Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Steak, The Plaza, Hot Fudge, & Frankie Valli: our V-Day Celebration in NYC

Forgive the long post title...or don't.  Your call.  I think it perfectly sums up the amazing weekend Greg and I had in celebration of Valentine's Day (albeit a few days early).

A few weeks ago, I got a weekly e-mail from TravelZoo with the top 20 travel deals of the week, which included a deal on stays at several Starwood hotels in NYC for very deeply discounted rates.  Anytime TravelZoo features anything in NYC I check it out - because I love to get a deal, and because we live so close to NYC that going there for an event is like getting away without the hassle of driving a million miles or sitting in an airport waiting for delayed flights.  I booked a room for one night, and prayed like crazy that it wouldn't snow the weekend before Valentine's Day.  Unfortunately, the weather forecast called for snow Friday night and Saturday, so I ended up working all night on Friday - but for almost no reason since the snow we were supposed to get never really amounted to anything.  Someday I'd like to be a weather forecaster...what other job can you have where you can be wrong 50% of the time and not get penalized for it?  Not a bad deal.

So, after I slept a few hours on Saturday, we hopped over to NYC on Saturday evening.  We had a lovely dinner at Benjamin's Steakhouse, followed by a stroll up Park Avenue then over to 5th for drinks at the Plaza, which is something I'd always wanted to do.  After seeing the prices for drinks, though, I quickly stated that we'll be sticking with a strict one and done policy -- I mean $23 for a mixed drink cocktail is a bit outrageous.  But, the Plaza is THE PLAZA...all antiques, glitzed in gold, with waiters who don penguin suits and bring you little silver platters with tiny glass dishes filled with some oddly good cheesy crackers (think Cheez-it's with spice) and mixed nuts with raisins (and not just the dark raisins...there were golden ones in there too!)  Despite the overpriced drinks, it was a pretty cool experience, especially since we were able to ignore the fact that the only other people present were foreign tourists and wedding guests.  After our one drink was finished, we headed up to Serendipity 3, my favorite place to go in the city for dessert.  We overindulged in chocolate ridiculousness, and by the time we left, I was in a complete food/sugar coma.  (Check out their menu, read through the desserts and sundae options, and tell me if you wouldn't be guilty of exactly the same thing!)  Fortunately, we were in NY, so we were able to walk back to our hotel, and although it was a chilly night, it was actually refreshing to walk some of the 80,000 calories we had just consumed off.

The next morning we got up and headed to brunch at Penelope's, a small, homey kind of place that has really great food without being too full of itself.  I had punkin' waffles served with cinnamon apples and apple butter and Greg had an omelet with brie, mushrooms and tomatoes.  Both were fantastic, and we stuffed ourselves, yet again.  Then, we headed down to 5th Ave and 27th Street to the Museum of Sex.  It's a museum I've always wanted to check out, because it is a bit edgy, and apparently has some cool and interesting things to see.  It was a bit over the top for me, but some of the stuff was very interesting.  If you're open minded and not too prude, it's probably cool to check out, but be prepared to pay roughly $20 a person to get in.  Not sure the  price to value ratio was on point for that one.  Anyway, after that, we headed back to midtown to see the matinee performance of Jersey Boys.  All I have to say is...WOW!!!  What a fantastic show!  If you like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, or if you just like music in general, it was a great show to see.  The story behind the music was very interesting, and the performance was outstanding.  The actor who played Frankie sounded almost identical - it was amazing!  Greg and I counted that we've been to roughly 13 Broadway shows in the 5.5 years we've been together.  Out of all of them, Jersey Boys is definitely in the top 3.  If you like Broadway at all, go see this show!

After the show, we headed back to Jersey and stopped in our old neighborhood in Jersey City for dinner.

All in all if was a great pre-Valentine's Day celebration.  And, since we celebrated early, we weren't subjected to any ridiculously crowded fixed price dinners, nor were we surrounded by couples with roses and hearts and all other matter of insanity that people feel the need to bestow upon eachother on one romantic day a year.  Instead, we celebrated in our own style...laid back and simple.  We both had such a great time that we discussed doing something similar every year.  Even if we can't get another awesome deal on a room in the city, we can spend the day together doing something awesome, as long as the day isn't actually Valentine's Day.

On actual Valentine's Day, we both worked, and then went to bootcamp class at the gym.  We did treat ourselves to takeout for dinner, simply because we hadn't gone grocery shopping over the weekened...we kind of had better things to do :)

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