Thursday, October 27, 2011

Family Matters

My Pop had a wreck today, which scared the pee out of me. Luckily everyone is okay, and the woman he hit was very sweet to him, but then again who couldn't be. However, she was very gracious, and her son was very concerned about my Pop as well. What I fear is that this is going to scare him so badly that he gives up driving because of it.

The place he had the wreck is right in front of a new high school that they have built in my hometown, and it is a hot mess. I mean the road is all mixed up, and there are not enough lanes for the traffic that is coming and going out of the place. I am not excusing the wreck for my Pop, because his vision has decreased in the years. But, I don't think it is so bad that he should give up his independence and driving.

He has been going to breakfast with his buddies for years. He gets up at 4:30am, and heads out for breakfast at 5:50. He is waiting on the doors to open to the restaurant he goes to, and before his old one shut down, they would let him in through the kitchen around 5:30. He enjoys shooting the crap with his peers, and I think that is part of what helps him endure a life where his body is failing but his mind is sharp as a tack. (that is a big blessing)

We were very blessed that he is okay, but I don't think his truck is going to make it. It was old, and the damage was just enough to probably make it a totaled vehicle. So much for not spending our inheritance, just kidding.

The other GREAT thing my sweet Grams did today was leave me a wonderful message on my cell phone telling me that I should check out Dr. Oz's program because it is about "butt" fat and "belly" fat. Yes, my own Grams calls me up to tell me I need to watch a show on ass fat and belly fat. If my Pop's wreck was not enough to put me in a funk well that just pushed me over the edge.  Nothing like keeping it real Grams, thanks!!!

In case you want to know if I took her advice and looked the show up, I can honestly say yes I did. I came away just as self conscience as before, but now know there is no hope to change my pear shape body, and I should go ahead and eat a cookie b/c I am a junk food addict as well. Wow, all that because my Grams thinks my ass is too big! My Grams is great, so I guess I will let her by this time.

I MUST try to tone up this dimply pear of mine, so the My Fitness Pal continues, and starting November 1st, 2011 I will start training for a race and working out 6 days a week. Only a few more day to get it all together.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Real Time

So, we have skipped ahead 10 days, and are now back in real time, but it was nice to relive the vacation a little. Now, I am ready to go somewhere else. My next trip is not until November 10th-14th for the COCA conference in Biose, Idaho. I have never been to Idaho, so I am looking forward to it.

For now, I am focusing on our Fall Carnival at work, and also trying to plan a trip for our teens to go to Savannah, Georgia. I am also trying to get my final licensure for my License Professional Counselor status. I have completed all my hours, and now all I have to do is get my paperwork in.

My Goal Size! (I am the one in the middle)
So, starting November 1st, I am going to sign up or a race and start training, as well as make a plan for my workout schedule. I did boot camp for a while, but I am trying to save money and not have to spend more to get back in some sort of shape. I have the P90X videos, Turbo Kick, and many other DVDs I could do at home. I just have to dig deep and get going.

I am using the My Fitness Pal app right now to start tracking my calories. It is amazing how many calories add up in your day that you don't simply think about. Let's just say I have been going to bed VERY hungry at the end of the past few days. 

So, if you read this silly blog of my life, you may hear some about this struggle, and please feel free to call me a looser if I can't get myself motivated and together somehow. I really need the ridicule and name calling to help me get my fat, yes fat, ass up and moving.

Last Day In Charleston

October 16, 2011

Wake up to being able to see the sunrise on the balcony again. That is a great way to end the trip.

We went to Acme Cantina for breakfast on our last morning in Isle of Palms. Just a warning before you go in here, bring a jacket!! It was freezing, and if I was cold, it had to be really cold. I would think that it would feel good during summer with much higher temperatures and humidity, but it was a cool pleasant morning. I don't know why they needed the air on so high, and didn't really do much about it even though a lot of people complained.

I have to say that the grits here were really good, and I could have simply eaten those for breakfast because of the amount you get. My Grams and I split the gravy biscuits, which were surprisingly good. Their sausage gravy had a lot of sausage, and had a great flavor. The only problem with the grits and gravy is that it cooled down so quickly, it made it not enjoyable. I think I would have really relished my food and the company if I could stop thinking about getting out of the Arctic.

We had to check out today, which was sad. I was just really beginning to relax some. However, we were going to meet a friend of mine for lunch that I have not seen in 5 or 6 years. I mean you would think I would have seen her more, since she only lives 3.5 hours away, but no.

The really great thing is we met her at Cracker Barrel, and by this time no one was hungry, so my sister, my Grams, and I all split one plate. This is how we really should have been doing it all along. We could have saved money, calories, and out waist sizes. That is how it always goes, I figure it all out on the day we leave.

Now, it is home sweet home to my baby Argie, and back to the real world of work, house upkeep, and never enough time. Why does it always seem that vacation comes in goes so quickly, but Monday though Friday on a work week creeps by?

Charleston During Clemson Game

October 15, 2011

Clemson vs. Maryland
Seabiscuit Cafe

The morning started better. Pop had his coffee, and we knew where we were going for breakfast. We headed for the Seabiscuit Cafe. Ok, this place is small and opens a little late, but it is worth it. The menu has a lot of variety, but the special board should not be ignored. I had the best blueberry/walnut french toast with a side of sausage. Again, the portions here were very large. I had four half slices or two whole slices of bread on my plate, fruit, and added the sausage on top of it. My Grams and I should have split the french toast and sausage straight up.

My sister had the Eggs Benedict, and she claims it was as good if not better than one of our favorite restaurants Tupelo Honey in Asheville, NC. I am not sure about that, but she would know better than me, because I am very picky about my eggs.  My mom had a terrific omelet with some fancy stuff in it, that was the size of a large burrito that you would get from Moe's. My Pop stuck to his classic two eggs, toast, grits, and bacon, but it looked great.

My only complaint about the place is the coffee, way too strong, and the fact that they didn't have sugar free jelly for my Pop. I know there has to be more diabetics that come in, that could benefit from the use of sugar free jelly and syrup. Price wise, they were close to IHOP or Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Some of the specials were a little more expensive. My blueberry/walnut french toast was $8.50.

Our journey for the day was to the Hunley. My Pop wanted to see the Hunley, so that was what we were going to do. I truly found it interesting. I mean, I had no idea about the history of the Hunley, and the fact that so many lost their lives in this very tiny submarine. I was also impressed that it was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship, but the mystery still remains as to what happened to the Hunley. (the website linked has great history and information)

The only thing that made it hard was seeing my Pop get so frustrated with the trip to see the Hunley. He uses his walking stick and has trouble walking far distance. In addition, he can't hear that great, and he can't see really well. So, he was unable to climb the stairs like everyone else, he could not hear the gentleman telling us about the submarine, and he could not really see the Hunley because it was submerged in water and the reflection made it hard for even me to see it. Add on the fact that we treat him like he is a child and can't do anything, and I can't blame him for getting super frustrated.

However, what did make the trip worth it was to see him making friends with another older gentleman sitting on a bench with him. They were talking about the war, family, and having trouble getting around. I think it made him feel better that he was not the only one. He is such a kind, intelligent, and hard working man, and I can't express how much I look up to both him and my Grams for all they have accomplished in their lives. I simply want him to be able to enjoy this time and not have to struggle so much. I know that I need to put more into making an effort to see them more.

After the Hunley, it was time to head to the condo for Pop's nap, but first lunch!!! Just to let you know, I don't like hot dogs. I might eat a hot dog once or maybe twice a year depending on what my options are. However, I really enjoyed Jack's Cosmic Dogs.

First off, it is a little dive on the side of the road off highway 17 in Mt. Pleasant. I think they have two other locations, but this one is the one we stumbled upon. The place is over stimulating, and has a definite 50's feel to it. I was overwhelmed going in, but was excited about the menu. So, we ordered two Atomic Dogs for my Grams and Pop, one Black Beancake, one chili dog (without dog), and two Cosmic Dogs. They are famous for their Cosmic Dogs, so we had to try them. They have chili, blue cheese slaw, and their sweet potato mustard. I thought it sounded gross, but hey "when in Rome". We also had their fresh cut french fries.

I split the Cosmic Dog, the Chili Dog (without dog), and the Black Beancake with my sister. By far, the Cosmic Dog rocked the house. The Chili Dog (without dog) was good, but what would have been better is to get it like the Cosmic without the dog. I think that would have been perfect!! So, a hot dog bun with chili, blue cheese slaw, and the sweet potato mustard, that is the way to go. The Chili Dog (without dog) was good, but it was missing something, and the Black Beancake was also good, but had a different taste to it. The fries were out of this world, and worth going for alone.

What I don't recommend is getting the food to go. The dogs get very soggy and I don't like my bread to be mushy at all. Plus, the fries are so much better hot out of the grease. The atmosphere is too loud and overstimulating for my Pop, but it is great for a family with kids, or a group of friends hanging out. I would go back and try my own creation, which they are very happy to do for you. Another great thing about this place is it is not crazy expensive. A great place to feed the whole family and get a big meal.

The afternoon we decided to go take a carriage ride in town. My mom has never been to Charleston, and so she wanted to do a tour on the carriage. So, just the girls went out on the town to Market Street and to see the sights. I think this was my fourth carriage ride in Charleston! However, I will say our tour guide was funny and entertaining.

We ladies also decided to stop and get a dessert after the carriage ride at Kaminsky's.  A trip to Market Street is not complete for me unless we hit up Kaminsky's. They have the best desserts and great coffee or drinks.

I usually would go there late at night with a group of friends, because they close late, and what is better than a sweet dessert before going home? My Grams and mom wanted a dessert, but didn't want to make Pop feel bad because he can't eat sweets, so this was the perfect time. Everything here is great, so simply go and enjoy!!!!!!

Verona and I did a whirlwind shopping trip to the outlet shops after we dropped mom and Grams off. I needed to get in the Loft Outlet, and I wanted to check out the Converse Outlet for Mike. Let's jsut say I spent more in Charleston than I did in NYC. Sad, I know!!!!

The evening was almost spoiled by a Clemson loss, but they pulled through and beat Maryland. Thank goodness for MSN Fox Sports. I love the play action on the field, if I can't watch the game. It is great to watch on the IPad.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hanging Out Day

October 14, 2011

Just another day at the beach. Boy is it great to be able to have my coffee on the balcony, listen to the ocean, and watch the sunrise. We got up early to go out to breakfast with Pop, but I guess he got frustrated waiting on us and not being able to see good, so he went back to sleep.


Verona and I went out to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast for everyone and we ate way later than Pop usually eats. He was still tired from the day before so we took the day to chill at the beach. That means a nice long walk on the beach, to take pictures and maybe find a shell or two. It feels great to have have the sand on your feet, the salty air in our hair, and the water around your ankles. 

Lunch was a Windjammer day. The have pretty good hamburgers, and Pop rated their BBQ sandwich higher than Brick Street Cafe back home. I am not too sure of that, but he really thought it was better. I think we simply starved him until he would think anything was good. 

The ladies decided to head out to look around during the afternoon. We went to the pumpkin patch, the farmers market, and even found the target. Who doesn't need to know where the target is? We really just had a great time together, while Pop hung out at the condo. 
Seafood was on the menu for dinner, so Shem Creek we went. Our Pop loves fried Oysters, and to be totally honest, they are not the easiest to find in the area. Everyone seems to serve them steamed or raw. We found them though, and he was a very happy man. I was not really hungry, so I tried the fish taco appetizer. Please take these off the menu!!!!!! They were gross, and I LOVE me some fish tacos. The boom boom sauce was not even close to being good, and the fish tacos left a greasy dirty taste in my mouth. Highly disappointed.

Now, let's talk about my Gram's Prime Rib plate. Holy smokes, that steak was out of this world, and she ordered the smaller portion. I could not believe how big it was Thank goodness she and my mom shared the plate. Again, we believe in sharing. Plus, it saves so much money. Verona ate off the appetizer menu as well, but I think she had much better luck than I did.

My eating out money tips: split plates, order off the appetizer menu, and don't order drinks.

Charleston All Together

October 13, 2011

Thursday began with Cracker Barrel. When you live in a small town, about the only constant is Cracker Barrel. So, that is where our journey began. It was not a long drive, especially when you have a Grandmother that can talk up a storm. It is always nice to have her on the ride, because she never runs out of things to talk about. Plus, I don't get to see them that often, even though I only live 30 miles away. Funny how life works.

Sign at the Circle Church
The only negative about being locked up in the car with my Grandmother is, this is the time she brings up things that you really don't want to talk with her about. For example, she gives me the guilt trip about not being married, and if I really want to make her happy before she dies, yes she brought that one out, I would get married. Now, this all comes from her very religious up bringing, which I have nothing against, and even admire about her. The only thing it does not mesh well with is the fact that I live with someone without being married. This is a big one in her book. So, I always get the, "that is not how we raised you", "you know that I love you, but I don't love your decision", and now the "if you love me you will get married before I die. " It is a little hard to take when you are stuck in a car with her.

We arrived safely in Charleston, but according to my pop's watch, both stomach and wrist, it was lunch time. He is also severely diabetic, so we try to keep him on a schedule for eating, but that never happens when we are on vacation, no matter how hard we try.

However, we did park very close to Eli's Table, which use to be Joseph's. I hate to say, my food was horrible. I had the pesto, chicken, and artichoke flat bread pizza. Wow, did it have way too many artichokes, and the chicken was marinated in something sweet, so the blends were not pleasant together. I picked off the chicken, but left most of the pizza. The only two redeeming things were the sweet tea, which I had not had in 6 days, and the pesto. It was fresh and tasty, but not good enough for me to eat the rest of the soggy mess.

The other food around the table didn't look as bad as mine. My mom's shrimp po-boy looked great, and my Grandmother's crab cakes seemed to really make her happy. My sister had a steak salad that looked really delicious, and she said the steak was some of the most tender meat she has ever had. I almost responded to that one, but my Grandparents were in the room. (hee hee) As for my Pop, he would eat about anything, so I think his roast beef sandwich did him just fine.What was disturbing was somehow my Grandmother got on the topic of oysters and them being an aphrodisiac. That is not something you want to hear come out of your 78 year old Grandmother's mouth.

We walked around the Charleston City Market and boy has it changed. Charleston has done a great remodeling job of the old market and it is really a nice place to shop for local artist items, as well as neat Charleston souvenirs. We actually had a really nice time walking through and enjoying the people. It was interesting to me how many visitors were actually from out of the country. Maybe South Carolina is opening up a little more than I thought.

Pop didn't do too well downtown. It is a lot of walking, and I really came to see just how much he is being affected by his health and age. To be totally honest, it scares the crap out of me.  I am so blessed to have them as my TRUE parents, and I don't like coming to grips with the fact that they are getting older.

 Off to the Condo to check in. The condo was great, and on the Isle of Palms in Wild Dunes. The condo was a perfect size, and we had plenty of room for the five of us. My Pop sleeps on the couch no matter where he is, and that left me and my sister in the room with two beds, and my mom and Grams with the king size bed. Somehow I ended up with the twin bed. I don't know how that happened.

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and hanging out until time for dinner. We ended up at 17 North. Wow, was this place amazing. The food was absolutely terrific. My Grandparents are not use to eating out this much, or eating as expensive, so they were a little shocked. However, we made it work for them. Pop had an incredible pork chop, which came with their famous Mac-N-Cheese. I had a side of the mac-n-cheese, asparagus, and then shared the fish and chips with my sister. My mom and Grandmother had their soup of the day, and shared off our plates.

The serving are very big, so when you see that a side of mac-n-cheese cost $6.00, don't worry, you get your money worth. The mac-n-cheese is mouth watering, and has a blend of cheeses that you don't normally taste in "southern mac-n-cheese". The fish and chips were good, but not my favorite. Verona, my sister, really liked their pomme frites, but I don't like a lot of garlic on mine. I sort of wish we would have tried their fried chicken, but that just mean I will have to return in the future. Keep in mind you really can split plates here, and then save room for dessert. We didn't, which is a shame, because they had some really great sounding selections.

17 North Roadside Kitchen looks like a hole in the wall, and if you are not careful you will miss it on the side of the road. But, I highly recommend that you not miss it. If you are in the My. Pleasant or Isle of Palms area, and want a really great dinner, this is a great place to go. I would be back in a heartbeat.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Home From New York and Pack for Charleston

October 12, 2011

We flew home today, so the morning left us just enough time for a bagel and a quick walk to the park.
We grabbed a few hings last minute and finished packing. We decided to take a Lincoln Town Car back to the airport. It was comfortable and an easy ride. Why did we do the shuttle? Oh, yeah the adventure. Funny how that seems to decrease as the trip comes to an end.

 I had to get home to wash clothes, pack for warm weather, and get my family settled for the ride to Charleston.  It goes by way too fast, and I only wish we would have been able to stay maybe forever. Too bad it cost way too much to live in NYC. Especially when counselors and Child Life Specialist don't make that much more for the cost of living.

Home to see my sweet boy, and then I was off to Charleston with the family. I will report on all the food I ate there next!

Until tomorrow.

Last Full Day

October 11, 2011

Last full day in New York.

Had Breakfast at La Parisienne, which was the best breakfast that we have experienced. The service was out of the world, the food was delicious, and the prices were even better. I can't believe we didn't come here before this day. We saw it, but never went until our last day. If you want a GREAT breakfast, and are close to Central Park, this is where you go. Plus, they open early.

I did stop by to grab a cinnamon bun on our way back to the hotel for later. I was at Bryant Park writing and hanging out with the locals. It was a little cooler today, that was a bonus. I love New York in the fall, but I admit I miss it being colder. 

Today was an adventurous day. We decided to get on the subway and head to Chinatown to see what we might be missing. Nothing much! We also walked around the financial district and hung out talking before we were to be back for "How to Succeed". It seems like we didn't do that much, but I think we walked more today than any other day. Just being outside walking and talking.

We did stop by Juniors to grab a little snack before the show. I had a simple pound cake that was perfect. I wanted a lemon slice, but they were out, it must be TERRIFIC. I do think this has become one of my favorite places in NYC. 

The evening was for "How to Succeed", and it was amazing. The set and the dancing were fantastic. I have to give it to both Radcliffe and Larroquette, they really made the show. It was funny, exciting, and had a totally different energy than Wicked. I can't say I liked it better, because I loved the story line of Wicked. However, this show stood all on its own. I am so very glad we decided to get tickets to the show.

After the show we ate cheap at Shake Shack. This place you can't miss. It is up in lights, and it is a very busy place. It is a greasy spoon place, but the burgers are good, and the fries are great. It is not a place to hang out, because it is loud. I also think that because it is so busy, it is a little rude to hang out there when so many people are trying to get a seat. It is cheap, quick, and filling.Wish I would have tried the shake though.

Waiting in Line

October 9, 2011

Not up as early as I wanted to be to get into another line. However, we did get to go to the bagel shop right around the corner from our hotel. I don't remember the name, but it is on Broadway between 54th and 55th street. If you want a great bagel sandwich, fruit, and coffee, this is the place. Plus the people are great there. We enjoyed talking to them. That is our theme all day though, meeting new people.

We got to "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" to try for rush tickets, and again we were in the back of the line. But, it is all about the experience. So, while in line we met a great couple of Israel, and Mike was able to help a cabbie that broke down on the street. Didn't get the rush tickets, b/c they ended up being partial view, so bought tickets for Tuesday evening. We really wanted to see Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway, and John Larroquette (Dan on Night Court). So, at least our wait in this line was an expensive one.

We felt lucky after not getting rush tickets, so we ran over to try to win the lottery for Wicked one more time. I mean you would think 3 times the charm. But, not so much. At this time, I was finished with waiting in line, but what did we do? We waited in line for cancellation tickets for the 3:00 show of Wicked. At this time, it was 1:00. However, again we met the nicest people. We met a family of four from Montreal Canada, a great couple from Tennessee, and another couple from Connecticut that lives only an hour away from the city (lucky ducks). I made it into the show with 15 minutes to spare. I was four rows from the stage, and could see the sweat on the dancers.

So, a note to remember that if they don't sell out all the tickets, they will sell them as cancellation tickets for less than half. The ticket I had was worth $304.00. Believe me, we would never be able to pay that much for a ticket. However, the show was amazing, and I enjoyed it so much. I think it was even better b/c I have become such a GLEE fan. Yes, I am a Gleeck.

After the great show, we needed to eat, so we stopped by the Irish Pub, Emmett O'Lunney's for an early dinner. Oh my goodness!!!! The service was fantastic, but the food was amazing! I had an Irish Beef Stew, which was mouth watering. The stew meat was so tender, and the vegetables in the stew were great. In the middle of the stew was mashed potatoes, which were also terrific. The mashed might not have been as great without the stew, but it worked for me. I literally stuffed myself, b/c I did not want it to go to waste. Mike had fish and chips, and it was phenomenal. I think this was the best meal we had in NYC. The only thing that distracted me were the multitude of televisions around the place. It was hard to have a conversation b/c there was too much going on with the games.

Time for a nap, and then out for dessert. We had to ask where to go for a great cheesecake, because I refuse to pay the $10.00 for cheesecake and $5.00 for a cup of coffee at Lindy's. Their cheesecake and coffee is good, but not worth that much. We asked where to go, and were given Juniors, so we located it and went. Wow, the service was out of this world, and the prices were great. The coffee was in a very large mug, which did get cold quick, but it was great coffee. I also put a million creams in my coffee. The cheesecake was terrific, and I didn't feel like I ate enough in money that we could have eaten two meals. I don't know how it was, but the woman next to me ordered the mac-n-cheese, and it looked great. It was crowded and loud, but we enjoyed hanging out there for a short while.

Afterwards, we took a walk. I turned the corner and there in lights was my soul mate. Harry Connick Jr. will be on Broadway in November, and I think I heard my heart break just a little. Of course I got there too early and missed him. I think this only means I will have to return a little sooner than I planned.  He will be in on Broadway in"On a Clear Day You Can see Forever", and I MUST return to see him. I missed him in "The Pajama Game", several years ago, and I don't want to miss him this time.

Bike Ride

October 10, 2011

We got up and ran in Central Park! Can you believe it? I really didn't want to go, but it was great after I got out there. However, by the time we got to 102 Ave. on the West side, I was ready to turn back and run back the way we came. Had I known that if I had simply kept going just a little bit more, we would have ran the whole park, I would have kept going.  I didn't know that the park was only 6 miles all the way around. I thought it was much bigger. I felt bad after I found out.

What I didn't feel bad about was the WONDERFUL cinnamon bun and coffee that I had from AQ Kafe' after the run. I mean this cinnamon bun was to die for. It was sweet, but not so sweet that it made you feel bad. Plus, we got to have our coffee and bun at a table outside by the park and next to the Museum of Art and Design. Great people watching.

We also got on the subway for the first time (for this trip) today. We are usually up and down, around and around, and east to west on the subway, but this trip we have walked everywhere. So, it really felt weird to go underground to the subway. We took the tube all the way to Battery Park. We really wanted to go into the crown of the lady, but the tickets have all been sold for 2011. I guess maybe next time.

So, I decided we needed to rent bikes and ride all the way back up to Central Park and then around the park. Bike and Roll are in many different locations, and allow you to rent for a couple hours, half a day, or even overnight. They also allow you to pick up in one area and drop off in another, for an extra fee of course. What the heck was I thinking? No, it really was a GREAT way to see the city, and the bike lanes are wonderful! As I was running in Central Park, I kind of got annoyed by the bikes, but after being on the bike, I got annoyed by the runners and walkers. I really think NYC does a great job of making the outdoors accessible for the locals and those visiting.

On the way back up to Central Park, we stopped to have lunch at a pier that we found. The bar and grill is called Pier 66 Maritime, also know as "the frying pan".  It is a seasonal restaurant, and luckily, we got there the last regularly scheduled day to be open. The other days that they will be open depends on the temperature, and it was a beautiful day for us to by out on the pier and enjoying the sites. The food was fresh and really great here. I had a streak wrap, which was really tender and the greens on it gave me a vegetable. It came with a salad, which was light and another great way to get in a vegetable. The burger and fries were also delicious. I loved the seasoning on the fries. One great thing about this place was the price as well. We got a great location, good food, and it didn't break the bank.

We made it up to Central Park and biked around the park, but after that I was done. I mean done!! I really could have left the bike in the park and sat by the beautiful lake that we found if I would not have been responsible for paying for the bike. Plus, the park was way too crowded. One thing to consider is the weather and your wardrobe for biking. Don't do like we did, and bike in jeans and long sleeves in 80 degrees. The wind felt great, but the chafing is hell.

I wanted another cinnamon bun from AQ Kafe', but they were out. Should have known those would not last. So, we shared a lemon tart instead. I have to say it could not compete with the cinnamon bun, but it was pretty good. We stayed out tonight and headed for 40th street to find Midtown Comics. I am not a comic fan, but I enjoyed seeing the art and the energy in the place. Plus, it put us at a nice place to find a new restaurant to eat. 


We had dinner at Bella Vita, which was a small Italian restaurant that we saw walking one night. It advertised for their wood fire pizza, but when in NYC, I prefer to eat like a New Yorker. So, I had Ravioli, which was said to be made in house. It was good, but what I would come back for is the Fried Zucchini. The calzone also looked great, and really could be share by two it was so big. The service was good, and the food was enjoyable. I would definitely consider going back. 

We took the long way back to the hotel and stopped to take lots of pictures. 

All Around Town

Yes, I am still back dating, so hang in there.

October 8, 2011

We woke up early in hopes to get Stand-by tickets to SNL. Haha!!! When we arrived at NBC studios, we were surprised that no one was there. We thought we were in great shape to get the tickets. Little did we know everyone was on the other side of the building. Once we got to the correct side to wait for the give out of tickets, we knew it was never going to happen, but we stayed for the experience. We ended up finding out in line that Ben Stiller and Foster the People were going to be on the show. We were the 138th and 139th people to take tickets to the live show, not to mention the other 137 that took stand-by tickets to the dress rehearsal.

Next we were off for breakfast. Now, I am a pretty spontaneous person, yeah right, but I am ok at going with the flow at times. But, finding breakfast in NYC in the morning is not as easy as you would think. Most places didn't open until 8:00, and that to me is late on a Saturday. Even the very cool looking bagel shop on the street of our hotel didn't open on Saturday at all. I was confused. So we ended up at Ben Ash (857 7th Ave between 54th St & 55th St) , that was a horrible experience.  I had my eye on an Irish Pub that served breakfast, but we ended up at the worst place in town I think. The service was crap, and the food was terrible, especially for the price. Whatever you do, stay away from this place. Warm nuts from the street vendors would look like a 5 star restaurant compared to this place.

Central Park was the next spot. A lovely walk in the park to take lots, and I mean lots of pictures. The weather was so great, it really would have been a crime not to have been outside. So, a couple hours taking pictures and exploring the park was just what the doctor ordered. However, in my mind, the Wicked lottery was also a big must try for. So, that meant walking back downtown to get in line for the lottery, which we were way too early for, so we watched people on Broadway. NYC is such a melting pot, that we would sit and watch people and try to guess country, local or not, and together or not together. It was a great game.

So much for the Wicked lottery, but that did not stop me from making a plan to be back to try again at 5:30pm. I mean it really is a great chance at being able to get two front row tickets to see Wicked for only $26.25 each. Yes, it is a gamble, but hey why not try? Plus, while in line you meet great people. We met three women that we made a pack with in case we one of us won more tickets than we needed. That is a great way to win also. Not only with your own name, but make friends in line, and if you are lucky, you might win off them as well. We really enjoyed talking to them! Off for some NYC Pizza at Ray's Pizza, some of the best tasting, greasy, crusty bottom NYC pizza you can have. Plus, if you are on a budget, it is pretty cheap.

So, next we thought we would catch the American Museum of Natural History. Okay, I have to say the place is impressive, but if you are expecting anything like the movie "A Night at the Museum", be ready to be disappointed. Yes, I was delusional in believing that I would see the little miniatures and some of the other exhibits in the movie. I was astonished by the size of the place and the great amount of exhibits that they have in the museum, and I think it is worth seeing. Just don't go when you have a lot to do, and plan to have a lot of people stopping to take pictures of themselves or other family members at the dinosaur exhibits. Also, remember that the admission is a donation, and that you can name your own price to go in. I am in no way telling you to give them a dollar for the whole family, but $20.00 a person (adult) is a lot if you have several people in the family.

Back to Wicked for the lottery, and no we didn't win for the second try. Nap time, b/c in NYC when you get up at 5:30 to stand in a line, you deserve a nap in the middle of the day. However, that means that you are up later and out you go again back into the wild. We thought we would at least try to get into SNL, but we walked to NBC studios and the guard said we should give up. Thanks to that wonderful man, who took interest in us, and was up front with us. We could have waited in line again today, but he took pity on us, and told us to go have a drink and dinner.

It is tradition that while in NYC we go to a movie.  We usually go at some crazy hour like 3:00am, but since SNL was off the table we took it to mean we should go then. We saw Real Steel, which was a really great movie. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I was going to. I really had no idea it would be that funny, witty, and Hugh Jackman is not bad to look at either. After the movie, we walked back uptown and decided to eat at Carnegie's Deli