We also ordered seafood entrees, and I have to say that we were not disappointed with the food, like some Yelp reviews indicated. Mom had scallops and I had wild-caught salmon. I don't eat salmon very often anymore because the most widely available salmon (especially restaurant entrees) is Atlantic salmon. This is actually farmed salmon, which is NOT a sustainable source of seafood. I was happy that the menu proclaimed that it was wild-caught Alaskan salmon, so I jumped at the chance. I had a local beer, Bluepoint Toasted Lager, which was an amazing compliment to the seafood.
It was getting dark, and being two country girls, we didn't want to be wandering around much in the big city after dark, so we headed on to Eataly for shopping and dinner. Eataly is a huge Italian market, with a handful of casual sit down restaurants inside, each with a specialty. There was a pizza place, a pasta place, a seafood place, a little more upscale restaurant, specializing in meats, and a wine bar with light snacks. We chose the vegetarian restaurant, and it was spectacular. I could have easily spent all afternoon wandeirng around Eataly. There were hundreds of kinds of olive oil, along with every shape of dried pasta you can imagine. They had a fresh pasta station, where skilled pasta makers were making orecchiette, my favorite. We bought a small loaf of bread studded with fennel seeds, some pesto and a bottle of wine to take back to the hotel room to snack on during the rest of our trip.
The next morning, we got up at the crack of dawn to get to our spot for the big parade. We chose 66th and 7th Avenue, near the start of the parade route, hoping it would be less congested than Columbus Circle and south. We got to our spots around 6:50 am, and the crowd was already three people deep to the street. It didn't make any difference though, we could still see everything since the floats are so big and the balloons are a few stories high. And we're both pretty tall. It's hard to tell in this picture, but that's Chef Geoffrey Zakarian on the front of the Food Network float waving. Again, the weather was absolutely beautiful, and we got some great pictures.
We had a few hours to kill until our reservation for Thanksgiving Dinner at Pappardella at 3 pm, and not much was open on Thanksgiving Day. We took the four-minute tram over to Roosevelt Island and explored for a couple hours. It was so peaceful and quiet, compared to the crowds and chaos we had just left surrounding the parade route. Neither of us had heard of Roosevelt Island before this trip, but I would encourage anyone to check it out. You can spend a few minutes or a few hours there. The tram ride was free with a Metro Card, but otherwise, only costs $2.25. The southern tip of the island is the FDR Four Freedoms Park, inspired by a speech given by the late president.
We headed back to Manhattan and toward Pappardella, for our Thanksgiving Dinner reservations. I didn't want to miss out on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, even though we were away from home, and I decided a prix fix dinner would be best. I did some research, and found prix fix Thanksgiving Dinners at every price point. I stumbled on this place from Yelp, and with a $35 price tag, $55 with wine pairings, I was sold. The restaurant is rustic Italian, and the dinner had a bit of that twist, but didn't stray too far from traditional Thanksgiving. It was free-range (bonus points) turkey, both light and dark meat, stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry relish and sauteed brussel sprouts, for the main course. There was a choice of a soup, salad or pasta for the first course, and pecan pie or pumpkin bread pudding for dessert. I had the pasta, which was butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage, and Mom had the warm lentil salad with prosciutto. The wine was amazing, and just the right amount--about half a glass with each course. Actually, the wine pairing for the main course was from a winery we'd visited on our California trip, Black Stallion Winery! Our travels came full circle!
Dinner was amazing, and we were both full by the time the dessert and coffee were cleared. We headed down to the 9/11 Memorial, which we reached after dark. I would recommend anyone see it after dark, if possible. It was absolutely stunning. The waterfalls and the names of the lives lost are all lit from behind. It was truly beautiful.
The next morning, we slept in a little bit because after two days of getting up before 6 am and walking ourselves to death, we were exhausted. On the agenda for Friday, was the High Line, which is a wonderful park. It is a retired elevated railroad that has been converted into a walking trail with greenery and art along the way. It was quite crowded on Friday morning, but still preferrable to walking along the street for navigating Chelsea. I took the High Line right to Chelsea Market, another place I could spend all day in just browsing. Don't miss Artists and Fleas, if you have a fetish for unique jewelry, like I do. I also bought some flavored salts at The Filling Station, which specializes in olive oils. The variety of oils they have is dizzying. And if you buy a bottle, you can bring it back and refill it for a discount. I bought smoked salt for myself, and bacon salt for my brother, for giving me a ride to the airport.
I had lunch at one of the many eateries in Chelsea Market, The Green Table, which is a farm to table restaurant. It took me forever to decide what food to order for lunch, but I knew what beer I wanted right away: Mother's Milk Oatmeal Stout from Keegan Ales, a local brewery.
I went in both Murray's Cheese Shop and Faicco's Italian Specialties. Both were amazing. Murray's has an eye-popping variety of cheeses and other Italian staples such as olive oil, pasta, honey, pastries and sauces. Next door, I bought a rice ball at Faicco's to take back to the room. I wish Charleston had these kinds of places. The were just so steeped in history and had so many choices. If we did have shops like that, I'd either never be able to make up my mind, or I'd just buy it all.
I weaved my way up and down the streets of Little Italy until dark, browsing in boutiques and through a street market with jewelry and trinkets. I wanted to go to Lombardi's for dinner, but it was packed, and they don't sell pizza by the slice. Lombardi's claims to be the oldest pizzaria in the United States, dating back to 1905. Authentic New York style pizza was on my list for this trip, and it was my last night. Luckily, I was in Little Italy, and the are any number of good choices for pizza. The opposite corner from Lombardi's is Pomodoro Pizza, advertising that it was home of the famous vodka pizza. And it sells it by the slice. Sold.
I came home exhausted, but at least well fed. We really had an amazing trip. New York City is one of those places where it's just impossible to see everything, even on your third trip. So many more things I'd like to see and do and eat there. Maybe next Thanksgiving...