Monday, January 31, 2011

NYC Day 4

This became a rest day...for obvious reasons!  I enjoyed staying at the hotel and relaxing.  We didn't head out until the evening for supper and a Broadway show.

We had supper at Ellen's Stardust Diner.  What a blast that place was!  It has a great 50s feel to it and all of the waiters and waitresses take turns singing while they work. 

I didn't get a very impressive supper.  An appetizer platter of fried stuff.  I don't know what I was thinking.  The chicken empanadas and wings were good but just too much fried stuff. 

Ryan, our waiter, did a hilarious rendition of Jay-Zs "Empire State of Mind".  Also while we were there, American Idol was there interviewing 2 finalists that worked there!  So cool!

Then we headed to the Broadway show Wicked.  I had heard from several people that it was very good and it did not disappoint us!  It was alot funnier than I expected it to be.  I think the boys would have really liked it too. 

When we left the show the snow had just started and already the streets were covered white.  Thank goodness we only had to walk a couple of blocks back to our hotel!

Friday, January 28, 2011

NYC Day 3

Today was a day full of sight seeing!  I had hoped to try to get into a recording of the Late Show while here but they aren't taping this week.  Boo!  Oh well, there's still plenty to do.  It was really snowing in the morning but that wasn't slowing anything down.  My first stop was to the M&M's World store to get something for the boys.  Smells great in there but not much cheap, and by cheap I mean under $5, stuff for sale.  I didn't want to spend all of the money I had alotted for souveniers in one store!  I also stopped by the Hershey's store across the street which was very small and not to terribly impressive.  By comparison the M&M's store was 3 stories!

Split Pea Soup
I stopped into Junior's for lunch.  I had split pea soup and a piece of cheesecake, which they are known for.  The split pea soup was ok but alot thicker and chunkier than I thought it would be.  My waitress Tina, who was so pleasant, also gave me a side of pickled beets, slaw and a pickle.  I tried them, but I still don't like beets. 


The cheesecake was very rich and creamy.  It had a sponge cake bottom instead of a graham cracker crust.  I couldn't finish it and I didn't take the rest with me cause I wanted to save my appetite and calories for other things I haven't tried yet.


After lunch I headed down through Times Square towards Macy's.  Its a huge department store with 3 floors of shopping and several places to eat in the cellar.  Didn't buy anything....the things that caught my eye were just too expensive!  

NY Public Library
Then I headed over to the NY Public Library's main branch building, the Stephen A. Schwarzmann building.  You know, the one with the two lions out front.  What a beautiful building to see and it will be celebrating its 100th birthday this May.  It is now primarly a research building and not a place you would go to checkout a book.  The only exception is the ground floor which is the Children's Center.  Behind the library is Bryant Park which is a nice little green space in the city.  They had a temporary ice skating rink set up while we were there.
That evening Bill and I headed out for supper.  We were really wanting to have steak but the steakhouses are soooo expensive!  About 35-45 bucks for a steak and that doesn't include anything with it.  And these are huge steaks that I wouldn't be able to finish anyway.  So while I was researching where to have steak on the internet, I saw where people were suggesting to go to a french bistro for a very affordable steak dinner.  They usually do steak with pommes frites (steak and fries) and steak au poivre (steak with a cognac cream sauce) for 25-30 bucks and it includes the fries and a salad.  And the steaks at the bistros are a good portioned filet so its not too much meat. 
Steak Au Poivre
We decided to try La Bonne Soupe.  It was such a cute, intimate little restaurant.  We had a simple salad with a dijon mustard vinagrette and the steak au poivre with pommes frites.  Just right!  Very satisfying but it didn't weigh us down for more sightseeing. 
After supper we caught the subway to Grand Central Terminal.  Again, this is another beautiful building in NYC!  Its so weird to see these historical beauties surrounded by plain looking concrete and glass towers.  They just don't make em' like they used to huh?  Built in 1913, this is still a very busy, very much functioning station where subway lines and train lines intersect.  It also houses shopping and several restaurants too.  The huge concourse's ceiling is painted blue with a mural of the constellations.  They even have some lights to simulate the stars.  It really is breathtaking to step in there and you can see it on people's faces when they walk in there.  They just gaze up and say, Whoa!  Hard to believe that this landmark was almost torn down.  Thank goodness it was saved and revitalized.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NYC Day 2

This wasn't quite the whirlwind of a day like Day 1 was.  First of all I got to sleep till daylight! 

Chicken Ramen Soup

I didn't venture out of the hotel until lunch.  Across the street from the hotel was a place called Cafe Dukes.  Its like the craziest cafeteria I've ever been to!  It's broken up into different areas that serve such things as pizza, panninis, salads, sushi, korean, and a hot food bar that has an assortment of different things.  At lunch time it was packed full of people.  I decided on having the chicken ramen noodle soup from the Korean section.  They gave me a huge quart of soup, a side of kimchee, and I grabbed a diet Mt Dew all for about $9.  The soup came with a spoon and chopsticks and I refused to get a fork.  I managed to eat pretty good but hopefully no one was watching me.  Isn't there such a thing as the Chopsticks Diet where you eat everything with chopsticks?  I bet it works!  Anyway, I enjoyed my soup and tried some kimchee with it.  It tastes like a sorta spicy, kinda sour, chunky pickled slaw.  I liked it!  I had enough leftover to have for lunch another day.

After lunch I went to find some groceries so that I could have b'fast and some snacks in our room.  Well no one here calls them grocery stores, they say supermarkets.  Also I couldn't find them!  Tiny little things stuck in between other stores and with just a few things for alot of money!  I got 2 apples, 2 pints of milk, and 2 small yogurts for $6.  Later I found that a more normal looking supermarket was a few more blocks north of me.  I may visit it later this week.

Black & White Cookie

While I was out I passed by a little bakery and cafe, Fluffy's Cafe, and decided to stop in for some hot chocolate, or steamed chocolate as they call it.  I couldn't resist the black and white cookie either!  Its like a soft, not very sweet cookie the size of a large hamburger bun top with vanilla and chocolate icing.  It was so good but I couldn't eat it all at once.  I did finish it by that night and I did share a little with Bill!

That evening was a reception at the hotel's restaurant, Moda, for all of the student's that were attending the school.  Nothing too exciting just some pasta dishes, bland salad, and cookies.  I don't sound very impressed do I.  I wasn't.  The best thing was the roasted chicken, the olives, and manchego cheese I had.  Oh well, I would still have a week of good food to look forward to!

NYC Day 1

Wow was this a long day!  It started at 4 in the morning (our flight was at 6) and ended at 10 that night!  Well, the reason we are in NYC is b/c Bill is attending some classes with the medical examiner's office of NYC.  So, while he is in class I'll be sightseeing and then sightseeing some more at night with him.  We flew into LaGuardia Airport and then took a $30 taxi ride to our hotel.  Fortunately we didn't have to pay for that ride!

We are staying at Flatotel on 52nd St between 6th and 7th Ave in Midtown Manhattan.  We are blocks from Time Square and alot of touristy stuff so we can walk to just about everything.  We also got a Metro card for the week for $27 each that gives us unlimited access to the subway and buses which will give our legs a break.  Taxis get just too costly for running around and we wanted to experience mass transportation NYC style!

Our first  meal was a late b'fast at the Astro Restaurant.  This is a typical NYC diner and we had the typical corned beef hash with eggs.  Huge and very satisfying to last us until supper.  We had a great time chatting with the staff and everyone is very nice.

From there we took a walk down to Times Square.  What a sight!  You really can't take it all in!  Every time since then when I've gone back I see something I didn't see before!  There is a small Time Square Visitor's Center in an old theater that gives you a little history about it.  They also have one of the crystal balls they drop on New Year's Eve for you to see close up.  The museum is free and was a nice relief from the cold!

Afterwards we went back to our hotel for a little rest before we went back out.  For supper we went to a wonderful Greek restaurant called Molyvos.  It had a great atmosphere as well as great food. 


Bill got Hortosoupa, a bean and vegetable soup, and Makaronia, homemade pasta rolled with braised short ribs and a cheesy cream sauce. 
I had the Salata Roka, a salad for mixed greens with oven dried tomatoes and a crunchy bread topped with a yogurt cheese spread, and Lahano Dolmades, cabbage rolls stuffed with ground lamb & pork with rice then topped with a spiced yogurt sauce.

Lahano Dolmades
We shared a Ravani for dessert which is an almond cake topped with stewed figs and a vanilla yogurt cream.  Everything was so delicious and I plan to look for their recipes on-line.  The chef has several write ups in papers and magazines that you can find on the restaurant's website too.


After supper we went to the Rockefeller Center to go to the Top of Rock observation deck.  It was great, but cold, view.  When you take the elevator up they project video on the clear ceiling of the elevator and you can see the elevator shaft as you travel 70 floors up.  The buildings, filled with artwork, are beautiful examples of Art Deco from the 30s.  I hope to go back later this week just to see more of its artwork.

Skating Rink @ Rockefeller

Monday, January 10, 2011

Crockpot Apple Butter

This recipe came from Southern Plates' website.  She has such great southern favorites on her website.  I've never tried to make apple butter before but I figured a crockpot recipe couldn't be too difficult.  It turned out great!  And good thing too since I had already planned to give jars of it out as Christmas gifts!  This recipe makes a 6 quart batch so unless you have a huge crockpot you may want to cut it in half.  I was able to fill 12 1/2 pint jars and keep 2 cups for myself from a batch.  It starts with applesauce so you don't have much cutting up to do.  This morning I mixed some apple butter with syrup, warmed it up in the microwave and had it on my buttermilk pancakes!  OMG!  Heaven!  I'll have to share my pancake recipe (supposedly the Cracker Barrel recipe) some other time.

Crockpot Apple Butter

2  50oz jars of unsweetened applesauce
3 lbs granny smith apples (about 4 or 5), peeled and cut into small chips
4c sugar
1 1/2c apple juice
2t cinnamon
1t cloves
1t allspice

Place everything in the crockpot and stir until well blended.  Cook on low 8 to 10 hrs.  Remove cover and cook another 2 hrs or so, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens.  Cool and keep refrigerated.