Wednesday, December 23, 2009
My siblings and I did a trip to New York as a Christmas present to ourselves. To me NY represents the pageantry of Christmas, probably the only other place that could surpass it would be London, which I plan to do at Christmastime in the near future.
We kept the budget low, but the calories high in between the sights of Rockefeller Center, The Union Square Christmas Bazaar, The Neapolitan Baroque Creche at the Met, and countless creatively decorated storefront windows.
Max Brenner 841 Broadway (14th street/Union Square) was our first break from the cold. If everything chocolate is your pleasure than this is a must, they even have chocolate pizza! American Grill style menu offerings also available, so as not to get a sugar overload. The hot chocolate menu features two kinds of cocoa delight, many flavors of each, but two different consistencies. The Chocolat is a traditional hot chocolate, the Classic Chocolate Beverage is a really thick, creamy hot chocolate. Needless to say, I had and prefer the latter. One of my sisters felt it was too rich. But I in fact added to the adventure by ordering the Mexican Spicy with red chili, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper - Yum! Best of all it comes in a cozy cup they call a hug a mug. (pic above) Hot Chocolate Rating:Pretty Big Toe -- Service Rating:Pretty 4th Toe: the wait for seating was intolerably long, we witnessed a party of 5 with the chill still hovering on their coats get seated ahead of us, due to poor communication between the hostess and the waitstaff, none of which were over the age of 25.
After leaving the Met we were near my brother-in-law's new favorite spot - Jackson Hole 1270 Madison Avenue & 91st Street (other NY locations too) It's what you'd probably classify as a joint; a cross between a diner, an old five and dime and a neighborhood pub -Fun! Their claim to fame- home of the 7oz burger and these burgers are MAJOR and cheap by NY standard. They recently added sweet potato fries to the menu, frankly, I can't imagine how they previously got along without them. Rating: Pretty Index Toe
New York has a great "What to do" type magazine called Time Out, the December issue featured the best places to go for Winter Cocktails. It gave a rave to Penthouse 808 atop the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City. The description of retractable glass roof, several wood-burning fireplaces and lush decor, had us traipsing through the blizzard, 10 long Long Island City blocks from the subway, only to find a very moderate hotel and a modestly attractive Penthouse 808 with only one inaccessible fireplace that I would swear was gas burning; and incongruent, bottle service of $300 for Tanqueray and $600 Johnny Walker Blue. Our waitress, a costume-less Lady Gaga look-a-like, must have been snow blinded, she was just in another world. I asked her what was in their hot toddy and she just kinda stared at me blankly, so I said "well, whatever it is I'll have one". The other 4 ordered a Gramercy Park off the drink menu, it consisted of hot chocolate, Baileys and rum. When the drinks arrived, mine was a luke warm tea, bag still present, with some unknown alcohol, nothing sweet, or lemony to speak of. My sisters, brother and bother-in-law all complained their drinks tasted like hot chocolate - why? because it was only hot chocolate. LG told the bartender 4 hot chocolates instead of 4 Gramercy Parks. The bartender apologized and said he'd be back with the real drinks shortly. 35 min later, snow getting so thick outside we're starting to panic about getting back to Tribeca, he comes back with stone cold Gramercy Parks. Needless to say, we had to complain to management and the tab was cleared, but still not worth the trip - Rating: Suck My Pinky Toe
Rating: Pretty Big Toe