Feb 8, 2011

New York, Here I Am!

Yesterday I flew to NYC for Social Media Week. From a work perspective, its going very well. We hosted a panel today that I thought went off without a hitch.

Other than work stuff, there's two things I want to tell you about: misc random stuff and my dinner out with my cousin, Alan, and his girlfriend, Alex.

Random Stuff
  • I should have stuck to my guns when this past summer I decided to quit Newark Airport. Sigh, maybe I'll have learned my lesson now, one power outage later.
  • The evening news anchor on ABC here in NYC has some serious Texas hair...like bigger than most Texans. You go girl.
  • I forgot and since getting here, have remembered what always made NYC "not my city." You can't see the sky. Have you seen the Texas sky? Its huge. Alan agrees, the Texas sky is bigger than any sky. But in New York, skyscrapers get in the way and you can't see it. Strange since I KNOW the sky is up there someplace.
  • I also forgot how much I love being in a city and just walking everywhere. Even in the cold temperature, I've loved walking everywhere all the time since I arrived. I've not set foot into a cab since I made it to my hotel and I'm loving it. I plan on doing the same thing tomorrow.
  • So much I've forgotten since leaving Boston, and among the list the glory of a cold sunny day. I remembered that I liked these but I forgot just why and how they felt until today. Something about the seeming paradox of cold and sunny just really does it for me. (Note: possibly not a paradox to everyone but in Texas it is cold or sunny, rarely to never is it both.)
  • A Starbucks on every corner. We have a lot in Texas but the walking city gives whole new meaning to "a lot."
  • The sound of trains running regularly. I don't mean the train whistle like I could occasionally hear from my old Austin apartment, but the regular vibration and noise of a steady subway or commuter rail. I'm staying at a very comfortable hotel but being just about a block outside the heart of Times Square, the subway is present and is a pleasant reminder of the exciting, bustleing city all around me. I love the energy it suggests!
  • AT&T blackhole. Very poor cell service apparently because the whole city has iPhones and the network can't handle this. I remember this happening in Austin...for one weekend, ACL. Not every day life. As Ross said, this can't be good for business.
  • Seeing the scene outside my window as the back drop for multiple mainstream news shows, including Nightline which just came on my TV.
I think that covers random.

Now dinner with Alan.

My cousin Alan (from the Lowe side) lives here in NYC and works in the film industry. He's kinda a big deal; his name shows up in film credits. Since we don't see each other all that often, we made certain to grab dinner while I was in town and I was able to meet his mystery girlfriend, Alex. (I call Alex the mystery girlfriend because 5 years into their relationship I still had not met her but in fairness, she does live in NYC and I'm in Texas; kinda far. Further, Alan's parents swore she existed so perhaps I should have believed them.)

Alan met me near my hotel and led me through the NYC maze a few blocks to a swanky restaurant in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Yes, that's right, the Met, iconic NYC museum. The Modern was fa-ancy. Anthony Bourdain and the whole Top Chef crew would have been impressed. As you might guess, it was a very sleek modern decor, not too fussy, lots of straight clean lines.

The menu suggested ordering items from each of the menu's three pages but our trio decided something from two of the three pages would be sufficient.

Before I tell you about the magnificient food, let me tell you, Ross and I don't really do fine dining. We're your typical glutenous Americans and we like our plates heaping with mashed potatoes or dripping with cheesey enchiladas. However, we rarely finish the full meal when we're out so really, would probably be fine with the petite portions of fine dining. But all that said, the food at The Modern was magnificient but I can't resist commenting on the presentation.

My first course was a DELICIOUS wild mushroom soup with ravioli. The soup was rich but not necessarily thick, just dripping with flavor. The ravioli were fried which surprised me. I'm not sure if I was supposed to put them in the soup but the looked like they would taste off the charts good if submerged in mushroomy deliciousness. I was right. Funny element: I got three ravioli. Three. Who serves three ravioli when they are half dollar size? Stupendous restaurants like this do.

My second course was, in true Cheryl seafood loving fashion, the grilled scallops. They were brought out to me with a little garnish of spinach and cabbage. Um, yum. And then just as I'm devouring it with my eyes waiting for my fellow diners to be served their food, the waiter fills the (oversized with an comically large lip) bowl with...are you ready...fuschia puree.


When have you ever had fuschia in your dinner? I never have but holy cow, I could do it again. It was outstanding! And I can't use any word besides fuschia to tell you how it tasted. That describes it perfectly.

Once done with my scallops (again, three), I was feeling fairly content in terms of food consumed and quite dandy overall in terms of quality of food. I start to wrap things up when Alex tells me that this place is known for it desserts and that of course dessert isn't even a question: we are having it.

I figure, what the hell, why stop with fuschia doused scallops, bring on the dessert. It's not every day that this Texan visits NYC. In that true spirit, I ordered the cheesecake.

My cheesecake with mango sorbet was delicious, interesting and citrusy. But what I wish I could share with you is Alan's dessert. I don't really know what it was but it included chocolate and caramel and was named Something Something "Dome." His personal tribute to the Astrodome. It was served on a white rectangular plate. Chocolate dome (literally) on one end, scoop of ice cream on the other and drops of chocolate syrup and squares of gelatin carefully dotting the middle. Dotting the plate. I thought you only saw that on Top Chef!

I took out my phone and took a picture.

Call me provincial but this fine dining experience just made me giddy with New York-ness. It was so outside of my normal every day lovely Austin life that it actually transported me into the chic urban environment that is the Big Apple. And it was FUN.

I had a great time, not only eating and giggling over perfect, thoughtful presentation, but also chatting with my cousin and getting to know his girldfriend. We talked about everything and nothing at all, vacations, work, parents, weather, etc. The normal chatter of people who know each other well-ish and are having a great two hour plus meal.

An excellent night out in the City indeed.

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