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Food, Food and a Little Art

1021181150Day three in New York started with good bye to Laura as she had to go back to New Hampshire and her real life of teaching.  Lisa walked her to Penn Station and when Lisa returned, we had breakfast in the hotel and planned our day.  We decided that we would go to the Guggenheim Museum.  Having seen pictures of it all of us were looking forward to seeing the phenomenal Frank Lloyd Wright building.  The current major exhibit is the works of Hilma af Klint an early abstract artist whose paintings were generated in part through af Klint’s spiritualist practice as a medium and reflect an effort to articulate mystical views of reality. (The last part of this sentence was “borrowed” from the Guggenheim web site, I’m not1021181151 that accomplished as a writer). Additionally, there was an exhibit of the works of R.H. Quaytman, a contemporary painter whose current work, Chapter 34, is influenced by the work of af Klint. But my favorite was the Guggenheim Collection with the works of Constantin Brancusi,  one of my favorite modern sculptors, as well as works by many well known artists of the 19th and 20th century. Additionally there were exhibits of modern Asian Art.

After a full exploration of the museum, we were tired and hungry–Kathy was able to walk the whole museum.  We decided to try the The Wright at the Museum.  Kathy had House-Made Chestnut Agnolotti Pasta, Lisa had Biscuits & Gravy and I had the Chicken Chopped Salad. All dishes were very good but the biscuits and gravy were wonderful, and different from any other biscuit or gravy — the sausage was a combo of sweet and hot Italian sausage, and the biscuit was fabulous.

Then it was back to the hotel and a meet up with Chelsea. Her boyfriend Santhi was supposed to meet us for dinner, but ended up having a conflict. He did recommend an excellent restaurant in the East Village called Yuca Bar and Restaurant, a fusion of Latin cuisine from over a dozen countries. The food was phenomenal and the margaritas were excellent!  We started with guacamole that was served with tortilla chips, fried plantains and yucca chips.

Kathy and I both ordered arepas, a delicious corn cake stuffed with various thing like pork in guava BBQ sauce, chipotle chicken and shredded beef, all were good, but the pork was the best, Chelsea had Yucca encrusted salmon and Lisa enjoyed a plantain stuffed with shredded pork.  We shared the best flan any of us had ever eaten for dessert.  Didn’t eve save you a picture.

Monday Chelsea made arrangements for us to have lunch with Santhi near his office in the Metro Tech Center in downtown Brooklyn. It was great meeting Santhi, who held his own with his girlfriend’s aunt and two cousins.  He is a very creative person who has just illustrated a children’s book, is working on a TV series with Chelsea and works full time. We all look forward to getting to know him better.  1022181154aAfter lunch, we made a trip to the Strand Book Store, a fabulous bookstore in NYC with 18 Miles of new, used and rare books.  This took up most of the afternoon.  After we returned to the hotel, it was time to say good bye to Chelsea, then we took naps and decided to go to Gnocco, a little Italian Restaurant in the East Village.  It is truffle time and we indulged in some fabulous dishes including gnocco, a deep fried dough similar to fry breads or sopapillas, which came with wonderful Italian cold cuts, arancini with truffles, goat cheese with honey, pine nuts and raisins on a bed of greens; pizza Amatriciana; and pasta with butter and garlic topped with truffles.  Everything was fabulous.  Another thanks to Santhi for the recommendation.

VM1UPGoJQLaWeylYrQoUlQTuesday morning we packed up all of our belongings and headed out.  We hired a car to take us to breakfast, and then the airport.  We searched the internet, and thanks to NY Eater, discovered Velselka, a Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village (are you beginning to see a pattern here?  We basically ate our way through the East Village in NYC.) Velselka has been in NYC since 1954 and all reviews were outstanding.  Our experience indicates that the reviews are correct. I had eggs with a potato pancake, kielbasa and challah toast, Lisa had yogurt with granola and bananas and a side of sausage and Kathy had cheese blintzes with a raspberry sauce. We also shared a piece of poppyseed bread.  All were great, but the sausage was unbelievable.  It was locally sourced from Esposito Sausage and we have already made plans to order some for Christmas Brunch!!!!  Then on the airport to drop off Lisa, and Kathy and I proceeded to the Bolt parking lot to pick up my trusty Subaru.

Brid
Days 65-67

Give Our Regards to Broadway!

IMG_3398We didn’t leave the Cape until late afternoon, so we only drove as far as Providence, RI.  We stayed overnight in an extended stay motel ( I can’t remember the name). We had terrific Cambodian food — very similar to Thai, but somewhat different.  It was delicious. Next morning we got up and went to a WW workshop in Johnston, RI.  Good meeting, but not as good as #pasadena830!!!  We didn’t have breakfast before the meeting, so after we looked for a local place to try.  We discovered English Muffin, Inc.  YumYum!!! Eggs cooked perfectly, had a combo that came with French Toast, which was good and made great by the spiced apples that were an option over potatoes. And yes it came with a grilled English muffin, too. Really more brunch than lunch.

Then it was on to Queens, NY.  Traffic in NYC was as miserable as we had heard and I was personally delighted that we had decided to leave the car at JFK long term parking for our New York sojourn. As I didn’t want to drive, and because we were in NYC, we ordered Chinese delivery for dinner.  Got up early next morning to bring the car to the Bolt lot and meet our cousin, Lisa at the airport. Our connections were perfect, and IMG_3401within an hour, we were on our way to the Doubletree Times Square West which would be our home away from home for our 4 day stay in NYC.  Unfortunately, our rooms were not ready (it was only 11 so, not really surprised) so we had something to eat and then sat in the lobby for a couple of hours talking up a storm.  Finally got into our rooms around 1:30, and we were all beat, so we took naps.  While we were napping, our cousin, Laura arrived.  We met for dinner and took a Lyft to Katz Deli for a quintessential New York Deli experience.  IMG_3402Pastrami sandwiches, seltzer, pickles and potato salad–mmmmmm. Laura’s daughter Chelsea, who is a director in NYC joined us for dinner and was able to spend some time with us over the weekend, even though it was a busy weekend for her. She had a film being shown at the Chelsea Film Festival, and a Q&A after, and a play in the Fringe Festival as well as  a day of filming scheduled in Central Park for a film on which she is the AD.  And that was just on the weekend!

1020181710a1Saturday, Kathy and I had a lazy morning while Lisa and Laura went to the 9/11 memorial and museum.  I had been to the memorial on my first visit to NYC 2 years ago and there is really too much walking and standing in line for Kathy to navigate.  When Lisa and Laura returned, we met up to go see TORCH SONG at the Helen Hayes Theater on Broadway.  It was phenomenal and if you get to NYC, be sure to go see it! The whole cast was brilliant and the play is as timely today as TORCH SONG TRILOGY was in the 80’s.

Michael Urie was perfectly cast as Arnold Beckoff, drag queen and romantic, and Mercedes Ruehl was as terrific as always as his mother.  The supporting cast was also excellent.

While waiting for the play to start, Lisa realized her phone was missing.  I called the number, and someone answered.  He found the phone in the cab we had taken to the play.  He was on his way to a restaurant on the Upper East Side and offered to leave it with the hostess. I thanked him and said we would pick it up after the play.  Wasn’t till I hung up that it was pointed out that the phone would be on the Upper East Side, and we needed to get to Greenwich Village–I  should have bribed the cab driver to bring the phone to the theater.  Oh well, we were in for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  After the play, we waited for our Lyft, that never showed up and got to see the cast of the play as they left the theater.  When we finally gave up on Lyft, we caught a cab who was willing to make this crazy trip.  (of course, it was 5:00 so traffic was terrible!)  Raced from Broadway, to Upper East Side, grabbed the phone, raced to Greenwich Village, and actually arrived early for Chelsea’s play, SERVING BRULEE.

Sone Anandpara wrote SERVING BRULEE and starred in it with Ivy Hong. Our cousin, Chelsea Lockie directed the production.  The play was funny, very current, and thought provoking.  The actors were well suited to their roles. The play was about the first day of a cable TV cooking show.  The actual production took place in a school cafeteria, which made it feel like a cable show.  The title of the show comes from Crème Brulee and the premise is that Crème Brulee is the perfect dessert, and all women should try to “achieve brulee.” Life lessons ensue.

An actor friend of Chelsea’s, Mia Christo, joined us for the play and after it was over, we all went to Death Avenue for an interesting take on Greek food.  I had a wonderful lamb shank. Other foods ordered included a variety of sliders, including  pulled pork with a Greek BBQ sauce and a homemade Greek Sausage, eggplant tacos and Greek salads as well as oregano fries.  Food was very good.  Then back to the hotel and dreamland.

Driving the Cape

Sunday morning we awoke to a beautiful day, so we went to Mass at St. Francis Xavier in Hyannis, which is the church the Kennedy family has attended for years.  Beautiful old church, but the parish appears to be very conservative.

After Mass, we decided to drive the entire length of the Cape to Provincetown and back. The days was sunny, but windy and we thought it would be a short drive, but it ended up being the rest of the day.   We wanted to drive along the water, but discovered that there are so many rivers, lakes and inlets, that there is not really a road along the ocean.  IMG_3319There are a few places where the main road takes you along the coast, but there are also times that feel like you are in a forest.  Our main stop of the day was at the Cape Cod National Seashore.  This is a National Park that is protecting the shoreline of Cape Cod while continuing to make it accessible to the public.  We stopped at the Salt Pond Visitors Center and saw a film about the way Cape Cod developed during the ice ages and beyond.  There is a very good museum that is dedicated to whaling and the indigenous peoples of the area.  There appeared to be a number of good hikes and/or walks with accessible trails, but it was late afternoon and quite windy, so we didn’t take any of them.  As we were leaving, we found out that the annual Oyster Festival was taking place further up the road.  We made it past the area without getting caught in the traffic, but were not so lucky on the way back to our motel.

After leaving the National Seashore, we continued our drive to Provincetown.  By the time we got there, we were starving. We had planned to stop for lunch, but fear of getting caught in the Oyster Festival Traffic kept us on the road.  As soon as we arrived in P-Town as the locals call it, we opened our trusty google, “Where to eat near me” and discovered a lovely restaurant called Fanizzi’s. 1014181607We sat right on the waters edge as the sun set over the bay and enjoyed fancy martinisIMG_3328 as well as mouth watering appetizers (an artichoke for Kathy and roasted Brussel sprouts for me) and then a leisurely dinner of savory pork loin stuffed with Italian sausage for Kathy and ….guess what I had….yes, it was more scallops, but this time they were baked in a soy ginger sauce and were delectable. (And yes, we forgot to take photos before we started to eat, again.)

We decided not to continue to the pier as it was getting late, but turned around and drove back to our home away from home. On our drive up, we took 28 on the south side of the Cape, and on our way back, we took 6A for part of the trip, and actually did get to drive along the coast, until we caught up with the traffic, then we hopped on 6 and drove through the center of the Cape, to get back before we turned into pumpkins.

Brid
Day 58

Wild Wandering Women Woes

Well the wild wandering woes began just as we got to the Canadian border.  I was not aware that the entry to Canada was over a very big bridge, and I’m not too excited about driving over bridges so I was a little nervous.  As we exited the bridge, I could only see two lanes, one said Nexus and the other Nexus, Nexus, so I just followed the crowd. As I got up to the entry, I saw the other lanes open and realized that I was probably not in the right lane. When we got to the window, I got a lecture from the custom’s agent and we had to pull over, exit the car, have it searched and explain what we were doing in Canada.  Fortunately, they didn’t make us take everything out of the car, like some other cars in the area, and they didn’t keep us too long.

We began our journey towards Niagara Falls, then on to Toronto, driving on highway 3. We got as far as Tillsonburg and stayed overnight at the local Howard Johnson’s.  Went to the local pub, Copper Mug, for a good perch dinner and then on to dreamland.

After breakfast the next morning, we continued on to Niagara Falls. It seemed that we were never going to find the Falls, then, suddenly, they were there.  We drove slowly down the road in front of the Falls, in both directions, but there were hundreds of people there, and parking was terrible, so Kathy would have had problems navigating the area.  We decided that we had seen enough and were happy to start driving to Toronto.Niagra Falls

As we drove toward Toronto, Kathy began calling motels to get a reservation for the night.  Toronto was booked and we began to worry. She looked at the map and realized that a suburb of Toronto is Markham.  We both knew immediately that we had to stay there.  After all, Markham was the evil spirit in our grandmother’s garage. He terrorized all of the Flanagan cousins and has gone on to terrorized additional generations of children. We had no idea he was Canadian.  But of course because Markham was involved, nothing went as planned.  The first major chain that Kathy called informed us that they had a handicapped room with two queen beds, just what we needed.  We drove 1 1/2 hours out of our way to get to this unnamed motel, only to discover that they completely mislead us. They did not have a handicapped room available, and in fact had booked us on the second floor with no elevator.  I became rather upset in the lobby, so the manager called a number of other hotels in the area and was able to find us a room at the  Courtyard by Marriot down the street.  Although the price was higher than the first place, the hotel was very nice and we ended up staying two nights.

Now that we were in Toronto, we knew that we wanted to do something that was iconic to Toronto.  We decided to go to the Gardiner Museum, the national ceramics museum of Canada. So we drove to downtown Toronto…no one warned us that traffic in Toronto is about equivalent to traffic in New York City!  There was construction everywhere, one way streets that our GPS, fondly named Mavis, didn’t know about and absolutely no parking.  After Adding Lemon to Blue TeaAfter 7 or 8 wrong or missed turns and passing by the museum about 5 times, we finally found an underground parking lot.  As we exited the parking lot, a gray haired gentleman with a wonderful handlebar moustache stopped to hold doors for us and we started talking to him. What an interesting man. He is a retired AP Photographer who still freelances (recently in the Sudan and Middle East) and teaches photography at the University of Toronto.  It was delightful and fascinating to meet him.  We finally made it to the museum, which we found so interesting. Both Kathy and I prefer the ancient ceramics and the very contemporary ceramics. While we are interested in the European ceramics, just not as much as the others (probably because we come from a long line of peasants who would never have been able to afford porcelain)  We stopped for a late lunch at the museum restaurant, Clay, which had just reopened, which was wonderful.  My ice tea was blue and turned purple when lemon was squeezed into it. Kathy had the rigatoni with shrimp, walnut pesto and summer peas while I had a wonderful French omelet with cheddar, mushrooms and fine herb paired with a simple salad

After we left the museum and worked our way back to Markham,  in the late afternoon,

IMG_2804
Pedicures at last!

we found a local nail shop and treated ourselves to long overdue pedicures. (I think my nails had become weapons that I was going to need to register!}.  Take out roasted chicken and salad for dinner to make up for lunch.

Bridget
Days 33, 34