february 13th – nyc

after a raucous night out on the town, we let ourselves sleep in deeply saturday morning.  wyatt was curled up under the warm flannel sheets while natalie, phillip, and i chatted about the latest and greatest in each of our lives.  soon enough our stomachs started to rumble and our thirsts began to quench, so some breakfast (rather brunch) was needed.

“i’ll just order us something in.  what does everyone want?  i’m ordering from a place around the corner called hot & crusty.”  so, you might be reacting to two things about natalie’s comments here.  first, why would we eat from a place called hot & crusty?  off the bat it doesn’t have the most appealing ring to it.  well, that’s because they’re a great local shop with divine eats and who doesn’t like supporting that kind of place?  second, you may want to ask, “if it’s just ‘around the corner’, why not go get it yourself?”  oh, that’s because it was a whopping six degrees outside and when you can get everything delivered to your doorstep in new york, it just made plain sense to have it brought to us.  i’m sure those delivery fellas were bundled up!

twenty minutes later we had nine bottled waters, one large coffee with cream, and three breakfast bagels in our hungry hands.  there’s something so pleasing about eating breakfast in a warm bed as you gaze out the window at the winter weather.  mm, cozy!  my sesame seed bagel with american cheese and bacon was savory and delicious, the perfect choice after an enjoyable evening/early morning.

eventually we decided we had to do something with ourselves, and although natalie was feeling her drinks a little bit still, phillip and i cleaned up and very quickly walked a few short blocks to the met.  it was no surprise that it was so packed inside considering how cold it was outside.  we made our way to the ticket counter, shedding our layers with each step.  phillip made a kind donation on our behalf, we received our official met stickers, and then the grand egyptian art exhibit welcomed us with open arms.  well, maybe instead i should say crossed arms since there were several coffins among the halls.  ah, see what i did there?  man, i sure hope so.

there was lots to see and since the egyptian areas were ridiculously crowded we took the stairs to the second floor and very much enjoyed the quieter and more soothing asian art exhibits, most specifically the arts of japan.  there were beautiful kimonos and folding screens that told stories across several panels.  the piece i loved most, though, was without a doubt pixcell-deer#24, an eye-catching and thought-provoking sculpture made of artificial crystal glass.  i highly recommend it!

i also very much liked relaxing near the water stone by isamu noguchi.  i can imagine this piece as a perfect installation in a traditional japanese home.  the calming water almost puts you in a trance and helps your mind unwind and unfocus, something i’m sure we could all use more of in these busy days.

i looked over the map and spotted the musical instruments section and practically dragged phillip there.  we both grew up playing piano and then continued our musical pursuits in college (me in the uga marching band and he more refined as a voice student at mercer).  regardless, we both have a special place in our heart for all things music related, so we couldn’t leave without seeing what they had to offer.

we had tons of fun viewing ornate harpsichords, a number of guitar varieties, and, of course, many generations of wind instruments.  the clarinets were beautiful as were the french horns, and the display of instruments from all other corners of the world were rather intriguing.  perhaps most unusual was gyo (also known as a muyu or mokugyo) from japan.  although typically in the shape of a fish, the one we saw was actually depicting a cat.  you strike the head three times and then strum the mallet across the spine of the animal.  check it out!

there also was the veena, which is an indian guitar.  i think what caught my attention most was the large gourd that is screwed to the end of the neck to improve sound sustenance and resonance.  i mean, just listen to this one song.  it’s so exotic and striking – it’s hard not to be transported to another place while hearing it.

our last stop for our visit was the arms and armor exhibit.  if you know phillip at all, i’m sure you can picture his excitement.  there was display after display full of intricate and expensive designs on swords and guns and sheaths.  we even picked out a beauty decked out in rubies for me!  it was also fun to see different types of body armor from armies all over the world, which even included protection for a warrior’s brave horse.

it was finally time for us to head home and get ready for dinner, but i can’t say i wish we’d had an hour or so more to view the european clocks and watches area.  i actually have a grandfather clock that truly did belong to my grandfather on my mom’s side, and it continues to fascinate me.  i can only imagine the gorgeous displays they had in this section.

after resting our feet for a short minute at the apartment, natalie donned her boots and the three of us bolted into the cold air.  it was still rather early in the evening, and considering phillip needed a heavier coat and natalie had her jacket stolen in a bar earlier that week (who even does that?!), a quick stop at the local h&m around the block was quite necessary.  we perused the racks and both of them ended up finding perfect coats.  natalie purchased a longer tan winter jacket with a faux fur-lined hood – it was precious!  and phillip treated himself to a heavy and hip grey and black jacket that certainly kept him warm even in the coldest of hours on our trip.  great success!

after a quick cab ride, we ended up at uva for what would end up being a lovely italian dinner.  we squished ourselves next to the hostess stand along with several other hungry new yorkers.  we were told the wait for a table would be around 25 minutes, so we all pretty much consented that sitting at the bar would do just fine.  with that we wiggled onto three barstools, hung our coats, and reached for the drink menu.

a fine wine sounded good that night, especially a red, so phillip kindly ordered us a bottle of the chianti classico arceno to share.  the friendly bartender joel put it in for us and swiftly brought three wine glasses and three waters to start the night.  now, a good glass of wine is nothing without a good appetizer paired with it, and since we couldn’t decide between a couple options, joel easily recommended we try the bruschette with sheep’s ricotta cheese (fancy!) and black truffle honey.  well, honey, let me tell you, this starter was as rich as it sounded.  each bite was light but decadent and i’m sure that i could have polished off an entire plate myself.  however, i do try to be a lady in public, so i politely ate only my share.  just ask phillip and natalie – it was wonderful!

as for the entrees that night, we all three were sold on the pappardelle al ragu di vitello.  no joke, it sounded so good on the menu that we each ordered it!  this dish was cozy and zesty and uber italian.  the portion was quite large, but that didn’t stop me from eating every noodle.  as we slurped up bites of veal, i very much liked taking in the authentic atmosphere of this restaurant.  i’ll admit it’s somewhat cramped, but somehow i didn’t mind as much because it gives off a very “family” vibe.  the only downside was that sitting at the bar made conversation a tad difficult, and as the evening went on we felt a bit crowded as folks reached over and around us for their cocktails.  overall, though, if i were a local, i’m sure you would find phillip and i having great date nights here regularly.

with a classy and delicious dinner in the books, natalie directed us to a nearby speakeasy, the auction house.  it’s one of her favorite local date spots, and i must say that this lady has pretty awesome taste.  we snagged a velvet loveseat near the entrance and got comfortable.  this bar is spacious and has plenty of character so that you don’t feel like you’re just in another bar in another city.

i went for just one more glass of wine for the evening, but natalie and phillip went “ham.”  in case you don’t know what it means to “go ham,” check out this link.  it’s a bit explicit but gets to the point quickly.

anyway!  natalie and phillip were just the most adorable as they hung out like brothers and sisters do when they grow up and can relax as adults together.  they were highly entertaining for me as a bystander, and i very much enjoyed the opportunity to sit back and watch.  after a couple rounds of mixed drinks and key lime pie shots, we started making plans for what would be next.  however, that wasn’t before a moscow mule was spilled all over me to ensue endless laughter from us all.  now, i don’t think the doorman was as amused, but we didn’t make our grand exit without a quick tequila shot – woohoo!

as typically occurs in this kind of situation, hunger struck at the top of the hour.  what were we to do?  more expensive italian?  nonsense!  this night called for thirty hard-earned dollars of mcdonald’s!  oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, you read that correctly.  natalie ordered us up armfuls of mickey d’s to take home, and to give you an idea of what thirty dollars buys you at mcdonald’s, here’s what our receipt listed:  three double quarter-pounders, three medium orders of french fries, two chicken wraps, and two twenty-piece mcnuggets.  oh wait!  i forgot the most important part!  we also ended up with about fifteen packets of ranch dipping sauce.

we raced into the apartment and tore through wrappers and boxes, hungry for the first thing we could get our hands on.  we unintentionally got wyatt all riled up, which means he refused to miss out on the fun.  he jumped from sofa cushion to sofa back as he whined for a bite.  well, he ended up getting his way as he snatched a couple nuggets right out of phillip’s hand!  as you can imagine, phillip was more amused than upset by the pup’s shenanigans.

as we all began to wind down, we eventually got the extra mcdonald’s put in the fridge (although i’m not convinced leftover mickey d’s is all that tasty), our jammies on, and our heads on our pillows.  as night fell around us and sleep fell upon us, another great new york night came to a close.

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