Saturday, April 21, 2012

Taking in NYC Food, Cocktails, Theater and Zoo

I spent most of my life in New York, but the truth is I spent very little of that in Manhattan. As a teen, I would go in on my school breaks for shopping or theater, and as an adult it was mostly a trip into the city to see a play, have dinner, or meet friends for drinks. I had never spent four days staying there before and I was determined to finish it with as much as possible.


My daughter Sam met me in the morning at my friend Liza’s and we headed over to drop my things at The Library Hotel. I had stayed at two of this brand’s sister hotels previously (Hotel Elysee and Casablanca) and absolutely loved them. This one proved to be just as unique. With an evening social hour (great wine and cheese spread) and a big European breakfast, you can’t possibly get more for your dollar in New York. Plus, there’s also the indiivudality of the hotel. This one – “Library” – has each floor dedicated to a subject and each room to a subdivision.  My room was 20th Century History and was filled with books from that time period

From The Library Hotel we walked down to Central Park where we were having lunch at the Sarabeth’s Kitchen location there. The place was absolutely packed and I was glad we had reservations. The smell of fresh baked goods was everywhere and I gazed over quite an impressive cocktail list for brunch as my stomach growled in anticipation.

It was a tough decision when we finally were seated as everything around us looked amazing. Sam and I decided to share so we could try as much as possible, but first started with one of their many mimosa options. The Four Flowers Mimosa (their signature Four Flowers Juice with champagne) was a perfect brunch companion with Almond Crusted French Toast with strawberry sauce, the Vegetable Frittata and a warm banana muffin.

The brunch was unbelievable and we were stuffed so we decided to walk off some calories in Central Park. It had been years since I had been there and Sam admitted that she never had. We made our way past the horse drawn carriages and the competition in the ice skating rink to the Central Park Zoo.  We spent an hour or so there and I loved forgetting that my little girl is all grown up!

Sam and I walked back to The Library Hotel and enjoyed a latte in the lounge (coffees and cookies are complimentary and available all day here) before she had to go catch her train. I wasn’t alone for alone, though, as my friend Gail was on her way to continue the adventure.

I decided that I needed to do some more walking if I was going to work up an appetite for brunch at DoHYo. Yes, I was going to have another brunch, but this one was different that any I have ever experienced in my life.

Here’s the story… you go to this funky, ultra modern restaurant in the Yotel just outside of the Times Square between noon and five pm. You then have two hours to eat as many small plates and drink as many cocktails as you want while you listen to the DJ spin. And, to make it even better, it is great food by Chef Richard Sandoval for only $35 per person.

I was a bit limited by a lot of the seafood on the menu, but still managed to try quite a bit while Gail also got to taste the Crab Wontons and Crunchy Shrimp. Some of the other dishes that were great were Yukon Gold Tostones, Chicken Salad (Asian style), Wild Mushroom Omelet, Wok-Seared Cauliflower and House Ground Meatballs.

We had to try some cocktails, of course, and they were both unusual and tasty.  I loved the Sake Sangria, Mango Mimosa and Lychee Bellini, and enjoyed quick tastes of the equally satisfying  Bacon Bloody Mary, Passion Plantation Punch and Peach & Bourbon Tea.

We actually didn’t linger the full two hours because we had somewhere important to go. The Broadway Collection had gotten me tickets to Godspell at Circle in the Square. It was one of the best plays I’ve ever seen and the cast is just spectacular. It’s been updated a bit with references to modern day Facebook, Donald Trump and others and the performances are just magnificent. I was lucky enough to catch Weeds star Hunter Parish in the lead before his limited run ended and was blown away by his voice. He was just replaced by Corbin Bleu of High School Musical.

After the show it was time to bid my friend and New York City goodbye. It was my first real in-depth adventure of the Big Apple and I’m sure it won’t be my last.


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