Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Taste of Home, Part 3

We began our eventful Monday at Mom and Wendy's hotel, nibbling on a little complimentary breakfast before heading out into the big city. Prepped for a day of walking and touring, we took the train down to Union Square to check out the plaza and the nearby Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. I wanted to show Mom how yuppy New Yorkers do their grocery shopping. "But how do they get it all home?" she kept saying. After staring at the whole monkfish in the seafood section (terrifying), we made our way around the corner to Max Brenner's for some chocolate. Wendy got a mashmallow-topped hot chocolate, while Mom opted for a chocolate chai, served steaming in its own pot. While we enjoyed our richy, chocolatey beverages, we sampled the cocoa and chili powder infused waffle fries, which were quite delicious, adding them to our NYC fry count. After checking out the gift shop (decidedly better than the Godiva store from the night before). We crossed the street to check out the Strand Bookstore, another one of my favorite stops in the city. After walking around, scoping out titles and calendars, and making use of the public restrooms. From there, we moved east to, believe it or not, the East Village to hunt down The Theater for the New City, where "If This Ain't It" will be taking place in January. We passed dozens of pizza parlors and pastry shops, homeless men and hookers (well, perhaps I am exaggerating, though these are none too unfamiliar sights for the area). Upon locating the theater, we commenced in a brief photo shoot, assisted by TNC's own Bob, the facility manager. On south we headed, passing the Village Voice offices, Cooper Union, and stopping for a slice of pizza at St. Mark's Place (for $7 we got three slices of pizza and three bottles of water - our cheapest eats of the trip). After spying Yoga to the People, we stumbled upon Sex and the City designer Patricia Field's clothing store and had to go in. Unfortunately, we did not find anything for Mom or Wendy in the midst of the wigs, panties, baubles, and plastic pants. There were even a few men's options and a Mickey Mouse beer cooler. We soon found ourselves on Houston (How-stun) and headed to the Crate & Barrel, a beacon of white china, comfy couches, and elegant stemware. We shopped around for kitchen gadgets, presentation pieces, and new placemats for my apartment, adding a touch of decoration to our humble abode. The afternoon growing short, we hopped on a train to the West Village area, in search of Magnolia Bakery and Carrie's stoop. Though we found the street, we didn't have time to hunt down the exact stoop, though we did have time to hunt down our confectionary delights at Magnolia. Wendy opted for a peanut butter cookie and caramel cheesecake, while Mom got an old-fashioned lemon bar. I picked up a molasses cookie and a couple snickerdoodle cupcakes for later, choosing instead to indulge in a Key Lime cheesecake that afternoon (it was divine). Sugary treats in hand, legs given a workout Disney World-style, we headed to the subway again and returned to Queens. After feasting on our sweet treats at the Ramada, I headed to work, while the women readied themselves for a night in the city featuring that evening's performance of Rock of Ages. My shift at Locale went on as usual, nothing too special to report. We wined and dined our Monday regulars as well as a few new faces. It certainly didn't rival Mom's reported filet in Times Square before the show. After seeing their show, they joined us at Locale for some dessert (Mom got the Tiramisu, Wendy the Strawberry Napoleon) and an opportunity to not only meet Stefano, but also Johnny, the owner. Between their two visits, I think they met almost the entire Locale staff. Tired from a long day, we headed back to our respective homes, aiming to meet for breakfast in the morning before their flight. Breakfast that morning was delicious and cheap, courtesy of Sanford's, the chic-infused 24 hour restaurant. Caffeinated and full, we went back to their hotel for one last time, to check out and say some final goodbyes. It was a really wonderful weekend, one of the best I have had in New York. I was excited and proud to show them around my new city, feeling surprisingly more at home here than I would have imagined. Though I don't get to see everyone for Thanksgiving this year, I certainly am looking forward to Christmas to get another taste of home and the people I love. For now, this wonderful tidbit will have to tide me over.

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