06 December 2005

Back from NYC

Quick summary of the trip: NYC was good; work was ok.

Long summary: I'm an excellent navigator, and I'm not shy about making this known. Despite this fact, I was in the van that followed "the men" on the trip down. The people in my van were heading directly to our hotel in Queens, and those in the other van were heading directly to the office in Midtown. As such, they should have separated with us off of I80E prior to reaching I95S just before the George Washington Bridge. But, it was decided that we should all stop somewhere before reaching Manhattan to eat lunch together. Instead, "the men" continued their poor navigation and hopped on the I80 express lanes when given the option and thus had no opportunity to get off prior to where they had to separate from us if they wanted to be sane and not drive all the way south to Midtown from the Bronx. So, whatever, right?

We made it to our hotel, checked in and found out there was no nearby parking. So, we found a parking garage a few blocks away and made our way back through the neighborhood. We were in the middle of Chinatown, so there were authentic Chinese restaurants. But, my co-workers weren't brave enough, so it was decided we'd just eat at the restaurant in the hotel. It was a Chinese restaurant, but they had a lot of American food on the menu as well. I ordered Schezuan Beef, and when it arrived at my table, I found chunks of beef literally doused in crushed red and black pepper and swimming in a brown sauce that had separated at the edges from the grease in it. Gross! This was not authentic Chinese food! I love spicy food, but I knew I wouldn't be able to take all that pepper. So, I did my best to remove all of the sauce and pepper before taking bites; then, as soon as I got back to my hotel room, I ate a few Rolaids to try to combat the potential problems my stomach might have. (Thankfully, I didn't have any problems; it was a complete miracle!)

After lunch, we headed to the office to get started. My director and I had a meeting on the Upper East Side at 4pm, so we headed out not long after arriving. We managed to hail a cab and made it to our destination a little early, so it gave me time to buy a bottle of water (thankfully) and to check out the building. The meeting was helpful, and we left at 5pm feeling good. We had some difficulty hailing a cab (at 5pm on a Friday afternoon in NY, duh!) and getting through Midtown Manhattan was a bit of a chore, so we were late for our 5:45pm dinner reservations. The menu was a Pre-Theater 3-Course Prix Fixe, so I ordered the Pumpkin Soup, Brick-Fired Chicken Breast with Chiorzo-Cheddar Grits and Spinach and their Seasonal Sorbet Collection (despite the fact that they offered a fantastic-sounding Creme Brulee). The soup was very good, but it ended up being a bit sweet. So, I only had about 5 spoonfulls. The chicken was excellent, and the grits were even better. But, I did my best to only take about 3 bites. Then, out came the dessert. There were 4 small scoops of the sorbets, each a different flavor. With my first very small taste, the flavor just exploded on my tongue! I'd never tasted such a small amount of any dessert with such a big, but complex, flavor. It was absolutely amazing!

We left the restaurant with plenty of time to make our 8pm curtain at The Lion King which was only 4 blocks away. It's not a very good picture, but it shows the view of the stage from our seats. We were in the 2nd row on stage left!! The show was, in a word, amazing. I've seen a number of Broadway shows, and this one was, by far, the most impressive. This post is already way too long, so I won't describe it with any more detail. But, if you have a chance to go, do it!

The next morning, we left the hotel at 7am and immediately began working on the migration as soon as we arrived at the office. There were a number of problems which caused significant slow-downs in the backup, re-image and data migration process with one of them being so major that we had to completely stop what we were doing. At that point, we headed out to lunch so that those working on the problem could do it without us hovering over them. We decided to go to the Heartland Brewery in the base of the Empire State Building, and despite slow service, we had a very good lunch. I had their Chopped Chicken Salad with roasted chicken, dried cranberries, seasoned walnuts and of course lettuce. I did well with the salad by eating the chicken first and then the nuts and some of the lettuce. We finally made some progress in the afternoon and left the office at 7pm. (Sucks!) Four of us made our way up toward Rockefeller Center to see the tree and try to do a little shopping. I was able to get a few things at American Girl Place for my nieces, so I was happy. Rockefeller Center was a complete madhouse, though, so we weren't able to see and do all that we'd hoped for. We then decided to make our way 2 blocks west to Times Square to see if we could find a place for dinner along the way. (And, for those of you who aren't familiar with the East/West blocks in NY, that's not a very short distance. And, I was absolutely starved and beginning to get weak.) Two of my co-workers were only interested in "normal" food, so the Moroccan, Turkish and Indian places we passed weren't acceptable. We made it into Times Square, and one of them suggested the Olive Garden. Ugh! Not horrible, but we're in the middle of New York City. Come on?! So, we ended up compromising on a little Italian place called Trattoria Trecolori. I had the Tortelline filled with meat in my attempt to get as much protein as possible without eating chicken (I'd had a lot over the weekend already!). Again, service was slow, and the other patrons were very loud. But, overall, it was good.

We left the hotel the next morning at 7am again and arrived in Midtown shortly thereafter. With the problems of the previous day mostly resoved, I was able to get almost all of the 12 machines I was assigned to migrate finished before lunch. We all went to Macy's Cellar Bar & Grill in historic Macy's Department Store on Herald Square. The thing that impressed me the most were the wooden escalators in the store! Even the treads of the steps were wood!! I chose the Cellar Burger which had cheddar, bacon and onion frizzles. Horrible, I know, but I was really craving beef. I ate half the burger and 3 of the fries and wondered how much weight I'd gain over this weekend while doing it. I then took the rest of the burger with me to eat on the bus trip home.

I completed all of my machines with plenty of time to spare, and we left the office at 4pm to begin the 10-block treck north (with all of our luggage in tow!) to where we were picking up a bus to get home. I had a suitcase, a toiletries bag, my purse, another bag and a shopping bag from Macy's. Seven months ago there's no way I would have been able to do it, but other than some sore arms, I had no issues!! The bus trip home was uneventful, and I made it back home about 9:45pm.

Despite not being able to do as much in NY as I would have liked, it was still a good trip. The work could have been better, but it wasn't horrible. And, when I stepped on the scale on Monday morning, I'd lost 2 pounds!! I really figured I'd gain, so I was thrilled! I'll defintely go to NY during this time of year again but not for work. :)


Holly said...

i would LOVE to have the recipe for those cheddar grits! as a good ol' southern girl i LOVE grits.

what wonderful food you enjoyed... i'm jealous! i don't eat much anymore, but when i do eat, i like it to be something really good!

Sandi said...

Thanks for sharing what you ate. I was very happy to see (of all things) the hamburger--I've heard that a lot of RNY'ers have trouble with ground beef.

Thanks also for sharing a trip to NYC--being on the west coast, I've only been 2 times, but I have such fun there, and it sounds like you covered the city well.

Good entry, I thoroughly enjoyed sharing a moment in your "real life" and how you deal with incorporating real food into it...

Kaye Bailey said...

GREAT POST Jenn! Thanks for sharing - I imagine that luggage schlepping was great exercise! It's nice to read you did well with your WLS and "real life" together!

Take care!