A Girl & Her Green Beans
I promise, I'll get back on my Sunday routine very soon! I've been in vacation recovery mode! Also, I know this one is long... Mom, there's no need to call me and tell me. I'll make the next one or two short and sweet to make up for it. So, as promised, my very own New York trip advisor! Okay, not really, but I will tell you I've been to NYC a couple of times now, and each time is a new and unique experience. However, I think that Savannah and I got more done in three days last weekend than I have in the past 3 trips I've taken there. We did some typical NYC touristy things, we ate amazing food, and of course, we shopped till we dropped, almost literally.
Let's start with the important stuff... food. New York has endless opportunities to stuff your face, and in turn, endless opportunities to get bad, tasteless food. Having been to NYC a couple of times, I know this to be oh too true. Most places just don't live up to the hype. I've learned that you can't always trust Yelp, Trip Advisor, or others who claim to have the best foodie list. I'm a big fan of the website Tasting Table, so this trip I went straight to my new most trusted source. If you're going on a trip, check them out, they've got great city guides for a lot of major cities.
We arrived in NYC on Saturday afternoon, our first stop was of course... FOOD! After our 4-hour bus ride, we were starving and anything sounded good, but I did a little digging on Tasting Table and found Cha Pa's an authentic Vietnamese place with great, cheap food. It was the perfect place to fill our bellies and start checking off some of the touristy stuff on our lists.
By Saturday evening, we had totally forgotten to make a reservation for dinner, and I thought for sure we'd be eating out of a food cart! But alas, I headed over to Tasting Table, again, and I found this great little place across from the New York Public Library. The Bar Downstairs was a great find, although, it did take a little effort to actually find it... it's a speakeasy style bar with an open concept kitchen! The drinks were great, and the food was amazing. I love tapas style places, especially when I'm traveling, so this place was ideal! We got to try some shrimp, we had some meatballs, I ate some Quail eggs, it was all fabulous. We sat, we talked, we ate, we drank, and most of all we laughed... a lot. The staff was terrific, which made the whole experience even better. I normally don't like going back to the same place twice when I'm traveling, but I would definitely go back there.
The next day was packed with all of our activities, I may or may not have eaten cake from Magnolia Bakery for breakfast. Magnolia's is a typical stop for New York tourists who are SJP fanatics, but unlike Sex and the City fans debating whether they're a Miranda or a Carrie, I much prefer Magnolia's sliced cake over their cupcakes. The hefty slices are always moist, delicious, and classic. The recipes are simple and spot on.
Since we were so busy doing the tourist activities, we had a grab and go lunch at David Changs' Milk Bar. The Milk Bar is one of those places I have to go to each time I'm in NYC, and since we were celebrating our birthdays, I called ahead and ordered a cake! We then proceeded to bring that cake all the way back to DC... that was interesting. Ha! Anyways, the midtown Milk Bar is located in Ma Peche, so you can get David's fabulous pork buns to go! These things are TO DIE FOR, they were perfect for our grab and go lunch, and are definitely on my must eat list.
That night, we made reservations at Pearl & Ash, a great little restaurant with even better small plates on Bowery between Prince and Spring. The wine was amazing, but the food was even better. I thought Savannah was going to stab me over the last long beans, they were covered in a spicy bar-b-que sauce and served cold. Don't worry Sav, I did some testing and if you keep reading, my copy-cat recipe is below, just for you! Get the recipe After a great meal, I asked the host where we could grab a good drink at a low key place. He suggested a little place around the corner called Mother's Ruin. It was the perfect little dive bar. We met some sweet, unpretentious New Yorkers (one was even a model! #fashionweek), and just relaxed after our long day, it was perfection.
I can't believe how great our food decisions were last week, like spot on, it was perfect! I think getting the opportunity to try new restaurants is one of the main reasons I keep agreeing to go back to New York time and time again, but I have to say, this was the best food trip thus far. I'm sure it's because I worked up such an appetite seeing and doing anything and everything New York had to offer!
So, those of you who have been to NYC know, it's virtually impossible to do/see everything in one weekend. Well I'll tell you, we came very close! Okay, I guess we didn't really come that close, but we really did have your quintessential New York adventure. When we arrived, after lunch of course, we headed to Central Park. Well that is, after we stopped in at the David Letterman show to sign up for the free ticket lottery... more on that later. While in Central Park, we did something I have to admit I've never done, we swung. Yep, right there along side some upper East Side brats, we swung like a couple of little kids. It was THRILLING, and I will definitely remember it for the rest of my life.
We then headed to Times Square, hit up the M&Ms and Hershey's store and then headed back to the hotel room to get ready for dinner. The next day, we woke up excited and ready to take on the TKTS counter. The TKTS line in and of itself is a must do. You see ALL kinds of people there... ALL KINDS. We made friends with the non-english speaking Asian tourists - featured below. They were asking to take pictures with random people around us, so obviously we asked them to take a picture with us. We knew we wanted Broadway show tickets, and we thought we needed to be the first in line or we wouldn't get tickets. Lesson learned, you don't, so drop by and just check out what's showing, you really can get some great deals. We got amazing seats, at an even more amazing price, to the matinée show of Cinderella, coming to a theatre near you! Go see it! The girl we saw as Cinderella is traveling with the national show, and she is stunning! The story is just fabulous, it's the perfect Broadway musical with some of the most impressive quick-changes I've ever seen. It's not the Disney version, so it takes a few twists and turns, and like we were told by all the Broadway pamphlet guys, it was indeed "Magical!"
Sorry, I got a little excited and jumped ahead... after the TKTS counter we got breakfast cake and headed to Rockefeller Center. It's so fun to go with someone who's never seen it before, I swear Savannah's eyes were the size of a silver dollar as she stood there and looked up, and up, and up! We ate our food and then headed up 5th Ave. First stop was of course the original Saks! Yep, that's where they get the name... Sakes Fifth Avenue... think about it a minute... get it? I feel like it doesn't click for most people until they actually see it. After stopping to look in a couple of windows, we strolled up the street to Tiffany's. No matter how many times I go in there, each and every time is just as magnificent and grand as the next. By the end of that, it was time to grab lunch and then head to the hotel to change for the show. It really was a great show, I'm so glad I got to go to Savannah's first Broadway show with her. It was so fun to look over and see the smile on her face as the music played and the actors sang their hearts out! After all that we were a little tired so our delicious dinner and chill night was just what we needed, especially with all the shopping we were going to do the next day.
After breakfast in Grand Central, our next stop was Canal Street. You can't go to NYC without buying at least one $5 scarf, then on our way to Little Italy to get a cannoli...that never happened... we stopped and found a shoe Mecca, Infinity Shoes... I will be going back there. Savannah got the cutest 4 pairs of shoes you've ever seen! Yep, we brought back 4 pairs of shoes on the train - one of which was a pair of boots. As Savannah was trying on her 6th or 7th pair of shoes, her phone rang. Now, by this time I had figured out that Savannah might be a little lucky, a few things that could have gone terribly wrong over the 48 hours we had been there had gone terribly right. So when the phone rang with a NY number, I wasn't really that surprised to find out that we had won the Letterman ticket lottery! Yep, we were going to a live taping of the Letterman show. After shoe shopping till we dropped, and being so excited we couldn't see straight, we still had to do our must do shopping activities, in a hurry. So, We hit Savannah's NYC must - Dash. I love my selfie taking, Kardashian loving travel buddy! Then we hit my must do... Kate Spade Saturday. Of course I couldn't go there without walking out with a new bag. I have an addiction... the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Anyways, at this point we were in a rush to drop our bags at the hotel and then sprint to the taping. Of course we made it, because Savannah really is a lucky charm. It was an AWESOME experience, I think in another life I'll live in NYC and be a late show writer or something. The taping was unlike anything I've ever seen. It's like a show within a show. I can't even describe it. To top it off, it's one of Letterman's last shows since he's retiring this year! What an amazing opportunity. We got out just in the nick of time to pick up all of our stuff, our suitcases, my cake, Savannah's shoes, my new Saturday bag, and everything in between and sprint to the train station. I knew we weren't going to make our train, I just knew it, but Savannah told me to have faith... and I should have just trusted her all along. We got there as they were boarding. I still am dumbfounded we made it...
All in all, I could not have asked for a better trip. Thanks to my sweet travel buddy for putting up with my insane nervousness and bratty foodie requests!
Everyone should go to New York at least once in their life...
Now, for my sweet friend...
Spicy Green Beans with Kale & Peanuts
SPICY GREEN BEANS WITH KALE & PEANUTS
1 (12 oz) package haricots verts (green beans), blanched
2 heaping handfuls kale, stem removed and leaves torn into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons peanuts, chopped and toasted (optional)
3/4 cup bar-b-que sauce
2 garlic cloves, pressed
Siracha, to taste - it depends how spicy you want it (I used about 2 teaspoons + more on the drizzle)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard, whole grain
blanch the green beans by cooking in boiling water for 3-5 minutes
drain green beans and put in an ice bath to stop the cooking process, drain and refrigerate while making the sauce
make the sauce by combining the bar-b-que sauce, garlic, Siracha, Worcestershire sauce, honey, and mustard in a sauce pan
let simmer 5-10 minutes to let flavors ruminate, stir occasionally
place kale in a large bowl
pour sauce over kale and toss to coat
let the sauce and kale mixture cool slightly
add the blanched, refrigerated green beans and toss to coat, add more kale if you'd like it less saucy
refrigerate 30 minutes
sprinkle with peanuts and a drizzle of siracha and serve
Adapted from Pearl & Ash - New York, New York