Monday, September 30, 2013

NYC Loves...

Morning, everyone!  How ya'll doin??  Sorry about my lack of post on Friday, but my RE-ignited allergies combined with 2 fun days of running errands & Cracker Barrel breakfast with Katie & my Mom...

(while having what I wanted without going overboard...like 1 & 1/2 biscuits/1 turkey sausage)
...the end of the week was kind of just a blur of shoe stores for Katie and MORE antihistamines!  

Although I thought you'd like to see one dinner highlight which involved some STILL tasty corn on the cob...which Katie enjoyed so much that she, um, hugged it... 

...and then pet it...??  I can't.
I think I can safely say I passed on my love of food to her, no?J

Saturday morning was an absolutely STUNNING Fall day, which was the perfect time for us to sneak a quick trip to NYC in with some friends.  Of which the main event was heading downtown to see the World Trade Center Memorial for the first time. 

To say it was an overwhelming, somber and heartbreaking experience is an understatement. 

But NY has left an absolutely GORGEOUS tribute in its place. 


My Mom & I made several trips down to Ground Zero in the months after (and spent 4 consecutive years on the anniversary in Yankee Stadium, now that I think of it) and I still remember the haunting feeling of seeing bustling NY streets turned into a ghost town covered in a blanket of ash.  Seeing windows of shops in the neighborhood completely empty as they had been swiftly abandoned in the aftermath.  The smell of smoke that lingered for months and at least for a mile around the area.  And getting glimpses of the devastation between buildings.

To be standing on the opposing side of those fleeting glimpses we caught 12 years ago and seeing what exists now is somewhat uplifting in the face of devastation.  The memorial stands as a tribute to what was lost and the freedom tower looms towards a rebuilt future.

As always:
Everyone needs to pay a visit at least once.  It really puts things in perspective, not to mention seeing the strength that can rise from sadness.

After paying our respects, the rest of the day was much more lighthearted...starting with a visit to one of our perennial favorites:  Lombardi's Pizza...

Lombardi's stands as the oldest Pizza place in the US.  

Although that fact DOES come with an asterisks, as it had closed at one point and another pizza shop lays claims to being the oldest CONTINUALLY running place.  
And guess where THAT place is??  That's right:  Right here in NJ at Pappa's Pizza!  I always say we are spoiled in this state for having some of the best food on the planetJ

After pizza, we headed to something that had been ON MY LIST for awhile now:
Skeptical?  Just check out their menu and tell me you won't be RUNNING there the next time you're in NYC!  And if you don't get to check out a menu before hand, rest assured there will be a 'colorful character' waiting outside to help you outJ  Totally completes the experience, just trust me on that oneJ 

Even though it was a TOUGH pick, I knew there was NO WAY I was walking out of that place without trying the sweet & salty combo known as the Salty Pimp! 
That's right:  Salty Pimp.  The humor of which was equally matched when a curious gentleman walked by and asked what I was having.  As you can imagine, my answer was certainly followed up with an "Excuse me?"  Yup, sir, ya heard me rightJ

OK...seriously, Dulce de leche INFUSED ice cream sprinkled with sea salt and DIPPED in chocolate... 

You had me at chocolate & salt....is there really anything better??  And when I say infused with dulce de leche, I mean it!  You got bites throughout the whole cone.  
This may or may not have led me to scream "do I ever steer you wrong??" at my friend on the street.  Only mildly embarrassingJ 

I also got a sample of Scott's "Monday Sunday" which was twist ice cream, mixed with dulce de leche in a NUTELLA lined cone.  I mean....

We made one more stop and then started to head home, stopping to catch a glimpse of that famous and ALWAYS stunning skyline at sunset.
  
This is the mere definition of a million dollar view. 

And our one last stop in NYC on Saturday led to a TREAT de jour on Sunday morning! 
If you follow dessert trends in ANY capacity (and who doesn't?J) you'll know that the CRONUT has taken the world by storm.  Ansel's bakery on Spring Street (up the road from Lombardi's, actually) is now known for lines that form at 5am for their signature (AND NOW TRADEMARKED!) doughnut/croissant hybrid.

We did NOT arrive at 5am, therefore we had to sample one of the city's many knock offs...and my friend recommended Chickalicious Dessert Club for their delicious (and non-5am waiting period) creations known as Dough'ssants...

Dough'ssants are many thin croissant layers filled with cream.  I grabbed a chocolate & creme brulee for us to sample. 

I loved the creme brulee filled with vanilla cream and topped with a little burnt sugar...

....but I would say Katie's chocolate lips indicated she liked her sample of the chocolate variety...
They were VERY very good.  Not necessarily a "3-hour waiting in line good," but delicious.  (made me think of my beloved and SIMILAR Morning Bun from Tartine Bakery in San FranciscoJ)

We rounded out the weekend with a cure-all from my overall feeling of allergy LOUSINESS:  Chicken & Dumpling Soup!

It was a 'lazy Sunday' EVENT from making my own stock, but taking a simpler route of whipping up the dumplings in my food processor and dropping them by small rounds into the pot to cook up. 

This smelled SO good while it slow simmered nearly ALL day in my kitchen and thankfully the finished product lived up to the preview.  Warm, cozy and felt like a big hug...this soup is soooo going to be making many an appearance from now till March!

And we finished off the weekend with ONE more treat from Chickalicious.  You see the shop is ABSURDLY tiny and even though the line didn't seem THAT long, it felt like it took FOREVER to place our order (even WITHOUT the 5am calltime!J)  As we got closer to the cashier, I could see why:  aside from the dough'ssants, the staff was HAND packing orders of some exquisitely intricate desserts (Jack Daniel's Bread Pudding, anyone??)  So after waiting THAT long, I thought I'd toss this vanilla bean crepe cake in along with my order...
Crepe cake is a PAIN to make, so I was A-OK with taking the easy route and enjoying the hard work of someone ELSE for a changeJ  The crepes were airy and delicate and filled with vanilla bean creme.  The beans actually CRUNCHED when you bit into the cake...fancy!  (Scott's saving his 1/2 of this cake for another day...he had a different treat last night that I'm sure I'll be sharing here soonJ)

Alright, as usual, I've talked enough for this Monday.  In full disclosure, I will say that aside from NY & park walking there was not much other exercise since I felt so run down most of the weekend.  But the scale WAS still friendly this morning from trying to keep all my meals balanced with lots of veggies in between all that pizza & sugar.  I had my treats (TRYING to stop when I was full), but ate normal the rest of the time.  Staying on track instead of blowing the ENTIRE day/weekend REALLY does make a difference.  Just thought I'd shareJ

Have a good Monday!J
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