I met my friend Marianela in Buenos Aires, Argentina while I was on an international assignment for my day job. We worked on the same floor and we quickly became the best of friends, because according to both of us, “We are Taruses”.
Since my international assignment, I have returned to the state of North Carolina but Marianela quit her job and moved to Brooklyn to find work in NYC. I had not seen my friend in about a year, so I planned a weekend trip to the city.
I have to say I have great admiration for her making that move. At one time, eight years ago, I too, quit my job and moved to the big city in hopes of starting fresh and chasing an old dream of mine of breaking into the fashion industry in some shape or form. Only my closest friends knew this was my ultimate dream. I will tell you, when I spent a couple weeks looking for a place to stay, I quickly got overwhelmed by the high cost of living, how I would need to down size from a three bedroom apartment to perhaps a 300 square foot living space and last that I did not have a job.
I have much respect for those that venture out to NYC and attempt to make a life and pursue their dreams. Everything happens for a reason and although I did not fulfill my career aspirations in fashion, I did accomplish one of my other dreams which was traveling to Latin America and living there for six months during an international work assignment in Argentina. I have a great appreciation and love for Argentina. It truly felt like home, plus I met my wonderful friend.
Now that my Argentine bff was in the US, I was off to one of my other favorite cities to visit her. Having been on several trips to NYC before, I challenged myself to not take any taxis on this particular trip. I have to say I am quite spoiled, but made the decision to take a bus from the airport to Grand Central Station and walk to my hotel. I also used the subway each and every time I had to meet with Marianela for lunch or dinner. I even was able to make the short trek to Brooklyn, all on my own…using the subway of course.
My weekend in NYC was from beginning to end a total foodie’s experience. We did it all, from doughnuts to ice cream to dining at some great hot spots. When I first arrived in NYC,I had a lovely lunch at Rosemary’s Enoteca & Trattoria Greenwhich Ave. I had the kale celery Caesar salad which had kale, celery, celery root, anchovies and breadcrumbs. My main dish was chitarra alla carbornara with guanciale, scallions and pecorino romano. Funny enough, when I was done with my main course, the waiter brought me my check. I had to ask for the dessert menu….I guess he did not know he was dealing with a girl from the south. We like our dessert. For dessert I ordered the chocolate hazelnut semifreddo. The whole experience was lovely and each dish was delicate and delicious.
Now it was time to meet Marianela at Levain Bakery. I did not know what I was getting into. In retrospect, I should not have had such a large lunch at Rosemary’s. Levain Bakery is a small locale on the Upper West Side. Small as it may be, this bakery attracts a large crowd, from devoted locals to tourists. There are about four to five bar stools where you can sit and munch on your cookies inside the bakery, but chances are you will not find a free spot. You might have to get your cookies to go, and munch on them while you walk the beautiful city. My favorite cookie at Levain is the chocolate peanut butter chip. If you can’t make the trek to New York for these cookies, no sweat, you can order them online. Here’s the link: http://www.levainbakery.com/store/all-products.html?view=online)
Dinner in New York City is always special. The hardest part for me is deciding between checking out an old favorite joint or the newest hot spot. Luckily, I had a chance to do both. I hit one of my old favorites, The Spotted Pig, on Greeenwich St. & 11th St. This place is the epitome of cool. Chef and co-owner April Bloomfield offers seasonal British & Italian cuisine using local ingredients when possible. They also incorporate the foods grown on their rooftop garden. A thing to know is that there will likely be a wait to be seated. If you are not in a hurry then sit back, have a cocktail or two, chill and build up that appetite. Once we were seated, we started off with the deviled eggs. I know this may see elementary to some foodies, but you have not tasted deviled eggs until you have had them here…trust me. We also had the sheep’s milk ricotta gnudi with basil pesto. First of all, this was my first taste of real ricotta. Store bought is not even 1/10th of the flavors that embody this ricotta. It was superb and dangerously addictive. Aside from the deviled eggs, one item on the menu that I have not yet seen change is the chargrilled burger with Roquefort cheese & shoestring fries. I always order this entrée at The Spotted Pig, no matter how tempting the other dishes may be. My trips to NYC are never complete without a visit here. Next time, I will aim to have brunch at The Spotted Pig, which I hear is nothing less than spectacular. My must try, the Cubano sandwich with watercress salad.
My second dinner in NYC was at Locanda Verde located in Tribeca. We arrived earlier than our scheduled reservation, so we had a cocktail while we took in the ambiance. The restaurant was romantic and sexy. Unfortunately for me, I was not on a date. That’s ok though, I was in good company and boy did we indulge. After falling head over heels and tasting real ricotta, we had to order crostini and the sheep’s milk ricotta with sea salt and herbs. Equally delicious and addictive. We also ordered the lamb meatball sliders with caprino and cucumber and pappardelle with lamb bolognese, mint and sheep’s milk ricotta. Notice a pattern here?….I have become a lamb & ricotta fanatic. The entire experience was lovely, as dinner in the city should be…