Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Yes, it really was the best weekend ever!

Let the narrative begin...


We got up at a normal hour on Friday, packed the car and hit the road to NYC. Leaving the apartment around 9am, we had hardly any traffic the entire way, even as we hit the New Jersey Turnpike split (GW Bridge vs. Lincoln Tunnel). This was awesome. We almost always have some sort of traffic on the way up to NJ/NY!

When I first heard we were going to north this weekend, I only added on thing to the itinerary of fun. A visit to the New York Botanical Gardens to see the Chihuly Exhibit. Just over the GW Bridge, up the Henry Hudson Parkway, onto some other parkway and you're there.

Really easy actually.

Since the weather was so nice Friday would be the perfect time to visit. One thought was to wait until Saturday, so we could take our time getting north, but this was perfect.

After meeting a very spastic parking attendant, we got on our way into the gardens. The Chihuly Exhibits were really cool. Dale Chihuly is a cracker jack glass blower who's been making crazy glass art for years. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. They really were spectacular, especially the pieces that were blended into the garden surroundings.

Sadly, the camera battery died half way through the visit. We'll have to see what the disposable camera picked up. Lovely! A great afternoon, perfect fall weather and really neat art!

After the gardens, we headed back to NJ to unload ourselves at The Kara's. After putting a short, quick charge on the camera (didn't work) and a bit on the phone, we rolled out to the NJ Transit bus and headed into Manhattan.

After a wee bit of a delay we arrived at Port Authority and phoned The Kara. We were going to meet her and her friend at a bar for a quick drink. Sounds great, but I had to warn them, I hadn't eaten since breakfast and the beast was getting hungry. No worries, we'll get a nibble at the bar.

Bar Centrale
324 W 46th Street
New York, New York 10036


We tried to go here back in the spring, but there was no way. No room. It's small. A few tables and chairs in the front, a handful of stools at the bar and a couple booths towards the back. The Kara had snagged a reservation, so we were in...this time! We set up shop at the booth in the back, ordered drinks and a quick side of guacamole. Although I do love the guac at Rosa
Mexicano...this was awesome! As good, if not better. A reminder that this comes from someone who wasn't really a fan until maybe this year...used to get grossed out by it. But this was good! And good chips too.

After I inhaled the chips and dip, and threw back my drink, we were off for actual dinner. In keeping with the theme, we headed a few blocks in one direction and then a few more in another...I think we went west, then north. We went to a Mexican place for dinner.

TA Cocina
714 9th Avenue
New York, New York 10019

The service was good, the drinks cold and the food filling. I was a bit suprised though when zucchini showed up in my fajitas...I don't enjoy the zucchini, so I had to swoosh those to the side. Now I was full and tired and wasn't sure if I was going to make it much longer, but The Kara had other plans.

We eased on down the road to a really awesome bar were we spent the rest of the night entertaining the dinners, bar guests and most importantly the staff!

44 1/2
626 10th Avenue
New York, New York 10036

We were greeted upon our entrance by Denver Rick (we found this out later) and were seated at "the table in the middle," a large high top table set behind the bar, but before the dining room...dead center!

We scootched up to the table and got our orders in. I contemplated switching from vodka to something else, but stayed with vodka and soda--a smart and foolish choice!

The Kara and J-lo ordered a bottle of Gruner Vetliner, a great crisp white wine.

And we chatted and drank. I ordered my second drink. Maybe started my third when I think our behavior went downhill! It was at somepoint mid-evening when we noticed the music. The Music! Short clips, 30 seconds, of the great old songs from the 80's. Next thing we know we're singing out loud, chair dancing and shouting out what might be the next song. We got some of the choices right, but not all of them. Our waiter stopped by and we had to ask...what CD is this. Oh no...not just any CD, but a compilation that Denver Rick himself created! So we had to pull him over and talk to him some more...sweet talking all we could we tried to ask for a copy of the disc. The Kara slipped him her card and now it's all in D.R.'s hands. Keep your fingers crossed...that CD would be worth a lot!

Then we considered leaving...ha! Ordered up some more drinks and kept going. At this point I'm loosing my memory on what was discussed. Denver Rick came back to chat with us some more, as did Ali G...I think that's what he said his name was? I don't remember the little waiter, but he seemed particularly interested in our antics. One thing about the waiters, they wore silly shirts. We both own ones now. Mine says "Whipped" on the front...and "Beaten" on the bacK. J-lo's is "Over" and "Easy." Hot.

After a good couple hours it was about time for us to head back to NJ, but do we have to? Yes...out of the blue, a song by Brandy came on...they lost us. We did our adieu's to the staff and the remaining customers who were laughing at us and headed over to the ferry.

While sitting, the best brilliant idea people who have had a few drinks came to mind...why don't we call someone!!! I seriously can't think of the last time I drunk dialed someone...seriously...! Good thing for time changes and to Becca for taking the call...but here's the thing...it wasn't just one of us calling...all three of us tried calling and The Kara first...voice mail...Me second...voice mail...J-lo...he got through! What the? We all dialed at virtually the same time and he was last,
how did his call get through!?? Whatever...we shrieked our proclamations through the phone and boarded the ferry.

It was at this point that I realized how much I consumed. Here's an equation for you...More cocktails than you can remember + A rocking, wavy ride on a ferry = a really really close call. I didn't get sick, but whoa did I feel like it.

Eventually we landed in NJ and headed to The Kara's home.

Done and done...I don't remember going to bed, but I did remember the following morning one of my late night adventures...I GOT LOST IN THE BATHROOM! It was dark and somehow I ended up in the shower, I guess sliding open a door and taking a large step up would be the way most people get out of the bathroom? Mmmm? Eventually I made my way out and back to bed.


We slept in.

Then we were going to be lazy. Got a little something to eat at a deli down the road and moved to the movie theatre to see RUNNING WITH SCISSORS. Annette Benning was really good. The actress who plays Dr. Finch's wife was also really good. The rest...eh. I'm sad, because I really loved the book. The movie was just too slow.

After the movie we moved back home and rested a touch before beautifying for the night out back in Manhattan.

The Kara drove us to Times Square where we picked up our theatre tickets and we walked around bit before heading in for the secret dinner reservation.

Bond 45
154 West 45th Street
New York, New York 10036

Wow. Great! One of the better meals I've had in NYC.

Really, each and everything we had was great! Bond 45 is Italian. You can get your pastas, your antipastas, pizzas, salads, and steaks. We started with a really good bottle of prosecco and ordered the Salumeria Assorti to start. A large plate of prosciutto, sopressata and coppa with roasted peppers and buffalo mozzarella. Item 1: Best prosciutto I've ever had. Item 2: The peppers were amazing; tender and delicious. I think they sat with garlic and basil, absorbing some of their flavor. Item 3: The mozarella was so light, you felt like you were eating little bites of air. Perfect.

Now time to order dinner. I went with Lasagna alla Bond. Yep, I'm going to say it. Best Restaurant Lasagna. Sausage Ragu, mini meatballs, mozarella and parm. The first bite gave me the giggles. You know when that happens, the foods sooo good you can't help yourself! The
fork is placed on the plate and you close your eyes and just giggle. That good.

J-lo ordered the Gnocchi di Ricotta e Pesto. Soft ricotta dumplings with zucchini pesto and crispy pancetta bits. Pillows of heaven! Really amazing. The softest gnocchi I'd ever had.

After we ate way to much...but didn't force ourselves to finish our plates...no way no how...we did order dessert.

We watched the tables behind us order dessert and it was a production. Their was pouring!

We ordered the chocolachino cake. This yummy, tender crumb vanilla cake with chocolate chips. Warmly resting in the middle was a cool scoop of vanilla gelato. Upon arrival to our table, a cool liquor, coffee flavored, but not Kahlua...maybe like those new Starbucks liquors? After that...hot chocolate sauce was poured over the top. Slap your mama! It was that good.

As this post is getting really long I'm going to skip over the after dinner chit chat and get right to the show, but only briefly...If you are heading to New York anytime soon and want to see something silly and really enjoyable, but also very smart and witty...The Drowsy Chaperone.

The Drowsy Chaperone
Marquis Theatre
1535 Broadway
New York, NY 10036

After the very well deserved standing ovation, we headed back to Bar Centrale for an after theatre cocktail. Before we left on Friday, The Kara recommended we make a reservation if we think we'd like to go back. We did and we did. It was great. We walked in and they lead us to
the "table we were saving for you." Sweet. Prime location. Perfect to be seen and to see! We had two minor celeb sightings...the actor who played Underling in The Drowsy Chaperone came in shortly after we did to have a few drinks. And mid-point through the evening we had a little former Saturday Night Live star come in. Chris Parnell! Cool. But he and his party--all ladies--were placed down the row from us and he faced away from him, so we couldn't become buddies. After about two hours of chilling, we made our way to back to NJ. Good Night!


There was talk about heading back into Manhattan, but I think we were just tired and wanted to make our way back...but not until a nice Jersey Dinner breakfast.

Eggs, Home Fries, Toast...all good! Including the giant collection of World Wrestling Entertainment actors headshots on the walls!

We loaded up on gas and headed our way south! 5 hours later, we were home and exhausted. As is always the case, the perfect weekend was blemished by the traffic...and to make it all the harder to deal with...the worst traffic was for the southbound lanes of 95 slowing to look at an accident on the far side of the north bound lanes! IDIOTS! ugh.

Anyway...it's been a long time preparing this post...partly due to blogger acting up, partly just to recoup the energy. Later tater tots!

PS: I had a few food photos, but they didn't turn out very well...so you'll have to deal with art photos!

These crazy Mums are being trained in some ancient Asian/Japanese (??) way for an exhibit next year. Very interesting...that is ONE PLANT!

Chihuly: The Sun

Chihuly: Baskets

Chihuly: Rose Garden Fiori

Chihuly: Ferns

Some roses from the Garden.

My last cocktail at Bar Centrale..a Cosmo. They served them in the little glass and give the rest of it to you in a little pitcher for later! The wine also comes in a small pitcher.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you had such a great weekend! The photos are gorgeous, and you've convinced me I need to see the gardens next time I go up. Watch out for pure vodka, you poop! :-)

Dancer in DC said...

Such am amazing weekend.

For dessert at Bond 45 I also had some hazelnut gelato, which was really amazing. Very light.

(But I must point out that the drive ended up being 6 hours, not 5. Most painful.)

The Kara said...

IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!! Thank you for coming and supporting the NY/NJ economy. AND if any of your readers go to Bond 45 I might add that the profiteroles there are my favorite dessert... ever.

And let's just keep Bar Centrale among us EAT WITH ME fans, a'ight? I know exactly 2 cool places in NYC and this is one of them :) Lovees!!!

ScottE. said...

Good call Kara...let's keep this between us...Bar Centrale is pretty awesome and I'd hate to see it over taken by the non-awesome out there!

Lady Brandenburg said...

You know Scott, you really need to work on enjoying life to the fullest and stop being so boring... I mean live it up a little why don't ya?

(kidding of course)

The whole weekend sounds great!!

ScottE. said...

Sorry Lady B...I like to keep myself subdued and not have too much fun.

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

Great post. Now I want to go see the Chihuly exibit. Beautiful stuff.

ScottE. said...

Biscuit: Sorry...the Chihuly exhibit closed this weekend...that's why we had to run up there!

Selena Kang said...

Pretty, pretty pictures!