s one recipe I will not be blogging.

Penguins, like this Chinstrap penguin in Dorian Bay, are no longer on the menu.

Along with all the penguins, there was a lot of ice. A ship sailing these waters needs to be able to break through some ice.

We got up close to some gorgeous scenery, including this cave-like iceberg.

These photos are just the tip of the iceberg (ha ha), but hopefully give you an idea of some of the beautiful scenery in the Antarctic peninsula. We saw seven(!) kinds of penguins on the trip – I’ll cover the other four in my South Georgia and Falkland Islands posts.

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Short trip to France

October 1, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took a short trip to France, to visit our friends to and to see the Circuit des Remparts, a vintage car race that takes place in Angoulême France each September.

The day after we arrived, we went for a nice drive in the countryside and visited Chateau de Pompadour.

The next day, we drove to Cognac to see the cars on display. There were a ton of cars, some there for the race and some for a vintage car rally. There were a lot of European cars, and some of them were really old like these Bugattis.

And then there was this one, which caused a couple of Europeans to exclaim “Blues Brothers!”

There were also pretty flowers.

We had wine for lunch every day!

The resident dog at a restaurant patiently waited for us to finish our lunch (and yes, we slipped him some leftovers).

I did not share my profiteroles with the dog (or anyone else).

We ate dinner here in our friends’ backyard. They are huge Jamie Oliver fans, and we enjoyed two of his recipes, plus one from Gordon Ramsay. As much as I like to cook, it was pretty nice to have someone cooking for me.

Race day in Angoulême. This one says This is not a car, it’s a way of life.

Here’s a really pretty one with Angoulême painted on it.

Most of the shops in town were closed on race day, but I found a pastry shop that was open, so I did some window shopping. I can’t believe I didn’t buy one of these huge meringues.

The town was packed on race day, so to make parking easier, our friends rode their motorcycle into town and we rode their Vespa scooter. There is a 0% chance that I will become a biker chick, but I survived the scooter ride.

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NYC Encore

April 30, 2011

Almost immediately upon returning from our long weekend in New York City a few weeks ago, we found out that some friends were planning a trip there and hoped that we could join them. Since they live in Europe and we don’t see them often, it made sense to pack our bags and head back to the Big Apple.

I am happy to report that I finally made it to Levain Bakery! This place is a favorite of Katrina, and is now a favorite of mine too. Can you say giant cookie?

I selected a chocolate chip walnut. I wish I’d had a scale with me (but how nerdy would that be?), because this thing had some heft. [Update: Katrina reports that the cookies are 6 ounces!] Take a look at the dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookie that my husband had, and you can see how thick it is. Crazy! And crazy-good!

These cookies are soft, but they’re not what I’d call cakey. They’re definitely a cookie, but they are a cookie like no other. How’s that for a description? We went to their Upper West Side location, which is beyond tiny. The people who work there better get along, because they are in close quarters! I also got this whole wheat raisin roll, which was outstanding. I had forgotten about it, but came across it in my bag while waiting to board our flight home. It was a welcome surprise!

Another fun stop was Shake Shack. Our friends love eating hamburgers when they’re in the U.S. We thought the burgers and shakes were great. but they were turned off by the atmosphere – we had to wait in a long line and then hover to get a table, even at 3:00 in the afternoon.

Last, but not least, we went to Nobu…sort of. One person in our group (not me) really needed to use a restroom, so we looked for the closest bar or restaurant and that was it. We had a drink at the bar and soaked up the atmosphere at the Nobu Fifty Seven location, which was very cool. The bartender and maitre d’ were pretty friendly. The drinks were expensive, but it’s not difficult to find expensive drinks in New York!

I don’t condone graffiti, but this made me smile!

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Weekend in New York City March 2011

April 2, 2011

My husband and I recently spend a fun long weekend in New York City, so here is a report on the good food we had on our trip. Links are at the end of the post. Lots of photos in the post!

Jacques Torres

We didn’t make it here last time we visited the city and I wasn’t going to miss it again, especially since there are several locations. We went to the Hudson Street location (I think that’s in SoHo, but don’t quote me), and it’s a really neat store with friendly employees. Here’s a piece of vintage chocolate-making equipment that is on display. There are also windows where you can see the behind-the-scenes happenings in the store.

The first thing I did when we walked in was look for the famous chocolate chip cookies! After sitting down to share one of these huge cookies (which is approximately 80% chocolate), we were ready to head out and do more exploring.

Here’s my bag of goodies. They had so many delicious-looking and cute creations in the shop. It’s hard to see, but in the lower-left corner of the bag there is a super-cute chocolate hen. I must have been really tired from walking around the city, because I can’t believe I didn’t buy at least three times more than I did. I had so many bakeries and candy stores on my list of places to go, but this is the only one we made it to. It was worth it though!

Dhaba

I’m so glad we went to this is an Indian restaurant! It was close to our hotel, but I would have ventured out farther for the delicious Dhaba Shrimp Curry and Chicken Tikka Masala. The complimentary Papadums and the assortment of relishes that accompanied them were delicious, as was the Naan we ordered as an appetizer. Before we went, I read on Yelp that rice is not included with your order, which I find odd, but I was happy to have the heads up. We got one order of rice and it was enough for the two of us to share. This is an iPhone photo, but you get the idea. We ate there on a Friday night, somewhere around 7pm, and got one of the last tables in this tiny restaurant.

Union Square Café

We walked in on a Saturday at 1:30pm with no reservation. It was pretty crowded, but we were immediately seated. First off, this amazing bread basket.

And don’t forget the butter, which had some kind of magical salt on top of it. And a bowl of olives!

We both had the tuna burger. I thought it was going to be a piece of tuna, but it was actually ground up like a burger. The ginger on top is pretty, but that would be a heck of a lot of ginger to eat, so I pulled most of it off and added some of the grilled onion that was served on the side. The sauce was sweet and gingery and I think the bun was brioche. The slaw on the side was creamy, crunchy, and didn’t last long on my plate! The people at the table next to us were eating an awesome-looking chocolate dessert, but we couldn’t even think about dessert after this huge lunch.

Lombardi’s Pizza

We heard about this place while we were in New York and decided to give it a try. We were there on a Sunday night around 7:30pm and it was crowded, but we were seated right away; there was a wait for a table when we left. They have a coal-fired oven, which results in a bubbly, lightly-charred crust. Our pizza with pepperoni, roasted red peppers, and kalamata olives was delicious. Really, really delicious.

I am happy to report that we did not need the  CPR kit.

I am also happy to report that Lombardi’s makes good sangria!

Lombardi’s does not offer desserts, but just down the street is Pinkberry frozen yogurt. We shared a tasty dish of mango fro yo.

Marseille

I made a dinner reservation about one week in advance because I wanted to be sure that we had somewhere locked down for a pre-theater dinner. Marseille is a short walk from the American Airlines Theatre, where we saw The Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest. We had a great dinner followed by by a thoroughly entertaining play. I had the Arugula Salad and Artichoke Ravioli. I couldn’t detect any artichokes, but the delicate ravioli was filled with creamy and smooth-tasting goat cheese that was delicious enough to make me forget about the artichokes. My husband had Spinach Salad and Grilled Salmon. I sampled both and gave them the thumbs up. We didn’t have dessert, but we did start out with a specialty martini. I guess I wolfed down the ravioli without taking a photo, but here are photos of some yummy bread, my arugula salad, and martini.

Links

Jacques Torres The website lists all of their locations; we went to Hudson Street. They post photos of their creations on their Facebook page, so if you like chocolate, you might want to Like them on Facebook.

Dhaba 108 Lexington Ave. (between 27th and 28th streets).

Marseille 630 9th Ave. I made a reservation through their website (they use Open Table). They called the day before to confirm, so be sure to give them a number you can be reached at a day in advance, or be sure to call them to confirm so you don’t lose your table.

Union Square Café 21 E 16th St.

Lombardi’s Pizza 32 Spring St (between Mott St and Mulberry St). They don’t have much of a website; check Yelp for the address and reviews. Note: no credit cards accepted, so bring cash.

Pinkberry You can search for locations and see the seasonal flavor on their website.

Yelp and Chowhound Manhattan Board and Chowhound New York City Restaurants are great for research.

Last, but not least, check out my post about last year’s trip to New York City!

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Costa Rica!

February 5, 2011

Are you enjoying winter? I’m not! It’s hard to believe that two weeks ago, my husband and I were in Costa Rica. The trip started out with some rainy weather. We stayed at a hotel near the Arenal volcano, but never saw the volcano because it was so overcast.

Lots and lots of rain means lots and lots of mud.

And wet shoes.

Our next destination was Monteverde. Just outside of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is the Hummingbird Gallery. We spent a lot of time there with hummingbirds buzzing by our heads as they went from feeder to feeder.

The birds were out, but it was still raining. Irish coffee helped me forget about my wet feet! Even the non-Irish coffee in Costa Rica is good – I didn’t have a bad cup the whole time we were there. They grow it, so they should know how to brew it!

We ducked out of the rain and visited a sloth sanctuary.

Sloths are so cute. How about another photo?

Despite the rain, we did see some animals, birds, and flowers.

Everyone has been asking me and the answer is no, we did not zipline. We did go on a hanging bridges walk through the jungle (in the rain).

Next, we flew to the Osa peninsula.

After the flight and a short van ride, there was an almost two-hour boat ride to our destination.

And then there was sun! And flowers!

And thorns. Now you know why they warned us not to grab any plants while we were hiking.

We stayed in this bungalow. Cute!

This is one of our lunches. The fresh juices were not to be believed! I’m not usually a big juice drinker, but I couldn’t stop drinking it. Sour guava, which wasn’t sour, was my favorite. Good thing we went on an all-day hike through Corcovado National Park to burn some calories.

I’ll leave you with a lovely beach scene and thoughts of spring.

Credit for many of the photos (the nice ones in particular) goes to my husband.

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Long weekend in New York City

May 14, 2010

Last weekend, my husband and I went to New York City to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. I knew we wouldn’t be able to eat everywhere and everything that I wanted, but we did make a good dent in my list. Lots of photos for you today! Links are at the end of the post.

Magnolia Bakery

I’ve heard a lot about this place, and saw it on the Sex & the City, but I’ll admit I wondered if it was all hype. We got cupcakes; I had chocolate, my husband had vanilla, and they were excellent. No fancy ganache, salted caramel, or cream fillings – just super-delicious cupcakes with frosting. The cupcakes were tender and the frosting was buttery. What else can I say?

Sushi Yasuda

We had a really nice anniversary dinner here. Ordering was a little confusing at first: we were presented with the menu and a separate list of the available fish. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to synch up the list with the menu to make sure what we wanted was available. Then we decided to order fixed price dinners, where you get to pick a number of rolls and pieces of sushi. Well, the server produced another piece of paper for that! It actually was easier, because the choices for the fixed price dinners are limited, so we just filled out the little form and were done.

The fixed-price sushi dinners came with soup or salad, two rolls, and five pieces of sushi. I got the salad with my dinner and it had the most awesome ginger dressing. We also had edamame and sake. Our server was attentive and helpful, and the presentation was beautiful. I’m not a sushi expert, but I thought everything was really delicious.

Junior’s

What better way to top off a sushi dinner than with cheesecake? We shared a piece of raspberry swirl cheesecake from Junior’s. I don’t have a photo of the slice, but do have a shot of their selections. This cheesecake was just creamy enough without being too soft, and had just the right amount of that cream cheese tang. I’m not sure what the crust was made out of, but I didn’t like it. It was easy enough to avoid, though.

Bouchon Bakery

Bouchon Bakery is one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants; this was a more affordable option than dining at his other New York City restaurant, Per Se. Bouchon Bakery is in the same building as Per Se, but as you can see, it’s floating in the middle of a mall. You can sit at the tables that you can sort-of see in the photo below, or you can order from the walk-up counter. We sat at a table and had a wonderful lunch. The bread was delicious; even the butter was delicious! I had a salad with chicken (which looks kind of freaky in the photo) and my husband had a sandwich, which came with a side salad. Everything was first-rate. I had my dessert picked out ahead of time and then was too full, so I skipped it. Sad, I know! I got a chocolate chunk cookie to go from the walk-up counter and we enjoyed that later. This was absolutely a worthwhile stop and I’d eat here again.

La Maison du Chocolat

I was at La Maison du Chocolat in Paris a few years ago, so I wanted to stop in at the NYC location. Dollars or Euros, this place is really expensive. I bought two 4-piece boxes and had to use my credit card to pay for them. The mendant in the photo below looked really good, but I wasn’t going to spend quite that much. The chocolate is really delicious, though, and they gave me a sample of a ganache-filled chocolate that was heavenly. Plus, once you step inside, you feel like you’re in Paris.

Economy Candy

When you step inside Economy Candy, you know you’re in New York! It’s packed with candy and packed with people, but oh, so fun. This place has wall to wall candy that brings back a lot of memories. We came out with candy buttons, a bubblegum cigar, candy cigarettes, Red Hots, Nerds, and Tootsie Pop Drops.

Links and notes

Magnolia Bakery

Sushi Yasuda

Here is an article from the New York Times that mentions Sushi Yasuda. You can also look it up on Yelp. Some of the reviews mention the cost; our total bill was well under $100 for two fixed-price sushi dinners, one order of edamame, and two orders of sake. I’m sure you could rack up quite a bill if you ordered differently, but I didn’t think their prices were out of line. I called for a reservation about a week ahead.

Junior’s Thank you Susan for suggesting this!

Bouchon Bakery Thank you Jennifer for this suggestion!

La Maison du Chocolat

Economy Candy

Thank you to my husband, who took 95% of these photos!

PS: We didn’t just eat the whole time; we did a lot of sightseeing too!

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