Welcome back to another post detailing our most recent trip to New York City. Day 2 y’all.
And Day 2? Well, I don’t know how else to say it.
There’s good. There’s not-so-good. And there is all kinds of great happening in Day 2.
So I mean, we should just get on with it.
February 2022 New York trip Day 2!
Day 2 was a Saturday.
And on Day 2, we didn’t really have anything in the way of plans until a little later in the morning, but I didn’t let that stop me from waking up early. Because it was vacation. How can I vacation if I don’t deprive myself of sleep after a night of drinking?
If I am not a little hungover, am I really on vacation?
But I did wake up with a mission. I wanted to get a little gym time in before everyone else was up. You know, in order to try and outrun the damage done the night before.
My plan was to wake up and quietly grab all my gym stuff without waking anyone up.
So naturally, I proceeded to make a crapton of noise, acting like some sort of clinking clanking clattering collection of caliginous junk.
But eventually? I got my running clothes on and miraculously found my headphones. I found my way down to the fitness center in the hotel at around 7AM. When I got there, there were three other people waiting to get in as well. I guess at the Embassy Suites, with COVID and what not, you have to get a hotel employee to ensure you’re vaccinated before you’re let into the fitness center.
Which, fine, whatever. I mean, I am all for safety. But…
There were three treadmills in the entire fitness center. And I mean, they were empty before we walked in. But all three of the people waiting ahead of me jumped on the treadmills, which left me sort of just wandering around the gym for a little bit trying to make sense of my life.
I did eventually figure my stuff out and settle for an empty exercise bike. Which was a big growth moment for me. Normally, I would just have gone back to the room, complained to Nickie about how the universe hates me, and take my frustrations out on the closest pastry I could find.
I have been making my way through the Disney animation theatrical releases at the gym, via Disney+ on my phone. So I popped in my headphones, climbed on the bike, and fired up the second half of Beauty & the Beast.
Yeah. I am IN IT right now.
I chose an interval workout which alternated between resistances to simulate hill riding and what not. I did about 4 miles on the bike when I suddenly had an epiphany.
And that epiphany was…
The bike sucks.
Thankfully, at this point, one of the treadmill thieves hopped off at this point so I got to do another 2 miles of running. I ended the workout with some push-ups and made my way back up to the room.
Man, I just realized I am like 2 whole pages into writing this thing and I have only made it through a picture-less early morning fitness center experience.
I apologize. For everything.
When I got back to the room, everyone was up and getting ready for the day. And there was a little merp-ness coming our way. As I mentioned in my last post, Hannah’s parents were picking her and Myles up today and heading back to New Jersey for the weekend.
But…it was what they wanted. And to be fair, it sounded like they had a great weekend. Go-Karts, cake, pulled pork. I am pretty sure that’s what heaven is.
Well, that and a continuous loop of Seinfeld episodes.
So yeah, it was a bummer but we also knew it would make Myles and Hannah happy. So that’s good.
We hung out for a little bit longer after I got back to the room but within the hour, Myles and Hannah had to take off for their Jersey-cation.
Miss those two.
After they left, though, I had to hurry up and get showered and ready for the day because we had a FULL day planned, y’all.
By 10AM, we were all dressed, ready, and on the street.
And we weren’t just wandering around like some sort of people who wander around or anything. We had a mid-morning breakfast reservation to get to.
And that reservation was at the Brooklyn Diner, which is NOT located in Brooklyn you guys.
And I get it. Like, not every place named after a place has to be in that specific place. We have a place called New York Pizza right down the street from us in Massachusetts. But I always felt like that was to sort of transport you to that place or something like that since it’s far away or whatever. Brooklyn was kind of close to where we were. I don’t know. It’s weird though, right?
Like the cuisines of Brooklyn and Times Square aren’t all that different from one another. I can’t imagine someone eating in this diner and saying, “mmmm, this makes me feel like I am back in Brooklyn” or “ooh, this really makes me want to visit Brooklyn. If only” or “I don’t know guys, this doesn’t really taste like authentic Brooklyn to me.”
Is it me?
It’s me, right?
Anyways, here’s the diner.
When we got there, the hostess didn’t have our reservation and asked Nickie to show her the confirmation. Which she did. And we had. So. Take THAT.
Thankfully, they did find us a table even though place was busy as all kinds of get-out.
See? Look at Owen and Mia sitting at a table.
As this was still breakfast, I started with a hot cup of coffee.
Also, as this was still breakfast, I started with a Bloody Mary.
Which was…serviceable. I mean, nothing spectacular but it had vodka and tomato juice so it was alright by me. It was definitely no Amtrak Bloody Mary, that’s for sure (see Day 1).
The girls both got Mimosas. Which looked pretty good, actually. Heavy on the champagne and all.
I mean, after all. No one comes for the orange juice.
Owen, meanwhile, continued his tradition of ordering things we all know he won’t enjoy. He ordered the hot chocolate.
Which, yeah, I know. What do I mean that he didn’t finish a hot chocolate? Well, Swiss Miss this thing was not. Made with Belgian dark chocolate, cocoa, milk, and a GIANT marshmallow, Owen took one sip and deemed it not drinkable.
Mia also took a sip and came to the exact same conclusion. So I, being the researcher I am, asked for them to slide that puppy my way. I took a sip and you know what?
Those kids were DEAD WRONG.
That was a heck of a hot chocolate. Super chocolaty and rich. And I am a sucker for dark chocolate. So.
But yeah, a really good hot chocolate.
And unfortunately, it’s all downhill from here.
Well, hey, hold on a second. That’s not necessarily true. Owen and Nickie both seemed to enjoy their waffles, bacon, and eggs.
So I mean, that’s something.
I also think Mia liked her eggs and bacon as well.
Oh and those little hash brown looking things? Those are crispy corn polenta and that sauce is a pomodoro to dip them in. These made their way onto a few dishes.
I’ll get to my thoughts on them when we reach my dish but I can tell you now Mia wasn’t a fan. I mean, I feel like me and a 7 year-old have very different internal reactions to a phrase like “crispy corn polenta.”
It’s like we were playing out in real-life the well-paced, finely articulated struggle in that classic of American literature.
You know the one.
Larissa initially wanted the avocado toast with Nova Scotia smoked salmon, but they were out of salmon. So instead she ordered herself The Omelette, which usually comes with bacon, tillamook cheddar cheese, fines herbs. But she ordered it without bacon.
Here is a picture of Larissa’s omelette.
For my meal, I was originally going to go with Colin Quinn’s Irish Bagel with Smoked Salmon and Bacon but since I already knew the verdict on the whole smoked salmon situation, I went with the Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Everything Bagel (everything bagel, tillamook cheddar cheese, spicy mayo, crispy corn polenta.
So let’s start off with the crispy corn polenta. I actually dug it a lot. It made for a unique and tasty side. The sandwich ingredients were relatively good. The bacon was a standout, but I also liked the spicy mayo as it added a tiny bit of kick.
But guys, that is the most nothing everything bagel I have ever seen. And that really should have been a major player in this sandwich. Just a legit lackluster bagel.
Tony ordered the New Yorker Breakfast, which comes with:
- Freshly squeezed orange juice
- Three eggs, any style
- Choice of meat (applewood smoked bacon, Italian sausage, smoked ham, pastrami hash, or Nova Scotia salmon)
- Crispy corn polenta and pomodoro sauce
- Choice of an everything bagel or challah bread
He asked for scrambled eggs, pastrami hash, and an everything bagel. And he was unfortunately informed they were out of pastrami hash.
Yeah, the hits keep coming. He switched to bacon.
Also, I actually never got a picture of his meal because it was sort of brought out piecemeal. And I mean, a picture may have been confusing on account of he was given a plain bagel and not an everything one.
Which, whatever. Happens. Bacon on an omelette when someone asked for no bacon is a bit bigger issue if someone was, say, adverse to meat or more specifically – pork. But hey, we can just get an everything bagel to replace the plain one.
When Tony asked the waiter if he could bring the everything bagel instead, the waiter said he would see if there were any left. But he never came back to actually inform us whether there were any left. So we figured, eh…they are probably out of those as well thinking maybe I got the last one with my sandwich. Tony proceeded to put a little schmear of cream cheese on his bagel and just as he finished, the waiter brought his everything bagel out.
Maybe you guys think I am being too hard on this place. I know we are in a post-but-also-still-current COVID situation right now so places are short-staffed, supply lines are tight. But there was just so much going wrong here, it’s hard to excuse it. Especially when we are paying between 20 and 30 dollars per person for breakfast. A 20-dollar bagel sandwich should be kind of top-notch.
And this was not. This was not top-notch.
Back out into the city we go to explo….
Well, A ball. The Times Square ball to be exact.
The first part of our day today had us mainly sticking around the Broadway/Times Square area.
But, it was time for a little Goodreau/Falzone split-up. The Falzones were heading off to support Mia’s newfound Hamilton addiction at Hamilton: The Store and we had a much different, you might say stranger thing to do.
Stranger Things: The Official Store. We were going to the Stranger Things store.
Seriously with how I have to spell everything out for you.
But yeah, the Hamilton store and the Stranger Things store. This must be why, as Disney fans, we love New York so much. Spending money IS the attraction. Such a Disney concept.
I made a noon reservation earlier in the day for me, Nickie, and Owen. And yeah, if you happen to be in New York and this is still up and something you want to do, it seems like you have to make a reservation but as far as I could tell they weren’t hard to come by.
There was a small line to get in, which took about 5 minutes. So no big deal. Plus, while we were waiting I could snap a picture of something that is a thing which is something I would not be doing on this trip – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Some day, ‘arry. Some day.
Like I said, the line took about 10 minutes to get through, not too bad. And guys, spoiler alert. This experience was pretty awesome.
After we got all checked in and what not, the first room we hit was the Byers living room.
And then came my first big temptation. On the shelf to the left, they were selling special Stranger Things themed edition boxes of cereal.
Like this box of Cheerios.
And this box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
And check out the side of this Lucky Charms box.
We were sooooo close to buying a box of cereal. I mean, I don’t know what we would have done with such a thing. Like, I can’t imagine eating it. Well – I can imagine eating it. That doesn’t really take all that much imagination. I’ve had cereal before.
The whole living room setup was super cool with a ton of little touches here and there.
Dungeons & Dragons? They played that ON THE SHOW!
All this retail-disguised-as-attraction made Owen and I tired so we had to sit down.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much on the TV.
And along the other side of the wall, they had Will’s tunnel maps all taped together.
LIKE IN THE SHOW!
The next room we hit was the Palace Arcade.
And yes, I know what you’re wondering. Those games did work. They were free. And I did play Galaga.
There were a bunch of rooms, each themed after a different location from the show, including the Starcourt Mall.
I also almost bought that shirt.
On account of I am a material girl. Living in a material world.
This mannequin though.
The lab was a popular stop. On account of there were a lot of buttons to push and levers to play with and what not.
Which is a lot of fun. Especially during COVID. Like you really do feel like you are potentially ending the world with every button push.
Owen likes Stranger Things. You can tell because his thumb is up.
But then as we made our way further through the experience, we got to see…
OH MY GOD
Oh wait. Phew. It’s fake.
The lab then led us into Hawkins High…
…where I convinced this hottie to attend the 1984 Snowball with me…
…and back through the mall and out into Hawkins.
And guys, if you are ever feeling kind of ok about your body and feel like you need to be brought down a peg throw on a heavy sweater, a heavy jacket, and get yourself involved in a bike-related photo opp. Because…well…
Yeah. I was having a bad bike day.
On our way out, we passed through the Byers living room again.
Overall, we spent between 20-30 minutes in there and didn’t end up buying anything but it was 100% worth a visit. Especially since it’s free. I mean, unless you buy something. Because buying things requires paying for them. But yeah, free otherwise. And free things are pretty hard to come by. Plus, this was a really neat experience. Very well done and crammed with fun pic opportunities. Highly recommend.
The store is located on the corner of 42nd and 7th so it worked out that it was actually next door to our next destination. But we had a little time to kill so Owen wanted to duck into American Eagle in Times Square to see if there was anything that caught his eye.
So back into Times Square we went. And guys, it was crowded.
On our way, we passed by the Disney Store, which had a super dupes cute picture of Minnie dressed up as the Statue of Liberty.
Hrm, I wonder if people are as upset about that as they are about her new pantsuit. Probably not right? Because ‘murica and all.
Oh and look in front. There’s um. There’s. Well.
Terrifying. Please Minnie. Put your head back on.
You know it’s something when Bane seems the safer choice.
Yeah, Times Square is a literal situation. I was gonna make my way over to say hi to the Joker and Elmo, but.
But as I said, our main reason for trekking back out into this nonsense was so that Owen could take a look around American Eagle.
Which he did.
He looked left.
He looked right.
Nothing looked right.
So we left.
I know. You came here expecting a blog and you got legit literature.
Yeah, there really wasn’t anything there that caught his eye. So we told him if he didn’t see anything he liked in any of the stores this weekend, he could order some new clothes online.
Because we are incredible parents. Obvs.
Man, New York really does have a rodent problem.
As we were walking through Times Square, Nickie pointed out this neon-y Subway sign to Owen since he loves Subway (the food place) so much.
“Hey Owen, look at that cool Subway sign,” she said.
Unfortunately, it was a sign for the actual subway (the train place).
Ok fine. Owen and I did succumb to the pressure and got a picture with Minnie and. Um. Well. And. Hrm.
A foosball guy?
Seriously, I have no idea who that is.
OK guys, time for a pretty pretty pretty big New York experience – a Broadway show!
We had tickets to a matinee showing of…
Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theater!!
And while we were seeing this with the Falzones, they were still having fun in the greatest city in the world.
IN THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD!!!
And it was only 12:45, which meant the doors wouldn’t be opening for another 15 minutes.
But we lined up anyways. Because we are Disney people. We obvs love lines.
While we were in line, the attendant checked our vaccine cards and once we provided proof, stamped our hands to show everyone we were special.
While we waited in line, we chatted a little bit with the attendant and took the opportunity to snap some ambiance pics.
Are you feeling it? Are you feeling the ambiance?
Whatever, you guys.
Anyyyyways. 1:00 finally came and BAM.
Let’s do this.
And you guys, this theater was all kinds of pretty. Like, it wasn’t just “theater.” It was more…
Look at this thing. They made a lamp out of some person’s head.
Our seats were great as well. We were up in the balcony but we were in the first row, which gave us a super-dee-duper view of the whole production.
We were excited.
And yes, the Falzones made it before showtime and found their way to us. I mean, Broadway is great. But Broadway with friends? It’s even better.
But, being that this was a Broadway show, I didn’t get any pictures during. I can say, though, the show was incredible. Genie is a standout of course and “Friend Like Me” is a legit banger. But everyone in the cast did a fantastic job. Aladdin, Jafar, and Jasmine were all wonderful. The sets were beautiful, the effects were all kinds of magical, and the music was of course best.
Bottom line? It’s good. And you should see it.
I should mention that if you plan on getting a drink to enjoy during the show, you may want to consider dipping into your 401K. Because, um. Well, when I ordered my drink, I asked for a Tito’s and soda. The bartender asked, “should I make it a double?” And I, instinctively, said “of course.”
Guess how much it was.
Nope. Whatever you just guessed, it was more.
My double Tito’s and soda was a whopping $35 dollars!
For a Tito’s and soda.
Like, believe me. I’ve paid that much and more for a drink before. But Tito’s?
New Amsterdam Theater, how do you think these are prices that should exist in the real world?
I know people always talk about prices at Walt Disney World and what not. But honestly, you guys? New York gives Disney a run for their money.
Ha. Run for their money.
That was joke.
Oh, and I know what you’re thinking. But no. That price did not discourage me from getting another drink. So I know I am part of the problem. But at least I went for a beer next time, which I believe was closer to like 15 bucks? So I guess that’s. Better?
But whatever. A small price to pay for an awesome experience.
We were out of the theater…
…by like 4:30. And it occurred to all of us that we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. With dinner being a little ways off, we stopped in at the Paris Baguette on the corner of our hotel’s street for a little nosh and some caffeinated magic.
We all grabbed our snacks and headed back to the hotel to enjoy them in the lobby before heading back to our rooms.
I got a cream cheese bread and a latte.
And it was really good, actually. That bread was supez delicious and the latte was much needed.
We also all decided to check in on the happy hour on the 4th floor. But after we checked in and got our drink tickets, we decided the line wasn’t worth it. I mean, Tony and I had a bottle of Basil Hayden back in the room and Nickie and Larissa had champagne.
I will say, it looked like a really nice spread. I saw some sandwiches and tacos in addition to some more traditional happy hour snacks like chips and dip and what not. But the lines were insanity. This hotel was packed to the gills it seemed.
Plus, we had to get ready for dinner.
I mean, yeah just to be clear. We did have a drink before we left. But dinner time was rapidly approaching. So I only had one whiskey.
Restraint. It’s my middle name.
Dinner tonight was all kinds of fancy-pants but more importantly, it was close. As in right-on-our-street close. Dinner tonight was at Frankie & Johnnie’s steakhouse on 37th Street. And I don’t mention 37th street lightly. Because reviews appear to vary widely from location to location of this place.
So yes – 37th street. Here’s a picture of the sign I took. The next day. On account of I had steak on the brain.
The interior was all kinds of old-school. Lots of dark browns and tans and all that.
And we could already tell the service was gonna be all kinds of attentive as we had three different members of the staff already taking great care of us.
The meal started with some nice, crusty bread and soft butter.
And since I was at a steakhouse, I had to start off with a dirty Grey Goose martini.
Which was a very well-made martini. Like perfect stuff right there. And I don’t know if its just some sort of Pavlovian thing going on or something, but I feel like a martini tastes so so much better when I know it precedes a steak.
While we were sitting there enjoying some bread and drinks, Mia took out her Hamilton quill and worked on her journal entries.
As one does.
The kids also ordered up a couple of Shirley Temples. Again, a steakhouse must.
We all started off with salads. Some opted for the Caesar.
Which seemed fine enough but Tony was nonplussed to find it had anchovy paste in it. Which obvs is fine for a Caesar but eh, anchovy paste? It’s not for everyone.
Nickie and I split the Iceberg Wedge Salad with bleu cheese dressing, bacon, and chopped tomatoes.
Which was a rull good wedge. I mean, maybe not as good as the wedge I had at Capital Grill a little while back but it was very good.
For our meal, we ordered a bottle of 2018 Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon.
And, as is tradition with the Falzones, we started things off with a pasta course. Which basically means we ordered a bonus entrée of pasta to share in addition to the entrees. The four of us (the kids were not interested obvs) split the Pasta Bolognese (fresh Tagliatelle, dry-aged beef ragu.)
And hey, that was just my portion. It’s not like we all split that little bit of Bolognese.
You stupid idiot.
Oh and remember when I mentioned how awesome the service was here? Well yeah, they were awesome. Because at one point during the meal, I commented to the table that I was worried I wouldn’t be able to take any food pictures and within 5 minutes, I was presented with a handful of chargers so I could plug into the nearest outlet.
These guys were seriously great. We also talked at length about whiskey and what not and how supply lines have hurt, well, supply.
OK guys. Time for the main event. The whole reason we were here.
And look, sorry in advance. I only got a picture of my steak. I know Nickie split the filet with Owen and I think Tony got the sirloin. Gah, I know. I suck. But guys. I was way too excited for steak. If that wasn’t made clear.
I got the rib eye. Partly because I really like rib eyes but also partly because the rib eye was located squarely in the USDA Prime Dry-Aged Bone-In Cuts section of the menu.
I had heard tales told of Frankie & Johnnie’s dry-aged meats and I was HERE FOR IT.
When I ordered it, I asked the server if I should even get a sauce on it and he was adamant that I should just let the steak stand on its own.
And here it is.
Look how pretty.
And oof, this was a DELICIOUS steak. SO GOOD. It was all kinds of tender, especially for a rib eye. And the flavor was out of this world. I can honestly say that this is one of the best steaks I have ever had in my entire life.
I enjoyed eating this far too much.
Thank you for this wonderful gift, Frankie & Johnnie’s.
Oh shoot. I should also mention the sides. We got the garlic mashed potatoes.
The au gratin potatoes.
And broccoli with hollandaise.
All off the menu. And the garlic mashed was def lovely.
But the real star of the sides game was an off-menu order. Our server informed us they also had a creamed spinach. And literally, when he said that, I am pretty sure I made a face like this –
I like creamed spinach. Is what I am saying to you now.
And this did not let me down. I mean, obviously the steak was the main attraction or whatever. But the creamed spinach was a heck of a sidekick.
Like, if we had a conversation about it, me and you, it might go something like this:
Me: “If the rib eye was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then I guess the creamed spinach would be…Hrm. Would be. Who would this creamed spinach be?”
Me: “No, idiot. Are you friggin serious right now? Dawn? Out of every single Buffy character, you picked Dawn? Just leave. Leave right now. You may be the worst person ever in the history of people.”
Yeah, it was good creamed spinach.
Also, being that the restaurant knew it was almost Larissa’s birthday, they brought out a piece of cheesecake for the table.
Oh man, that was good cheesecake too.
Seriously, Frankie and Johnnie’s was a superb experience. Highly HIGHLY recommend. But again – 37th Street. Stick to 37th Street.
After dinner, we had one more situation planned. And it was yet another one on the same street as our hotel.
Nickie and Larissa walked Mia and Owen back to the hotel to get them settled and comfortable back at the room so Tony and I could get to our nightcap reservation at the Top of the Strand rooftop bar, located on top of the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, across from our hotel.
And yep, it was February. But this rooftop bar was enclosed, my friends.
Look how cool.
And it had a pretty stellar view.
Tony and I grabbed our seats on the couch facing the window and waited for the girls. I ordered an Oban 14 to pass the time.
Eventually, the girls did make their way over to us and Nickie ordered her usual Cosmo.
And as per usual, we all shared some good conversation and laughs. The Goodreaus and Falzones together is a pretty awesome thing.
And that’s pretty much our Day 2 in New York. After we finished our drinks, we went back to the hotel and got the kids (and us) in bed.
But a pretty jam-packed day full of a lot of awesome. I mean, except the whole not being with Myles and Hannah thing. But don’t fret too much. He had a really nice day with Hannah and her family. And closing out one day without Myles puts us that much closer to hanging out with him again. Which is a good thing.
I’ll see you all on Day 3!
Last post – Day 1
Next post – Day 3