Thursday, October 16, 2008

New York City Fun!

Lots of "firsts" for me this past weekend. First time in New York City. First time seeing the Statue of Liberty. First time riding in a subway (2nd time if you consider the El in Chicago). First time on National TV. First time eating caviar.


I lived a pretty sheltered life growing up. My parents and I never took trips anywhere. We went to Disney World when I was 12 years old, but that was it. All of our other family vacations consisted of going up to a lake in the summer and fishing. Going to Disney World was my first plane ride. I wouldn't ride in a plane again until my senior year of college when a prospective employer flew me down from Fargo to Minneapolis. I have never been out of the USA. Actually, I take that back. I think we may have driven across the Canadian border up in the north shore of Lake Superior for 10 minutes once when we were kids, just so we could say we've been to Canada. Sad, huh?

Things have gotten better over the years, but I still haven't traveled much. If you don't count Wisconsin (and who does?), the only places I've been to East of the Mississippi are Florida and Chicago. So it's safe to say I was really excited about going to NYC this past weekend.

We flew in late Friday afternoon, and the excitement started right away. We hoped in a car at the airport and made it into Manhattan in what seemed like record time. If there was any open space anywhere on the road in front of us, our driver would take it. No one on the shoulder? No problem, it's wide enough to drive on. My wife didn't think too much of the drive in, but I thought it was fun.

Once we got into NYC, we met up with my wife's friend who we were staying with at a hotel near Madison Square Garden. We headed on down to Korea town, and we had an excellent meal at a place called Schoo Roo Mi. We ordered up some Korean BBQ, and it was delicious. We then got onto the subway and headed down to Times Square and wandered around, went into a few shops, and picked up dessert. I have to say, I thought there were a lot of people walking around in Vegas, but it's nothing compared to the amount of people out-and-about in NYC.

On Saturday we heading on down to Battery Park to wait in line for the Statue of Liberty tours. On our way there, we got off on the Wall Street subway station. It was like a ghost town down there. No cars, no people. It was strange. Every where else in Manhattan had tons and tons of people. You'd think that with all the mess going on with the market, people would maybe be working on the weekends, haha.


So we did tours of the Statue and Ellis Island. It was a beautiful day and perfect for touring these two areas. After this, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for Broadway Musical #1: Spamalot. For dinner, we ate a the Firebird Restaurant on 46th street. Firebird is fancy Russian place, and it was excellent. Their drink speciality is a martini called The Tsartini. It is made from Honey-infused Vodka, with a splash of lime juice and some cinnamon. Oh man, it was the best drink I've ever had. I had to have two! Along with that, I had the Firebird Blini for an appetizer. Blini is the Russian crepe, and you fill it with caviar and sour cream. This was the first time I've ever eaten caviar. I'm not sure that I am a big fan of caviar. It had a little bit too much of a fishy taste for my liking. For the main course, I had their Kulebiaka Iz Lososini, which is Salmon baked in a puff pastry on a bed of wilted spinach. It was most excellent. This place was awesome, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area.

After dinner was Spamalot starring Clay Aiken! Other than the 6'10" guy sitting right in front of us, it was a great show. Even my wife, who had not seen the movie before, thought it was really good.

Sunday started off with brunch with my cousin at Pastis, a french bistro in the meat packing district. Apparently this area is the new trendy area of Manhattan, and my cousin told me that she wouldn't be surprised if we saw celebrities in there eating. Sure enough, we saw Philip Seymour Hoffman and then there was some famous designer guy, Isaac Mizrahi or something like that. After brunch, we walked through the shops of the Chelsea Market, which is located in an old Nabisco plant. Very cool.

The rest of the day, we just wondered around Manhattan, going through SoHo, Chinatown, and Little Italy. We ate lunch at a little corner Mexican place called La Esquina. Apparently Jennifer Anniston was there just a few hours after we were there. Later on in the afternoon, we had dessert at a nice Italian place in Little Italy.

We didn't have any plans for Sunday night, so we just took it easy and went and had Japanese food at a place called Shima in the East Village. I had a combo meal which included Sashimi and teriyaki among other things. This was just the 3rd time for me eating Sushi, and it excellent. I think salmon sushi is my favorite. Mmmmm, melts in your mouth.

Monday started out really early as we decided to get up and go see the Today show over at Rockefeller Plaza. We got there about 15 minutes before the start of the show, and was still able to get a good spot in the plaza. They didn't do too many segments outside, but it was still fun to experience it. I was on TV in the background about three separate times. I'll have to figure out how to get the show off of DVR and onto youtube or something like that. I also got to meet Lenny, the Today show super fan!


The rest of Monday morning/afternoon was spent around the Rockefeller plaza area. We went up to the top of the rock and did a tour of the NBC studios. They showed us the SNL stage, and wow, is it small. I didn't expect that. After that, we walked up to central park and did a quick carriage ride through the park (what a rip off. Those guys are a bunch of scammers).

Monday night was Broadway Musical #2: Phantom of the Opera. But first, we had dinner at John's Pizzeria, which was right across the street from the theater. The Pizzeria is located in an old church and very cool. The pizza was of course excellent, along with some Brooklyn Lager. Mmmmmm. the musical was pretty good. The seats were really comfortable at the Majestic, so that was nice. Act 1 of Phantom is better than Act 2 though. Maybe it had to do with me not recognizing many of the songs in Act 2. Oh well, it was still very good.

Tuesday was our last day, but we still had time before out 6 PM flight. We spent the morning at the Museum of Natural History and Central Park. here's a picture from Strawberry Fields.

For lunch, we went down to the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park off of 24th st. Apparently this place is really popular, and the food did not disappoint. One of the best burgers I've ever had.

So New York was really fun. I'm looking forward to going back some day soon. We had awesome weather every single day. We didn't see a cloud in the sky until Monday. You couldn't really ask for better. The food was excellent, the entertainment was excellent. Now if I could only figure out how to make my own Honey-infused vodka........

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As far as poker goes, I've played two quick sessions since I've been back, and have done pretty well, winning a couple buy-ins. Tomorrow, I am taking the day off to go play in a Canterbury Fall Classic Event up in Shakopee. Last year I busted out a couple tables short of the money. I plan on playing really aggressive early hoping to get a nice stack early on. Blinds start to go up really fast in these things, so getting a stack early in these things is important.

Cheers!

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4 Comments:

At 5:24 PM , Blogger BWoP said...

I miss K-town.

*sigh*

 
At 7:54 AM , Blogger goooooood girl said...

i like......

 
At 9:18 AM , Blogger lj said...

sounds like a blast -- you hit up some good food spots!

 
At 9:07 AM , Blogger OhCaptain said...

Glad you guys had fun!!

Now...how did you do up at Canterbury? Inquiring minds want to know...

 

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