Friday, March 9, 2012

NYC Day 2

Monday morning Mom and I had tickets to attend a taping of ABC's The Chew.  We started the early morning (hello 6am alarm!) with yogurt parfaits and hot drinks from Argo Tea - Almond Milk Mate Latte for me and Cinnamon Orange Tea for Mom.  Then we hailed a cab and headed to the UWS ABC studios.  It was a  chilly wait in line outside and we were thankful for our hot drinks.  It wasn't long before we were let inside and received our tickets.  Our tickets were marked with a pink highlighter, which we later learned meant we would be seated in the second row and in direct line of many of the taped segments.
The best seats in the house were at the "tasting table".  

The set itself was much smaller than I expected.
It's impressive to see how producers craft so many scenes out of a small studio.

Mom and I dressed in our bright spring colors. 

Chefs Michael Symon and Mario Batali preparing a segment.

Check out Mario's outfit!  Cargo shorts, collared shirt, vest, orange socks, orange crocs, and a green hair scrunchie.
What a combination!

Carla Hall is such a bundle of energy and loves dancing with the audience during breaks.

Clinton Kelly performed karaoke during a break from taping.
Overall, we really enjoyed the show.  The  hosts were great at engaging the audience between segments and kept everyone laughing.  The only disappointment was the lack of food tastings.  At the end of the show they brought out plates of pot roast with potatoes and veggies and dessert bars for the eight people sitting at the tasting table.  Despite the fact that we were just 4 feet away, we received only the enticing scents of a savory crock pot meal.

Needless to say, we left the studio with growling stomachs.  Fortunately, we had plans for a great mid-morning snack.  A short trek across Central Park and we arrived at Two Little Red Hens Bakery on the UES.  I have fond memories of their perfectly baked scones that I enjoyed as a weekend treat after my long runs.  During my month in the city, I sampled my fair share of flavors, but the Triple Ginger Pear Scone has held a special place in my heart!  Fortunately, those perfect scones were waiting for us this morning.  Mmmm . . . it was definitely just as good as I remember!

The rest of the morning and afternoon featured LOTS of walking and shopping (UES, 5th Avenue shops, Macys).  Unfortunately, most NYC stores don't exactly fit my tight budget.  As a result, I did a lot of browsing and minimal purchasing.  Lunch was exactly what I was craving - a big plate of mixed veggies and salads from Le Gourmet.  Dessert featured truffles that were passed out to shoppers when we strategically walked through Lindt and Godiva.

We made our way back to the hotel by late afternoon to enjoy a little R&R and time off our feet.  Eventually, it was time to eat again.  We picked Socarrat Paella Bar for dinner.  We shared a mix of appetizers to wet our palate before enjoying a HUGE platter of paella.  The best appetizer of the evening went unphotographed - Dates stuffed with cheese, almond, and wrapped in bacon.  Oh my gosh, INCREDIBLE!
Boquerones:  Spanish White Anchovies with Cherry Tomato Salad
Alcochofas: Fried Artichokes

Tapas Special: grilled octopus, greens, and a balsamic reduction

Black Rice Paella: Chunks of Cod Fish, Scallops, Calamari, Scallops, Bell Pepper, and Fava Beans
SO TASTY!  The rice was creamy and flavorful and the seafood perfectly cooked.  The best part was the crunchy rice that forms along the bottom and side of the skillet.

Enjoying a great meal with my parents.  Thanks for letting me enjoy the city with you!

Quick, take a picture so we can eat!
As if we hadn't eaten enough, we had plans for dessert at Veniero's Pastry.  When Dad first started traveling to the city for work, he would always bring home cheesecakes from Veniero's.  Sadly, that tradition came to an end, and it's been years since I've enjoyed "the BEST cheesecake".  Tonight, however, it made a comeback.  Obviously my love for sweets overwhelmed my ability to take pictures, and I present you photos of our half-eaten desserts.  We shared original cheesecake, a cannoli, and tiramisu cake.  A tasty end to a fun day in the NYC!

No crazy clubs or bars for this crew.  After a day of full of walking, shopping, and eating, we took a cab right back to the hotel and crashed hard!  A girl needs her sleep before enjoying her last day of vacation.

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