Morning of my second to last day in NY. I got up early, fighting my desire to loll about in my nice hotel room, and went for a walk looking for breakfast. I actually made it as far as the museum of Natural History, before turning back and eating at the Moon Rock diner a mere two blocks from my hotel (nothing like a 40 block trek to whet the appetite.)
I headed back to the Hilton, packed my bag and checked out, checking my bag at the luggage room. It was a little overcast and to be honest, I was getting tired. For days now, I had been walking the length of Manhattan and it was starting to get to me. So I cheated and grabbed a cab to the Museum of Natural History. Less than a minute after pulling away from the hotel, the sky darkened ominously. Another minute and thunder rumbled. By the time we passed Columbus Circle, the sky had opened up and thousands of gallons of water poured out. You think I am exaggerating?? I live in Vancouver, one of the wettest places around and I have never seen rain like this. It was 10 in the morning and it looked like 8 at night. Thunder shook the cab and lightening would brighten everything for a few brief seconds.
As we made our way to the Museum, I could see pools filling on the side of the road. It took less than 10 minutes to get there (maybe 15). The street in front of the museum was two way, so the cab driver had to pull over across from the main entrance. I paid him and jumped out. It was like leaping into a cold pool. I gasped for breath, my feet sunk up to my ankles in a puddle, water streamed over me. I tried to get my bearings and dashed across the road and into the safety of the museum. Less than 30 seconds and I was soaked to the skin. I stood in the lobby dripping, trying to decide what to do. I ended up buying a sweatshirt from the museum shop and changing into that. I wrung my hair out in the bathroom, emptied my shoes and wrung my socks out. I coat checked the shirt I had been wearing, hoping that a few hours of hanging would dry it out. Then I went to check out the museum.
I opted for a guided tour and I was glad I did. I think I got more out of it for that reason. But the Met is still my favourite and I wish I had spent more time there than the Natural History museum. Lunch was had in the bowels of the building at the museum cafeteria.
Some sort of mexican type meal....
I grabbed my shirt from coat check and stumbled out of the building. The sun was shining!! I walked back to the Hilton, grabbed my suitcase and took a cab to my final hotel on Washington Square Park. Beautiful building and I felt a little frisson of excitement as I noticed Babbo across the street.
I checked in. The room was small, but clean, comfortable and attractive, but I didn't have any time to enjoy it as I realized how fast my time in the city was coming to an end. I walked down to the Hilton at Ground Zero to pick up my cell phone charger (left it there when I stayed), then headed off for another ramble through downtown, sticking more to the east side of downtown. Then I wandered through Chinatown, Soho, Noho, Greenwich Village and West Village. I wish I had stayed in this neighbourhood the whole time; so alive and interesting. I found myself at a wine bar, sipping a glass of white, planning my first move for the evening. I remembered the recommendation for Kittechai, so I went back to my room, changed and made my way there. It was SO trendy it hurt.
trendy people at Kittechai
But the cocktails were fabulous and the food delicious. I ordered a drink with vodka, muddled pink grapefruit and red thai chilis, the food was an order of Kampachi sashimi. The service sucked, but I suspect that had more to do with my singularly not cool presence. From there. I wandered till I found an Italian restaurant. Another glass of wine, two more appetizer, obsequious service.
My appetizers were a tomato salad with burrata and some sort of octopus dish. Both well executed and tasty. I was starting to feel all warm and fuzzy at this point. I remembered another reccomendation, from my friends at Blue Hill. I had seen the oyster bar they suggested in the neighbourhood, so I made my way there. Lenny & Joe's, I believe it is called. The maitre'd was hilarious, some over the top flamboyant performer. He seated me at the bar and I ordered half a dozen oysters and a virgin mojito (what can I say, I was getting a little tipsy at this point.) I got to chatting about oysters and the west coast with the couple next to me. I told them about my indulgent eating and drinking ramble through the area. He asked me why I hadn't been to Babbo yet. I mentioned my distinct lack of a reservation. He told me I should be able to get in at the bar. I paid my bill and slowly ambled over to Babbo, psyched myself up and opened the door. From the outside, it looks so peaceful. Inside, it was warm, packed, loud. I asked about a possible seat at the bar. Half an hour wait. So I ordered a glass of prosecco, made my way to a corner and tried to make myself as small as possible (we are talking CRAMPED here.) I just watched people come and go for closer to 40 minutes. At one point, a group showed up 1/2 an hour late for their seating. The Maitr'd berated them and made them stand in a corner for ten minutes while he tried to find them a table. Then, a space at the bar and I was in. I ordered a half litre of red wine and a plate of beef cheek ravioli. The bartender was surprised that was all I wanted, but to be honest, I was pretty full and it was now roughly 10:45pm. The pasta was perfect. I cannot put it in words. Lets just say I reached ravioli nirvana. After that, I ordered dessert ( no idea why, or how I managed to eat it.) strawberry crostada with balsamic zabaglione amd balsamic syrup. As I had been enjoying my meal, the couple from the oyster bar appeared, obviously regulars as the bartender hailed them by name. A table was found for them, near the bar and jokes were bandied around. I loved sitting at the bar, what a FUN place to be.
I staggered out, drunk, full and delirious. I had to walk around the block a few times before pouring myself into bed. it was 12:30am