For Tara’s 30th birthday we opted to congregate in (my current home and perpetual pick for best city in the world) NYC.
Tara fled sunny-and-sixty-five Houston, her husband and boys and — braving New York’s third snowstorm this winter — miraculously made it on Thursday afternoon. I cut out of work a little early and we trekked one block to Pacifico for a late afternoon snack. It was a perfect beginning to our weekend — just me and Tara, catching up over “yardbird” quesadilla and red sangria by the fire.
On Friday morning, Mom, Tara and I faced more snow to eat the best pancakes in Brooklyn (and most likely in all of New York) at Cafe Luluc, headed to Luda for a brow shaping, then checked into the Waldorf. We “ladies who lunch”-ed at Telepan on the Upper West Side (an elegant and tasty three courses for $25), then walked through snowy Central Park on our way to see Monet’s Water Lilies at the MoMA.
Jenny met us at the hotel before we went to Bloomingdale’s to find Texas Tara a new warm winter coat, then we stopped at Dylan’s for bags of gummy candy for her boys (and fine, for us too) before eating a cheap but satisfying salad and pizza dinner at Patsy’s. We headed back to the Waldorf, but not before a dessert detour at Buttercup for pretty pastel cupcakes.
Saturday we took the F train down to the Lower East Side’s Doughnut Plant and sampled outrageously good flavors like Tres Leches, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Vanilla Bean. After a quick peek in the Essex Street Market (and a mental note made to return and savor stalls like Saxelby Cheese Mongers) we headed back uptown.
For lunch we stopped at the casual and always delicious Le Pain Quotidien at their new location near Rockefeller Center — it brought Tara back to her Brussells days in only the best way. Then before heading to a matinee of ‘Billy Elliot’ we ducked in to a few souvenir shops and picked up some ‘I Love NYC’ tees and mini yellow cabs as Tara’s answer to the inevitable “What did you bring me Mommy?”.
Dinner felt like the main event at Gramercy Tavern. I hadn’t stopped raving about it since Eric took me for last year’s birthday and it lived up to every expectation. Our waiter, Steven, was knowledgeable and warm and didn’t flinch when I ordered the $32 bottle of Lambrusco; rather it prompted a passionate sermon on the the beauty of the sparkly Italian red. The meal was epic — a marathon of food, a Heavenly test of endurance. From the amuse bouche (a little bite of whipped potato and olive tapenade fried to perfection) to the desserts (chocolate bread pudding, peanut butter semi freddo) to the final little birthday treat for Tara (Steven’s sweet concoction of hot chocolate, amaretto, and Stoli vanilla in tiny espresso cups) it was the star of an altogether fantastic weekend.
Sunday morning we met Blaise at Sarabeth’s on Central Park South for fluffy omelettes and signature-preserve-slathered toast before returning to the Waldorf to check out and say goodbye. We sent Mom, Jenny and Blaise off to Penn Station and Tara and I brought it full circle with one last cup of coffee in the lovely (and way nicer than our actual room) lobby and chatted about the past few days before Tara’s cab sped off to Laguardia while mine headed to Boerum Hill.
It was fun, for one wonderful weekend, to share my city with my sisters and Mom. And equally fun to see it from their eyes, to be a tourist in the place I live.