Friday, June 27, 2008

Class is in Session in NYC

Our day in the City went off with nary a hitch. We presented ourselves with arms open wide and were embraced by all the wonderful and magical things that the City contains. The Met is vast and fantastical, and while we only lasted an hour and a half, we went to an ancient Egyptian temple, got several good looks at George Washington, witnessed the original dot art, saw a starry night, waterlilies, and about a dozen ballerinas.
After the Met we proceeded to an old neighborhood fave of mine- from BC days (before children)- Alice's Tea Cup. Cute little restaurant that got so popular that they opened 2 more outposts around the City. The menu could be described as tea-time gourmet, and the ambiance is just charming. The theme is Alice in Wonderland, hence: Alice's Tea Cup. All this being said, the last two visits with the kiddles were less than spectacular. The wait for a lunch table was no less than 45 mins. for both visits. The service was less than friendly the first time, and sort-of friendly yesterday. I've often wondered why being a waitperson at even a semi-hot spot, endows you with some sort of superior, snotty, snarkiness? A cooler-than-thou air that makes me just want to fling my invariably overpriced food in their faces.
The food at Alice's was pretty good, Big boy kiddle ordered a smoked salmon tea sandwich that was made fresh and flavorful with thin slices of beautiful melt-in-your-mouth Nova, and lemon rind spiked butter on black bread. I had a very good tuna sandwich made with coarse mustard and cornichon pickles. My watercress and pear salad on the other hand left something to be desired, namely-good flavor. It goes without saying that it was pretty expensive for tea fare- which when you think about it, is just sandwiches and scones. But the worst part by far, was that I purchased several ounces of rather expensive loose Japanese Sencha green tea as a little prezzie for Hubbabubba (he loves the stuff) and he couldn't drink it. It was old, stale, dry, and aroma-less. No more, I guess I'll just have to hang those sweet BC memories of Alice's Tea Cup out to dry.
Determined not to spend another dime or minute at Alice's, we walked 3 blocks south to Magnolia Bakery for dessert. Now this was an experience I'm eager to repeat. The bakery, one of a couple, is a lovely, clean, airy place filled with the sweet smells of baked-on-the-premises cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. Cream lace curtains frame the windows, white tile makes the place feel cool and clean, and the service is quick and friendly. I chose 3 cookies (choc chip, peanut butter, and sugar) each priced at a nostalgic 50c. The kiddles each chose a cupcake which was palm friendly, and not baked-goods-on-steroids proportioned which seems to be in vogue nowadays. I was almost seduced by a slice of coconut layer cake, that looked so gorgeous and white and fluffy and moist, but I held back- in retrospect while sipping my coffee this morn I wish I wasn't so self-denying. I'll be back.
From there we went on to our next NYC adventure- the subway. I love the subway for being the quickest and cheapest way to get around town, as well as for being an important stage for the non-stop theater that is New York City. The kiddles were thrilled by the whole experience. My li'l hicks from the sticks were jumping up and down in a very non-New York manner. They made eye contact, they talked to the strangers sitting next to them, they were real life children.
Next stop? The Zoo at Central Park. What a great little zoo, completely manageable, and entertaining with two humongous polar bears that treated the kids to an in-water wrestling match, a crew of monkeys that were judiciously grooming each other on the rocks, quite a few fat slithering snakes, just to name a few of things that caught our attention.
The final chapter of our New York Adventure took place at Dylan's Candy Bar. The first thing that comes to mind is "Oy Vey". There were so many choices I didnt know where to start, the impressive gummy selection (mini, small, medium, and mega gummy bears), the English chocolate shelf, the marshmallow novelty section (marshmallow kabobs, marshmallow popsicles...), the technicolor jelly bean canisters, the "nostalgia" candy bars cornucopia....Choices, decisions, dilemmas. There were several really nice touches that made this candy emporium truly memorable. The plexiglas stairs that led to the three different levels contained all sorts of colorful candies, and totally dazzled the kids. On flat screens throughout the store the old candy commercials of my youth played...remember "sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't"? Or how about "you got your chocolate in my peanut butter..."? While waiting to pay for my overpriced candy I got to watch both of these chestnuts.
So, while their education is far from complete I'd say they got a few crucial lessons in NYC. And a it was a good refresher course for me.

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