Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - 220 - 13 Fond Memories From My First Trip to New York City

1 - My trip to New York last month was a writing conference trip - but I still managed to experience the joys that can only be found in the City That Never Sleeps.

Like discovering The Naked Cowgirl as we crossed Times Square on our way back to the hotel.

2 - My biggest delight while in New York was discovering that every bite of food I tasted was THE BEST (insert food item) EVER.

It all started with this seemingly innocuous order of angel hair pasta in a simple pomodoro sauce.

It came from the hotel restaurant - Encore - and I happily but unsuspectingly lifted a forkful of pasta to my mouth.

"Oh my God," I said. "Taste this," I said to my sister.

She took a bite.

"Oh my God," she said.

3 - It hadn't really sunk in yet that every meal we were to eat while in New York was going to be a symphony of delectability.

But during our second meal, eaten at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, the realization dawned that we had entered an alternate reality where every ingredient was imported from heaven.

4 - Granted, this looks pretty yummy. Jumbo shrimp wrapped around a crab filling, served over rice in a bed of garlic butter.

Now, keep in mind I come from Canada's east coast. I've eaten my fair share of seafood, fresh from the waters of the Atlantic, prepared by chefs with loving attention to detail.

And really - how tender and bursting with flavor can a jumbo shrimp be, anyway?

LOL! Exactly. Apparently, every other shrimp I'd eaten in my entire life were all fakes. I'd never eaten a real shrimp until this plate of captivating crustaceans were set before me.

5 - I thought our waitress was going to scoop me up and take me home when I ordered Huevos rancheros during the Nova Scotia / New Brunswick writers' breakfast.

Which brings me to one of the greatest joys of my trip to New York - the unparalleled level of service we received at every turn. Having worked in the service industry myself, I stood in awe of the incredible skill displayed by every staff member at every venue we attended. Every one of you made me feel like royalty. You made my dreamy trip even dreamier.

6 - After our stroll through Rockefeller Center, my cousin, my sister and I passed an Italian restaurant that caught our eye - so we went in.

7 - In the lobby was a rogue's gallery of famous diners at the historic establishment, including my favorite singer of all time - Frank Sinatra.

On the walls were huge caricatures by Al Hirschfeld, including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum featuring Zero Mostel which was our view for the evening.

Once again, when our meals arrived, we were shocked by the exquisite delicacy contained within such vibrant taste. My cousin ordered the same trio as me - lobster ravioli (to DIE for,) eggplant lasagna (complex and incredibly fresh) and fettucine alfredo - the signature dish (*fall over thud*.)

8 - I wish I'd taken a picture of Alvin, our wonderful waiter. He was the epitome of charming but unobtrusive service. He truly raised our wonderful evening into one of the best dining experiences I've ever had.

9 - Of course, then we went to the unpretentious-looking Italian restaurant just across the street from the hotel. You would have thought we would have known by then to expect to be blown away - but we didn't.

10 - My cousin and sister both ordered the bowtie pasta in a cream sauce with the most savory salmon on Planet Earth. They are still talking about it. And I can vouch for them, because my sister shared a bite of hers.

Of course, I was ascending my own path to Nirvana with my seafood pasta in a simple tomato sauce. Plump shrimp, luscious crab, and my favorite of all, succulent scallops.

I may faint.

Accompanied by my absolute favorite celebratory drink - prosecco. I had a lot of prosecco while we were in New York.

11 - Non-food-related highlights of the trip included our walk through Central Park on the way to the ballet at Lincoln Centre.

I especially loved these bridges, as Hugh Jackman chased the mugger under one of these in one of my favorite films, Kate & Leopold:

"I warn you scoundrel, I was trained at the King's Academy and schooled in weaponry by the palace guard. You stand no chance. When you run, I shall ride. When you stop, the steel of this strap shall be lodged in your brain."

My cousin and sister on Bow Bridge.

12 - A definite highlight for me was the art work at almost every turn, on almost every building.

13 - But I think the best part of my trip to New York was having so much time together with my sister and cousin.

We grew up like siblings in one another's homes. Once university hit, however, our adult lives took over, and the most we've been able to enjoy lately have been the occasional overnights.

So having five whole days together was definitely the very best part of my New York trip. Thanks for making such wonderful memories.


Janet said...

It's 8am and I'm hungry!

I'm so glad you had such a great time in New York - and made so many wonderful memories with your sister and cousin :)

Ron. said...

This ol' country boy has always avoided NYC like the plague he's always considered it to be. But now you've got him rethinking his position. He loves his angel hair pasta & the possibility of a naked cowgirl...well, it's just too good to pass up, eh?

Brenda ND said...

Wow, it looks like you've had a wonderful trip! Lots of good food and interesting sights. :)

Amy Ruttan said...

I wish I could've gone to that RWA Conference. NY is on my list of dream cities. Now I'm hungry.

Anne MacFarlane said...

Yum! I ate my way through New York but I missed some of these restaurants. I already want to go back!

Moondancer said...

Great picks. Sound like you had a blast.

This week’s TT LINKS -BtV - Dreamtime - Storyteller’s Web

Akelamalu said...

Oh boy I'm really hungry now I've read this!

What a lovely trip you had, especially the culinary part!

Akelamalu said...

PS Elvis lives on my blog today. ;)

Xakara said...

Bonding over food with sisters, (yes I'm counting your cousin in there), that you don't get to see often--ultimate trip experience! Add that to the conference and I not only understand why you want to go back, I'm surprised you ever left. *wink*

Thank you so much for sharing all of this, hon!

Happy #T13,

World's Collide

i beati said...

looks like a super trip what amazing food sk

I am Harriet said...

The naked cowgirl- too funny. Bet she gets better tips than the naked cowboy.

Looks like you had a wonderful time!

Enjoy your Thursday!

Shelley Munro said...

Julia, I loved experiencing your visit to New York through this post. I think I need to cook Italian for dinner tonight!

Darla M Sands said...

You're making me want to visit the Big Apple more than ever! Thanks for this. Happy TT!

Linda said...

Hugh Jackman and really good food - I think that you and I were channeling each other though I went to Canada and you went to America!

You are SO much better at describing your food than I am, though, so you can really tell who's the professional writer and who just likes to eat! Your descriptions make me want to head south about 150 miles and hit up some of those restaurants you went to but I'll restrain myself simply because I am a) broke and b) have to work tomorrow!

As for Naked Cowgirl ... yea, I'll pass!

Joy Renee said...

oy I'm faint with hunger!!!

I've loved New York from afar for years and have sought out films and TV shows set in New Your Just so I can wander the streets and parks and restaurants. Probably tho I prefer the virtual to the reality as I get anxious just walking out to the sidewalk on the serene suburban street where I am visiting--where I lived with my parents the last several years before leaving home

I saw Kate & Leopold for the first time just last week as the latest in my attempt to catch every Meg Ryan film. But I'm going to have to see it again as I was busy packing for this trip and kept missing crucial things and had to repeatedly rewind.

I started work on my TT just after dinner and due to some frustrations and mishaps did not finish the photo shoot for it until after midnight and then it took another three hours to prep the photos and upload them and write the descriptions. So technically it wasn't Thursday anymore LOL. Mine features 13 of my crochet bookmark patterns.

I forgot to mention the other day that I love your blog's new look.

Travis Cody said...

I do recall that the food was always "fall over thud" in New York. Even something as simple as a bagel from a street cart was never all that simple.