So this time last year, I headed to Montreal and Quebec City by myself for what was to pretty much be a next-chapter-of-life – defining trip for me. It was spectacular and I loved every minute of it. It’s looking like the post Christmas week is my week to myself without the boys. After having a lovely Christmas with them, they have headed to Florida with Steve, and this year, I had the wonderful opportunity, along with my mother and two friends Robin and Kerry, to come to New York City for five nights. Our dear friends Keju and Marc are heading out of town for New Year’s weekend and were in need of a dog sitter at their lovely apartment in the Financial District. Don’t have to ask me twice! We elected to arrive early and so here we are tonight in Midtown Manhattan.
We took the train from Petersburg and Cherry treated us to Business Class. What a civilized way to travel! The train staff were delightful and the train was on time. Robin took the train from Lynchburg and arrived at Penn Station less than half an hour after us, which allowed us to order large glasses of not so great and overly priced wine at the first and last chain restaurant we will go to whilst here. It was convenient!!
After fortifying ourselves with drinks and appetizers, we headed down the few blocks to the Executive Hotel Le Soleil, a delightful modern hotel on W. 35th St. After checking in and freshening up, we headed up Fifth Avenue towards Rockerfeller Plaza. On our way, we marveled at the fabulous displays of lights at Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. The latter was spectacular and was pretty much an on going show that ran every 15 minutes. When we reached our destination after battling the throngs, we were not disappointed and it was fabulous to see the Christmas tree and ice rink in person.
Hunger pulled us away and we headed to my pick for this evening, a place that unfortunately plenty of other people had picked too. The wait was an hour and the accommodation in the bar was packed so off we went elsewhere. We had spotted a tequila bar opposite the hotel so headed to Habanero Blues where we enjoyed expensive margaritas, delicious guacamole and Ceviche. Kerry was the most adventurous of us, ordering first a Habanero Margarita which was incredibly spicy followed by a Mezican, made with Mezcal. Service was somewhat slow from the front of house staff but when we made it to the bar, our bartender was delightful and to our surprise, offered us shots of tequila to thank us for being “so nice and so patient”. We accepted the compensation and fueled with more tequila than any of us normally drink, we went in search of French fries….
Our hotel had a speak easy bar attached to it and here we enjoyed beef brisket sliders, the much needed extra salty French fries, delicious knotted warm garlic bread served with Mozzarella wrapped ricotta and a tomato jelly and a gorgeous flatbread topped with pancetta, melted leeks and much gooey cheese. Washed down with a glass of wine, the four of us were ready for bed by 10pm!