A Christmas weekend in NY is always a special treat, and what better place to start than in the heart of the city. The tree is magnificent and the streets were teeming with people who all seemed to be in a festive mood. The windows on 5th Avenue were breathtaking displays of creativity.
Our first lunch on Friday was at one of my favorite little restaurants on the upper east side, Caffe Grazzi. At 84th and Madison, it's just a few blocks from the Metropolitan. We did venture over to the museum after lunch to see the Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque crèche. It was lovely.
I had a salad of grilled chicken, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts over wilted spinach. My daughter, Ally, had pumpkin ravioli with shrimp and cherry tomatoes. The menu is always creative and everything is prepared with the freshest ingredients. For dessert Ally indulged in the Italian version of smores. Graham crackers on the bottom, then a layer of nutella, and topped with mini-marshmallows. It was baked in the oven then popped under the broiler to brown. A real neighborhood gem that is terrific for lunch or dinner.
L'Ecole, the restaurant of the French Culinary Institute of New York. This school uses a total immersion teaching curriculum to turn out some great talent. I had salmon in a lemon sauce with Brussels sprouts which was delicious. If you find yourself on Canal Street it is definitely worth a visit.
The burger was also scrumptious!
Leaving the city I always try to stop at Eli's Vinegar Factory on 91st and York Ave. It's one of my favorite gourmet shops. Entering the store you are greeted by some of the best vegetables and fruit I have ever seen:
Then it's on to the gourmet take out food:
The salad bar:
And special Christmas treats:
Easy to see why it's one of my favorites. We always pick up their wonderful prepared sandwiches for the ride home. So much better than any of the food at the roadside rest stops. It was a wonderful weekend!