Friday, November 29, 2013

2013 In Review: New York, NY

I was able to visit NYC 2 times in 2013 to visit my brother, here are some notes from the places I visited! This was a trip with grown ups. 

Places of Interest
Bethesda Fountain in Central Park
9/11 Memorial Open Daily, 10:00 am - 8:00 pm Cost: Free, visitor passes are required. Reservations made online or by phone carry a $2 nonrefundable service fee per pass. Passes for same-day visits are also available on a first-come, first-served basis. These passes must be obtained in person at the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site at 20 Vesey St. You will have to wait in many lines and go through security similar to the airport to get into the memorial. Don't bring any weapons (knives/guns). Going once was enough for me. I think we only saw the memorial for a half hour but waited in line for about an hour.

American Girl Store: My dream come true, I have wanted to go here for years but Santa never brought me. Total chaos, lots of small children running around. But very cool to go and see the dolls and the new displays. Spent about an hour wandering around. 

American Museum of Natural History 10am - 5:45pm / Cost: Free for Military (Blue Star Families > Programs: Military and dependents free/big discounts for certain museums, shows, or events during the summer), $19-$25 for people / Central Park West at 79th St. New York, NY 10024. So many things to see, I think we spent 4-5 hours visiting and looking at the exhibits. I would like to go back a second time to see some of the exhibits again. This would be a fun place to go with kids.

Central Park: Specifically the Bow Bridge and the Bethesda Fountain. The Bethesda Fountain has been in lots of movies including Elf! Lots of places to walk around, listen to people playing music, and people watch. There is a zoo hidden in the park as well. Many hours can be spent here. Bring a ball to play with or a book to read and enjoy the outdoors!

Alice's Tea Cup - Cookies, Scones, and
Fresh Brewed Tea
The Guggenheim Fridays 10:00am - 5:45pm, cost: $22, free with some employee discounts. This is a modern art museum. I simply do not understand modern art. I wouldn't pay to go here. But I also don't care much for art... So take my opinion with a grain of salt. I think we spent an hour here.

The Metropolitan Museum (MET) Friday and Saturday: 9:30am–9:00pm Cost: Suggested $25 Admission includes entrance to The Cloisters museum and gardens 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street), New York, NY 10028 212-535-7710 We didn't make it to the Cloisters as it was not near any of the places we were. This place was huge! So many cool exhibits. We could easily spend several more hours looking at the exhibits. 

The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Daily, 10:30am-5:30pm, Fridays 10:00am-8:00pm; Cost: Free for Military and 4:00pm-8:00pm on Fridays (Free Friday Night) 11 West 53 Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, New York, NY 10019. This was a modern art museum. I have no need to go back and I was glad to be able to get in for free. I don't understand the art that they have, but if you enjoy modern art this is a great place for you. I think we spent an hour there.

Smorgasbord - I wasn't sure if this should go under food or place of interest. Don't eat before going! It is an outdoor food court styled flea market in Brooklyn of all sorts of different food trucks that go around the NYC area. This wasn't a place offering samples but you can order a full meal from the vendors that are around the area. 

Peter and the Starcatchers: I love theater! This was an off Broadway production of the show at the New Worlds theater that is now on tour. Show was based off the book series Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. The books are the prequel to the traditional Peter Pan stories.

Keste Pizzeria
Alice's Tea Cup - Yummy specialty teas and fresh baked scones. They also serve sandwiches. You can order tea by the Very popular tea house that now has three locations. Fun atmosphere!
Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company - Fresh bagels and lots of cream cheese to pick from, would go back!
Cafe 82 - Delish classy/fresh diner food, has a Gluten Free menu. Small place so it is likely there will be a wait.
Candle 79 - Vegan/Gluten Free restaurant, on the pricier side but ok. 
Five Napkin Burger - Amazing beet based veggie burgers! They also have Gluten Free menu. And they have "regular" meat items and gluten foods.
Keste Pizzeria - Fresh home-style pizza. Gluten Free menu. I'd go back!
Palm Restaurant - Absurdly expensive! You pick a cut of meat and then the table picks a few sides to share. I don't think we will be going back unless we hit the lottery.
The Smith - Went for brunch, mid range prices, fresh food, decent size portions, fun atmosphere and located in a cute historic area.
Smorgaschef - Had brunch here, it is a fancy restaurant with a small seasonal/local menu.
Zabar's - Went for breakfast food, it was good. I would try another place before going back.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spinach and Ricotta Manicotti

We just bought a basil plant, so we have to make some fresh Italian food! Manicotti was on the list, it is a bit of a pain but makes for a special meal. I'm OK with making lasagne instead for a faster meal.

Spinach Ricotta Manicotti
Makes 10

15 oz ricotta cheese
1 bag baby spinach
1 bag Italian mix cheese
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Egg
Salt and Pepper
Jar of sauce
1 box of Manicotti pasta shells

Combine everything except for the sauce and the shells. I put the filling into a zip top bag and then sliced off a corner to pipe the shells.
Layer sauce in the bottom of pan. Fill each shell and place into the pan. Cover with remaining sauce and some cheese.
Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes. Serve hot!