Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Great Food & Fun over "Fake" Break

"Fake" Break comes but once a year and this year is the last one for me. The positive is that my last "fake" break is by-far the longest I've had since I've attended Elon. For starters: Restaurant week practically everywhere: Philadelphia, New York City, Jersey City :) Went to The Merchant near Grove Street in downtown Jersey City. My mom and I decided to share each others 3 course dinner so we could try more dishes at a very reasonable price ($25 for the entire meal except the drinks -- but the all-night Happy Hour helped in that department too). Dirty martini made with vodka NOT gin - ICK!
Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

 Apple and Fried Goat Cheese Salad

Sun-Dried Bow Tie Pasta in Cream Sauce

 Salmon with Vegetable Risotto 

 Classic Apple Pie with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream

 Chocolate Mouse cake with raspberry syrup

I decided to sleep in - which I had gotten used to this past summer - almost everyday during "fake" break. It was so nice to have no plans - except on Thursday when I felt ill and decided to cancel my appointments in the city. However, I was a bit ddisappointed at the lack of music choices at my usual places (i.e. Bowery & its incorporates, Webster Hall, Irving, etc). At the same time I didn't look at venues I've wanted to go to (for example, the Brooklyn Bowl) for awhile OR simply check regional media sources like The Village Voice for alternative shows/art/concerts. No that would've been too easy.
Instead I looked on Craiglist for tickets to the sold out Lumineers performance at Terminal 5 on Sat. Feb. 2nd. I thought - at the time - how luck I was to find people on Craiglist offering to exchange or sell their tickets. I was also pissed off because they are taking tickets away from people who really want to go to the show only to resell and make a lot more money (or scam you as I soon learned). 

I encouraged Keith to come up from Philly to visit mom and I and finally stay over our house in Jersey City. We decided to go see the show together...We took the 123 bus into the Port Authority then walked up 8th Ave towards Terminal 5 area. Upon my suggestion to grab a quick bite we ducked into this traditional bar called The Social. We shared two dishes over beer and my lemon drop cocktail (not the shot) while listening to techno/new age music and chatting about life. 

 Chicken Fingers and Baked Mac n Cheese

Snapshot as we walk towards Terminal 5 and it was snowing!!!

I was in a terrific mood considering it was snowing, I was with a good friend and we were about to see a pretty awesome (hot item) band! Unfortunately my mood was quickly defused once we were turned away for fake tickets. I felt so stupid but we did see quite a few people walk out the doors of the ticket lobby muttering similar disappointment. Two girls outside mentioned paying a total of $200 for a pair of tickets and were turned away...OUCH. I definitely was not going above the $100 I spent for our pair considering the original price for the tickets was $30 a pop. 

Despite the upsetting news it was snowing and we had the whole night to take the city by storm, literally. And we did. Hopping on the subway heading downtown to try Bubby's for their late night breakfast menu since Keith expressed an interest in that particular cuisine. After feeling pretty proud that I found the place (in Tribecca - name streets makes it a little difficult) it was yet again another FAILURE. The waiter told us the "breakfast late night menu is not available (or ready to serve) until 12am midnight." Well that sucked but all the better. So out into the fluffy whiteness heading north to 14 St. We walked and walked and walked. FYI don't where Timberland boots if a) they are not weather proof, and b) walking long distances. Of course I did not know it was expected to snow (which is why I was so happy) but the walking bit I could have prevented especially after we ate our late dinner at Coppelia.

Cross bridge over the exit of the Lincoln tunnel into Canal St/Chinatown/Tribecca area

The upside to the extraneous walk up to 14 St was walking through Greenwich Village and once we arrived at the eclectic Peruvian/Cuban/Mexican fusion diner I ate to my heart's content. The menu was very random and made it hard to choose a dish but I was thoroughly pleased with my choice (see pic below) and the coffee WOW was too die!

Menu at Coppelia

Sweet tooth - challah french toast with fresh fruit, caramel and syrup

After our bellies were full we continued to walk around the city. Keith, having not so many experiences in the city like me, was open to seeing/doing whatever. So we went to Union Square. Fond memories of all the seasons in that area so I thought it was worth a shot.

Its as if I should expect anywhere and everywhere I choose to go I will find someone I know particularly someone I know from Montclair. "Catherine Valero?!?!?!" (with excitement, bewilderment and shock). Frasier and Rebecca, colleagues both Keith and I had gone to school with, were with a few people coming out of an apartment near Union Square on 14th St heading east. All I got to say about that is...strange but now I will forever expect that type of scenario to happen. The world is so big yet so small.
 I loved the glass torch-like awnings on this building we past going west
from Park 
 Empire State at night in the snow on 5th heading uptown
 Frozen water fountain in Bryant Park 
 Erie Rockefeller Center. No one skating and no one in sight

Following day Keith, mom and I went back into the city to investigate art at the Met and see Grand Central considering it was the centennial and I had never been inside (except via subway). We ate an early lunch at Junior's (not my fave but I had a delicious grilled cheese & bacon on challah bread) and afterwards got back on the subway to 86th street to visit the Guggenheim (didn't go inside since Keith would've missed out due to the ramps were closed for construction purposes). We walked down a few blocks to the Met and spent the next 3+ hours there. It's HUGE! Of course not as big as some art museums I've been to in the world (i.e. the louvre in Paris) but for America its pretty awesome.
 100 detail on the windows in honor of the centennial

 Starring at the unique structure of the Guggenheim before we walked 
a few blocks south on 5th to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Interestingly AWESOME drums of ancient Indonesia I think?

We departed from Keith in Port Authority and headed home. I was really feeling the pain in my feet from all the walking I had done in the last 24hrs so instead of going to the Irish pub for another restaurant week deal and to watch the Superbowl we stayed home. There were major benefits in staying home: comfy clothes, free meal thanks to my mom's bf Dennis who paid for dinner, check out Superbowl stuff on our own tv while online and I could go upstairs to my bed at anytime. 

Leaving my mom is always sad especially since we have a really great relationship: we're mother-daughter and best friends. But all good things must come to an end right? At least we had the entire day on Monday to spend more time together since she called out of work. I am exceptionally grateful to have her in my life and I know I'm eternally blessed. 

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