thEATer Weekend in New York

Last month, I had the chance to go visit a dear friend of mine in New York City.  I try to get up there at least twice a year to visit friends, see some shows and eat delicious food!  This visit definitely lived up to all three!

I took the train up on Friday morning and arrived just before lunch.  I dropped my things off at my friends's apartment and headed down to Chelsea for an afternoon at the new Whitney Museum of American Art.  But first, I needed lunch.  I chose to revisit a place I had been to before: The Meatball Shop.  It's a cute little restaurant and I chose a window seat for prime people-watching.  The menus here are fun: they're dry-erase where you check off or circle the items you want.  I selected spicy pork meatballs with a spicy meat sauce on a whole wheat baguette.  The meatballs are truly fantastic - but this time, the baguette was rather dry and not particularly tasty.  I finished my lunch fairly quickly and headed out for the Whitney Museum just a few blocks away.

 Spicy Pork Meatball sandwich from The Meatball Shop

Spicy Pork Meatball sandwich from The Meatball Shop

A few weeks before this trip, I had read an article on Slate that described in drool-worthy detail about one of the city's best chocolate chip cookies.  This miraculous cookie was always served fresh and warm, made with three different chocolate chips and served with a little glass of bourbon vanilla infused milk.  As I arrived at the Whitney, my brain finally made the connection that the museum was the place where I could find this spectacular treat.  So I made my way to the top floor's cafe and sat at the bar and ordered this cookie.  And I'm sad to say that I was severely disappointed.  Not only was it more than the article led me to believe it would cost ($10!!), I found the cookie to be a little dry and barely had any white chocolate chips.  And while it was served warm, it felt like it was re-heated in a microwave vs. fresh from the oven. And the milk was just pain milk - no bourbon vanilla infusion.  So when all was said and done, I paid $12 for dry cookie and some milk.  But they do get points for presentation!

 Triple Chocolate Chip Cookie from the cafe at the Whitney

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookie from the cafe at the Whitney

Leaving the cafe behind, I continued my trip through the museum.  Saw some lovely and some bizarre pieces of work.  Most of all, I enjoyed the views of the Hudson and the city.  The Whitney is in a great location, right on the water.

 View from the Whitney Museum

View from the Whitney Museum

After the Whitney, I headed towards Union Square and stopped at Baohaus for some steamed buns.  I'm a big fan of steamed buns and enjoyed them many times over in my travels to Japan and China.  But I wasn't quite expecting the style in which Baohaus makes their buns.  Rather than being purse shaped with a filling inside, these are more like mini tacos with whole pieces of meat and toppings. Tasty, but I still prefer the traditional steamed buns.

 Steamed buns from Baohaus

Steamed buns from Baohaus

After Baohaus, it was time to head towards Times Square for my first show of the weekend: Something Rotten.  This was a delightfully funny show that had me smiling from start to finish. After the show, I met up with my friend at her apartment and crashed - it had been a long day!

The next morning, we brought breakfast back from our favorite French bakery Maison Kayser.  They have the most amazing pastries and breads - but my all-time favorite is their mini apple brioche.  Close seconds are their pistachio financiers and pain au chocolat.  This has become our tradition every time I come to New York.  I usually don't like to revisit too many places - there's just so much food to explore in the city.  But Maison Kayser is one of the few exceptions!  

 Clockwise from left: pain au chocolat, pistachio financier, almond croissant, apple brioche

Clockwise from left: pain au chocolat, pistachio financier, almond croissant, apple brioche

We had a lazy morning and finally left mid-day to grab some lunch just before my second show of the weekend.  After some disappointing snacks the day before, I was ready to have some really good food.  I started off the day well with the French pastries - and the trend continued when we stopped at the Halal Guys cart for a gyro platter.  Full of rice, beef and chicken - it was a bowl of deliciousness and it just hit the spot!

 Beef and Chicken Gyro

Beef and Chicken Gyro

The second show of the weekend was An American in Paris - a beautifully staged and choreographed show with incredible dancing by Robbie Fairchild and Leanne Cope all set to the music of the Gershwins.  Their pas de deux in the second act alone was worth the price of admission.

Then it was time for another meal - this time at a lovely Italian restaurant near Columbus Circle called Masseria Dei Vini.  It's a sister restaurant to La Masseria in Times Square - and both have incredible authentic Italian fare.  I selected a fresh pappardelle pasta with bolognese sauce which was out of this world. We decided to skip dessert for now and wait until after our show at Lincoln Center.

 Pappardelle Bolognese at Masseria Dei Vini

Pappardelle Bolognese at Masseria Dei Vini

So here we are on Saturday night for the third show of the weekend (for those counting): The Kind and I.  This was my first performance at Lincoln Center and I was excited to see Kelli O'Hara, who had just won the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical.  We're ushered to our seats to find that we're on the side but in the front row!  When the show starts, this huge ship glides across the stage and just when you think it's going to go off the edge, the whole stage moves forward and extends towards audience.  It felt like we were right in the thick of the action.  This ended up being my favorite show of the whole weekend.

Sunday morning started much like Saturday with a pastry run to Maison Kayser.  We then had a leisurely morning perusing the Sunday Times reading various articles including one about Paul Rudd.  We rather enjoyed that one and the accompanying photograph. :o)

The last show of the weekend was a matinee of On the 20th Century starring Kristen Chenowith and Peter Gallagher.  I wasn't familiar with the story or the music (nor have I found either memorable) - but both Kristen and Peter were quite fantastic and it was an overall enjoyable show. 

The last meal of this grand thEATer weekend was a burger, fries and shake from Burger Joint - a little dive burger counter tucked away in the corner of the hotel lobby at the Le Parker Meridien. An odd pairing for sure, but people line-up just to make their way to the counter and order from the hand-written cardboard menu signs.  The burger was tasty, the fries salty and crisp, and the milkshake smooth and creamy. Shortly after getting back to my friend's apartment, it was time to pack up and catch my train home. We certainly packed a lot in one little weekend - but it was so much fun and I can't wait until my next one!