So. We’ve talked books, conferences, bloggers, friends and a big ol’ bookstore. And that’s all fun and we all like to read, etc., and so on and so forth, but let’s get serious: if there’s one thing I’m all about on vacation, it’s the food. More specifically? Eating it. Lots of it.
And there was no shortage of good eats in New York City. While I didn’t venture too far off the beaten path with my food choices, I did manage to get to a few unique places, have some authentic New York-style cheesecake and pizza, and basically act like a glutton. That’s sort of my vacation MO.
I’m going to say something bold, and I don’t want you guys to freak out. I realize this isn’t a statement I should bandy about lightly and trust me, I’ve given this some serious thought. So, without creating a Big Dramatic Build-Up, I’m just going to say it: I had the best dessert ever in the city. Ever. Ever ever. Like, my love for this dessert was the sum of my love for pumpkin spice lattes, gingerbread-flavored things, Peeps and hugs from my boyfriend. I’m that serious. (Sorry, Spence; you’re still my boo.)
But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. We have all day, right? I mean, you don’t mind sitting there while I wax on and on about delicious desserts I’ll probably never have again — but the memory of which is seared in my pink brain forever?
So. Food. Places. Things I did. Well, I arrived in Penn Station from Washington, D.C. (or “downtown,” as I inevitably refer to it) with my parents and sister late Thursday night, and from there? It was a hop, skip and a jump over to our hotel: The New Yorker. It was plush, big and very, very busy. We were on the 27th floor. And as someone with a mild fear of heights (read: a penchant for freaking out when I can’t easily rest my feet on the ground and see it far, far below me), I was a wee bit nervous punching that button on the elevator. But, hey — we made it! Our room was small but nice, and fine for a weekend.
From there it was off to Ben’s Deli, a traditional Jewish deli a few blocks from our apartment. As soon as we walked in, I knew I’d be digging the place — mostly because I’m obsessed with stuff like pickles, pastrami and sauerkraut. After we shared an appetizer of pickles and coleslaw, my order of the “Deli Double” arrived: two sandwiches, one pastrami and one corned beef, on fresh, warm challah rolls.
Um, basically? I could have curled up and lived inside those sandwiches, eating my way out for the next ten years. They were delicious. And if I could find something like that in my small Maryland hometown, y’all better believe I’d be their Patron Of The Year.
Friday you already know all about, considering I was at the Book Blogger Convention until 5 p.m., and after that it was back to the hotel to put down my awesome swag bag and charge my phone, terribly depleted from so much live tweeting at the event. Once I’d recovered, I hailed my very first cab — all by myself! — and headed over to Bloomingdale’s to meet up with Stacy. Almost a precisely a year after I went to visit her for a fabulous weekend in London, my favorite city, I found Stacy and we headed to Cabana, a restaurant she recommended. After a delicious meal of grilled chicken which, sadly, I have no photos of, I ordered The Dessert.
I’m just going to let you take a look there.
Feeling good? Ready to move on? Want to talk about what that is?
Well, I’m so obsessed with this thing that I even wrote notes all over it on Flickr, identifying each component. Let’s go clockwise, shall we? Those are fried bananas dipped in chocolate (or fried in chocolate? Can you even do that?); sugared slices of bananas; banana ice cream; strawberries, a giant spiderweb of dark and white chocolate, warm and gooey and um so good; more bananas, with white chocolate underneath; more banana ice cream.
Have I mentioned I like bananas?
If I had known that this was in store for me, honestly, I would have skipped that whole healthy-chicken-dinner thing and gone straight for the good stuff. Stacy and I were so busy catching up and chatting, I ordered dessert just so we could continue to hang out and talk. I had no idea I’d be served The Dessert and, by the time it reached me, I was thisclose to being too full to eat it.
But I pushed through that, of course, finishing almost the entire thing. By the time I was done attacking that sucker, I’d left just a little bit of the chocolate spiderweb design and one — one — fried banana.
That single banana, left uneaten, will haunt me for the rest of my life.
But let’s not dwell on sad things, shall we? After taking a cab — again! by myself! — back to the hotel and getting my first real glimpse of Times Square at night, I heard Alicia Keys’ “Empire State Of Mind” blaring from one of the pedi-cabs and smiled. That’s definitely being in New York for me, cheesy as it is.
For our last full day in the city, I joined back up with my parents and Katie to hop a double-decker tour bus and see the sights! We made it to Ground Zero (surreal); St. Paul’s Chapel; Kleinfeld Bridal (and featured business on TLC’s “Say Yes To The Dress” — oy, we’re obsessed with that show); Central Park; Strand Bookstore; the Park Plaza Hotel (of “Home Alone 2” fame); Serendipity 3 (which was too crowded to dine in); Rockefeller Center and NBC Studios; Dylan’s Candy Bar (insanity in there! Insanity!) and back to Times Square.
We were busy.
What did I eat at all these lovely places? Anything I could. All that up-and-down, walking and taking pictures was taxing, trust me! Thankfully we had a gorgeous day — bright skies, plenty of sun. Hence why I’m rocking my red sunglasses in pretty much every photo that day. But all those adventures made for a hungry Meg.
On our final day in the city, we woke up early to get over to the B&H Photo Superstore, which was seriously incredible. Enormous. Full of every sort of camera equipment you could possibly imagine, and with the largest staff of knowledgeable people I’ve ever seen. Then we were back on the train, where I settled in with Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s Life After Yes in between cat naps and cruised home after a phenomenal weekend. Back in D.C., I kissed on Spencer and started looking at all my photos.
Because what’s a good trip without the photographic proof you were ever there at all?