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Monday, April 21, 2008

eating my way through nyc

i woke the kid up nice and early for our "girls' day in the city" - she was thrilled. heh.

after we got ready and grabbed our usual starbucks breakfast, we headed over to radio city music hall for our prepaid tour (part of our "rock pass" from the other day). we gathered with a big group of giggly high school girls out on a field trip, met our tour guide, and put on the purple buttons she gave us to wear.

we learned a HELL of a lot about the venue - the original builder, the owner, back stories to the designs on the carpet, the walls, everything. and because i was too busy giggling and whispering with the kid, i didn't retain a damn thing. sorry. if you're into it, i guess you'll be taking the tour if you get out there!

we stopped for a potty break before we got too deep into the tour. it was quite lavish, and the bean liked the chaise lounge.

the elaborate elevator system on the stage was so ahead of its time, it's still used today - and the military actually took over the venue during WWII to pore over the original plans and designs to use it on some of the warships.

i was amused to see that they were setting up for a big fundraiser thrown by elton john, for hillary clinton.

then, we went behind the stage and through several corridors, all the while being further educated on the history of the venue, as well as that of the rockettes. and here are some of their costumes, modeled on some creepy ass mannequins:

i don't like mannequins. they creep me out, much like clowns do.

and like baby in "dirty dancing," we got to meet a real live rockette. whee! she came through that door with the star on it and delivered a well-rehearsed, obviously often-delivered spiel about life as a rockette. when she asked if we had any questions, my mind went totally blank and i couldn't come up with even a silly, pointless question or comment. boo.

once the tour was over, it was time to meet r for what we'd been looking forward to since i told her we were coming out: the cupcake tour! MIL was amused and amazed to find that what i'd been prepping her for was real. when r whipped out her little notebook with a list of the places we wanted to hit, she just laughed and followed along.

our first stop was alice's tea cup - by then it was 12:30, and we were hungry. some tea sandwiches and scones sounded pretty damn good to me.

but when we walked in, the wait was 45 minutes, and after some debate, we decided to put alice's off till later in the day and went with plan b: patsy's pizzeria.

this is r's favorite place in the city for pizza, and that was good enough for us! so we plopped the bean in a real, big-girl high chair, and checked out the menu.

while we sat and chatted, we were brought a basket of fresh baked rolls. mmm!

caprese salad was next, with fresh homemade mozzarella. oh, it was so good.

and then the pizza came. it was so scrumptious, even the kid was raving about it - and she's not a huge pizza fan. it had juicy slices of pepperoni (the real shit, not that nasty nitrite-filled crap you get from, say, domino's), fresh basil, and that homemade mozzarella cheese. man, was it good. i don't know if i can ever go back to pizza hut after this.

from here, we set off for our first cupcake of the day: crumbs. oh, yes.

we decided to each choose a flavor and split each one four ways. this way, we could maximize our cupcake tasting while not filling up right away. ha! from top left: double chocolate chip, vanilla with strawberry frosting, then s'mores and finally red velvet.

we dug into the vanilla/strawberry and found it to be damn near perfect. the frosting was light and just the right amount of strawberry sweetness, while the cake was exactly the right texture, and dare i say it? - moist. i really hate that word, but it works for cake.

next was the double chocolate chip, and while it had great flavor, it was a little on the dry side. the s'mores was even more so, and the biggest disappointment was the red velvet. now i see why the beverly hills outlet of crumbs refuses to make it - it sucked ass. oh, well - on to the next!

i have to admit, i was kind of sweet-ed out from that stop - even though it was really just one full cupcake, eating four different flavors made it seem like more. plus, if you've ever had a crumbs cupcake, you'll know that it's most definitely NOT your average sized homemade-style treat - they're GINORMOUS. but we quickly arrived at buttercup bake shop, and because i was determined to try everything i could get my hands on, i sucked it up and marched right in.

i'd like to live by this motto:

the kid wasn't nearly as determined - she decided not to pick a flavor here, but still joined in the tasting session. here we had strawberry, lemon, and sour cream spice.

these were somewhat disappointing as well - the cake was very dry, and that sour cream spice cake had raisins in it. ew. and that was MY pick! oh, well.

we decided to do some walking to burn off calories and get some fresh air. r took us by the dakota, where john lennon lived and died, and then to strawberry fields.

she told us that every time she stops here, she's amazed at the enduring love of john lennon's fans - there are always fresh flowers and little notes and mementos left here.

i finally got to walk into paper presentation, and checked out their vast array of merchandise. i was so sad that i didn't need any supplies - everything was laid out right in front of me, beckoning me with their different sizes, shapes, and colors. alas, i walked out empty-handed.

we crossed the street and walked into cupcake cafe, which was very cute and had trays of beautifully-decorated cupcakes. but r whispered in my ear "let's skip this one, unless you really want to try it. i've heard that while their stuff is gorgeous, it doesn't taste nearly as good as it looks." and these creepy dancing cupcakes freaked me out enough to chase me out the door anyway.

so instead, we walked up just a few paces and entered totally baked - the baked potato bar we'd tried to visit the first time we walked through this area.

as we perused the menu, the guy behind the counter couldn't stop gushing over the bean. "omg, she's just so damn cute. oooooh, those cheeks! i just want to eat 'em up with a spoon."

the kid, MIL and i exchanged a few looks while trying our hardest not to burst out into laughter. it was just so damn funny! and MIL whispered "can you just imagine if your hub was here? what do you think he would say?" and i told her that if the hub was with us, i doubted that this guy would have been so verbally oogly-googly. hee!

the kid and i decided to share a "classic" potato - butter, sour cream, cheese, and bacon. it came in a cute little box with a small salad on the side.

MIL decided she hadn't had enough sugar yet, and opted for a baked sweet potato, topped with toasted marshmallows and candied pecans. and while i'm not a sweet potato fan, i took a bite and it was really yummy!

r chose the creamed spinach potato, which i also tasted, and i think hers was my favorite of all three. oh, and there was also the "truffle" potato - a baked potato dressed with truffle butter and heavy cream, drizzled with truffle oil, and topped with shaved pieces of truffle.

for $55. yeah. we passed.

afterwards, r led us to kate's paperie, where i again wandered around aimlessly before giving up and leaving without making a single purchase.

our next destination was peanut butter & co., where the kid and i decided to pick up sandwiches to take onto the plane for the ride home the next day. she went with the "peanut butter cup," peanut butter and nutella generously spread on large slices of fresh white bread. i can't remember the name of mine, but it was peanut butter and vanilla cream cheese, with chocolate chips sprinkled in between. they double-wrapped it for us since we weren't eating them right away, and with a longing glance at the displays of flavored peanut butter and strawberry marshmallow fluff, we left.

we strolled past the buildings of NYU, through the village and to our final cupcake shop - the MOTHER of all cupcake shops: magnolia bakery.

this is where it all began, folks. aside from oprah serving her audience sprinkles cupcake a couple of years ago, you can thank magnolia bakery for kicking off the nationwide cupcake craze that refuses to die down. of course, having miranda and carrie on "sex and the city" grub down on cupcakes in front of the shop helped their business a little, too. maybe.

anyway, we picked up a box to go, and then hailed a cab that took us - can you guess? - back to the upper west side and dropped us off right in front of alice's tea cup. we'd come full circle! and luckily, we were seated right away.

it was your typical tea menu - sandwiches, scones, cookies. it was yummy, light, and a nice way to end our long day. we were close enough to the hotel to walk (passing another location of magnolia bakery on the way, but we'd wanted to visit the ORIGINAL!), and we invited r to come up and check out our tiny room before heading home.

MIL took a quick picture of us before rounds of hugs and goodbyes.

and with a final hug and a wave, she was out the door, headed to the subway station to catch her train back to brooklyn.

before we did our final packing and got into jammies, the kid made a comment about how she wanted me to carry her around in the wrap, just like i carried the bean. and even though we were practically doubled over in giggles, i managed to wrap us together and MIL took this:

"ewww! mom, your boobs are touching me!" she said, and wiggled out.

and then we went to bed, where i tried really hard to fall asleep before MIL.

sadly, i was unsuccessful and i ended up burying my head under the pillow again.


  1. Ewwww...I can not believe you used the "m" word and made me read it!! Ahahaha!

  2. Phew! I made it through that ENTIRE POST! :P

    And I gained 4 lbs. just reading it!

  3. is it awful that i'm drooling more at the baked potato and the pbj shops than the cupcake joints? it feels wrong somehow. maybe i'm not as much of a cupcake princess as i thought i was :/

  4. I'm a lurker...Your post is making me sooo hungry for cupcakes and pizza! I think I may need to make a trip to NYC soon and visit some of the places. The pizzeria sounds phenomenal.

  5. Ha, my husband just rolled his eyes when I told him that we're visiting Magnolia when we go to NYC in May. Wait til he hears about all these OTHER cupcake places.

  6. you guys did good for one day! i really need to try that potato place.

  7. This might be my hands down favorite post of all times. First because I love NY Pizza, second because I'm dying to visit all the cupcake world has to offer, third because no trip to "the city" is complete for me without stopping in Kate's...because, well.....I'm vain. I've literally bought lipstick JUST because it was named after me.

  8. Coming out of lurking to ask the all important question: what did you think of the Magnolia Bakery cupcakes?! I tried them in NY and really wasn't impressed, I definitely prefer Sprinkles. Looks like you guys had a great trip, and I'm very impressed by just how many cupcakes you managed to eat!

  9. I'm all caught up on NYC! Yay!!


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