15 November 2012

Okay - so we arrived safely in New York, the Big Apple, NYC etc.

Hopped safely on to the subway after phoning Anthea to let her know we'd arrived in one piece. I am certain she's convinced I am going to get shot or mugged when travelling to these places.

So our home for the next three nights is the Millenium Hilton, Church St. It's Downtown in the Financial District. One block away from mandatory Sandy evacuations. Luckily there wasn't much to see by way of Sandy remnants other than one of the local subway stations was closed. We're on the 19th floor overlooking the 9/11 Memorial Pools.

There is a LOT of construction work going on here. Thankfully I have cloth ears so can't hear the noise, and Darren has earplugs so bunged up overnight.

Obviously first order of business was to find the local Starbucks, as the hotel doesn't have the wifi's. Rude.

Once at said caffeine provider we could suck up their wifi's and scour the t'intraweb to our hearts content - or at least until we finish our beverages. We were checking out eateries for the evening meal.

Happily I'd been in touch with one of my American-based, and more specifically New York correspondants (Claire, off of being Vice President of communications) prior to heading over the pond for some ideas on where to eat. Thursday was to be Il Mulino - tipped by Claire as 'best hidden Italian'.

It was a-mazing. One of the best meals I've ever had, and I'd definitely recommend it. I would also recommend you book a table. We didn't. And were greeted by an imposing Ilalian maitre d' who said it'd be about 40 minutes (thank heavens Americans always eat ridiculously early) and we sat at the bar for an aperitif. Darren had a giant G&T that had about a millimetre of space for the tonic, and I had the barman's recommended red (he let me have a little taster to make sure I liked it, which I take as a sign of good service). Which was served in a GIANT wine glass.

As we were waiting for our table there were lots of people coming and going - including a celebrity spot. Sadly I cant find the actors name despite many google searches. I he may have played a baddie in an X-Men film, but there's only so many searches you can do of 'craggy faced actors'....

We were called through to our table, and were immediately pounced on by a number of waiters (who seem to outnumber the diners by about 2 to 1) dropping off various hors d'oeuvres (oh dear we've not seen a menu - how much are they?). After we'd munched our way through bread, mushrooms, spinach, parmesan and salami the head waiter came over to take our order. Before passing over the menus he reeled off at least 20 specials, very quickly, and leaving the menus with us he was off in a flourish.

I ended up ordering one of the specials - porcini in ravioli, and a delicious sauce, along with another glass of red each.

After main course the bustle of waiters do some kind of tablecloth origami and before you can say cosa nostra, a clean table cloth for the dessert, complete with moving cutlery and wine glasses. Very clever.

Tiramisu was Darren's choice. I opted for a coffee - but the waiter clearly knew my game as he brought a spare plate for me to have some of the dessert (I don't share food) - again it was delicious.

So we'd managed to get through the meal without any social faux pas (what was I supposed to do with the lump of parmesan?) and having no idea of any prices the bill arrived. Suffice to say THAT was the most expensive ravioli I have ever had. Each 'raviole' was about $5 - and the bill for the two of us was $200. Which whilst not totally outrageously steep is about 3 times more than we usually paid for dinner for the both of us. However I don't mind paying as it was not just delicious food - it was also the atmosphere which was great and made it well worth it. (Tho subsequent item purchases were always converted to 'ravioles' to put them in perspective).

Such was the excitement at eating at a proper restaurant we got on the Subway in the wrong direction, and on the wrong line nearly ending up in Queens. Not entirely our fault I'd say as we appeared to be standing on the correct line and platform. Anyhoo - we managed to get another subway back to the hotel in the end (at a stop nearer to the one we got on at).