Thursday, December 29, 2016

Eating All the Foods, in Cleveland and New York

Following my last post, we were admittedly pretty lame old folks and left the party pretty early.  By the time we made it back to our hotel (I drove - my first time driving in nearly six months!) we could barely function.  It was all I could do to brush my teeth and wash my face.  The next morning, we realized that Michael had taken his brother's coat and gloves by accident.  Whoops.

I woke up at 6 am and was starving by 7:30, so I had a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and eggs in-room.  Then we walked to meet Michael's brother, David, and his girlfriend, for a brunch (my second breakfast).  After that, we drove out to another brother's (Joey's) new house, to see all the renovations and plans that are underway.  It was nice to see their new space and all the exciting plans that they have for it.  It's going to be beautiful!

After that, we proceeded to Michael's parents' house, where we ran a few errands and then played around with the dogs before we sat down to the largest bowl of spaghetti I have ever seen.

The sauce was very rich and full of robust tomato flavor.  The meatballs were also cooked with sausages for extra flavor.  Michael was weird and had to have an egg sandwich for dinner instead.
 After that meal, we sat around and opened our Christmas presents prematurely - our stockings and also our presents - because we were spending the holidays in New York.  We got a variety of fun things in our stockings - a pen light that came in super handy for Michael later in the week, a pair of socks that came in super handy for me later in the week, lots of chocolate, Starbucks gift cards (also came in handy during the trip) and some hand soap and lotion.  I got a pair of PJ pants and a PJ set, and Michael got a bottle of Talisker 10 year, his favorite single malt in all the world.  It was all in all a pretty great early Christmas!

Michael and I then started our drive back to New York that night, staying over in western Pennsylvania again, before arriving in New York on Sunday afternoon.  It was a pretty exhausting trip.

Once back in New York, I've been doing a lot of eating.  I went to try out a new Xinjiang stir fry restaurant with my parents and siter (a lot of Chinese restaurants have been opening here recently).  It was nice and spicy, just the way I liked it.  It's a dry version of a stir-fry beef, and the Chinese words actually translate to "dry pot".
 We also ordered a plate of their hand-pulled noodles, which were chewy and tasty.
We got our Costco run out of the way pretty early this time (it's a pilgrimage that happens every time we are back in the U.S.) - while there, I couldn't stop marveling at the sheer size and availability of everything.  I bought myself two huge jars of artichoke hearts because... well, because I could!  On our trip back, my dad, sister and I went to try out an old family-run Italian restaurant on Long Island, called La Parma.  It was tasty, and it felt special to have some father-daughter bonding time.

 Everything about the place screamed old school, but it was very comfortable and flavorful.  I ate way too much.

On one of the nights, Michael and I managed to meet up with another couple in the city for dinner at Caffe Dante in the West Village.  Walking to the restaurant, I saw two french bulldogs!  This is the neighborhood for it, I guess. 
 I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant - it had original details like a long wood bar and tin pressed ceilings, but also had clearly been refurbished with care.  We ate like kings, enjoying a sampling of flatbreads, ham, prosciutto and kale salad (to start!) followed by entrees of steak, chicken, fish and rabbit pappardelle.  It was a really fun dinner.  Stuffed to the brim, we rolled out to the curb where you can see a (slightly blurry) Empire State building, all lit up at night.

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