So my weekend in NYC was full of food and activity. After arriving on Thursday evening at CH’s place (in the Village), we drove in circles to find a place to park. We lucked out and found a spot not far away. By this point, the dog was a bit freaked out with the car ride and being in a new place, so rather than leave her alone, we decided to get take out and just vegetate on the couch to some Food Network (the foodies in us strike again). We ordered from Suzie’s on CH’s recommendation. Some of the best Chinese take out I’ve ever had, actually. So good. Always trust a foodie’s recommendation. Always. We won’t steer you wrong. That’s advice to live by.
CH lives in a high rise building, and on the upper floors. This was Aussie’s first experience with staying a place that required elevators and was really high up. She did just fine with the elevator. Didn’t bother her at all. CH’s porch, on the other hand, freaked her out. Now, the porch has a fence all around, and this is not Aussie’s first experience with a porch, but it was her first experience being more than 2 stories above ground. I’ve now learned my dog is afraid of heights. I’m not sure she ever got closer than one foot from the edge. She’d stand there, and extend her neck as far as it would go to kind of peer over the edge. It took her two days to be willing to even do that! The first day, whenever CH and I went out there (great views by the way), she’d stand in the doorway and give us this “you two are absolutely crazy” look. Overall, she was very well behaved, which confirms what I’ve always believed: my dog would be an excellent big-city-apartment-dweller dog. Coolness.
Friday morning we got up and took the dog for a walk and got coffee (beverage of the gods, by the way, second only to beer). Washington Square park isn’t too far from the apartment, so we grabbed coffee at Think Coffee on the way (so good…and the iced coffee is cold brewed!) and headed for the park. Like most parks in NYC, Washington Square has a fenced in designated dog park in the park. Awesome! Figuring Aussie needed to blow off some steam, we decided to make use of the park. I think it freaked her out a bit as it’s been quite a while since we’ve been to an off-leash park. She stuck pretty close to me and CH, and just kind of observed all the activity. I think she was more thrilled with all the attention she got from people than the other dogs. Nonetheless, the trip to the dog area in the park was a regular part of our weekend.
After our walk, we headed back to the apartment. CH generously agreed to watch the dog (he also had work to get done) so I could meet up with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. AP and I have been friends since high school, but tend to only see each other infrequently. Now that we are both on the same coast, hopefully that will change. We met up at St. Marks Place, an area near the East Village with lots of good restaurants and little boutique shops. Unfortunately, the weather was less than cooperative, so instead of walking around in the rain, we headed for food first. We ended up at an Afghani restaurant called Khyber Pass (34 St. Mark’s Place). Good. Not excellent, but good. We both got kebabs, but different varieties. I tried a lamb one, and she got a combo with steak and seasoned beef. Both came with rice. We also got coconut cream lattes, which is a latte made with coconut milk. The latte was delicious. Slightly sweet without being a dessert and the flavor of the coffee didn’t overwhelm the drink. The kebabs were well seasoned, but a bit on the dry side. The rice, on the other hand, was delicious. Brown basmati rice topped with carrots, raisins and almonds and I think a bit of citrus juice. There were plenty of other things on the menu that interested me, so I’d definitely try Khyber Pass again.
After lunch and several hours of talking, we realized the rain had stopped and so we decided to walk around and find dessert. We found our way back over to the West Village via a stop at her apartment and then the subway (thank goodness I kept my Metro card from my last visit to NYC!). AP knows of my love of cupcakes, and wanted to take me to her favorite place, Tonnie’s Minis. They are known for their carrot cake cupcakes. YUM. Unfortunately, when we arrived, they didn’t have any, so we had to settle for a red velvet heart (yellow cake with a red velvet center and butter cream icing). SO GOOD. I love cupcakes…little single-serve bundles of sweetness all wrapped in a cute package. After demolishing our cupcakes, we sat and talked a bit more. As we were leaving, we ran into a guy standing on the porch eating a carrot cake cupcake! Freshly made!! So we turned around and headed back into the shop to get some to go. I got extra, knowing CH’s love of carrot cake and to thank him for being so nice while his guest (me) disappeared on him for the entire afternoon.
AP and I parted ways, she off to meet a friend in Chinatown and me back to CH’s apartment. It was so good to catch up and find that even after years of not seeing each other we can still be so connected. Hopefully I’ll see her again soon!
The plan for Friday evening was food and dancing. Knowing it would be a late night, I realized that I: A, needed more coffee, and B, needed a nap (not necessarily in that order). After a brief nap, CH and I grabbed more coffee and took the dog for another long walk. She explored a bit more this time, but Aussie was still pretty mellow about being around lots of dogs. Ah well, she is almost 12 years old now (when did that happen??!!).
We headed out for a late dinner, deciding to just walk around and read menus until something struck our fancy. We overheard some hilarious conversations, including one where a young woman was explaining to an owner why he needed to put up with her drunk friend that was making a scene and not kick them out. Her defense: on a “corporate level” they bring lots of business to the bar! OMG that was just too funny. As we walked by one place, one of the owners was out front trying to draw in business. She told us the food is good, not to expensive, no waiting for a table, so come in! There was a couple leaving at the time, and the confirmed everything she said, so we figured we’d give it a try. Ciao Stella (206 Sullivan St.) was pretty good Italian food. Filling, well cooked, decent flavors. Every meal includes a glass of wine. There was enough food that I had to take half of my chicken with artichokes to go! Fortunately, we weren’t far away from the apartment, so we dropped off my leftovers, checked on the dog (snoring contentedly on the couch…hello! spoiled!), and headed back out for dancing.
CH had decided to take me to a place that calls itself a Bulgarian bar and is down in the East Village: Mehanata. The DJs spin a blend of world music from Latin to Middle Eastern to East European. Not your usual pop-mix or dance mixes. It was a bit crowded, but apparently they usually have a downstairs that’s also open. Unfortunately, it wasn’t on Friday, so everyone was crammed upstairs. The people were just as varied as the music, and everyone was having a good time! About the only thing that freaked me out was when people started jumping around I could feel the floor bounce a bit. But so much fun. Great music, and the DJ did an excellent job of blending one style into the other. After several hours of dancing (and I have the blisters to show for it), CH and I walked back and crashed out. What an awesome start to the weekend.