Monday, October 25, 2010

The Big Apple - NYC

If you plan months ahead you can find a good deal on flights from Orange County to la Guardia, the closest airport to Manhattan.  Then all you need to do when you arrive is purchase a metro card ($27 for a week of unlimited subway and bus transportation), take the bus into town (about 30 minutes) and hop on the metro to your hotel.

I like to stay near the Museum of Natural History as it is close to Central Park and the metro stop which makes it a very convenient location.  After arriving my travel plans, I eagerly plan where I'll eat and suggest you do the same!  There are many great restaurants in NYC that it can be very difficult to choose.  I highly recommend  where you can access all the restaurants' websites and thus, their menus, as well as being able to make your dining reservation online.

I'm fortunate to be an usher at the PAC center and get to see many plays and ballets at home.  If you're theater goer like myself, check out the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company for a fabulous evening of entertainment.  For myself, I prefer to spend my evenings dining alone at one of the many delicious New York restaurants.

Next, I visit all the museums' websites to see which exhibits I am interested in.  On my most recent trip (August 2010), I visited the Brooklyn Museum of Art,, as well as the botanic garden nearby; the gardens open one hour before the museum.  Patrick Dougherty has put up a woven wood artwork which is very interesting.  The Neue Galerie, had an exhibit on Otto Dix, a well-known German artist, the American folk Art Museum had a women only exibit of folk art by female hands, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met),, had an exhibit on fashions of the American Woman from the 1920's to present day with film clips from old classics with the stars wearing some of the outfits on display, the Museum at Fit,, has an exhibit on eco-fashion going green with fashions made from natural fibers as well as how fashions were made in the past, the Rubin Museum,, has exhibits on Himalayan and Tibetan art and the museum itself, designed by a woman, is also beautiful.  The Museum of Natural History, the Cloisters, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, the Guggenheim, the MOMMA, etc. - are all there!!!  Kep in mind that the "suggested" entrance fee for the Met, Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Cloisters, and the Natural History Museum is what is listed buy you can pay whatever you want.

I like to visit the Greenmarket at Union Square which is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 8am to 6pm.  It's filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, etc.  What I love about this market is that you see what is fresh (and usually local) and then you find it being served to you in the restaurants.  I also like to walk in Central Park.  A nice walk around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir near the 81st Street entrance to the park is highly recommended.  The path takes about an hour to walk around it or you can just cross the park, ride the merry-go-round on your way through, and end up at the Met!

I had great lunches at Little Owl,, (grilled acallops with corn and fava beans), Jean-George's new ABC Kitchen,, (Italian spinach pizza), Alto,, (salmon with wild mushrooms and a torrone to dine for), Tavern,, (chocolate pudding with toasted brioche croutons), the Spotted Pig,, (creamy corn and mushroom soup), and Eleven Madison, (strawberry gazpacho with shrimp).

Fabulous dinners were eaten at Blue Hill,, (organic chicken with vegetables from the farm), Marea,, (homemade tortellini with creamy pesto), and Mas Farmhouse,, (a six course prix fix munu - yummy).

My most memorable meal was my dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barnes, in Tarrytown.  You must take a train from Grand Central Station, which takes about 40 minutes, and then a taxi to Stone Barnes, a farmhouse converted to a huge dining room.  It is a working farm and you can walk the grounds and see all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables growing.  The menu just lists the fresh produce which will comprise the tasting menu.  I spent 3.5 hours eating my way through a very flavorful 8 course dinner.  Next time I would go for lunch which is less expensive and it would enable me to return to Manhattan before dark.

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