I’m back from a 4 night work trip to New York City and since many of you shared suggestions of where to go and what to eat I thought I’d share some of the highlights.
After my boss and I arrived on Saturday and got settled into the hotel, we headed out to dinner at Casellula in Hell’s Kitchen. This is a place that has been recommended to me over and over throughout the years but I’d never made it. It is a tiny one room restaurant (with a menu for Chicago’s Schwa hanging in the bathroom as a hat tip to the owner’s favorite place) that has an awesome wine and cheese selection as well as a tantalizing menu. We shared a phenomenal cheese plate and “pigs in a blanket” and I had their famous “pigs ass sandwich” that was amazing. Highly recommend.
Sunday we started the day off with work and conferencing but in the afternoon we grabbed some pizza at Angelo’s Pizza on 57th. It was what I assume many NY pizza joints are like- nothing particularly fancy but serving solidly good pizza. It was also right next to a very cool gold ATM (as in, it dispenses gold) I’d read about- a fun find. After lunch my boss and I took the subway down to the World Trade Center memorial and museum. We were late for our assigned time but the staff let us in anyway. We began with the video and then entered the exhibits. It was wonderfully done, incredibly poignant and emotionally difficult. I struggled as I overheard kids asking questions – how could they not remember?- before reminding myself that it happened in 2001 and part of the museum’s purpose was for those generations that don’t remember. I found myself incredibly overwhelmed about 2/3 of the way through, but it felt disrespectful not to keep reading and looking and remembering. I’m so glad I went, but I don’t think I need to go back. Afterwards we were both emotionally drained. We had a quiet cab ride back to the hotel despite driving right through the Pride Parade crowds.
It was a good night to have plans with my cousin who lives in New York and met us at a restaurant she likes on the Upper East Side, Uva. We once again indulged in cheese (so much cheese!), wine flights and I had an amazing truffle and gnocchi dish. Truffles can be over-used but this dish was a great combination of flavors and textures. I balanced out the rich truffles with a little lemon meringue pie after….
Monday was a whirlwind of Supreme Court decisions, work and conferencing. We had a work lunch at Bar Americain, which is a Bobby Flay restaurant. It was my second time eating there and my food was awesome- I had a southwestern chicken salad and sweet Vidalia onion soup. I’m unapologetic in my enjoyment of Bobby Flay’s various food shows, so it was nice to have a good experience (again) at his restaurant.
That night the conference had their big event for the week, an evening at Ellis Island. We took charter busses down to Battery Park (with a mini-tour on the way). Battery Park is still undergoing work after Superstorm Sandy, but you can check out The Sphere, which used to sit at the base of the World Trade Center towers, and now sits, damaged, in the park as a memorial/remembrance. The park also has a neat splash area for kids and lots of green space to stretch your legs. From the park we went through security and caught ferries out to the island.
The ferry ride was mercifully quick (lots of people turning a little green on the way) and the views were spectacular. The event included jazz music, drinks and dinner. We walked through the museum exhibit and enjoyed an evening looking back at the city. Pretty cool! One of my college roommates was able to join us, and it was a great night of catching up.
Tuesday was our last day in the city (flew out Wednesday morning) and we were busy with work all day. We had lunch at Iguana, another unassuming spot, but I had pretty spectacular fish tacos and we were able to catch some of the World Cup action. (Also, it is apparently a dance club at night…?) I also managed to slip away to FAO Schwarz where I bought Gracie her very first baby doll. She seems rather smitten with Baby, even if it is just because she has a hat that we can take on and off.
For our last night in the city a large group of work people went out to Joe’s Shanghai where I was introduced to soup dumplings. I now must find soup dumplings in Chicago- talk about awesome. We all ordered our own entree but there was so much food we all ended up sharing everything – moo shu pork, ginger beef, pork with spicy garlic sauce, and some chicken and bamboo dish. All of them were awesome and I’m now busy researching soup dumpling eateries in the general Chicago area.
On Wednesday I was ready to head home and see my family. While I was gone Gracie had a blast with B and his parents, and I got a lot of photo updates while I was gone. That said, Gracie climbed into my lap as soon as I walked into her room at daycare and just gave me a huge hug. It was pretty awesome. She came home and just grinned while sitting next to me. Trip success!
Well as you guys could tell, it has been a crazy few days in our household…and it isn’t letting up any time soon. Lets do it. (Note: the Five on Friday link up is taking a summer break so this is for awhile until it returns)
1. Friday…oh Friday. Normally a day to relax, let the baby stay up a little later, eat pizza for dinner, watch a movie or read a book and take a deep breath after a long week. Last Friday is when my car decided to not work, and this Friday B heads out for a sailing event with my Dad, my in-laws come into town and I go to two events and then come home to pack because….
2. Saturday…. catching a plane to New York City* for work. I’m looking forward to the trip (a whole 4 days where I am not responsible for anyone’s laundry, dinner, or food cutting) but I’m nervous about that much time away from B and Gracie.
3. Sunday…. ok fine, Sunday doesn’t present too many challenges except for the fact that much of the legal world is gearing up for Monday becuase….
4. Monday….the Supreme Court should release its opinion in Hobby Lobby v Sebelius (the contraception case) and my world goes topsy turvy for awhile. This decision has been hovering in my mind for months……..
5. Wednesday/Thursday/Friday….I get back into town on Wednesday just in time for a work vacation day and a national holiday. We’d planned on going to Indianapolis for the holiday but I think we’ve decided that it is just too much to do back to back. Instead we’ll catch some fireworks at home nad be lazy for a few days.
Lets end with some unnecessary but adorable photos of my child imitating a monkey:
*Accepting any & all restaurant recommendations in Midtown (blergh).
I was speaking with my manager yesterday and I mentioned that I feel like I’ve hit a lull at work. For the first time in a long time there isn’t a huge monumental change on the horizon (or at least not one that impacts my day to day) and it has left me feeling stagnant. I know that part of it is me- I need to stop and pay attention to where I am and what I’m doing now- and part of it is that I have hit a little bit of a plateau at work. It isn’t a bad thing (and in fact, it is a nice plateau to sit on) but nonetheless, here I am, feeling a little like I’m spinning in a small circle.
Do you ever get that way? Feeling stagnant but knowing it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but instead perhaps you need a fresh perspective?
It happens to everyone I assume. Even people with furiously fast paced, exciting jobs. Although I doubt very few people would self-classify their job as exciting. Most people view their job as their job and it is just the outsiders looking in that thinks it looks awesome.
For a long time (when I was younger) I really wanted to be an ER physician. I thought the idea of new and interesting patients that you got to see every day was fascinating. I loved the idea of not sitting at a desk, tied to a computer. Being an ER physician meant new people, face to face interaction. Which in some ways is the opposite of what I do now. Also, I’m friends with an ER physician and his Facebook PSA announcements let me enjoy the crazy tales of the ER without being in charge of anyone’s wellbeing. See also: he has some crazy snake and alligator bite stories. People be crazy.
Also, I couldn’t hack college level chemistry. It is a long and complicated story and while I know I ended up where I should have, I’d like to go back in time and redo first semester, freshman year of college in relation to chemistry class. Just to kick its chemistry ass and say I did it. And biology class because while I did fine, a smidge bit of effort more could have landed me a solid A mark.
Now that we have covered a little bit of everything and nothing….I’ll go back to spinning in my circle. And maybe cleaning out my inbox.
Signing off now, Daisy-Does-Not-Self-Classify-As-Exciting
After reading my own blog post last week I decided I needed a day to enjoy life without working or worrying about my work email. Combined with my recent 5 year anniversary at work (another week of PTO!) I realized that if I’m not careful I’m going to give a significant portion of paid time off back to my company come December 31, so I took Friday off. Gracie’s daycare teachers were so sad when I told them she wasn’t coming in on Friday, telling me my Mother’s Day card wasn’t ready so would it be ok if I got it Monday? (I’m going to love that card whenever it comes.)
(Gratiutous photo of Gracie mastering the art of open cup drinking) Come Friday, after waiting to get out of bed until the wee one began her morning ritual of “come and get me” (yelling “hi” from her crib) we lounged around the house, eating breakfast and playing with toys until we met up with some family friends who were in town for a late morning at the zoo. We roared at lions and checked out the baby gorillas before heading back to my aforementioned zoo-lunch-spot for kids meals, adult beverages and good food. B had been downtown for a deposition that ended at the exact right time so he was able to come join us for part of lunch, an added bonus to the day. To add to the decadence of it all, when Gracie took her afternoon nap, I took a snooze too. Pefect start to a three-day weekend? Check.
Saturday B “had” to go sailing. Last summer was tough with his sailing schedule- it was hard to get out with the baby (still taking 3 naps a day) and we only had 1 car so depending on the event I had to rely on transit if we wanted to go anywhere. This summer though I’m determined to enjoy my one on one time with Gracie (and meet up with B post-sailing as well for more family time) so I said to hell with it and after breakfast we headed down to the farmer’s market which is across the street from the zoo. After meandering the market, splitting (much to my chagrin, I thought I’d be sharing a few sips, not basically handing over) a fresh fruit smoothie, sampling some cheese, listening to musicians and picking up fresh apples and shallots I swung us by the Farm Zoo, thinking we’d check out the cows and pigs before walking back to the car (parked in the zoo lot, since we get free parking as members). We ended up running into some of the February Club so I decided we didn’t have anywhere to be, and we spent the next hour and a half checking out the farm animals and the “regular” zoo animals. Two zoo trips in one weekend? Not too shabby. After a long afternoon nap (the zoo comes with the added bonus of toddler exhaustion) we made it down to meet up with B and the guys he sails with, and we let Gracie run around the (mostly empty, bothering no one) club with reckless abandon. All in all, a great Saturday and more of the “just what I needed” kind of day.
Sunday was Mother’s Day, my second as Mama. See also, Mother’s Day 2013:
I know for many it is a holiday frought with issues and expectations, but we tried to make it a low-key but fun day. We started off the morning with my one request, doughnuts from Do-Rite, and on a whim decided to spend the afternoon meandering Michigan Avenue.My best friend and Gracie’s god-mama lives downtown, so she met up with us (and spoiled G with a new frock) and we ended up hitting up a new seafood restaurant for an amazing lunch. Lobster rolls are my love language and I was so happy at the end of the meal I could have shot glitter out of my finger tips. Gracie was a gem while we window shopped (she was delighted by the fans in Cole Haan) and even let us cram many pairs of shoes on her feet as I work on finding her the best summer sandals (kids shoe department at Nordstrom, highly recommend for their level of patience and help). I was also greatly amused by watching the looks on B’s face when he inadverdently began checking out the Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana kids sandals (and their prices)- worth any downtown parking fee.
We eventually high tailed it home, realizing Gracie was long overdue for a nap, and B and I spent some time enjoying the warm weather on our porch. We ended the day with post-nap porch dinner and play time, and after G went to bed B and I induldged in sushi and a viewing of Frozen. All in all, it was one of those weekends where nothing was over the top, but it was exactly what I needed – time with my family, time outside in the sun, and nothing on the agenda.
Also, Gracie now makes “monkey noises” which I pretty much ask her to do every 5 to 10 minutes, so insert a lot of “ooh ooh ahh ahh” into the above commentary. Kid tricks? the best.