Some things in life are free.
A trip to NYC is not.
Take tolls, for instance. Over $30 one way, in addition to the insanely and abusive gas prices we’re forced to pay, is just way too much for a 7-hour visit. And how about $6.00 lattes?
Gimme a break.
But, anything I spend in getting up there is well worth it.
My sis and I get up to New York last Friday, and instantly I feel like I’ve stepped into the magical city of unlimited living and spending.
Bentley’s, Jimmy Choo, Tyler Perry’s new show on the jumbo megatron, Diddy on another mega billboard (like he needs more attention), and 18% tax for parking in a garage on 51st & Lexington. Are you freakin’ serious! My sister’s a gorgeous gal…and though I don’t like to depend on a pretty face for freebies, I’m thankful her good looks afforded us a gimme: $15 for 12 hours of parking, including that stupid tax.
We literally had 7 hours to do everything on our agenda, which included escorting our brother’s girlfriend (whom had never been to NY–is that possible??) to SoHo and making sure she got to experience the A train. We walked on 5th Avenue and oohed and ahhed at the window displays (yeah right), went into my former p/t employer, Banana Republic and then proceeded to walk up the richest street in the city. Hoping to quickly leave a district I can’t even afford to breath in, we came across an unexpected market, much like you’d see every few hundred feet in Brooklyn or the Bronx.
But on 5th Avenue? Wow. I stopped momentarily to gaze at the fresh fruit and was just as quickly discouraged at the dollar amount for mangoes and strawberries. Is the recession that bad? I mean the flesh of these fruits were plump and smooth, but $5 for 10 strawberries? Yeah, not so much.
We had to keep it moving.
Having little time to really shop for self or sit down long enough to sip on burnt latte’s from the evil house of coffee, we hopped in a cab and meandered to Central Park.
The foul stench of urine in restaurant X’s lobby was so disturbing, we hardly could gossip about Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey’s dinner date there. But, later for that.
Then, and this was almost my favorite part about our quick trip, as we walk to the nearest metro station, I was halted by a farmer’s market! And, at a moment when my two worlds couldn’t come together any better, I realize we’re at the Tucker Square/Lincoln Center Greenmarket right at the famous Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. Music and Food! Pinch me Karen!
A quick disagreement with my sis was quickly forgotten at the sight of the apple stand. I can’t remember the last time I saw a beautiful variety of red apples. Apples I’ve never heard of! Shades of red I’ve never seen. I learned a bit about the different uses of each type of apple, like Rome apples (pictured at beginning) are good for baking. So, I stopped. I sniffed. I touched and I snapped. Had I not been craving real NY pizza, I would have bought some. As it oft-time happens in my decision making, I now regret not having purchased at least one.
(If nothing else, I could have used it to chuck it at the a-hole driver who later tried to run our cab out of our lane as we left the Village! Jack ass)
Well, it’s a local market with local food grown by local people and farmers. And, since I’m in the spirit of learning more about sustainability and actually implementing it in my home cooking and catering, I felt like I had done disservice to my fave city in the US.
Plus, it will ring well when shopping and cooking with Emeril!
But then people. But then. I see a huge patch of greenery and quickly make a bee line to what is a small set up of fresh herbs! I was in heaven! I knew we only had a few minutes to spare, so I sniffed, rubbed, inquired and purchased as fast as I could.
Guess what I found! CHOCOLATE MINT! Have you ever heard of this!?! I mean I know I made that delectable chocolate mint ganache flan a few weeks ago, but I had NO idea that real chocolate mint existed! Holy Moly, this girl here was emotionally unstable for 2 minutes. I had to rub a leaf again, much like Larry Hagman, aka Tony Nelson, hoping for something to jump out; in this case a rich chocolate bar, better than “freyer’s” mint chocolate ice cream!
I was so thrilled to see all these herbs including oregano, rosemary, lavender, chives, sage and others. I wanted to take them all! I happily walked away with a pot of chocolate mint and lavender. At a $4 a pot, I felt like entertaining a quick visit to the Jimmy Choo boutique.
If you’re in NY, make sure to visit this market, or even better, the Stokes Farm if you’re in or near Old Tappan, NJ. In the spirit of sustainability and actively implementing a rule of cooking with only fresh herbs, I was happy to support this local farm (note how I said the same thing when referring to my non-purchase of apples). I didn’t get to talk to the young man too much (he was too busy ringing up sales), but he was very knowledgeable about herb maintenance.
I’ll use the chocolate mint to make more flan, hot herbal tea when I’m not feeling so well (like right now), and mojitos!! And the lavender might make it’s way to my rendition of a cake made by a local baker. I have to say it was the best cake I’ve ever had in my life. For real!
We left Manhattan very excited about accomplishing our covert mission, but sad we weren’t there to stay. New York is special. The air is different there. The food is different. The general excitement and approach to life is different.
Since I didn’t get to chuck a Rome apple at the Lexus truck driver, I sat back in my cabby seat and let him do his job. We heard more f*u’s in 90 seconds, than a cheating husband would have gotten in an hour worth of fighting with his wife.
Yeah. I love NY. That may be my next move.
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Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.