The Ashleys and I did New York this past weekend. Actually, we left Wednesday night and got to Long Island around 1 a.m. The trip up was a boisterous combination of Justin Bieber and Five-Hour Energy. The miles flew by, even though AshCap’s GPS looped us in more circles than NASCAR.
Thursday The Ashleys headed into the city. They toured Ground Zero, got Cuban sandwiches for lunch and Peruvian cuisine for dinner, and then went to a much- anticipated Broadway showing of The Lion King.
I saw the Lion King here at the Altria Theatre a couple years ago, so I took the opportunity to spend the day with my dad, Sheryl, and their friend Mary Ann. We drove out to The Hamptons and to Montauk: the easternmost tip of the island, surrounded by rich blue water and punctuated with a charming, striped lighthouse. We walked in with a group of Healing Surfers (that was the name on their van), and my dad, thinking they were foreign, tried to fit in by saying “Volkswagen” and pretending he was German. The Greek accent didn’t give him away at all.
The Hamptons were beautiful and picturesque. The streets were clean, the people were shiny, and the weather was absolutely perfect, neither hot nor cold, with a hint of a flower-scented breeze. The stores were all boutiques, so I didn’t even bother going in. You need a whole lot of moolah to swing The Hamptons.
That night we ate dockside on the deck of a beautiful hotel in Port Jefferson. The clam chowder, the Caesar salad, and the fish and chips were each more excellent than the other. I had Bahama Mamas and breathed in the rainbow-tinted sunset. Later on, we sat on the back porch at home and talked and laughed. I loved seeing my dad and Sheryl still bantering back and forth after 30 years together.
Friday was Girls Day. I met The Ashleys at Penn Station and we walked through Central Park, veering out to first get a New York slice at La Famiglia (tasted like Sbarro) and then for ice cream at Momofoku. Their specialty was Cereal Milk ice cream. Interesting concept. I was pleasantly surprised. We made our way to NYLO Hotel for Happy Hour and met some new friends: a wine distributor, her adorable and well-behaved Jack Russell terrier Winston, some friendly bartenders, and a fireman who took us across the street to his station and let us all slide down the pole.
I haven’t had so much fun in a long time. Afterwards, we went for Asian Fusion at Red Farm, where our enthusiastic waiter described the chef as a tattooed crazy man who only dated black women but added a whimsical flair to every dish. O…K… We got Crispy Spicy Beef, Shrimp Dumplings, and Barbecued Steak and Rice. It was all delicious and I loved the Community Table atmosphere.
Saturday The Ashleys and I headed to Coney Island, where we got Nathan’s hot dogs, walked along the beachy boardwalk, saw a sea lion show at the NY Aquarium, and got more ice cream. Our last night in New York was spent drinking French Martinis and eating weird flavored potato chips (Truffle, Biscuits N Gravy, and Reuben) and then, tipsy and full, going for dinner at a little Greek place in Astoria with extended family, and afterwards to another Greek restaurant in Flushing for all the dessert in the world. Seriously.
Ten pounds heavier, we headed back to Virginia Sunday morning, stopping in Philadelphia to see which cheesesteak place in the famous rivalry between Pat’s and Geno’s was actually better. Ashley and I said Pat’s, hands down, but Ash Cap had to be different and said she liked Geno’s better. The controversy lives on.
It was a great mini-vacation and made me realize that I should definitely visit New York more often. Who’s coming with me?