With Mom in town, the fun never stops. Not that I am much at a lack for things to do on my own, but I'm pretty sure every hour is booked up down to the minute when we hang out. After a gluttonous breakfast at The Breslin, we made our way downtown to my newest infatuation -- Eataly. Opened by Mario Batali and his business parter Joe Bastianich, Eataly is a whirlwind tour of all things that have anything to do with food and Italy and it's pretty much amazing.
The market section has rows and rows of pasta shapes you've never heard of, olive oils enriched and flavored with herbs and spices and pasta sauces enough to supply your spaghetti habit for your entire life. Of course it's all available ready to jump into your shopping bag in exchange for lots and lots of money, but it's just so pretty to look at.
With grocery offerings like fresh produce and a "vegetable butcher" to slice and dice your greens while you shop, handmade pasta cranked out while you watch, any kind of meat or fish you could ever want to cook as well as daily-made mozzarella, bread and other baked goods, Eataly is really a sanctuary for worshipping food. It also boasts sit-down restaurants, a central marketplace where you can sample wine and cheese plates, a gelato bar, panini stand and espresso bar. Even if you don't anticipate buying anything, I'd recommend a simple walk around the former toy-factory building and dropping your jaw at the selection of awesomeness.
Next up, we ambled north for an Open House New York (OHNY) tour of Grand Central Terminal. OHNY is an annual weekend program where all sorts of buildings, architectural spaces and some residences are opened up for behind-the-scenes tours led by architects, designers and other influential "building" people. It's free to the public, but to get on the more desired tours, you need a reservation. I was lucky enough to score two spaces on the GCT tour but unfortunately didn't get on the Woolworth Building or the new World Trade Center Building tours - those went within 10 seconds of the reservations being available!
Two representatives from the Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, who completed the refurbishment in the 1990s, enlightened us with fun facts and history about the magnificent building. We learned about the "whispering corners" downstairs by the food court. Because of the vaulted ceilings in that section, when two people stand at opposite corners and whisper, the sound carries like the volume of a normal conversation. It's a little Harry Potter, but you have to find it and try it out for yourself. We also learned that after they cleaned up the thick black layer of gunk and grime from the beautiful sky-inspired mural on the ceiling and restored the building to it's former glory, a small patch of the original dirt was left to remind people of how bad it was left to get. If you look in the Southwest corner of the ceiling, you may be able to spot it!
The OHNY experience was great and I would recommend it to anyone interested in just about any building in the five boroughs. I also know they were doing tours of Diane von Furstenburg's studios in the Meatpacking and the Marble Cemetery in the East Village. I would have loved to do both, but the Metropolitan Museum of Art called.
My mom has been obsessed with the Met's roof garden since I told her about it two years ago. We made it up to see the tail end of Big Bambu on the roof. The drinks are pricey, but remember the Met's "suggested donation" policy and you don't really have to pay anything to get into the museum. So grab yourself a couple of drinks and consider that your donation to the arts. Big Bambu was quite the spectacle. Part of me wanted to go up Swiss Family Robinson-style, but it seemed a little rickety to make me feel totally safe about it. We hung out down below and enjoyed the miraculous views across the park and downtown as the sun set. Big Bambu is only on view through 10/31, so if you haven't seen it yet, make sure to go this week!
Our last adventure of the day was a foodie one, back to my beloved Braeburn. Through Village Vines, we got 30% off our entire meal, and we were lucky enough to get there mere days after they switched over to their fall menu. Although I was bummed not to be able to get the Black Pepper Fettucine again, I was a very happy girl to ate what I ate.
We started with the Roasted Beet Salad with braeburn apples (of course), spicy walnuts and goat cheese fondue. I can help but be in love with the combination of beets and goat cheese. It's pretty much heaven. Next, I had the Breast of Long Island Duck with kohlrabi, wheat berries, duck confit and bing cherry sauce. This was a great fall dish. The warmth of the cherries and wheat berries mixed with the crispy duck confit was great and I wanted more when it was done. Lastly, my mom and my favorite candy bar is Almond Joy so we were thrilled to see a "deconstructed" version almond cake, coconut, dark chocolate and coconut squash sauce on the dessert menu. Although I'm pretty in love with the candy bar, this was a wonderful, more sophisticated version. All in all, it was great to finally eat an entire meal at this West Village gem and I can't wait to go back!
|Roasted Beet Salad|
|Breast of Long Island Duck|