Tuesday, March 2, 2010

new york sunday

Sunday, January 10 was our last day in New York.  We left the hotel that morning with a little over an hour to kill before lunch.  We had made a reservation at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain, which was just a block away from Le Bernardin, where we ate on Friday night.  After walking by Bar Americain, Steve and I headed to Rockefeller Center so I could take some pictures before lunch.
The ice skating was still in full swing, but the Christmas tree and most of the extravagant holiday store windows nearby had been taken down already.  We did, however, pass an Anthropologie store near Rockefeller Center that still had its window displays up.  The store in downtown SF is pretty impressive, but this one had much more window real estate to show off the creativity of the Anthro display people.

I later read that the theme was "Fifteen Inches of Snow."  The most memorable part was the window with the front half of a car, covered in "snow."  Most of the car was covered with fabric, as were parts of the road signs next to it.  The snow itself also looked like it was made from fabric.  Attached to the front of the car was a "hood ornament," which was similar to one of the Christmas ornaments I had bought from them that year.

You can see a shot of the full window here.  I mostly took pictures of the details that I noticed.  My favorite detail, however, was part of a scene in one of the other windows.  (See more on Flickr.)

Clearly, I had way too much fun taking pictures of these windows... when I wasn't freezing my fingertips off.  It was unbelievably cold and windy that day, and I was wearing my combination gloves/mittens, with the mitten part that flips over fingerless gloves.  Without the mitten part over my fingers, my fingertips were starting to go numb from the cold.  I had to hurry it up and take the pictures before I froze completely.
The walk back to Bar Americain was relatively short, but the wind in my face was making my eyes tear up.  I was glad when we got inside and out of the cold.  I learned that day why there are so many revolving doors in NY: a frigid gust of wind rips through if one opens a regular door to the outside at just the right moment.  It happened once while we were eating lunch, and I immediately understood.
But back to the restaurant itself...  When we sat down, I already had a good idea of what I wanted for lunch, from looking at the online menus.  We started with a trio of seafood cocktails, which looked both pretty and delicious on the website.
We tried the middle one first, which was shrimp-tomatillo.  It was my favorite.  I could have eaten a lot more of it.  As it was, we were taking turns sipping the leftover tomatillo sauce from the shot glass after we ate our shrimp.  
The one on the left was my second-favorite: crab-coconut.  It was kind of light and tropical, like a ceviche, but with crab and bits of mango in it.  
The lobster-avocado cocktail on the right was less memorable.  There wasn't enough of the lobster, I think.  Maybe it was just missing something in the flavor to make it amazing, but it didn't compare to the other two, in my opinion.
Steve ordered the Smoked Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Biscuit Crust for his main dish.  (Kind of a sucky picture... natural light + artificial light in one picture = difficult.)  Steve loved his pot pie.  I didn't try any, since I wasn't in the mood for that sort of thing.

I ordered the Grilled Pizza with Double Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Onions, and Toasted Garlic.  I enjoyed the flavors and smokiness of it, but I was already half-full from the cocktail trio.  It was too heavy for me to eat more than about a quarter of it.  I think the main problem was that there was a lot of salt from the bacon.  The cheese also seemed pretty salty, and the caramelized onions weren't sweet enough to counteract that.  It probably would have been better if it had been less loaded up with bacon so I could taste the other components more.

Overall, Bar Americain was good, but I preferred the southwestern food of Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill—we went in Vegas a few years ago—over the reinvented homestyle food of Bar Americain.  It wasn't my favorite meal, but I would definitely give the restaurant another chance, since the first two seafood cocktails were so good.

After lunch, we walked back over to Rockefeller Center.  We thought about going into Anthropologie then to check it out, but we didn't want to add Steve's newly purchased cup of coffee to the pile of abandoned cups that we saw outside the door.  Instead, we continued with my list of things to do.

The first was to find La Maison du Chocolat at Rockefeller Center for some macarons.  We looked around a little, didn't see it, and then I decided I was too full for macarons anyway.  Instead, we walked up Park Avenue to try to find the NY outpost of Pierre Marcolini, a chocolatier that Dan and Carmen discovered in Paris and Belgium.  The chocolates that they brought back for us were so good that we hoped to get some more.  Unfortunately, we got there to find them closed on Sundays.  No chocolates for us.
Despite the cold, we trudged on.  Central Park would be both easy to find and certain to be open on a Sunday.  I had a few landmarks in the park on my list, but I settled for a quick look around the southeast corner.

Don't be fooled by the warm colors in those photos; I adjusted them somewhat in editing.  We were, in fact, freezing.  We stopped by the bridge to see the ducks in the water, and then I went after some shots of the iconic carriage rides through Central Park—also on my list (to photograph, not to do).
With that accomplished, we decided it would be a good idea to go back to the hotel room and get out of the cold for a while.  On the way back out of the park, we passed a familiar face: Bob Tuschman, the Senior VP of Programming/Production at the Food Network.  I recognized him from being one of the judges on The Next Food Network Star.  (Kind of a stupid show, especially compared to Top Chef, but I still end up watching it for some reason.)  He looked like he was showing some friends around.  Funny how the "celebrities" that we ended up seeing in NY were all food people.
Once we made it back to our room, we noticed that housecleaning hadn't been by yet.  We had left a little later than usual that morning, so we had missed the initial rounds.  Normally, I would have just gone out again and done something else until I actually needed to be back to get ready for dinner.  We were feeling tired and kind of apathetic, however.  The original plan for the afternoon had been a trip to the Museum of Modern Art, which had a Tim Burton exhibit on display.  Unfortunately, the tickets for the exhibit were sold out when we checked the website that morning.  That left us with more time to do Central Park, but the cold meant that we didn't want to spend the entire afternoon outside.  I felt guilty sitting in the hotel room when I could be out doing something exciting, but we had already done most of the things I had been looking forward to.  Everything else required significant time outside or just significant time, when we had a set schedule for dinner.

So we hung out in the room for a little while until housecleaning arrived, and then we went down to the lobby to contemplate going somewhere or finding a drink.  We ended up in the hotel bar, where we each had a cocktail.  It wasn't as good a photo op as a cute little cafe would have been, but Steve and I enjoyed ourselves, and we stayed warm.  By the time we finished our drinks and went back upstairs, our room was clean, and it was time to get ready for dinner.

Since this post is long enough already, our last dinner and show will be the final post for the NY trip.  Coming soon.  And by "soon," I mean "as soon as I write it."

No comments:

Post a Comment