Hello again! February has been a busy month – so far I’ve trekked up to Oakland, out to Las Vegas, and off to St. Louis. Catching up on the blog has not quite gone the way I want it to around all the craziness, but we are getting there slowly but surely.
When I last left off in NYC, we had finished our (comically bad) skating adventure at the Rink at Rockefeller Center. My sister asked us to stop into a store near Grand Central to pick up some last minute Christmas gifts, so we headed over to the Nat Sherman store. I’m not one for cigars, but it is the cutest little store nestled in a ton of big buildings. It’s…a bit smelly inside with all the smoke, so I ducked outside and headed over to for:ground to pick up some coffee. Man, if for:ground was near my house, I would be there every single day. I went and lived my hipster bookworm NYC dream drinking a cappuccino on the front steps of the New York Public Library.
We had dinner reservations at Butter Midtown – we watch a LOT of Chopped and I am veritably obsessed with Alex Guarnaschelli, so when I tasked Max with finding a restaurant for a pre-show dinner he was all over it. LORDY. I had a drink called the “Midtown Fizz” that had chai-infused gin and lavender – three of my favorite things – and Max got a rye drink that had actual smoke. Our first course was an incredible burrata with a green sauce that I can’t recall anything about other than it was DELICIOUS and some avocado toast. Be still my millennial heart. Both of us ordered off the specials menu – I had a sweet potato and candied nut tortellini dish, and Max had a delicious chunk of meat with potatoes and greens.
After dinner, we were off to the main attraction of the trip – Anastasia at the Broadhurst Theatre. We didn’t have the opportunity to see its early run in Hartford, and we weren’t able to get to NYC to see it before we moved across the country. When we started planning this trip, this was the only thing I was adamant that we had to do. Boy, am I glad we did.
I was OBSESSED with the animated movie when it came out in 1997, and for me that movie began a long-standing interest in revolutionary-era Russia and the Romanov family (seriously, I have that big blue history book about the Romanovs sitting on my shelf that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet). Combined with a social studies unit on Russian history in third grade, I was an eight year old entranced. As soon as the cast recording from the show was available, I devoured it. And as soon as we sat down for the show, I was right back in 1997 becoming newly obsessed. As you might know from our trip to LA to see Hamilton, I love musical theatre – I actually started college with the intention of being a musical theatre major – and lordy, Anya quickly jumped high up onto the list of “parts I’d love to play if I ever end up doing any shows again.”
My only real complaint about the show is the use of digital screens – it was inventive and different to use the screens and projectors as backgrounds, but there were a few times that the digital scenery just overwhelmed the cast and what was happening on the stage. I also found the Gleb storyline to be a little sloppy and strange, but as a subplot it made sense – I just felt like his character wasn’t fleshed out enough. But it certainly didn’t affect my enjoyment of the show at all. Christy Altomare was pitch perfect as Anya, and her voice was surprisingly powerful (shoutout to small sopranos with big voices!). John Bolton was great as Vlad, and I was a bit starry eyed at Caroline O’Connor as Lily – their chemistry was phenomenal and they were hilarious, and I love Caroline O’Connor in Moulin Rouge so it was really cool to see her performing live. We missed Ramin Karimloo as Gleb by a couple weeks, but Max von Essen was wonderful. In my opinion, though, the true breakout star of this show is Derek Klena as Dmitry. His voice is just so smooth and he played the character so well. I was absolutely blown away by the whole cast, but especially him. I ugly cried at “Journey to the Past” – pro-tip: it’s right before intermission and they bring the lights up ALMOST IMMEDIATELY so be prepared for everyone to see you openly sobbing 🙂 – and there were just so, so many incredible moments throughout the show. I definitely suggest seeing it if you happen to be in NYC -especially if you are a woman in your late 20s who was into the animated movie – because you will definitely enjoy this show.
After the show, we went over to Rose&Basil in the East Village for some dessert. We had a lavender chocolate cake and a couple drinks. The cake was delicious, but it was also gorgeous:
(Plus, my glass of rose had an actual rose in it which was adorable!)
On Friday, we met up with Max’s aunt for lunch at Dos Caminos. It was pretty good Mexican – their margaritas were definitely delicious – and it was nice to have some time to catch up with family we haven’t seen since our wedding. After lunch, we wandered around the New York Public Library because #booknerd. I wanted to touch all the books, but that’s frowned upon, so I just quietly took pictures by myself instead.
For dinner, we met up with two of my college friends at Up Thai on the Upper East Side. Delicious. I didn’t take any pictures of my food since we were too busy laughing and being ridiculous, so you’ll have to take my word for it. 😉 After dinner, we ended up at Five Mile Stone for some beers, and then went to Iggy’s for karaoke which went…exactly as you’d expect when three former show choir participants have a few drinks and start singing. 😀 3/4 of us continued the night at Tonic in Times Square, where we met up with some friends who one of the girls met after college, but actually went to the same college as we did which is pretty awesome. Buffalo grads represent! We were out until lord knows when singing karaoke and generally being ridiculous, and I’m pretty sure Max and I got pizza on the way back to the hotel because how are you going to be out drinking at all hours of the night and not finish the evening with greasy pizza? 😉
Saturday morning we took the train out to Garden City on Long Island to meet up with another one of my college friends. I finally got my Tim Hortons’ fix! We order Timmy Ho’s coffee off Amazon, but it’s certainly not the same. So I was thrilled when we were waiting for a train at Jamaica station and noticed the Timmy’s. Conveniently, my nails matched my coffee cup #thanksjamberry
Once we arrived in Garden City, we went to a restaurant called Waterzooi for lunch. They are a Belgian restaurant known for their oysters and moules pots – but you can’t take me to a Belgian restaurant for brunch and expect me to get anything other than a waffle. Everything we had was absolutely delicious – including the mimosas! – and we followed up brunch with some time hanging out with our friend at his house. It was a bit rainy and blah, so unfortunately we weren’t able to explore a lot of the area, but it was so nice to catch up and just chill for a while.
We headed back into the city just in time for dinner, so we went to the only tourist trap in the city we love – Little Italy. The first time we came to NYC together, we had dinner at Da Nico which was incredible, but we wanted to go somewhere different. We went to Angelo’s, which was pretty meh. We were seated near two very large, very loud parties, so the ambience was not exactly what we were hoping for – through no fault of the restaurant, obviously. The food was good but nothing really extraordinary. I wouldn’t tell you not to go there, but maybe try to go during lunch or another time when it’s less busy. We likely won’t go back, but with so many restaurants in Little Italy, I have so many other pasta dishes to try! ;).
However, one place we always go back to in Little Italy is Ferrara Bakery. I LOVE cannolis, so we always stop there for dessert when we are in the area. All of their desserts look delicious, and I can’t remember what Max got, but I will never get anything other than a cannoli there because they are just so good. Paired with a cappuccino and Baileys…perfection.
Sunday morning – Christmas Eve – Max got up early and went to Russ & Daughters to pick up some breakfast while I packed up the hotel room. I am a sucker for a good bagel, but I also have a hard time eating right after waking up and the combo of lox + cream cheese doesn’t always agree with me, so I only ate about half of my breakfast. I am looking forward to trying it again next time we are in NYC, though. We headed to Penn Station to catch our train up to Albany, got more Tim Hortons, and hopped on the train. It’s an easy 2-3 hour train ride through the gorgeous Hudson Valley, which we followed up with a stop at the liquor store and Panera once I was finally ready to eat.
We enjoyed spending Christmas with my family, and I especially enjoyed the part where it snowed and I didn’t have to worry about shoveling or dealing with the snow. 🙂 Minivan for scale:
Unfortunately, because traveling cross country around holiday times is a pain, we had to get an early train back to NYC the morning of the 26th to catch our return flight out of LGA. Luckily, we had no delays or trouble traveling, and had a long enough layover at Dallas Love Field to get some food. Dallas Love Field was the 30th new airport I’ve been to, so for a nerd like me who loves keeping track of those things (and only started traveling regularly five years ago!), it’s definitely something to acknowledge. 😉
The view from my seat somewhere over the Northeast.
Stay tuned – as you may have seen, January and February were busy months! Coming up are our adventures around San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Oakland, and lots of other little excursions in our area.
Until next time!