Food + Wine, Fun, Style

Concrete Jungle…

Man, oh man.  I just got back from the most incredible trip to New York City.  My husband and I went to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary and we…went…hard.  Super Hard.  We had never been to NY together- plenty of times separate, but never together.  And we always said that when we went, we would do it up right.  And that we did.  I’m talkin’ first class all the way.  From the plane rides to the hotel to the restaurants to the shopping to the wine to the people…every single part of the trip was amazing and had me feeling like a Super Important Princess.

And I wanna tell you all about it, without leaving anything out.  (And if you’re one of my Instagram buddies, you’ve gotten little tidbits already!) But here’s the thing- I’m gonna need to break it up into several posts…there’s just no way I can fit it all in one.So here I begin with, well, the beginning…

We started the anniversary extravaganza off right by flying first class…something I’ve never, in my 33 years on this earth, done before.

(I’m a pro in my heels, man. My husband snapped a lot of pics of me and my clothes…that’s me in my platform pumps and leather leggings on the way to baggage claim.  I’m guessing that’s not normal behavior?)
Then, hopped in a cab to the hotel…
We arrived early and our room wasn’t ready yet but because of that, were able to be upgraded to a nicer room so…that was pretty awesome.  We dropped our bags off quickly and set out, on foot, hungry and energized, to find some lunch…
(…changing into some sandals I kept in my bag the whole time…I’m a definite heel-pro but I’m no dummy.)

We decided to go to Momofuku.  And it was incredible.  We had the Mason Jar Kimchi, Steamed Pork Belly Buns, the Seven Spice Lamb Ssam and the Rotisserie Duck Ssam with Scallion Pancakes.  Hubs had a beer from one of our fav NC breweries, the Westbrook White Thai, and I had a glass of Catherine & Pierre Breton Sparkling Chenin Blanc…but really, we shared all of it.  That’s what we do when we’re on a culinary drankin’ trip- we order a bunch of stuff and just swap back and forth.

After lunch we had a little bit of downtime to get cleaned up a bit at the hotel and set back out to The Daily Meal headquarters where I was finally going to get to meet my friend/ED of The Daily Meal, Sharon Gitelle, whom I had had a phone and email friendship with for years, ever since she hand-picked me to be a part of her Culinary Content Network (she’s the one responsible for my Napa/Sonoma trip years ago).  Not only was I stoked to get to meet my pal, but also stoked I could set foot in their kitchen finally.

(clearly I’m in my element behind a kitchen counter and in front of a camera…)

Added bonus?  I met the Senior Editor/contributing writer, Arthur Bovino, whom now I’m able to call a friend as well.  The entire Daily Meal staff was amazing, so warm and friendly, and they all made me feel super important.  The four of us went out for drinks around the corner and talked shop over martinis and beer, we solidified future travel plans, swapped recipes, and I listened hard to some stellar advice on my business before we hugged, kissed and parted ways in the chilly New York rain.

My husband and I got back to the hotel just in time to get all fancy for our dinner at Daniel– the dining experience that called for the black jumpsuit I’d been hoarding for months.

(Jumpsuit from Forever 21 (I know, right?  Shocking.) Silver accessories and black pumps from friends and various vintage shops.)
(Hubs’ dapper attire compliments of Bonobos.  Aint he handsome?)

As our car pulled up to the restaurant, an elderly couple walked out and the gentlemen turned to me, looked me in the eyes and said, ‘I hope you’re hungry’ and kept walking.

Well, I am hungry.  So, this is great!!
(…she said with great naivety.)
(before our pre-dinner toast to each other…that’s my fav bubbly in that glass right there- the Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose.)
And our dinner (and this really is an unnecessary and obvious statement) was amazing.  Truly incredible.  We chose to forgo the tasting menu and instead each do the Three Course Prix Fixe Menu with wine pairings.  After many an amuse bouche and assorted breads with salted flower butter, we had the Aleppo Seed Crusted Sea Scallops, the Langoustines with Cauliflower Veloute and Squash Ravioli to start with, then moved on to the Black Sea Bass in Syrah Sauce and Fois-Gras Stuffed Grouse, then made our way through dessert(s)…the Figue en Robe, Borneo Vacherin and Les Mille Pistaches.  Ah-mazing.  We had so many different wines that evening, all were wonderful and paired so beautifully with each course, but one of our favorites was the 2011 JL Chave Saint Joseph Roussanne-Marsanne “Celeste” that I hadn’t had in ages.  I used to sell it back in my LA wine days and I think I literally squealed when the somm brought it over.
(That’s me smelling my grouse…it’s a thing I do when I’m presented with something as magnificent as Daniel food…smell it before I taste it.  But, when you’re got newly shorn bangs, you must remember to pull those puppies back or it ain’t pretty.)
And, just when you think you’re done at Daniel, just when you can’t possibly fit any more food in your belly, they come out with more.  And more.  There were petit fours and candies and lord knows what else…by that point our bellies were so full of delicious food and drink that we could barely form a sentence.
I now know what possessed that old man to warn me before entering the restaurant that night.  But even if I had known what I was getting myself into, I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my ordering or eating.  It was worth every single bit of discomfort I felt, (or am still feeling!!)  Hands down.

I woke up the next morning completely full from dinner.  No, seriously.



As a Tick.

And this is coming from the girl who demands a larger than life hunk of her homemade potato-sourdough bread within seconds of waking up every morning of her life.  I wasn’t hungry for a thing.  Not one morsel of food seemed necessary, and I continued to stay full the entire day.  THAT is how much food I consumed that night at Daniel.  Was it worth it?  Oh yes.  Oh yes, yes, yes.  I shall never forget that meal.  That meal was the best fine-dining experience my husband and I had ever had…and at the risk of sounding like an ass, we’ve had quite a few over our long relationship.  It was impeccable.  From start to finish, from the service to the food to the wine…to the knowledge of everyone in house about said subjects, it was spotless.  Pristine.  It was simply and elegantly perfect on every level.  And I feel so incredibly fortunate to have been able to see, taste, sip and smell (bangs and all) every part of it.

That first day in New York couldn’t have gone better.  It was as if someone was organizing it all from an unseen spot, orchestrating our day like a well-rehearsed play.  From the perfect timing of our airport arrival, to the successful walk-in lunch at an amazing superstar-chef restaurant, to the solidification of old and new friendships at The Daily Meal, to the dream-like dining experience at Daniel, and to being able to spend it all with the most generous, kind, gentle, powerful and wonderful man who picked me to be his wife 10 years ago.  My words simply cannot do this entire experience justice.  But I shall continue to try.


I’ve only just begun…







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