Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day 4 !

I slept in for the first time. After my trip to Blue Hill and all the walking in the 3 previous days, there was no way I was dragging myself out of bed at 6 am... It was also my last night in Chelsea, so once I had showered dressed I slipped out for a breakfast at a local cafe called Dish. The breakfast was just what it should be and the service was good. The best part was the price ~ cheapest breakfast since arriving in New York. I checked out of my room and started the walk to my next hotel, the Millennium Hilton ~ found on Priceline for 120$ a few weeks ago because my plans had suddenly changed.
I have no idea what possessed me to walk there ~ I should have been conserving my energy for later! My suitcase did a wonderful job, bouncing off of a curbs and out of potholes. I was particularly cranky as I reached the neighbourhood of Canal Street ~ hot and bothered and people keep shoving pictures in my face trying to sell me handbags, watches and sunglasses!
I finally reached the Hilton at 11 am and decided to check on the off chance that my room was ready early. It was and I was so happy to be in a full size room on the 17th floor. After my last place, it was luxurious. It had a bath! A huge flat screen tv! And earplugs to block out the 24 hour construction noise. My view was quite chilling.

I admit, I had a bath, then crawled into bed for an hour. I just needed to refuel. Slightly refreshed, I headed out to explore Downtown Manhattan. My first stop was the beautiful church next to my hotel. THe gravestones were for the most part completely worn away over the years, but one jumped out at me, probably because of our close proximity to ground zero.

I stepped into the church itself, a shrine to the workers and others of Ground Zero. After a minute or two, it just became too much and I fled, with a painful lump in my throat. I headed out into the maze of Downtown streets, the beautiful mix of old buildings and gleaming new ones. I was halfheartedly looking for lunch, but nothing was grabbing me. Without knowing how I got there, I arrived at the Staten Island Ferry. What the heck, its free, so I boarded and enjoyed the views of the statue of Liberty on my way over.

At the Staten Island end, we had to disembark and missed the return trip, so I grabbed a hotdog while I waited for the next ferry.
The return trip was all about the views of the Brooklyn Bridge and The Waterfalls, which I understood to be an art installation.
Back in Manhattan, I wandered some more, checking out Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange and grabbing a photo of Les Halles for my friend Mel.
Back at my hotel, I had a shower and a nap, before putting my party shoes on and heading down to catch a cab. My dinner reservation for tonight was at Tailor, recommended by one of my coworkers. I decided to cab it and had a thrilling ride, stuck in traffic for 10 minutes at one point. I turned out I was mere 2 blocks from my destination, but not knowing exactly where I was going, I just waited it out in the cab.
Tailor was wonderful! The decor was a very country asthetic ~ rough wood beams, stuffed chickens, rawhide on the tables, bare bulbs wrapped in wire ~ the food was anything but. I ordered a Kaffir Collins while I perused the menu. Settling on Marinated Fluke and Pork Belly with Miso Butterscotch and a glass of rose. I sat back and watched the room. I couldn't take pictures because the light was way too low and they would never have turned out. I also refuse to use flash in restaurants.
An amuse was presented to me, but as soon as the word "apple" came out of the servers mouth I was disappointed. "was the apple raw?" "yes". Damn, I had to gently turn it down. Seconds later, the server returned to inform me that my pork belly dish contained copious amounts of raw apple. I said I would just push it to the side (I had been looking forward to this dish since I first read the menu 3 weeks earlier).
THe fluke was delicious ~ a creamy salty sweet combination with shards of pineapple paper. The portions were generous and I wished I could share this meal with friends ~ I knew we would enjoy ordering almost everything on the menu and sharing little tastes.
The couple next to me were debating their choices and somehow, I found myself chatting with them. The next thing I knew, The woman was giving me her phone number "for next time" if I ever needed restaurant reccs. "Do not hesitate to call me" she said. People have been so incredibly friendly and helpful on this trip!
Finally, My pork belly arrived. The apple had been removed for me, so it was simply the pork belly and the miso butterscotch. My notes are funny at this point;

Oh. My. God. This pork belly kicks all other pork belly ass. For the record, this is the 3rd time in 3 days that I have eaten pork belly. I may turn into a pig...

I really had no idea until that moment that I had been loading up on the pig ~ probably a good thing I was walking so much every day! Anyway, the pork really was the most tender piece of meat I have ever eaten ~ so many people don't quite hit pork belly, but this had it all, including the crisp of the skin and the creaminess of the meat. And the miso butterscotch? I could eat that on everything! A perfect balance of salty and sweet. I could also see where the raw apple would be a perfect foil to the richness of this dish.

Brave (foolhardy) woman that I am, also ordered dessert and a dessert wine. I selected a Banyuls Dessert wine and the "French Toast". A single stick of perfectly crispy brioche with a creamy interior. Raisin puree very thin on the plate with raisin paper draped over. Brown butter ice cream. Warm maple gelee. Caramelised bacon bits. I could feel my heart seizing at the richness, but it was so damn good!

A wee bit tipsy on food and drink, I set out to explore the neighbourhood a little (Tribeca/Soho). The woman next to me had recommended a place for an after dinner cocktail called Kittechai. I couldn't find it (probably a good thing) it turned out later that I had walked right past it within a minute of leaving the restaurant. After about half an hour of walking in my sexy shoes, I had enough and sat down to switch to the flip flops in my purse.


Then back to the hotel to call Kathryn and set up my trip for the next day.

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