With a busy holiday season of shopping, wrapping, decorating, and complaining how fast the holidays are approaching, I have not been in the kitchen much lately (barefoot or wearing my cozy Jessica Simpson slippers). I had plans of making holiday cookies (the cut out, decorated, pain in the butt type) – yeaahhhhh…not happening. It’s been weeks of take out and jarred pasta sauce and The Hungry Husband is probably jonesing for The Kitchen Snob’s test kitchen to open back up.
It’s been cah-ray-zee.
Even though I threw my apron aside for a short while, I have been snobbing it up around the East Coast. You know, silently judging restaurants with my evil eye behind my new I’m-over-forty-reading-glasses. I swear – I went blind overnight.
My mom and I made an impromptu trip to NYC to get ourselves in the Christmas spirit. I mean, what says holiday spirit like running through the frigid streets of New York? Isn’t it so festive to freeze your tushy off to catch the next subway train (which is 15 blocks away) while snowflakes fly in your eyeballs turning your mascara into black candy cane streaks? Oh the magic of it all!
All complaining aside, we had a fantastic time and we highly recommend checking out how The Big Apple does Christmas.
It was so beautiful.
Christmas in New York is well worth the trip.
I wish I could have used my DSLR instead of my iPhone but every time I had to take my camera out, I had to choose between frost bitten fingers or just enjoy the moment and hope that my brain would capture the memory.
I truly love New York. Sure, it’s chaotic. There is grime. There are horns honking at every corner. The stores feel like 105 degrees and you’ve got your ski lodge long underwear on so you can walk the streets without chipping a tooth from all that teeth chattering. I didn’t care. I loved it. New York City feels like a living breathing thing and it makes me feel alive! I could hear the Saturday Night Fever theme song, as I strutted down the street.
Not to mention, the food is incredible. Which is pretty darn snazzy for a snob like me.
And because I’m a full-blooded snobby snob, I like to put in my two cents. The following is my honest review of some of the places we saw and restaurants we ate at.
The Tree – Rockefeller Center
You know the one. It was crowded, cold, and worth every minute. I swear, my eyes filled with tears as we walked around the corner and saw this spectacular tree. I was overwhelmed with emotion. LOVED IT! Everyone is in good spirits, kissing, and taking pictures. I felt like a kid again and this is why I gave the photo above a “days of yore” look. If you’re in NYC at Christmas, this is a must see.
Joe’s Pizza on Carmine Street – West Village
We stopped at Joe’s Pizza for a slice, per Jon Stewart’s advice on his hilarious Donald Trump pizza rant. As you can see, we took his advice and used an irresponsible amount of napkins. The pizza? Forgettaboutit. It was delicious. Thin crust. Tasty sauce. Don’t get a slice. Get two. Go here and feel like a true New Yorker. They even serve the old fashioned glass bottles of Coke.
Lombardi’s Pizza – Little Italy
Who would dare to argue with America’s First Pizzeria? The atmosphere is quite casual and comfortable. It’s a sit-down place where you order a whole pie. The crust is what makes this pizza stand out. It is thin and baked in a coal oven and, lord, there must be something in the water over there because it was pizzalicious.
It’s not your traditional pizza that most American’s are used to eating. We tried their Original Pizza which is made with fresh mozzerella, a San Marzano tomato sauce, and topped with Romano and fresh basil. It had more sauce than cheese which was fine with me. Very much like the pizza served in Naples, Italy.
Serendipity 3 – Upper East Side
After hearing Oprah rave about their famous frozen hot chocolate, I had to go. I mean I just HAD to. The restaurant was adorable and lit up for the holidays like Christmas on crack. I just wish I had better news for you. If you like crabby waiters, slow service and mediocre food then you will love Serendipity 3. So sorry, Oprah.
If you have a plane to catch in the next 3 weeks, you might want to think twice about ordering that dessert. You just might miss your flight while you’re waiting for it.
I won’t go into too many details about my mom’s dish but perhaps the chef should throw poultry out when it starts to smell and someone needs to tell him/her to wear a hairnet.
I will admit that I’m guilty of not trying the frozen hot chocolate because the thought of eating something cold seemed like a masochistic act on that particular day, so we opted for their Blackout Chocolate Cake. As some of you may know, I am a chocolate cake snob connoisseur. I thought it was fine. Yep, just – fine. Nothing to ooo or ahhh over. Although, maybe the fact that the waiter microwaved our cake until it was splitting apart and the frosting was melting had something to do with that. Just sayin’.
Perhaps Serendipity 3 is a wonderful restaurant and we just happened to go on a bad day? Sure, I guess anything is possible.
Dylan’s Chocolate Bar – Upper East Side
If you are a lover of all candy like I am, you will absolutely love Dylan’s Candy Bar. They have EVERYTHING. I double dog dare you to walk out of this 3-story candy store empty handed. Just fun gift ideas, interesting chocolate bar flavors like “Angel Food Cake”, free samples of their homemade fudge, and upstairs is a café/bakery. Just go there!
These lighted steps down to the retro candy area have real candies in them!
Trattoria Trecolori – Theatre District
This was my second visit to Trattoria Trecolori. It was so good the first time, I dragged my mom 1,347 freezing, wind-blown blocks out of our way to eat there. Oh, you think I’m exaggerating? Our feet beg to differ. The service was spectacular and the food was wonderful. Try the Pasta Arrabbiata. It is fantastic and the perfect amount of spice. Save room for dessert. Like you wouldn’t.
Macy’s – 34th Street
Okay – here is where I’m going to really get snobby. I mean, you thought I was harsh on Serendipity 3? Hold on to your seat. My mom and I were quite disappointed with the Macy’s here. This was supposed to be the highlight of our trip. It wasn’t.
First let me say – I love Macy’s. It’s my favorite department store. In Macy’s defense, perhaps my negative review is because they were having their Friends & Family sale, it was Christmas and packed with tourists, or perhaps I am just out of touch with reality.
If you’re looking too see all the purses this Macy’s has to offer, get ready. All purses are not on one floor. That makes sense, right? Get out your binoculars, flashlight and your trusty Bloodhound who’s been trained by the best. Be ready to search every floor because some could be hiding in a corner on floors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Okay, so it’s not that many. Hey, at least you get your exercise. Socks are not all together in the same place. I’m surprised they don’t have a floor for left foot socks and a floor for right foot socks.
The first/main floor is beautiful with decorations. But as you go up to additional floors there is nothing special about them. I guess I just expected it to be all glamorous and fancy schmancy. I know – I sound totally bah humbug about it but I have to be honest.
The real bad news: It was A MESS. Trash and stains on the floor. Disgruntled employees. Can you blame them? Escalators are packed with people like sardines and we were lucky we didn’t get our toes eaten by the grates as the people backed up on them. It was mayhem in there. I’m coining the phrase MTSD (Macy’s Traumatic Stress Disorder). Trust me – it’s a real thing. When we
left the store limped back to our hotel room, I felt like Goldie Hawn in Overboard when she’s in shock stammering “abubba bubbabbubbabubaa”.
Don’t forget to look outside for the lit up Believe sign. Very pretty. See? The silver lining.
At some point in our exhaustion – we got the giggles.
All in all – I still think Macy’s a “must see” at Christmas – because, you know, there are just some things you have to do. But now that I’ve seen it – I’m over it. We had a good laugh as we left (probably because we knew we were getting out of there alive).
Happy Holidays to all of my readers!