Monday, October 27, 2008

The Best and Worst of The Trip

This past week, I traveled to the East Coast (New York, Baltimore, and Washington D.C.) to visit friends and family and attend the Gourmet Institute in NYC. These were some of the highlights and lowlights:
  1. Cracking and eating crabs with the family in Baltimore - and sitting around the firepit and shooting off fireworks afterwards.
  2. Junior's Cheesecake. Just creamy enough and just cakey enough - and I love the light spongecake base.
  3. Discovering how good Italian cookies can be (especially the rainbow ones) at Veniero's in NYC.
  4. Eating New York pizza with Amanda and Randy at John's in the West Village.
  5. Enjoying the Tasting Menu at Cafe Boulud with Luis on his birthday.
  6. Going behind the scenes at Gourmet with Ruth Reichl, including a visit to her office.
  7. Seeing the art at the MOMA - especially the Pollacks and Rothkos, which are truly more interesting in person.
  8. The International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. V. cool.
  9. The cheese session at the Gourmet Institute with Ihsan Gurdal of Formaggio Kitchen.
  10. Eating fried oysters twice in one week - in a Po' Boy at Mama's on the Half Shell in Baltimore, and at Hank's Oyster Bar in DC.
  11. The super creepy, ultra campy John Brown Wax Museum at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia
  12. Watching the kayakers shoot the rapids (including waterfalls!) at Great Falls National Park.
  13. Sazeracs and Manhattans in front of the fire at the Reston Homestead.
  14. Lunch at the Modern Bar Room with some fellow bloggers (Hi Deb, Lisa and Amy!) and Ian Knauer.
  15. Meeting Carol at Michel Richard's Central in NYC (the gougeres are pretty amazing too...)
Lows: let me think... there were a few...
  1. The two and a half hour ride from JFK to the Millenium Broadway Hotel. (NEVER AGAIN SUPER SHUTTLE.)
  2. Getting the shaft at the Millenium Broadway Hotel at 11 PM after eight hours of traveling. (Though it worked to my advantage in the end because I found a better, cheaper hotel - the Roommate Grace)
  3. The very mediocre "dining experience" at Picholine on Saturday night as part of the Gourmet Institute.
  4. A not-so-great lunch at Esca. (I think Amy liked it better than I did, but we both agreed it was sub-par.)
  5. A downright inedible deli sandwich at the Stage Deli.
  6. An even worse lunch at the cafe at the Baltimore National Aquarium (We should have gone to Chipotle or Potbelly across the street)
  7. The insane numbers of people on the street and in every business (including the MOMA) in Midtown Manhattan. Next time, I think I'll stay downtown and take the subway.
  8. I had a lot of mediocre coffee on the East Coast, even in some good restaurants. Espresso was generally very good though.
  9. Acclimating to the time change - which I never really did.
  10. The fact that though I spent a fortune on a hotel in order to have extra time in NYC I still wasn't able to see a play or go to any of the shops I wanted to visit. (I know, I know, waah waah waah.)
I didn't mention meeting and/or seeing Tony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, Tom Colicchio, Grant Achatz, Gavin Kaysen, Daniel Boulud, or any of those other famous people, because I wouldn't want you to think I was bragging, you know?

If you're curious, here are the photos from the Gourmet Institute
More NYC photos can be viewed here, and Baltimore/DC here.
As great as it was, it's still really good to be home. I missed my dogs.

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