New York weekend: What I saw and how (much) I ate

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.

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D.C. dallying at the Newseum

In the thick of the heat and humidity associated with a summer in Washington, yesterday dawned bright and hazy — but we were undeterred by the overall mugginess. My mom had scheduled a photo safari to venture around the city taking pictures with a new camera, so my dad, sister and I traveled over to the Newseum while she was in “class.”

Armed with our trudgy GPS and my dad’s vast knowledge of all roadways in the Metropolitan area, I drove us into D.C. and managed to secure a parking spot remarkably close to the Capitol — and the National Museum of the American Indian — my mom’s destination. I was fairly impressed that I got us downtown myself — even if Dad and Gisella the GPS directing me where to go.

hazy Capitol

hazy Capitol

I interned in the city two years ago at a daily newspaper and absolutely loved getting up early, meeting a friend at the Starbucks below our building for coffee and hot tea before sinking into my desk chair on the fourth floor, flipping on the ol’ Mac and getting to work on the day’s newsmakers. Even at 20 and with limited experience working for a paper (or working at all), I took a lot of pride in what I was doing — and learned something new constantly.

The city afforded me all of that — a broader view of the world, a sense of importance as I managed to constantly bang out stories on deadline, a new understanding of what my mom, a federal worker for the past 28 years, experienced every day.

But for all the time I spent in D.C. that summer from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, I never once hopped into my own Corolla to speed down the Beltway and cruise into town myself. The commuter bus that carries us all in from the suburbs did all the dirty work for me. I just napped and listened to my iPod or teared up while reading chick lit books — most notably Sight Hound.

So driving us into town and over to the Newseum was a pretty big deal for me. And the museum is awesome. I think I was there a few years ago when it was still out in Virginia, but the D.C. location is pretty amazing. Particular points of interest, for me, included the special display area on newspapers in the digital era and the high terrace overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue. While we were wandering about, me snapping photos like crazy, we happened to run into none other than George Stephanopoulos at the Newseum filming his Sunday morning program “This Week.” He gave us all a hearty hello and shook Kate’s hand before hopping over to the terrace to film an outside shot for a show segment, the Capitol in the background. Pretty awesome!

Mr. George Stephanopoulos

Another terrace view

I can’t wait to download all my photos from the weekend, but now I’m back at the ol’ desk gathering information for ongoing projects that have nothing to do with daily newsmakers or political advisors and everything to do with canned copy and necessary proofreading. But I can dream…

And here are a few more photos from my Sunday in D.C.:

Kate walking up to the National Museum of the American Indian

Kate walking up to the National Museum of the American Indian

Pieces of the Berlin Wall at the Newseum

Pieces of the Berlin Wall at the Newseum

On the terrace overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue

On the terrace overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue