New York, New York; my favorite city in the world. Of course being a New Jerseyite I’m biased. But I have always loved the city. When I was a child my father would take us all the time (he worked for NJ Transit so for us it was easy and cheap). My father would always take off 2 weeks around Christmas each year and we would go into the city, just him, my sister, and I during Christmas time to see the tree, the windows at Macy’s, and Times Square. To this day, a Christmas season that does not include a trip to NYC just doesn’t feel right.
We have taken the kids, but since we were about to head off on a 2.5 week trip in a foreign country with no help, and we had lots of willing relatives around right now, my husband and I decided that we wanted a few days in the city reliving the pre-kids life.
It was all set, my husband was going to take off early, and we would head into the city by 1pm, 2pm latest. Of course, you know it never works that way. My playdate in the morning went later than I expected (too much fun), my husband had to tie up some loose ends at work. Finally, we got to the train station at 3:50pm and made the 4:15 train into the city.
Thanks to Priceline, we got a very reasonably priced room at the Millennium Hilton, right next to the World Trade Center Memorial. A PATH train from Newark, had us in the city in no time, and we checked into to our spacious (for NYC standards) room, before getting ready to go to dinner.
Since we were late, we ditched plans to go all the way uptown to a Cuban restaurant and opted for Otto, Mario Batali’s restaurant on 8th Street & 5th Avenue, right outside Washington Square in the East Village. We actually walked there (a 30 minute walk), and made it just in time for our 7:15pm reservation.
Otto is knows for it’s simple menu and very very very extensive wine list. The menu was super simple, a few salads and anti-pasti, 8 pizzas and 5 pastas. But the wine list was 3 pages in fine print. The wine list was so extensive, they have 3 sommeliers on staff at all times and a very knowledgable wait staff. We had a lovely lady come over and help us find a wine that would match our meal in a price point we were comfortable with. Wines at this restaurant cover the range from as little as $30 a bottle to as much as $400 a bottle. We got a lovely blended red from Piemonte region in Italy for $45 dollars, the same region the goat cheese from my pasta came from. The wine was fantastic, brilliant boquet, so drinkable and yet with enough acid to work with cheese in pizza and pasta dishes. I wish I had taken a picture of the label, but my phone had died by this point.
For our meal we opted for a salad and prosciutto di parma to share, a pizza for my husband and a pasta for me. The salad was spinach with a truffle honey vinaigrette, that was so good I tried to take my husbands share but he blocked me. The pizza was a spicy mushroom, which turned out to be a little spicier than I liked. But my husband, the Indian, loved it. I had a goat cheese filled pasta that was so delicate.
For dessert we each got our own (because we were gluttonous and didn’t want to share). I had a dark chocolate cake with coconut gelato and almonds, while my husband got a spiced caramel panna cotta with creme-fraiche ice-cream. After that meal, we walked the entire 30 minutes back, then headed in for the night. We needed our rest for day 2, where we wanted to take full advantage of the day in New York. To be continued…
* Photo take by Atma Photography