All Good Things Must Come to an End: Our Last Day in NYC
On our last day in New York, David and I yet again, woke up before the rest of the city, and headed out for a bit of culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (We’re both former history teachers so we had to get a little history squeezed into this trip.) I have to eat within about 30 minutes of waking up so we stopped at Dean & Deluca for some much needed coffee and breakfast. Being the planner that I am, I had purchased a mini-coffee cake at Tu-Lu’s Bakery the previous day. I have no shame so I broke out my coffee cake at Dean & Deluca and it was oh so wonderfully perfect with my cup of coffee.
I also bought a fancy yogurt to give me a little more nutrients and protein to get me ready for a day full of walking. I had never tried Siggi’s yogurt before but it said “Certified Gluten Free” on the container so I felt very safe. (I love it when companies get their products tested and labeled. Little things like that make travel so much easier.)
After our morning meal, we started walking toward Central Park to enjoy another day of nearly perfect weather in NYC. We strolled through the park, watching more ambitious people running and biking. (There was a big race raising money for Japan so it was fun to watch everyone in action.) We meandered through the park, and ended our walk at the Met.
We had purchased tickets ahead of time so didn’t have to wait in any lines. We unintentionally ended up at the Alexander McQueen exhibit, “Savage Beauty” first, which proved to be a smart decision since it was already pretty crowded and the museum had only been open for about twenty minutes. This temporary exhibit (it ends July 31st) walks its audience through the short career of McQueen, who died last year. Even if you’re not a fashionista (I’m definitely not, nor is David), you should still check out this exhibit. It’s intense, provocative, and very educational. The unique and inventive displays give you a whole new perspective on fashion and a designer’s vision. It made me a believer that fashion is art. (Who knew a group of dresses with “rape” in the title could be a reflection of the history of England and Scotland’s relationship?)
We continued through the Met, checking out the Impressionists, photography, armor and other exhibits, ending our tour with a cold drink in the American Wing Café, which is bright with natural light and a perfect place to rest your feet after a toursity morning.
Following our trek to Central Park and the Met, we splurged on a cab back to the hotel, took quick naps, and headed to the Lower East Side, for a late lunch at Pala Pizza. I had heard rave reviews about Pala from the gluten-free community and it exceeded my expectations. All of their pizzas can be made gluten free and they are very careful about cross contamination. We had trouble deciding what we wanted to order but ultimately went with the fried calamari as a starter. Pala uses separate gluten-free fryers and corn meal for the breading of the calamari. It was delicious and so fun to get an item that I can rarely enjoy and would never make for myself at home. (We all need a little something fried every now and then.)
David and I shared the lamb sausage pizza with pesto for our lunch. Every bite of this pizza was delicious. The light,crispy crust, the pesto and the lamb went perfectly together. (Maybe I think that because lamb and pesto are two of my favorite foods!) I dominated that pizza. For the first time in our marriage, I ate more than David. He offered me the last two pieces and I didn’t even hesitate. Delicious!
After our meal, we walked across the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn, in our Sunday best because we were going to a late afternoon wedding on a Brooklyn pier. Walking across the bridge was a very cool way to get to Brooklyn, but I have to admit, it freaked me out a little bit. There are bike and walking paths, so the bridge is completely safe, but trip across felt much longer on foot than I thought it was going to be. The Brooklyn wedding was beautiful, unique and a fun way to celebrate a couple. We felt honored to be included in the festivities.
As I can’t normally enjoy wedding reception cuisine (except for the wine), we ended up at Caracas Arepa Bar for a late night dinner. This Venezuelan restaurant makes arepas from scratch daily.
Wondering what an arepa is? Well, it’s described on their website as, “”dense yet spongy corn-flour rounds, pitalike pockets, corn muffins, cake-swaddled mélange, white corn cakes, Latin sloppy Joe, sandwiches of a flat cornmeal patty, soft and smooth within, golden crispiness, tasty treats, burrito-killer, panini-killer, wheat-free, gluten-free crisp on the outside, steamy-soft in the middle…” Sounds pretty good to me, right?
We ordered four arepas to go, including grilled chicken with caramelized onions and cheese, roasted pork shoulder with spicy mango sauce, and shredded beef, with black beans, plantains and cheese. It was a lot of flavor combinations but I enjoyed sampling the different varieties. My favorite was the grilled chicken arepa.
While we waited for our to-go order, I decided I wanted to go back to Tu-Lu’s Bakery one more time. (And of course, David nicely complied.) I partly wanted to return to the bakery so I could see for myself that Tu-Lu’s really stays open as late as it says it does (9:00 p.m. on Sunday nights and 10:30 on Friday and Saturday!). I bought another cupcake (chocolate this time) and a cookie to take back to Georgia with me.
David and I finished up our amazing New York weekend eating arepas and cupcakes in our hotel room, watching the NBA playoffs…perfect.
Pala Pizza – 198 Allen Street – NY, NY 10012
Caracas Arepa Bar – 93 ½ East 7th Street – NY, NY 10009