I used to go to New York quite a bit in my younger years but it has been at least 20 years since my last visit and Shack had never been. We have kind of entertained the idea of going from time to time but we always ended up going somewhere else. We almost went last summer on our road trip to Newport but decided on Boston instead and then last Xmas, it was on the short list but New Orleans won out. This seemed like the perfect time to go. The fall weather is remarkable right now- New York can be really stinky and humid and terrible in the summer. The kid is old enough to leave home in the care of The Neighbours so we could actually go on our own which is something we have not done in the 12 1/2 years he has been in our possession and seeing that I barely saw Shack all summer due to his crazy work schedule, we jumped at the chance to get away.
You don't know Shack but if you did you would understand that driving was the only acceptable way to get there. The car to Shack is what the puck is to Wayne Gretzgy and there is no such thing as a drive that is too far, too long or too mundane for this man. We both really love those 8 or 9 hours to sit side by side, top down, hair blowing in the wind like a starlet, talking when we feel like talking, listening to Tina Fey read Bossy Pants when we don't. It was an awesome drive through the hills of Upstate New York and Pennsylvania. My only regret is the fact that I did NOT photograph the gas station ball park franks that came with a big, steaming vat of complimentary meat sauce! We did not partake but we watched in awe as local after local grabbed a dog out of the jar where they were stacked vertically like combs in a barber shop and covered with complimentary meat sauce until you could no longer tell there was a hot dog under there. I wisely stuck to my usual road fare of nacho cheese Doritos and Werthers.
As we were getting ready to go on the George Washington bridge to Manhattan, I mused that it was too bad that I didn't download New York New York to play while we cross and I had barely gotten the words out of my mouth when, out of the speakers, blasted Frank warbling that he was going to make a brand new start of it! Shack had beat me to it.
|Magic meat and cheeses of Little Italy|
We got in around 3pm, ensured that the valet was going to guard Shack's penis mobile with his life, dropped off our bags in the room and promptly left to start to walk uptown. Even though Shack has never been there, he is also a bit of a human compass thank god, so the combination of me knowing where the different neighbourhoods are, more or less and him steering us in the right direction, we made it to canal street to check out Chinatown and Little Italy. We walked down Mulberry St as I am frantically checking Chowhound to see if any of these touristy looking restaurants are decent when Shack announces "let's go here" and sits down at an outdoor table at Il Fornaio. We ordered an antipasto plate, some meatballs and a really tasty bottle of chianti. It might not have been the very best antipasto I have ever had but it was really good and, more importantly, it was our first meal in New York and that made it perfect. The meatballs were actually quite delicious with a great, soft, meaty texture in a good, solid tomato sauce. The chianti went down very smoothly and I would happily go back to eat here, touristy area or not.
This guy looked like he stepped straight out of a Soprano's casting call and Shack was in love. I knew that at some point we would be back.
|It was lovely to sit in the window of the John Dory and watch all of the evening hubbub|
Eat at Mad Sq Pk event that was running until the end of October. Coming from a city that doesn't allow food trucks that sell anything other than hotdogs and hamburgers, we were beyond thrilled. We got a delicious clam chowder from Red Hook and when we saw the Calexico truck, I realized that I had been following them on twitter hoping to find them and there they were, right in front of us! We had a beer, a trio of delicious meaty tacos and I had some sort of bean thing with guacamole. We were in heaven and if we could have eaten more, we would have but we were full and wanted to keep walking.
|Sigmund's Spices and Tease|
|Fabulous Clam Chowder was had from Red Hook|
|I would give my left arm to have trucks like this in T.O.|
We meandered through the city, heading south until we finally reached our hotel, happy with full bellies and anxious to get this sleep thing over with so we could start all over again the next morning.