So it was that at 8.30am yesterday, I met Courts on the corner of 58th and Why-The-Hell-Am-I-Out-Of-Bed-At-This-Hour, and we taxied to the American Museum of Natural History. As a member there, I had snagged a couple of tickets to the Museum's new "Beyond Planet Earth" exhibition which officially opened yesterday. We just got to see it before all the tourist hoards (and their bratty children) came charging through. The exhibit is quite small but it has some pretty fancy interactive displays and the gift shop even sells little sachets of space food. At this point in the day, I was fueled by only half a Whole Foods coffee, so even the dehydrated chocolate ice cream sandwich was looking pretty good. But I knew what was to come, so I resisted.
Rather than stay on at the Museum during its opening hours, we walked over to my fabulously favourite food emporium, Zabar's. I have made no secret on this site about my love for this place and I'm so glad that Courts liked it too. The average age of shoppers in there yesterday would have been about 300 but that's typical for this place and one of the reasons I love it. Little old ladies and their husbands shuffle around to do their weekly shopping, being jostled about by tourists and locals who (like me) just want to grab as many pastries and pickled products as they can and scoff them immediately. Okay maybe that's just me. I emerged with a loaf of signature rye bread and a giant pack of chocolate rugelach, both of which made me a very happy girl. When we left Zabar's I was heartbroken to realise that H&H bagels had closed its Upper West Side store. This upset was mitigated however by the smoked salmon & cream cheese delight and freshly-squeezed OJ that I enjoyed at Zabar's little cafe next door. Nom nom.
In fact, happiness through food seemed to be quite the popular sentiment yesterday. With our Zabar's purchases in hand, we took our full and caffeinated selves on the subway to the Madison Square Park. Across the street, in all its epicurean glory, is Eataly. I don't need to remind you how happy this places makes me. Lavazza coffee, creamy cakes, dried and fresh pastas, live seafood, charcuterie plates and wines, for the love of all that is holy. Eataly sells itself.
I took Courts up to the rooftop and we hung out at Birreria until CS joined us. We might have been ticking on a little bit by the time he got there, but such is the effect that two of the restaurant's delicious home brews will have on you. Retiring to a table, we enjoyed a delicious meal of assorted salamis; blood sausage and sauerkraut; pork chops; and portobello mushrooms. I know, right? Well look at the menu for yourself - you would have done just as much delicious damage! The meal and the beers and the location made all three of us quite happy and we were ready to face the Eataly market downstairs. Tasty treats made it safely into our shopping baskets, I can assure you.
Parting ways with Courts and CS, I wished them well for their delicious dinner at Mercer Kitchen and I headed for home. Laundry and episodes of "The West Wing" followed (Mark Harmon as a Secret Service agent, anyone? Hubba hubba). Then I made the fatal mistake of ordering Thai take-away and asking the restaurant to make it extra spicy for me. If I ever try and do that again, can you please karate chop me? Needless to say that the remainder of my Saturday night is best left forgotten. I was very disappointed in myself, but also for the fact that it meant I couldn't meet Courts & CS at Wallse after their dinner, for the much-anticipated tomato peppar cocktail (or Bloody Martini, in this case) that I had read all about in my New York Times cookbook. A story for another time, I guess.
After a 13-hour sleep, I woke up to a Sunday morning full of promise. Thai food was a distant memory and my legs even felt fit enough to drag me to the gym. A one hour workout cleared my mind and cheered me up immensely. As I walked home, I had to actively remember not to dance to my iPod music in public (I make an unfortunate habit of this). Lost in my thoughts, I got pulled back to reality by a truck-full of New York City firefighters, honking their horn and waving at me. At least I hope they were waving at me, cause I totally waved back. I'm only human, after all.