New York Trip Report

We spent three nights in Southern CT visiting various relatives. Along with meeting Baby Lily…

holdinglily.jpg

…highlights included attending my 13 year old cousin’s ballet class.

ballerinas.jpg

We shopped at Stew Leonard’s, bought licorice at the All Things Dutch store in South Norwalk and had dinner with our family at our favorite restaurants in CT – Chuck’s Steak House in Darien and Thali, an Indian restaurant in New Canaan.

family photo

Stew Leonards

On Sunday, we drove the rental car to the city and checked into a hotel.  Here’s where I declare my newfound love for Priceline. We bid on a 4 star hotel and got The Marriott Marquis in Times Square for $200 a night. Going rate for 4 star hotels in October is about $480, so this was a good deal. The Marriott was enormous and the lobby reminded me of an airport, but the rooms were nice and I was impressed with how well the hotel handled throngs of conventioneers and tourists with such efficiency. While I don’t particularly love Times Square, it was a good location in terms of getting around. It was also right smack in the middle of the theatre district, so I recommend that hotel for anyone planning on a seeing a few Broadway shows.

As mentioned, we drove into the city on Sunday but the room wasn’t ready so we left our bags at the hotel and headed over to Central Park. Todd grew up in CT, but had never been to Central Park. It was the perfect day for his and Fuzz’s first visit because the weather was gorgeous and everyone seemed happy. The zoo lines were long, so we skipped that and took a carriage ride.

Carriage Ride in Central Park

We played on a couple of different playgrounds then found a real hot spot — a slide where kids ride down on box tops.

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After many, many rides down the slide, we walked over to the carousel which Todd and Fuzz declared the fastest ever.  Later in the afternoon, we left the park and walked to Dylan’s candy bar.

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Dylan’s was packed, but we were able to get a table and relax with ice cream and a milkshake. Best of all, we got to meet with a Cookie Madness reader, Taneka, who had taken a break from making banana bread pudding to come say hello to us tourists. We visited with Taneka then walked with her to Columbus Circle where we said goodbye and headed back to the hotel.

Our room was much bigger than we’d anticipated and had a partial view of the Hudson River and Times Square. We rested a bit, changed clothes, then took the subway to Tribeca for dinner at restaurant called Dylan Prime (no relation to Dylan candy bar). Dylan Prime was excellent. It is a steak house, but there were some good non-meat alternatives on the menu. The steak, however, was incredible and the atmosphere was very comfortable, candlelit and warm. We thought Fuzz might be the only child dining in the restaurant, but there was another little girl who appeared to be her age a few tables over. For dessert, we had a trio of miniature gelato cones.

gelato at dylan prime

The next day, we split up. Fuzz and Todd spent the day visiting museums and I spent the day walking around and visiting places like Sephora, Whole Foods, Chelsea Market and Union Square Farmer’s Market. I always mention how lucky I am to have a good grocery store at the end of my street, but New Yorkers have everything! I try not to be jealous, but there is just so much more to choose from in terms of fresh produce and ingredients. Or maybe everything is just close together so it seems that way. At any rate, I had a lot of fun just walking around. My favorite stop was Chelsea Market where I bought some puer tea and a Fat Witch brownie.

That night, we met back at the hotel and headed out once again for dinner. This time we went to a restaurant in Chelsea called Spice Market. The atmosphere was dark, exotic and fun and the food was pretty good. Fuzz wasn’t really into it, though. Her day of museum crawling had caught up with her and she seemed bored. We enjoyed our meal, but didn’t stay for dessert. Instead, we headed back to Times Square to get dessert at a restaurant called Juniors which is known for its fabulous cheesecake. We shared a hot fudge sundae and a slice of cheesecake. Juniors handed out recipe cards, which was nice.

Juniors Cheesecake

Next day we flew home.

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Comments

  1. Jackie says

    Sounds like a wonderful trip Anna. I can’t believe Todd grew up in CT and had never been to Central Park.

    The slide looks like fun. We have been to Central Park several times but have never seen it. We’ll have to try to find it next time we are there. We won’t be going as often as we did now that we live in NC though.

  2. says

    Hi Anna, Your trip looks and sounds like fun! That big slab of cheesecake at the end of the post looks to die for. I have only been to NYC once – I am now all fired up to go again.

  3. Janet says

    Thank you for sharing the pictures of your trip! I enjoyed hearing about the places you visited. Looks like everyone had a wonderful time!! Appreciate your input about Priceline…we’ll check it out.

  4. Karen says

    Looks like fun for the whole family – you’re quite the handsome bunch!

    We use Hotwire frequently for last minute deals, but I’ll check out Priceline too.

  5. Angie says

    Anna…by any chance did Junior’s hand out the recipe card for the fabulous cheescake you took a picture of? If they did…could you post the recipe? the trip sounds fabulous…we live in Pennsylvania and we try to get to New York once every other month to see a show with the kids. They both want to move there and I say ” No thanks”…it’s exciting but I wouldn’t want to live there! Love your site…we experiment with a lot of your recipes…my kids always want to know what Anna posted!

  6. says

    Jackie, the carriage driver was telling us he had lots of customers from Brooklyn who’d never been to Central Park. Crazy, eh?

    Cakelaw, the cheesecake was incredible. I’m still on the fence about the spongecake crust, though. I think I like graham cracker better.

    Janet and Karen, Hotwire is good too. The way to get the best bargains is through blind bidding. Buying a hotel room sight unseen is a bit scary at first, but based on the results we had this time, I’d do it again.

    Oh, and Karen. Maybe we could trick people into thinking the lady in the third picture is me!

  7. Jennifer says

    What an adorable baby.

    I’m glad you had fun on your trip. I, too, have used Priceline and as long as you choose a high star rating (3 or 4) I think your odds are very good you will like the hotel. One thing I usually check first, look at the hotels on priceline that aren’t name your own price. They seem to be the same and will give you an idea of the selection….

  8. says

    Hi Angie,

    Yes, they did. Here’s the recipe. At the bottom, I’ve included a few other links where it’s posted.

    Cheesecake from Juniors

    Spongecake Bottom:

    1/2 cup sifted cake flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    Pinch of salt
    3 extra-large eggs separated
    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    3 drops pure lemon extract
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and generously butter a 9-inch springform pan. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

    2. Beat the egg yolks together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. Then, with the mixer still running, gradually add the 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until thick light-yellow ribbons form in the bowl, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts.

    3. Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand until no more white flecks appear. Then blend in the butter.

    4. In a clean bowl, using clean dry beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites should stand up in stiff peaks, but not be dry).

    5. Stir about 1/3 cup of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites (don’t worry if a few white specks remain).

    6. Gently spoon the batter into the pan. Bake the cake just until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched, only about 10 minutes (watch carefully!). Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack while you continue making the cheesecake filling. Do not remove the cake from the pan.

    Filling:

    4 8-ounce packages cream cheese (the regular variety not light Neufchatel cream cheese), at room temperature
    1 2/3 cups sugar
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    2 extra-large eggs
    3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

    Directions for the Cream Cheese Filling

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and generously butter a 9-inch springform pan. Make the batter for the sponge cake as the recipe directs Evenly spread the batter on the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden, about 10 minutes. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool (do not remove it from the pan).

    2. While the cake cools, make the cream cheese filling: Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 mintues, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese.

    3. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, then beat in the vanilla and heavy cream. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating the bating only until completely blended (just like they do at Junior’s). Be careful not to overmix the batter.

    4. Gently spoon the cheese filling on top of the baked sponge cake layer. Place the springform pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Bake the cheesecake until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 1 hour.

    5. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 1 hour. Then cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it’s completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the sides of the springform pan.

    6. Slide the cake off of the bottom of the pan onto a serving plate. Or if you wish, simply leave the cake on the removable bottom of the pan and place it on a serving plate. If any cake is left over, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

    http://www.wchstv.com/gmarecipes/juniorsfamouscheesecake.shtml

    http://www.perfectcoffees.com/article-6-juniors-cheesecake.html

  9. Angie says

    Anna,

    Thanks for the cheescake recipe…I will modify it to include a graham cracker crust…spongecake would just be wrong!

  10. says

    Angie, I’m looking forward to hearing how it works out.

    Emilie, it took me a long time to finally make my way down to Chelsea Market. It’s not the easiest place to find. I loved looking at the fancy sugar cookies at Eleni’s and finally getting a chance to try Fat Witch brownies.

    Staying in the middle of Broadway made me wish we had tickets to a show, but we didn’t. I have seen Donnie Osmond on stage, though. A long time ago he did Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Chicago. It was good.

    As for pizza, we had Connecticut pizza. Don’t tell anyone I said this but I think CT pizza is better than NYC pizza. Shhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

  11. says

    Sounds like a fun trip. NYC is on my short list of places to visit( I was born in NY, but havent been back in over 10yrs). I’ve made that junior’s cheesecake( I have the cookbook), but nobody liked the sponge cake bottom. What did you buy at Sephora? I love that store almost as much as I love Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table.

  12. says

    Randi, I bought lip venom.

    http://www.amazon.com/DuWop-Lip-Venom/dp/B00021B1KK

    What’s funny is I had originally planned to go to Sephora to buy some Smashbox Photofinish

    http://www.smashbox.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/products.detail/categoryID/d6fe8598-ae1b-4c0d-9b55-87814fccd060/productID/059e3e7e-fbfe-4335-a09c-bc4aef2c3abc/

    However, a saleslady in a cosmetics shop in Westport convinced me to buy Chanel’s Base Lumiere Illuminating Makeup Base instead, so I bought that and still don’t have the Smashbox.

    http://www.makeup.com/-79/brands-2/chanel/base-lumiere-illuminating-makeup-base/

    I LOVE the Chanel, but it’s kind of expensive to wear every day.

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