- We arrived on Christmas Day. In a beach town, there aren't many options for Christmas Dinner, so we drove to Ocean City, MD (about 40 minutes away) to eat at a restaurant called Reflections inside a Holiday Inn. Needless to say, my hopes weren't high. You walked in and the place screamed 1985. There were mirrors everywhere (thus, "Reflections") mixed with concrete bricks that made you feel like you were in a castle. Andrew ordered an Old Fashioned that tasted like club soda (which isn't even an ingredient to one of those). We overheard a waitress talking about her twins and how she "knew they were fraternal because they came from two separate eggs" (ummm, on what planet do you discuss your embryos with strangers at dinner?). The bread is covered with honey and poppy seeds and when then put it on the table, they include a bowl of water with lemon to dip your fingers in to get the sticky off. Not only was the bread gross, but I didn't want to stick my fingers in the shared cleaning water. Ew. (Also, I named it Hot Ham Water, ten points if you get that.) The food was pretty awful and flavorless. The table of four next to us had two orders of prime rib and both were apparently inedible - we heard them tell the waitress "our dogs will be very pleased with this" as they sent it all to the back to be wrapped up. It was a laughable dinner, at least.
The Beach! | Andrew with Lucy, his sister's dog | Me with Brandy, my FIL's giant German Shepherd | Large Thrasher's French Fries | Boardwalk | Fractured Prune Donuts
- My father-in-law lives right by a huge outlet mall and there is no sales tax in DE, so we took advantage! And my husband asked to go to Home Goods, which made me a proud wife.
- We had dinner at a place called A(muse), which I had high hopes for, but it wasn't that great. My short ribs were overcooked, but the coffee was at least really good.
- When I went to Delaware two years ago, I was introduced to Thrasher's French Fries. We don't have fries like this in Texas - with malt vinegar over them instead of being served with ketchup. They were so good! Last visit, we shopped on the boardwalk as we ate the fries. I went in a store, Andrew stayed out with the fries, and finished the whole order when I wanted more. I have been bitter since. Not this time, friends. I got a huge order of Thrasher's (split between four people) and ate more than I needed to! We only spent a few minutes on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk but I think it is so cute - I really want to visit it in the summer!
- I also went into donut overload this trip. Andrew's dad got me hooked on Entenmann's chocolate donuts when he lived with us a few years ago. Sadly, they are no longer sold in Texas. I told him that I wanted to get my fill so he had boxes waiting for me, plus we stopped at the Entenmann's outlet on the way back from NY. Plus, The Fractured Prune, a place with amazingly decadent donuts that they make to order, was actually open this weekend and I got to visit it. It was as amazing as I had hoped and if I ever win the lottery but not enough to quit working, I would seriously consider buying a franchise. I loved it!
- We originally planned this trip so that we could go to a Giants game. Since their season was pretty bad, we didn't think any starters would play so we kept the trip but nixed the game. We had a hotel room booked in NJ, so we drove there on a Saturday. We checked in, then drove into NYC to visit the World Trade Center... only it took an hour and a half to make a twenty minute drive (why did we drive? I'm not totally sure. My father-in-law lived in the New York area for 40 years, so he was pretty comfortable with it). We missed our reservations, couldn't find parking, and ended up getting snacks and drinks at The Spotted Pig in Greenwich Village. Their deviled eggs were on The Best Thing I Ever Ate and their burger was pretty yummy, too.
Pig stuff all over the wall at The Spotted Pig | No, that isn's human waste, it's chicken liver toast, and I hated it | The best Deviled Eggs, yum | Their burger was awesome, too - Roquefort cheese and nothing else.
Tree appetizer | Bouchon Bakery smoked salmon brioche, coffee cake, and coffee | Bacon from Peter Luger Steakhouse | Chocolates from Jacques Torres
- Sadly, Sunday was our only full day in the city and it decided to rain. Luckily, I got to see the Rockefeller Center tree and some of the shop windows on Fifth Avenue before it got too bad. We went into Saks which was amazing! The windows had animatronic displays that told the story of the Yeti on the roof of the store and the first floor had branches, greenery, and lights all over the place. Is it cheesy to call the store magical?
Inside of the store | Windows outside | Me with the giant Yeti
- Since we couldn't sightsee much due to the weather, we ate and drove around. A lot. We went to Bouchon Bakery, which is so good. I had been to the one in Vegas before. For lunch, we went to Il Buco, a restaurant/ market with Italian meats, cheese, and pastries. The short rib sandwich and pizza were delicious. We stopped at Jacques Torres, a chocolate shop, and got chocolates to bring home as well as one of his cookies (his cookie recipe, though a colossal pain in the butt, is the best I have ever made). We ended up at a Giants bar in Brooklyn where a drunk guy showed my father-in-law his nipple and claimed to have been stabbed by a Puerto Rican once. Colorful crowd. Dinner that night was at Peter Luger, a steakhouse that's been around for over 100 years. To me, it was just okay; I'm just not a huge steak eater.
Gnocchi, Pizza, and Short Rib Sandwich at Il Buco
That's basically my trip in a nutshell. If it hadn't rained, I think we would have had a lot more fun! But, it was neat to see the city with my father-in-law and hear where he went as a kid, what movies were filmed where, and what different things used to be. I also learned he is a champion parallel parker. My opinion on NYC hasn't changed much - I still don't think it's a city for me. If I ever go back, I really want to do it right. Stay in the city, in the heart of the action, and go to a show, eat at a few hole in the wall restaurants, and walk everywhere. Maybe one day!
At the Rockefeller Center Tree | Art in Washington Square Park | Empire State Building | Fifth Avenue Windows | Huge Christmas Lights