Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Iron Chef at the Museum... Night.

WHOSE STUPID IDEA WAS IT TO USE TELEVISION/MOVIE REFERENCES IN ALL OUR TRIP POST TITLES?!

Anyway.

Today started at Starbucks, like most good days do. From there, we quickly moved on to the rest of the day's activities. It was another day that simply REQUIRED caffeine :)

Our first stop was at Ground Zero. The former site of the World Trade Center is now a rather formidable construction zone, but it was still important to me to see it. It's hard to explain the experience of standing in that place - somewhere that felt oddly familiar even though I've never been there before. I remember everything about September 11th and I've seen images of this area of New York a million times, but it was still kind of profound just to BE there. It was also interesting to see the church right beside the World Trade Center site - totally and completely unharmed when the towers collapsed. Kind of gives you goosebumps, doesn't it?

Century 21 was pretty much the opposite experience. I was hesitant to go because I'd heard how completely insane it is (think Winners for 'real' designer stuff... on four gigantic floors... with the entire population of New York PLUS tourists trying to get the best deal). Honestly? I was expecting sport shopping and it was no big deal. Primark in London was about fifty times worse, I thought. Anyway. I found a fabulous new bag and discovered that there is a DKNY baby/toddler line. Um, SERIOUSLY?! Yeah. A couple of things came home for Briony :)

From there, we were off to the Chelsea Market - which was totally cool in itself. Any place that boasts an incredible cupcake + cookie shop followed by a brownie shop followed by an incredible cupcake + cookie shop is pretty much the best thing ever in my books. It was an odd mix of business people and tourists having their little foodie pilgrimage moments. Like everywhere else, it's all decked out from Christmas - but the Chelsea Market hired a local artist to do it all sustainably. He used reclaimed white cardboard and old cue cards from SNL to make snowflakes to hang from the ceiling EVERYWHERE and it was gorgeous. I could have spent an entire day (and an entire year's worth of calories) there.

But there is no rest for the wicked... Not when the wicked have lunch reservations at Del Posto - one of Mario Batali's NYC restaurants. I feel like I've been speaking in nonstop hyperbole since we got here, but this was the most incredible lunch I've had in my life. We're talking RIDICULOUS service and more staff than diners. I am actually kind of at a loss for words. How crazy was the food? The starters were sprinkled with gold. Actual factual GOLD. Everything was *so* delicious and the experience was even better. Awesomeness.




We walked it off by wandering through a few of the shops on West 14th Street. Cool neighbourhood. And I found our family Christmas ornament in Anthropologie. It's lovely. I've picked one up every year since we got married - the first in England on our honeymoon - and it's such a fun little tradition.

We needed to drop off our (ahem... MY) bag from Century 21 at the hotel and so our afternoon had a bit of a pause in it as we made our way back uptown via the Carlton. We jumped off the subway at Grand Central just so I could see... It was one of those places that I've seen in photos and movies and television shows a hundred million times and I just wanted to see it for myself. I'm glad that I did.




Then we did a speed-tour of the Museum of Natural History. We saw giant dinosaurs, hundreds of stuffed dead animals, the origami tree, A GIANT WHALE... I loved it.






I decided to help y'all out and help demonstrate how large a dinosaur is in comparison with an average sized human female (ME!).





A tiny treasure hunt lead us to Levain Bakery. Any place with cookies as highly reviewed as Levain deserves to be taste tested and OH MY GOD. I have been forever ruined for every other cookie. It was an itty bitty place in the lower level of a bunch of brownstones and sells pretty much nothing but cookies - and milk, of course! I had the chocolate chip + walnut and it was HUGE but I pounded that sucker back on our trek over to... EEEEEEE!... The Colbert Report studio.

As much as it pains me to speak ill of my Jon, our Colbert Report experience was sooo much better than The Daily Show in terms of accommodations. I'd emailed both shows ahead of time and the Colbert team was awesome. I'll have a whole post about both experiences sometime after we get back... We showed up half an hour before the tickets were handed out, checked in with security (who were totally expecting us), and were pointed in the direction of a coffee shop around the corner. Half an hour later, we came back to get our tickets and were the first people ushered through security.

I didn't need any kind of special seating (and I told them that), but Geoff + I ended up in the front row anyway. THE FRONT ROW. It was crazy. And when Stephen came running in before the taping began, he high fived us. I touched Stephen Colbert. And he's REAL.

The show itself was really cool. I loved both the Daily Show and Colbert, and both were very different experiences. Like Jon, Stephen took time to answer a bunch of Q+As before the show and, also like Jon, he was genuinely funny in his answers. The guests were Julie Nixon Eisenhower and David Eisenhower. They were fascinating. She's the daughter of former President Nixon and he's the grandson of former President Eisenhower (and the 'David' behind Camp David). They met when they were eight. It wasn't a particularly funny interview, but it was super interesting and it was just kind of incredible to be in the same room as these people - and one seat over from their daughters in the audience.







Dinner was at Les Halles, the Anthony Bourdain restaurant around the corner from our hotel. At risk of sounding annoying and repetitive, it was really great food. And we strolled back 'home' with tired feet and happy hearts.

Randoms from today...

Geoff + I totally had a 'date' to buy better insoles for our shoes. Oh yeah. It's come to that after only two days here :)

On a similar note, I am super grateful that I threw my Tiber River bath salts in my bag before we left Winnipeg. I travel with them quite often, and I've had a bath every night in NYC so far. They're a special kind of awesome.

I was super upset yesterday when we saw on the news that Elizabeth Edwards was stopping her cancer treatments. And then tonight when we heard that she had died... I have no idea why it affected me like this, but I'm a very real kind of SAD. I don't understand every decision she made while she was alive, but I think she was an incredibly classy lady who made the most of her time here. And my heart just kind of breaks for her kids. I can't imagine.

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2 Comments:

At December 08, 2010 12:46 AM, Blogger Katie Swan said...

I know this is horrible, but I have to ask: What happens when you eat gold? In terms of, err, the other end...

 
At December 08, 2010 1:28 PM, Blogger Kristen Loewen said...

loving reading about your fun!

 

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