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.


Anonymous said...

Hi Frank.

Sounds like you had a great time in NYC. I have only been briefly a few times.

I have not been Chicago yet; a good friend moved there recently.

Anonymous said...

So you are missing beer? Maybe this pub may help:
Haven't been there yet, but it was mentioned in a NYTimes article about the Boedo barrio (see the goodairs blog) and I will definitely give it a try soon...

Unknown said...

Hi Manjit,

You are sure to love it if you go visit your friend.

Hi Benco,

I have heard good things about that pub. I will also be trying it out.

Holly said...

Why not try and make cheesecake? Mi mamá has been playing around with making various cheesecakes and it is pretty simple, bake or no-bake. Only the toppings is where she is having troubles perfecting :( As for restaurants serving authentic cheesecake, as restaurant up the street from us serves a delectable one. Although the name of the restaurant escapes me.

Unknown said...

Hi Isabelita,

Actually, the wife does make what I consider the best cheesecake I have ever tasted anywhere.

We used to actually sell them before there was a supply problem with Philly Cheese. After they stopped importing it from the States, we decided we did not want to rely on that product being/not being available.

Currently Kraft now imports the soft version (and smaller) from Brazil.

I was mostly missing out on new flavors that sometimes you run into and you just have to try. The latest one was from The Cheesecake Factory that made a Godiva Chocolate cheesecake that was fantastic.

On this last trip I did manage to hunt one down so I got my fix for now.

Holly said...

Ooooh you are lucky like mi papá to have a mujer to make you cheesecake!

Queso Blanco, Casancrem and Mendicreme works really well tambien. Hablamos of all these lacteos is making me hungry. I am gonna cry now and get mi some leche!

Unknown said...

Actually you guys are the lucky ones because you like those alternatives.

One other different type of cheesecake is a ricotta cheesecake. That one is also yummy, and ricotta is readily available.

Holly said...

Sí, mi mamá was addicted to making and eating ricotta cheesecake when I was in her tummy. She has a good and easy recipe here:

Unknown said...

It sure looks yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I am sure you are going to love it when she makes it for you.

♥♥♥ A- Licious ♥♥♥ said...

wow...great post!!! :o)
i miss NY....used to go so much.

awesome sharing!

a-licious xoxo

Recursos para tu blog - Ferip - said...

Hola vecino! Qué sorpresa!!!! Y qué alegría!
Volviste de las vacaciones????
Lo pasaste lindo?

Bueno, espero que el tiempo de trabajo sea muy productivo este año, que te vaya muy bien...Cómo crecen esas torres!

Un abrazo que casi te lo me estiro un poquito! :)

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Glad to read that you get over your "snow" thoughts quickly. I live in Maine and let me tell you (as we get buried under more and more of the wretched white stuff) it is totally overrated.

Great blog - stumbled over from a-licious....I'll be back!


Unknown said...

Hi Hallie,

You are so right. It´s just so easy to look longingly at it from a distance.

Your site made me laugh (the pooping post). I will be visiting yours as well again.

♥♥♥ A- Licious ♥♥♥ said...

hey! frank!

you came to see me!

i am so excited! yay!

i had nooooo idea!

woo hoo!

im all smiles now!

(ps i shouted you out via my blog today!) [yay!]

;o) a-licious xoxoxoxox

Anonymous said...

You made me miss NYC and Chicago and I live in DC and get to both pretty regularly! I don't know though about the Chicago deep dish. I respect those of you from there feel some doughy dedication to that pizza-type. But give me Johns from NYC anyday of the week. (In fact my wife and son are there right now while I waste away in pizza-less DC).

Unknown said...

Hi John,

Actually, it´s not so much doughy as it is cheesy, saucy, doughy,...the whole package basically.

I discovered New York late in life so it´s basically virgin territory for me. In fact, I have never had John´s pizza in my life. Can you believe that? I will have to check that out though.

Anonymous said...

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

<--- Whenever Im in the area I always get some for me and my kids.

lisawho? said...

Sounds like a cool trip! I love that food was such an important part of your visit!

Pizza...I have found that the farther you venture from Chicago the worse the pizza is. Why can't anyone outside of this town learn how to cook pizza? Is it that hard? I think even NY has a thing or two to learn.
Just me.
When did you live in Wriglyville? I missed that entire part of your life. Maybe it was while I was in River North? The 90's?
I used to live in Roger's Park as well and took LSD to 290 every morning commute. The lake is gorgeous every day of the year. I miss that.

Unknown said...

Hi Lisa,

I know what you mean, I do really. I have also developed a taste for some different variety or styles of pizza as well though. That is why I really liked the pizza that I had in New York and I am sure there are some more gems to discover there. However, I have found no where else anything resembling the taste of the Chicago deep dish pizza.

As for Chicago, I moved into the city after you left our mutual "friend". I lived with Scotty over by Lincoln and Western first. When I moved in with Fabiana we first lived together in a downtown high-rise and then we moved out to Wrigleville. I was walking distance to Smartbar, or should I say crawling distance.

I would have loved to have stayed in contact with you then. I did miss you.

Longhorn Dave said...

Hey frank:

It is funny you miss the spicy stuff too. The other day, my daughter asked me if there was anything I missed from back home. I couldn't really think of anything... Except, spicy food! As a Texan, that goes without saying.

Unknown said...

Hi Longhorn,

Yep, that's a big one. I have resorted to growing my own peppers. I can't wait for the first harvest!

Also, I always have some olive oil with pepperoncino stocked for my pizzas and pastas.

Anonymous said...

I miss peppers too. My veggie stand sells some small red chilies and large green mild ones. I made a picante curry the other night. Wish there was more spicy, knock your socks off, food here.

When I was growing up in Peoria, IL, the pizza joints made more St. Louis style--thin crust and super juicy. One of the restaurants there is known for selling red salad dressing to dip the pizza in. Good pizza is what I miss most from home.