purse remnants from my NYC trip

Guess where I’ve been! It’s not much of a mystery, obviously. But, it’s been a long time since I’ve done ANYTHING at all…and suddenly I’m feeling alive and involved once again. I didn’t realize the long-term impact of my sister’s death until I looked back and recognized that I’ve been in a cave since late February. I will always miss her, but I can now feel everything sort of shifting into place, and life going on – the way it is supposed to.

My little sister, Bunnie, had invited me to join her, some long-time friends and most of her family in the city for the Memorial Day weekend. My daughter’s recent employment with an airline has given me access to really, really cheap airfares. I hadn’t tried to use my flight privileges before…but I figured there was no time like the present. So…I went! It was easy. And pleasant. Enough so that I followed up with a trip the following week, but that’s another story!

I’d been to NYC a few times and didn’t have a lot on my “to do” list. So, I made a NEW list – this one focusing on food. Oh, my! Some of it was memorable. A lot of it turned out to be totally forgettable. But, the quest was the fun part…and I DID have a quest. This is going to take a few posts. I’ll start with our first night in the city – Thursday.

I landed in Newark and took NJ Transit to Penn Station. I really don’t like taking cabs and buses, so this is my favorite way into the city. Flying into Laguardia just doesn’t seem as handy. And let’s just not even discuss Kennedy. Ugh!

When I got to Penn Station, I realized I was hungry. I almost NEVER eat a hot dog. But, when in New York…how can you NOT? I stopped at Nathan’s before hitting the street. There’s no snap like the one you get from that first bite into a Nathan’s dog. Just onions, mustard and relish complete the treat. YUM!

Not being familiar with the apartment we were borrowing for the weekend, I opted for the dreaded cab ride to the East Village. It wasn’t too bad, but it was my only cab ride of the trip. I’m a subway girl…when I’m not hoofing it. More about that later….

Once we had all arrived and settled a bit, it was time to think about dinner. The consensus was that we were hungry for Italian, and since we were a bit weary, we chose a place nearby – Piola on 12th st. It’s a chain, but I didn’t realize it at the time. It didn’t feel like one, and I like the art displayed on the walls.

They claim to be famous for pizza, but we all chose something else. My niece said they had the best gnocci she had ever tasted, and I have to admit, they were pretty good. But, gnocci ain’t my thang. I had the Pollo Piola, described as a chicken breast roll filled with spinach and ricotta cheese, sauteed in a creamy mushroom sauce, served with peperonata. It was OK…but not an eye-roller. The mushrooms were pretty scarce, and the chicken was dry. It needed more sauce to offset the dryness of the chicken…but what was there was pretty tasty. They were generous with the bread and olive oil, and that goes a long way with me!

Afterward…the evening turned out to be all about dessert. We walked a block or so to Stand 4 I stumbled upon this place in my search for the hamburger to end all hamburgers (I didn’t find it on this trip, BTW.) The burger search led to raves about Stand 4’s toasted marshmallow shakes.

Oh…my! I now have a “must have” for subsequent trips to NYC. The larger one is $7, and I was wishing they’d had an even bigger one! These things are to die for! Other members of our group tried other flavors and had good things to say about their choices as well. But for me…it’s Toasted Marshmallow Gelato Shake. Unforgettable!

We waddled back to 11th street and crawled into bed to rest up for our first full day in the city, which included brunch at Norma’s, a trip to Rockefeller Center and walking the entire length of Central Park. We engaged in a little general rubber-necking. And food and drink, of course.

Much more to come!


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