Thursday, April 10, 2014

Eating Our Way Through New York City

This past weekend we ventured up to New York City for a little family "babymoon" before Baby Cush #2 arrives. We have done very few trips (i.e. none) as just the three of us as a family since Austin was born, and I really wanted to do one.

We took the train up to New York, leaving at 8:00 on Friday morning. We took the Acela up, and I wish we would have sprung for the extra bucks to take it back as well. It cuts 45 minutes off the trip compared the regional train, and with a toddler, it's worth it. Also, the service you receive from Amtrak employees, is much better on the Acela, which comes in handy when you have a child.

Austin was fascinated by the train for the first 30 or so minutes of the ride, then he wanted to run and explore. The great part about the train, compared to a plane, is that he can to an extent! Ben took him to the dining car twice and let him just walk around, and it was great for curbing some of his energy. He also had some of his snacks, which helped, and we read to him.

Very important that Monkey can see out the train window
When we arrived in New York, we headed straight for the hotel to drop off our bag. Managing to fit all of our items is one suitcase (albeit, a big one) was a huge victory for this trip. Despite his lack of desire to sleep on the train, all it took was the chaos of Times Square to lull Austin to sleep in his stroller. He was knocked out, and stayed that way through most of our lunch at Carnegie Deli.

Ben had never been to Carnegie Deli, and I had been there a few times during previous trips to New York years ago and told him he he HAD to go. Ben is a sandwich and meat lover, so I knew this would be his heaven. They are known for their huge sandwiches, and amazing cheesecake, and when I saw they had gluten free cheesecake on the menu now, I knew it was a must.

The Woody Allen Sandwich, Pastrami and Corned Beef
The food did not dissappoint. Ben enjoyed his out of this world sandwich (he finished half!), while I had a three cheese omelet and baked potato, followed by a slice of gluten free cheesecake that was so delicious. Ben tried a few bites and loved it as well.

AMAZING Gluten Free Cheesecake
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around. We stopped at Macys to get me some gloves and I ended up buying a headband to go over my ears as well because it was turning out to be a windy weekend. We also went to the top of the Empire State Building, where the wind really showed us who's boss.

That night we went to a delicious little restaurant called Market Cafe near our hotel in Hells Kitchen Neighborhood. They had a ton of gluten free options, and after some gluten free bread with olive oil, I enjoyed the most delicious steak tacos with seasoned fries (I kept calling it "Fancy Del Taco" since it was tacos with fries). I wish I could go back for these tacos today; I keep thinking about them! The mango salsa, cilantro, cabbage, steak and chipotle mayo mixture was perfect.

Austin was obsessed with Market Cafe's flat bread pepperoni pizza, and he inhaled the bread basket as well. This kid loves carbs, and I can't say I blame him.

Mmmmm, pizza
Saturday we did a lot more exploring, including down to Battery Park, where the wind created plenty of white caps on the water as we looked out on the Statue of Liberty.

We then walked over to see One World Trade Center and the 9/11 World Trade Center Memorial. It had been so long since I'd been to New York City, the last time I was there, I was inside the World Trade Center towers. It was sad and sobering to see the memorial, and all the names of so many innocent people. I'm glad we took the time to go see it. It was a pain taking the stroller on the Subway to get there, as most of their elevators did not work, or didn't have any, but worth the trip.

I made sure we got a picture of the Ed Sullivan theater while in town as well since David Letterman announced his retirement last week. May be the last time we see his name on the kiosk!

Saturday night we met up with our friends Lauren and Ryan who live in Brooklyn (you may remember they visited us last summer) for dinner in the East Village at the delicious Mediterranean Cafe Mogador. I had the grilled chicken plate, which was very good, and Austin enjoyed some of my rice, along with hummus and pita. He was thrilled to get to eat his favorite snack for dinner as a vacation treat.

We also had dessert at the delicious Big Gay Ice Cream--yum! They do specialty soft serve cones and dishes and I had the Salty Pimp, chocolate dipped soft serve with sea salt, mmmm. Salty and sweet is a combination I never turn down. They also had gluten free ice cream cones- made my whole night! The cone was delicious, and I would have never known it was gluten free. Ben had the rocky road dipped cone and liked it as well. I was so happy Lauren recommended we go here.

Overall we had a wonderful time in New York City. It was a great weekend away, and as always good to be home as well. I can't wait to take our children there as they grow older and will appreciate all the city has to offer, and tell them how lucky we are to live a short train ride away from so many amazing places!

Heading Home
We are planning one more little adventure as the weather gets nicer--a day trip to Charlottesville! I have a few things on my list to check out there, including the Farmers Market, Pasture and Sweethaus Cupcakes, but please let me know if you have any recommendations for that beautiful little city.

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