Friday, April 21, 2006

Where to start? The prospect of posting again after 5 or 6 weeks silence is pretty daunting. We’ve been in the US for three weeks: a proper holiday that I didn’t realise I needed so badly until about two days before we left. We flew to New York first and spent a few days walking around, eating, drinking, took the Staten Island Ferry, went to the top of the Empire State building (sucks! Avoid at all costs!) and to the Top of the Rock (viewing deck of Rockefeller centre – amazing! No queues, empty... tourist NY’s best-kept secret), had coffee in Bryant Park and peeked into the New York Public Library, walked around Wall Street.
We stayed here, in Chelsea, and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone. Cheap (for NY), central, nice rooms, free breakfast and coffee, and the lovely old brownstone was a joy to return to each evening.
My favourite day in New York was our last before leaving for New Haven. We went to Zabar’s, a giant deli on the Upper West Side and spent $50 on a picnic feast of cheeses, salami, smoked salmon, bread, fruit salad, cheesecake, olives, garlic & onion jam and fizzy drinks. Then we found a sunny spot in Central Park and stuffed our faces.
On to New Haven, where we stayed with Rachel and Jason for a few nights. Lots of birdwatching, good food, board games and Rachel’s unofficial Yale walking tour. I loved this building - made of marble ¼ of an inch thick to filter light and remove the need for any windows. R&J also took us for the best Indian buffet I’ve ever had: a largely vegetarian feast including street food, fresh naan, chicken tikka and dosas at your table, and many amazing things I have never tried before. I’m craving it right now. We also had our first lobster roll (delicious but dripping with butter – I was glad we split one) and visited Foxwoods Casino, where I won $12.50 on a slot machine.
Back to NY for one night with Steve’s friends, and a night of burgers at Fanelli’s, drinks at Five Corners and Beauty Bar ( and playing pool till the wee hours at a corner bar in Greenwich Village where we were the only customers.
Chicago was great – to list all the fun things we did there would take hours. Highlights include bowling, Cubs game (where they lost 9-2), chocolate buffet at the Peninsula hotel, dinner at Twin Anchors and going on a crawl of Bucktown boutiques with Therese, where every shop had free champagne and snacks. One of my best Chicago memories is hiring bikes and riding for miles along the coast of Lake Michigan, past the beach and up to Belmont Harbour. Steve and I visited the gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright studio and house in swanky Oak Park and great, huge breakfasts were consumed at Ann Sather, Tre Kronor and the Breakfast Club, among others. Phew. Photos soon, or check Rachel's blog (link on the margin) for photos of the Connecticut part of the trip.