Return to a Beloved Place

For a break from the snow, if you live in the Northern hemisphere, conventional wisdom would tell you to go head south. But over the President’s Day weekend, my parents were hit with six inches of snow in Mississippi and that snowstorm pummelled the Southeast. So instead, David and I headed north, for my first return trip to New York City since I moved out of Manhattan nearly five years ago. I can’t believe that it has been that long. Going to New York was returning to an old lover; sometimes reminding you vividly of all of the things that you loved and admired, but then shocking you with the aspects of itself that made you keenly aware that you needed to leave. When I was there, there were moments that I felt like I never left at all. There were moments that made me feel like I was crazy to ever leave my tiny little abode on East 83rd Street. Then, there were moments that touched on the reasons why I felt I had to get out when I did. These were the thoughts that I thought I would blog about. But I am not going to blog about that today, perhaps because it is an entirely emotionally disjointed mess that I haven’t made sense of in my mind (kind of like my entire existence in the city).

Instead, I will focus on a few of the things that I loved to do so much in the city, namely, shop and eat. It is easier to just talk about the shallow, pleasurable things that play to the much simpler Epicurean modes of existence. There was plenty of good shopping and good eating to be had on the trip.

First, we stayed in Midtown at Le Parker Meridien Hotel. We were on the 33rd floor and it was the first time in my life I have stayed anywhere that I have had a Park view from my room. Thanks David, for the ample supply of Starwood points that made this possible:

On Saturday, we hit a perennial favorite, Sarabeth’s for breakfast. I have been to the Eastside and Westside locations, but this was my first visit to Central Park South. I can’t help it. I still crave that Cinnamon French Toast with bananas. Even though Sarabeth’s prices have increased exponentially in the past five years, the French Toast is still worth it.

After breakfast, we headed to FAO Schwartz to do some shopping for nieces and nephews (and perhaps a little doggie as well) before we headed down to Brooklyn to meet our DC friends Matt and Erin at the waffle truck in Park Slope:

They sell some very authentic Belgian waffles, so we had second breakfast there while indulging, as Erin demonstrates below:

We ate a few tacos at La Taqueria in Park Slope before heading back to Manhattan. We made a quick stop at Century 21 where David could load up on pocket squares and ties before heading back to Midtown. After a quick break, we headed through a snowy Central Park:

Our destination this time was La Maison du Chocolat on Madison Avenue, where we indulged in decadent dark hot chocolate and David purchased me a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Perfect chocolate!

Finally, we spent a little while in the lobby of our hotel resting our feet with Matt and Erin (and giving our food some time to digest). David demonstrates the exhaustion that was felt by this point in the early evening:

That night for dinner, David made reservations at Antica Venezia down in the Meatpacking District. It was simply superb, and was the best Italian meal I have had in quite some time, perhaps ever. The chopped Sicilian salad alone was reason enough to love this place, and that doesn’t even touch on the deliciousness of everything else I ate there. The service was fantastic for a Manhattan restaurant, I must add.
On Sunday, after Sacrament Meeting on the Upper East Side, we strolled through my old neighborhood in search of a familiar lunch. Five years is a long time and as it turns out, many of the restaurants have changed. But we did stumble upon the best taqueria I have ever experienced in Manhattan: Cascabel. If I still lived on East 83rd, I might eat their vegetable tamales and made to order tostadas every single day. Finally, good tacos in Manhattan!

We spent the afternoon shopping for a Valentines Day combination of cold weather and warm weather goods. For the seemingly never-ending winter on the East Coast, I purchased a new coat from Burberry. In the anticipation of warm weather ahead, I picked up some new sunglasses and topsiders from Bloomingdales.

For Valentine’s Day dinner, we did the Prix Fixe menu at Hearth, in the East Village. To be expected, my favorite course was the dessert course. The chocolate souffle was delicious on its own, but combined with cardamom infused creme anglaise, it was spectacular. It was a great way to finish off a delicious weekend of New York City eating.

Thank you, New York, for reminding me of all of the reasons that I love you (even if you also gave me moments that reminded me of reasons that required us to be parted from a permanent relationship). New York, I still love you, but you can weigh me down.

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