Posted by eemilla on June 30, 2013
After pushing LB too hard to stay at the Met we beat a hasty retreat back to the apartment to finish off the leftover pizza and allow nap time to commence. For dinner we wanted to try to eat something that we couldn’t eat at home, and I was hoping to track down another bahn xeo like at the Slanted Door. Alas I am inept at searching restaurant menus online so I wasn’t able to locate a single restaurant in all of Manhattan that had one on the menu, and I wouldn’t impose to request one from a stranger. I settled on Mooncake Foods Hell’s Kitchen location, and we were rewarded with great, cheap food and awesome service plus $9 pitchers of Sapporo.
LB and I shared the cold jicama rolls and pea shoot dumplings and a cold noodle salad while my honey had a really spicy sandwich. The salad was okay, but the appetizers were delicious. All of the portions were generous. The restaurant appeared to be mostly delivery, and there may have been seven to ten tables with about the same at the bar. Only one other table was set the whole time we were there, but the delivery orders kept going out. The servers took good care of us, and they were sweet to LB. It was so awesome to be able to enjoy the cheap beer because we didn’t need a designated driver; three cheers to the wonder of MTA!
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Posted by eemilla on June 30, 2013
As my main goal with the this vacation was to satisfy my desire to see the complete Met, I wanted to start with it. Even though it was my main attraction I didn’t actually think about what I wanted to see in any great detail so we ended up looking at a several sections that while I enjoyed them they would not have been my priority. Yet another vacation lesson learned. On the bright side I rushed back another day as soon as LB was napping to try and get my fill. I am thankful that the Met has a suggested donation policy which enabled me to return for my second visit as the first was cut short. Another lesson learned is that nap time has to be honored, and a nap in the strolled doesn’t cut it.
The front entrance had some major construction so there were plastic tents and fences blocking a good photo, and once we got inside we wasted plenty of time by purchasing tickets only to realize that we had forgotten to purchase a City Pass so we had to get a refund then go purchase the City Pass (this meant three separate lines). In hindsight the City Pass didn’t end up being a good deal for us anyway as we were not able to squeeze in enough of the attractions. There were so many awesome paintings and statues and artifacts, and we took tons of photos; the Temple of Dendur was closed as was part of the Chinese art collection. Some of the paintings were from the 1500s, and they looked so fresh and vibrant. I would post photos (not that they would do justice), but the Met’s photo policy prohibits publishing them. Although it was the only section I really remember about our first visit, we toured the Egyptian collection followed by the Ancient Greek and Roman sections. By that time LB was ready to run around so we took advantage of a playground a block away. We decided to return and cram in what we could which ended up being a sculpture gallery, the African collection, and European furniture before returning to Harlem for lunch and nap time.
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Posted by eemilla on June 29, 2013
After years of searching we were finally able to fly out of Asheville; typically even factoring in for gas and parking and time, flying out of Charlotte, Greenville, or Greensboro has been a couple of hundred dollars cheaper. However, AVL has direct flights to both LGA and EWR so keeping in mind LB’s travel endurance a direct flight seemed like the best option for us and our fellow passengers, and flying out of a tiny airport with a tiny security checkpoint definitely would have pushed us to fly locally. On this flight, though, we didn’t have to do any calculus as the AVL fare was cheaper than either CLT or GSP. Being able to leave our house and arrive at the airport in ten minutes was absolutely awesome, and I have to say the savings of flying out of another airport will have to be even higher next time.
We’ve been to Manhattan a few times over the course of our relationship, and our last trip left me terribly disappointed that I didn’t get my fill of the Met so I’ve been dreaming of returning for about ten years. Lodging in Manhattan is expensive so we spent hours searching for a place to stay; our goal is to avoid hotels due to their lack of privacy and ambience, plus having a kitchen is nice especially with a toddler who wants to snack all day long. With LB still being in diapers we needed a washing machine and dryer in the apartment, and apparently not many other NYC vacationers want or need to do laundry. Meeting our criteria for proximity to our tourist spots, price, kid friendly, and having a washer and dryer made this one of the hardest vacation rental searches we’ve done. It would be nice if more vacation rental sites had better search functions. Unfortunately, our rental ended up being pretty far north of our ideal neighborhood so we had about a 40 minute commute (walking plus train ride) to get to our tourists spots. Another unfortunate thing about our rental was that it was furnished with two air mattress and a futon; even with the mattresses inflated to the firmest setting, they were too soft and squishy. One was a twin and one was a queen or a full so LB and I shared one while my husband tried both the twin and the futon. I have confirmed that no matter how nice the air mattress is, it is still an air mattress. On the bright side, the washer and dryer weren’t horribly old and slow, and the apartment was filled with natural light during the day even though we were below street level.
We arrived in the afternoon. Although carseats are not required in for hire vehicles, I couldn’t think about LB sitting in a taxi for a forty minute drive from the airport to our apartment so my honey came through and quickly installed the carseat into the hired car. I felt completely vindicated about my insistence on the carseat watching some of our fellow motorists swerve and tailgate. Dial7 provided professional drivers and clean and comfortable vehicles for both our arrival and departure. Compared to the taxi rates, I really liked knowing that we could schedule a car rather than wait in the taxi line.
After getting settled (including planning our route with the Embark app) we walked to the subway and rode the train down to the lower East Side to visit Ess-A-Bagel which was recommended by a former Manhattanite. Fortunately, my honey found a closer mid-town location that we hit for our mid vacation bagel re-up. These bagels were what I crave when I think about bagels: crusty before being toasted with a chewy interior. They had tons of bagels and spreads to choose from; I didn’t see any plain tofu cream cheese so we had to buy that at the store, but my honey and LB enjoyed the tofu with veggie spread we purchased from Ess-A-Bagel.
After a full day of travel plus the bagel quest we decided that we’d go ahead and get delivery pizza rather than try to drag LB out to a restaurant so took a peek into the tourist info folder the apartment’s owners had compiled. We opted for Bad Horse Pizza delivery while my husband ran to store to pick up some provisions. His trip took forever due to a massively steep hill that forced him to diverge from the shortest route coupled with the storefront being less than obvious. LB and I started dinner without him, and it was great. I ordered the meatless, and he ordered the trifecta to share with LB; while the meatless was fine, the trifecta was delicious.
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