A few weeks ago my little sister called me and asked if I wanted to take a trip with her. Her birthday was coming up and she had the idea that maybe instead of a gift or birthday money my parents would be willing to give her some frequent flyer miles to fly us up to NYC for the weekend. Since I’m under-employed and was being offered a free trip I said, “Heck yes!” Which is how I found myself on a plane bound for New York this past Friday.
I love New York City and even applied to schools there when I was looking at colleges. Somehow, even though I was accepted to Fordham and NYU with scholarships, my heart was set on Wheaton. It’s strange to look back on those big life decisions and wonder how life would have been different if you’d made a different choice. I met my husband and made some of my best friends at Wheaton, so it’s hard to imagine my life without it, a fact I remind myself of as I continue to pay off those student loans.
Anyway, I love New York City and since I had had two major hysterical meltdowns in the past few weeks, it seemed like an ideal time to get away. My sister Maggi flew up from Baton Rouge and had a layover in Charlotte, NC. I met her at the airport there and we flew the rest of the way together. My awesome and generous father let us use his hotel rewards points and we were able to stay at a hotel right in Times Square for free.
The last time I was in New York was Jonathan’s and my first wedding anniversary and on that trip we made it a point to see a lot of shows. Not just Broadway musicals, but comedy shows and regular plays as well. We had a blast. This trip was for my sister’s birthday and what she really wanted was to have a fancy-pants dinner at a very ritzy restaurant instead of getting tickets to a show. She made reservations for us at Jean Georges, a three Michelin star restaurant in the Trump Hotel.
We got to Manhattan around dinner time on Friday and spent some time walking around and had truffle fries and cocktails and tried unsuccessfully to selfie.
On Saturday we took the subway down to Battery Park so we could see the Statue of Liberty. We didn’t take the ferry out to the island, we just saw the statue from the park. Maggi couldn’t remember ever seeing it before and wanted to at least catch a glimpse.
There was an apple festival going on in Battery Park that day so we walked around and sampled some apple-themed cuisine and beverages and enjoyed being out by the water.
From there we walked up to the 9/11 Memorial and the new One World Trade Center. The last time I was in New York this was all still under construction, so it was my first time seeing it.
It’s hard to get a good picture of this, as it is so massive, but this is one of two pools that mark where twin towers once stood. There is a waterfall pouring from the edges down into the middle and then down the hole in the center. It’s meant to give the illusion that it goes on forever.
We did a little bit of shopping in the evening and had a fabulous dinner at Il Forno Hell’s Kitchen where I ate a parmesan mushroom risotto that I’m still dreaming about.
On Sunday we went to the Chelsea Highline, an elevated park built on an old railroad track that runs for about twenty blocks down in Chelsea. This was my first time there and I recommend it to anyone visiting the city. It’s relaxing and lovely and is a unique way to see some of the city from a bit of an elevation.
Sunday evening was our grand meal. Our reservations were for 8:45 and we didn’t leave until just after midnight. We each had a 7-course prix fixe menu. Maggi had the classic Jean Georges menu and I had the Autumn themed menu. We tried to act casual, like we did this sort of thing all the time, but we failed miserably. The food (which was mostly French in style) was divine. I’ve never been so full in my life.
I took pictures of each course and tried to remember all the things they told me about each thing, but there were so many components to each dish that it’s hard to remember. Also, the pictures aren’t great because I couldn’t use my flash and it was really dark in there, but trust me, all of the courses looked and tasted very gourmet.
American sturgeon caviar atop a butter poached turnip with some greens I don’t know the name of.
Sashimi with lime juice and pickled radish.
Wild mushroom salad with lightly braised medley of mushrooms and pine nut emulsion.
Seared sea bass topped with something and poblano peppers swimming in a coconut cream, mint and lemongrass sauce.
Lobster. There was more, but all I remember is that the little brown sauce on the side was made of hazelnuts and almonds and chili paste.
Venison encrusted with juniper berries served with venison jou, an emulsion of chestnuts and poblano peppers and caramelized red cabbage.
Multiple sorbets to cleanse the palette
Dessert dish including Concord grape sorbet, some sort of cookie with cream cheese ice cream on top, a jellied fig thing, and a poached pear.
We finished with these adorable peanut butter and jelly macarons. They were the size of a postage stamp.
We flew back to our homes on Monday, stuffed to the gills from great food and great company. It’s pretty cool to have a sister who wants to hang out with you and parents who are awesome enough to give up all of their mileage and hotel points so you can take a trip together.
Today I am feeling tired and fat, but most of all incredibly grateful.
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