We were trying to save our appetites ahead of dinner but got peckish after the Guggenheim and decided to stop at Prodigy Coffee just down the street from our apartment. J stuck to just a cup of tea but I couldn’t resist ordering the hot chocolate and the soft moist chocolate bread. It ended up being a little bit too much chocolate for me (I always overdo it when it comes to chocolate!) but we had a good time just chilling out at Prodigy Coffee.
After that, we had less than an hour to spare before it was time to head to the first of my birthday surprises from J – a 16-course degustation course at Eleven Madison Park!
The food was incredible, ranging from things like sea urchin with smoked cantaloupe to carrot tarter with an entire palette of condiments to a fun ‘ostrich egg’ corn pudding with truffle and buttermilk. The service was outstanding with your various waiters extolling the local virtues of each dish (the clams are from Manhattan, eggs from a Long Island farm, etc, etc) and we were way stuffed before the end of the incredible line of dessert dishes were done rolling out. The meal began and ended with a black and white cookie which was a New York specialty I’d never heard off, and guests were given a mason jar of homemade granola for tomorrow’s breakfast – which I loved!
Though we had granola planned for next day’s breakfast, I ended up getting up a little earlier than J did and taking a walk along Christopher Street to the famous Magnolia Bakery. Although the original owners have since sold the bakery, I couldn’t resist going in and buying a couple of cupcakes and mini key lime cheesecake.
Today was spent doing the usual tourist things – shopping at Fifth Avenue, taking pictures of Rockefeller Centre, exploring Grand Central Station and catching the views from the top of the Empire State Building.
Though we didn’t get to the Top of the Rock (it was a choice between that and the Guggenheim in our New York City Pass and we ended up choosing the Guggenheim), I was thrilled to see the statue of Atlas in front of the Rockefeller Centre as I am a fan of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
Seeing Grand Central Station, or Grand Central Terminal as it’s more accurately called, was so much fun since we’ve seen it featured in so many movies and TV shows. Too bad there were no penguins running across like in Madagascar! 😀 We ended up spending most of our time at the Apple store set up by the stairs leading into the Main Concourse.
I was a little worried we might have a long line ahead of us at the Empire State Building as it’s such a popular tourist destination, but to my relief, there wasn’t actually much of a line and we got through pretty quickly. We were soon at the top, enjoying the views. It was a beautiful day – almost too beautiful because it was very hot and I was starting to feel a little sick from our lunch at the Oyster Bar which definitely featured too much fried and greasy food. The decor and the service of the Oyster Bar was great, but if you’re looking for a really good meal that won’t clog your arteries, I’d probably suggest heading somewhere else. We later found out that we could have just gone to Michael Jordan’s restaurant nearby instead! Damnit!
Still, despite my queasy insides, the views atop the Empire State Building were pretty awesome.
Then it was home for a quick nap before heading to my second birthday surprise – tickets to the Book of Mormon on Broadway!
The Book of Mormon was incredibly funny and sweet – even J professed to liking it, even though he’s not a fan of musicals! We then took in a late sushi supper at the Blue Fin on Times Square before returning to the Empire State Building to take advantage of our same-day second visit. I have to say, I preferred the night views over our day visit – mainly because it was much cooler and less crowded at night at the top – and because the city lights were so beautiful.