New York City and a birthday

Friday night we took advantage of having nothing to do and relaxed, it would be our only chance all weekend. I made Reubens for dinner, and we read for a while, then I surfed for hours.

Saturday we were out the door by 6:30, headed into DC to catch an 8:20 train to New York. It was blissful, left right on time and got to Penn Station right before noon on schedule. We were hungry and decided to get lunch on the way to the hotel. I’d researched a couple options and we agreed on Szechuan Gourmet. Jill had some wonton soup and I had the egg drop soup, good start as it was jacket weather outside. She then had the stir fry chicken and green beans while I got the fried chicken and roasted chilies – it was really good and really spicy. We also stopped by The Ginger Man, home to possibly the most beers on tap I’ve ever seen (Jill liked the Sierra Imperial Smoked Porter, while I enjoyed the cask conditioned Hook Norton Hooky Gold, as well as the chance to have Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo on draft).

We got to the hotel a little before check in, but they were ready for us. It was a nice little place that had popped up on my weekly Travelzoo email when I was looking for places to stay, and it was a nice place for a low price. We showered and changed, then caught a cab over to MoMA. I’m not a big fan (last time Jill went with Jess), but she likes it, plus the place I picked for dinner was there. We hit several exhibitions and the stores, but nothing really stood out.

Dinner at The Modern didn’t disappoint, though. We shared four small plates, all very good. The Tarte flambée was pretty big, but light, and went nicely with the Winter Green Salad. Jill enjoyed her Wild Mushroom Soup and I really liked the Roasted Long Island Duck Breast (with peppercorn-crusted apples and toasted pistachio-truffle dipping sauce – yum!). For dessert we split the Apple Strudel that came with prune Armagnac ice cream (a variation on rum raisin).

I think I want to do a play by play of the concert tomorrow, this barely does it justice and I don’t have the time tonight. Suffice it to say it was stupendous – already at least in the top ten of shows I’ve seen (and that’s a lot, I’m thinking of doing the top 25 in September when the 25th anniversary of my first show rolls around).

Afterwards we were pretty euphoric, and headed over to the nearby Heartland Brewery we’d eaten at last time we were in the city. In addition to brewing their own beers, they pair liqueurs and beers, and that sounded good to us right then. We walked back to the hotel after that – we tried a cab, but the one that pulled over told us it was a busy night and it would be $10 each (since it cost us $7 total the other way, we declined). We went straight to bed, as it was another early morning (although not as bad).

Today we got up and checked out, then caught a cab over to Penn Station. We had breakfast from Zaro’s Bakery (I think I don’t like NY bagels – too chewy for my taste, plus no one had English muffins for egg sandwiches, my usual preference). It was another easy train ride down to DC (I may never fly to NY again) and we were home by 2.

Illa was crazy, so we took him on a run/walk, then showered and changed. It was my Dad’s birthday and my sister may be out of town for 2-3 weeks, so we had to celebrate tonight. Illa was excited to see Tati, but I was not excited to see Mom’s charcoal grill – with the wind, it took nearly an hour to get it going properly. The steaks turned out ok, and it was a fun evening (except for Illa trying to get to Sharon’s cat).