Monday, February 4, 2008

I Love NY

This was the first time I have been to New York with the kids. It was a short trip, but I was hoping they would love it. By the end of the 5th day, as we headed towards the airport, both of them mentioned that they did not want to leave. They also wanted to know why everyone was so polite. Yep, we did not run into the New York stereotype (well one little bit, but the kids did not see it and it was over a cab).

There are so many things I could pick out about this place that makes it great that it would be impossible for me to keep this relatively short. So, I thought maybe I could just write about the exceptional experiences that we shared this time.

Jacque Torres Chocolate - Mr. Chocolate himself was at the store we visited. While I downed what could be one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had, first his manager came by and gave my kids some chocolate on a stick, and then he himself came by and gave them some more. I swear I did not see this guy loose his smile the whole time he was there. It was contagious and all of us were smiling while enjoying our chocolate. If you are ever in town you have to visit his chocolate factory.

Rice to Riches - Talk about turning an old dessert into a novelty. They have managed to turn rice pudding (arroz con leche) on its head. The place looks fantastic and better yet, the rice pudding is the bomb! I had a dark chocolate with hazelnut pudding. They give it to you in this really cool Tupperware type container that you can take with you. I brought mine back with me. This is a must stop if you are ever there. I have to admit that someone wrote to me telling me that my store reminded him of the Rice to Riches store in New York. Having seen it first hand, I am so honored that he would pay me such a great compliment.

Madeline Tea Party at the Carlyle Hotel - What does Madeline have to do with The Carlyle in New York? Well, there is a room that was painted with murals by the illustrator author Ludwig Bemelmans. The murals are mostly New York Central Park scenery, but if you look closely you will find Madeline in there. Meanwhile, the pianist was fun and the food was great. The little ones could choose scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, shrimp, cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, M&M's, gummy bears, etc. while they listened or danced to live music.

One new restaurant for us was Isle of Capri. We had not heard of it or anything. We were simply walking along and decided to try it. It is a family run, small Italian restaurant and the food was first rate. I had veal Parmesan that was one of the best veal dishes I have had. My kids tried some of mine and they liked it as well. The little one thought (and most likely still thinks) it was a pizza.

Another new restaurant, for me and the kids anyway, was Alfredo of Rome. I ordered their Fettuccini Alfredo and I have to say it was the best one I have ever had. I actually ordered Trittico di Pasta (fettucini alfredo, lasagna, and veal ravioli). The small portion of the fettucini left me with the desire for more, but that was my choice. I will just have to go back one day and have that as an appetizer followed by chicken marinated in lemon and rosemary. I can`t wait!

The American Museum of Natural History was mandatory stop since the kids saw the movie Night at the Museum. It was a great museum and I am glad they insisted on going there.

I also got to see a dear friend of mine from Chicago, who is now living in New York. She asked me what the things that I missed from home were. I gave her a short list and now I have had a little time to think about it a little more. Here is what I should have answered:

I miss driving with the windows down as well as driving in the States in general. I guess everything car related really.

I miss bagels

I miss cheesecake

I miss cereal and milk (Yes they do have milk in Argentina, I am just not used to the taste of it; this is not a quality issue, just my problem.)

I miss my family and my friends

I miss the cleanliness of my outdoor surroundings. Yeah, Chicago, especially where I lived, seemed much cleaner and green. I lived in Wrigleyville nearby Belmont and Southport.

I miss having an almost unlimited choice of beers to try. You know there are bars that have over 100 different beers?

I miss spicy food and authentic ethnic foods of all kinds. Buenos Aires is getting better in this area, but it is still a long way off from the restaurant scene in New York and Chicago in regards to authentic ethnic restaurants.

I miss the ease of shopping. By this I mean that there is so much variety, sizes, colors, convenience, innovation, etc. and if for whatever reason you messed up, you can return it. The kids are not always in the mood for trying out clothes at the actual store. We bought them and they would try them on at the hotel the next day. If we needed to return or exchange something we would just go back and do so with no problems. In fact, we could even buy stuff in one state and return or exchange it at a branch in a different state. Everything was just so easy.

Sometimes I miss snow, but then I get over that one quite quickly.

I miss the Chicago lakefront in the summer, and pumpkin patches in the fall

Chicago deep-dish pizza. There is just nothing like this here in Buenos Aires. Again, like the milk, this one is just something I have to live without. So, everytime I go back, I have to stop by my favorite Lou Malnati´s.

For the second leg of our vacation we went to Disneyland. I will write about that in a separate post. In that one I could write about the things I missed about Argentina to give a counter-point to this little list, and in fact, I did honestly start missing some things.
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