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NYC and The Summer Fancy Food Show

Posted Jul 07 2010 10:23am

I’m back from a fabulous long weekend in Ocean City, MD. I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July!!! I definitely did, but it went by way too fast…as usual.

The weekend before last I went to New York City with my mom to attend the Fancy Food Show, see Mama Mia, and explore the city. My mom and I have a special spot in our heart for NYC. It’s like our home away from home. ;-)

We arrived around 12pm on Saturday, headed to the hotel to check in, and quickly found a place to eat before the show. We stayed at the Hilton Times Square , but more on that later. New York is known for good food, and we always try to hit up a NY style deli while we are there, but this time we found a place with fresh salads, sandwiches, soups, and fruit. It was called the Majestic Deli, and it was fresh, ready to eat, and very healthy. We split a veggie panini and a garden salad with balsamic dressing.

Now this is what I call a lunch! After lunch we ran to the Winter Garden Theater for the show.

I have seen Mama Mia on DVD, but never on Broadway. It was not my favorite musical, but it was definitely fun, uplifting, and had great music!

After the show we headed to church, hit up Forever 21 (um hello, they just opened a 4 story F21 in Times Square-I couldn’t NOT go in), and headed back to the hotel to change for dinner. We had a date with my moms friend, Todd, and his girlfriend.

We had a glass of wine at Todd’s apartment and then set out to find a rooftop bar for dinner and drinks. We had to try 3 before we found a good one and ended up staying at one of the largest rooftop bars in NYC called 230 Fifth . By this time my ankle/foot was KILLING me from all the walking so I quickly ordered a glass of wine. I know it’s not the best thing to fix the pain, but it worked for the moment. We enjoyed some drinks, and shared a bunch of appetizers amongst the four of us. We ordered the Vegetarian Kari “curry” Puff, Crispy Shrimp(these were my favorite), Wontons, French Fries, and lettuce wraps which were basically spring rolls. This was such a different experience for us in NYC, but so much fun to try something new.

The restaurant/bar rooftop was filled with 20 somethings, decorated with palm trees, and served Asian inspired food. The food was decent, and exactly what I had expected for a restaurant like this. But the main event of the night was not the food, it was the people we were with. Todd’s girlfriend is from Barcelona and has traveled the world, so we had a lot to talk about!

We ended up having a really late night, for us, and finally headed back to the hotel around 12:30am.

I woke up on Sunday, and forced myself to visit the hotel gym. Like I said before, I never really work out on vacation, but I realize now that if I want to stay on track, it’s a good idea to get some exercise in. And now that I really can’t walk as much as I used to be able to in New York, I needed to get my heart pumpin’.

Hotel Side Note-The Hilton Hotel in Times Square is a new hotel for us. We usually stay at the Hilton New York on the Avenue of Americas. This one was a smaller hotel, very upscale, and modern, but not nearly as friendly, warm, and welcoming as the other one. Plus it was right in the middle of Times Square so as soon as you walked outside you were in the middle of a swarm of tourists. I found the staff to be a little rude, annoying, and just cold. The hotel itself was very stiff, and unfriendly. Don’t get me wrong, it was very clean, quiet, and allowed us to get a good night sleep, but I just got a weird vibe the whole time. The one huge positive was the hotel gym. It was AWESOME!

Ellipticals, treadmills, bikes, weights, towles, water, headphones, an area to do stomach and stretching. It really did have it all. And it had huge windows that looked out over the city.

View from Treadmill

I did about 45 min of cardio, and that included my warm up and cool down. I worked up a nice sweat, and that is exactly what I wanted. Especially with the Fancy Food Show later that day. My mom and I got dressed, and headed to the Jacob Javit’s center for the Fancy Food Show. This was the main reason why we came to New York in the first place. A huge food show for retailers in the food industry. Luckily this is part of my job, and I was just blow away when I walked into the convention center.

It was set up by country, and there was every cheese, sausage, salame, olive oil, and vinegar you could possible imagine. There was so much food that it was almost a little overwhelming since I want to try it all. So we took it slow, and made sure to taste only the foods that we really wanted to try. For me that was still a lot. What can I say? I love to try everything!

And of course I had a few favorites. Companies like Encore Foods , B&R Farms , Annie Chun’s , Eden , Wholesome Sweeteners , Dagoba , Robert Rothchild , The Mediterranean Snack Food Company , and so so much more. Instead of writing all the names down, you have the company scan your name tag and they send you information. So I can’t even remember all the companies I loved. There was everything you could imagine under the sun.

The most amazing flavored sparkling water

It was such an incredible event. I was able to meet so many new companies, so many companies I already know well, and just try a lot of incredible food. We left feeling quite full! :-)

We headed back to the hotel, changed, and left to do some shopping. What is NYC with out shopping? Of course we made it all the way down to Macy’s for some awesome sales. However, my foot was yelling at me by this point so I did a lot of sitting and waiting for my mom. Finally we left around 7pm to head back to the hotel to change for dinner. Do you see a theme here? Walk, shop, walk, eat, walk, change, walk eat. :-)

We had no idea where to eat, but knew there were some great restaurants on Restaurant Row so we took a cab there, and just browsed the restaurants on the street before picking one we’ve been to before.

The restaurant we chose is called Becco , and it was the most crowded on the strip so we knew it must be good. Plus we had eaten there before and loved it.

The restaurant was packed, but luckily we got seated really quickly even though they told us the wait was 45 minutes. Everything was great about this restaurant except the hosts, and the seating. The host and hostess were a little rude (not just to us, but to everyone), and they sat us in the middle of a hallway type area, which was so close to the couples on either side of us. I felt like we were all eating together. It was a bit uncomfortable. Besides that the food was incredible, the service was great, and I really enjoyed myself, an important thing when eating out.

Not only was the food great at this restaurant, but they had $25 bottles of wine. And you can take home any leftover wine!!!! Clearly I was more than excited about that because we ordered a bottle of white and bottle of red with dinner. We did take home half of the red because we just couldn’t drink it all.

We started out with a bottle of Falanghina dei Feudi di San Gregorio.

To start they serve you a medley of olives with a white bean hummus and assorted breads. I had a little of everyhting.

My mom and I couldn’t decided on an entree so we decided to split our dishes and share. We both started with a classic Caesar salad, and the Burrata appetizer.

Burrata on toasted Brioche on top of wilted spinach topped with olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. ..need I say more?

We switched to red wine at this point and went with the servers recommendation. It was a wine I had never heard before: Conti di Buscareto Lacrima di Morra d’Alba 2008.

I was hoping for something a little different, but this wine was very perfumy. It had notes of vanilla, chocolate, lavender, and some baking spice. It was very floral for a red, and I usually don’t care for those. However, the finish was soft with very few tannins, which is what we asked for. I had a glass with my entree, and we brought the rest home.

I went with the special, which was a flaky white fish on top of roasted tomatoes, and baked in this buttery, flavorful sauce. I’m sorry I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I just remember how incredible it tasted. My mom ordered the sirloin medium rare with the mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. We split everything, and it was heaven.

I know the plating isn’t that pretty, and the lighting is really awful, but trust me on this…this restaurant will not steer you wrong. All the food is wonderful. I didn’t think we would finish it all, but we did a darn good job. We even closed the place down! :-)

After a night like that, I really couldn’t get myself to wake up early and go to the gym again. My ankle was swollen and throbbing, and I decided to just sleep in a little. All that walking was not the best on the ole ankle.

I had brought some brekafast foods like Arnold Thins with almond butter, protein bars, larabars, and oatmeal so we always had breakfast in the room, and plenty of healthy snacks. After we packed up our things and got our car, we headed to Union Square with one mission in mind…to find Pure Food and Wine , and One Lucky Duck . These are the restaurants that are founded and ownded/co-owned by Sarma Melngailis, the author of one of my favorite books . On our way to the restaurant we strolled through the Farmers Market.

Once we found our destination we checked out the restaurant (I just wanted to see what it was all about), and visited the takeaway for a fresh juice and some goodies. I have to say both places were MUCH smaller than I expected, and a little more expensive than I expected. I know fresh organic raw foods are not cheap, but these juices and snacks were way out of my price range. I still splurged and bought something, but I was very surprised.

I went with the Thai green, and got the rosemary quackers, and raw macaroons. My mom even got a juice…she rolled with The Fruit Spice..and boy was it spicy!!

After walking around a bit more in the hot and very humid heat, we decided it was time to get going. So we walked back to the car and hit the road. We took one pit stop to pick up some lunch, but there are slim pickins and rest stops on the turnpike. I ended up with a southwest salad with fat free french dressing, and some nuts and dried fruit I brought with me. Once back in MD, we hit up the grocery store for some eats, and I stayed at my parents house for dinner. My mom made a huge salad and an egg frittata with zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and onions. Light, refreshing, and the perfect end to our crazy, indulgent, jam packed weekend.

This was definitely a trip I won’t forget. I do have to say I like NYC much better at Christmas time, but this was a nice change for me. Now I have to wait until November for my next big Food Trip to San Fransisco for the FOODBUZZ Festival.

Will you be there?!?!?!

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