A slight white Christmas and NY

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Flag of United States  , New York
Friday, January 4, 2013

First of all – a very Happy New Year to everyone! Hopefully 2013 has started well and will only get better the closer we get to 2014! A big congratulations to Paul and Annie – sorry we missed out on the train tracks and the dance tracks!

Matt and I have had to scratch our heads a bit to remember all the details of the past two-and-a-bit weeks – hopefully we got most of the important bits!

On Friday night, 23 December, I met Matt, Lindsay, a work colleague from Chicago and her friend Jess for dinner in Manhattan. We had sashimi and then headed to a bar called The Dove. It's on Thompson Street which is the street Matt lived on the last time he worked in New York. The decor was pretty cool - it resembled the inside of the Titanic. I had "The Honey Dove" cocktail with cognac, honey & organic vanilla soy milk – surprisingly delicious!

Saturday and Sunday were pretty low-key. We saw Silver Linings and This is 40, sampled some more pho that didn’t quite make the grade and had some good food-van dumplings. It was pretty cold and we made use of our free subscription to Netflix (download TV series and movies on TV) to get stuck into Breaking Bad. It’s a series about a Science teacher that starts making drugs when he finds out he has cancer with not long to live. We’ve become a bit addicted…

On Monday, 24 December we went exploring in Soho. We went into a few furniture places to look at some couches, but when a quote for 2 leather couches was over $11 000 we thought that Soho might be an area to look but not buy… We also had a look at some of the some cool galleries, shops and street art stalls in the area. Having worked up a bit of a hunger we had delicious Indian dosas at the Hampton Chutney Company – another good one, thanks Urban Spoon! (Check out the “Dylan’s Lunchbox clip at http://www.hamptonchutney.com/videos.php if you want to see what a dosa is.) We headed back home for a bit of a rest for bellies and feet and later that night headed back for a Christmas Eve dinner at The Place in the West Village (http://theplaceny.com). It was raining and even snowing a bit to add to the Christmassy feel. When the manager, who was an Aussie too (although he didn’t sound much like one anymore), realised we were fellow expats he gave us a better table! It’s a great place – nice and cosy and the food was delicious.

On Christmas day we went to JoJo (http://www.jean-georges.com) in the Upper East Side for a Christmas lunch. It is one of American celebrity chef Jean-Georges’ restaurants. Matt has eaten at some of his other restaurants with work and loved the food. Although neither of us loved the food here, the desserts were delicious. J After lunch we walked to Central Park to look at the ice skating rink. The machine was levelling the ice so we only saw people starting to go back onto the rink. There were so many waiting I’m not sure how much fun it would have been! I also never realised there was a zoo in Central Park! I think it’s pretty small, but it was so busy – maybe it’s a bit of a Christmas tradition to go… Later that night we went and saw Django the new Quentin Tarantino movie. It was an interesting experience watching a movie about slavery surrounded by many African Americans who were getting quite vocal about the abuse…

Matt worked from home from Wednesday to Friday as the office was pretty much deserted. On Friday night we went to “Die Koelner Bierhalle” (www.thekbh.com) a German beer garden in Brooklyn. Even though it’s not quite the warm weather you would normally associate with a beer garden the promise of “wursts” and a massive selection of beers lured us out. It’s a huge place – it looks like it was a fire station before and has a great “German” atmosphere. It’s pretty close to us so I can definitely see us heading over there in summer…

On Saturday we took Lulu for her daily walk at the park and on the way back stopped at the food market they have there every Saturday. We got some nice bread, cheese, jam, veggies and fresh farm eggs. We still have to try the eggs but as there was a line with about 10 people waiting we thought they must be good!

Later we headed off on another expedition to find good food for lunch. Matt found a place online that had good reviews for a diffrerent Vietnamese soup and we thought it may be better to try something new rather than striving to find pho as good as our local in Melbourne. After a train ride and traipsing through the rain and snow we arrived at Thanh Da. There were lots of Asian people in the restaurant which is always a good sign. The soup was nice enough (a bit like tom yum) but unfortunately neither Matt nor I have warmed to the knuckle-with-lots-of-hairs-still-stuck-to-it kind of meat that was in it. The table next to us ordered the pho and it looked pretty good so we might have to go back… Matt wrote a message on I Love Pho 264’s (our local in Melbourne) Facebook page to tell them how much we missed them and if they could send us the brand of their chilli sauces as they’re not the same here. They are now sending us a care package! How lovely!

On the way back to the train we found a HUGE Asian supermarket with every sauce, spice and tea you can imagine and lots of cheap veggies and fruit – even dragon fruit! I stocked up on some of my favourite Genmaicha green tea or “popcorn” tea. For dinner we popped out to the Cubana Café on our street – it had been snowing quite a lot and the cars we starting to get covered!

On Sunday morning we headed over to DUMBO (Down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) a suburb in Brooklyn that is very arty and also to see Anna Karenina a bit later in the day. Unfortunately many of the shops and galleries were closed. It was absolutely freezing and we had to watch our footing on the icy patches. We ducked into Superfine for brunch and a bit of a defrost. We tried walking around a bit more but as you can see form the photo I was not enjoying it much! We decided to hide from the cold in a café until the movie started. I wasn’t feeling very well after we got home and ended up throwing-up later that night.

Monday I spent mostly in bed; with Matt and I continuing our Breaking Bad marathon. Unfortunately we had to cancel our New Year’s Eve plans and both of us were sound asleep and didn’t even wake up for any countdowns! I still wasn’t feeling 100% on Tuesday which was a shame as we had been invited to a New Year’s Day lunch at Katherine, a colleague of Matt’s house. Later in the afternoon Matt told me of another pho place he had seen near home, so we headed off to try some…still no luck!

Matt’s neck and back has been very sore; not helped by sleeping on the sofa-bed. Yesterday he got an appointment due to a cancellation at a good back specialist. He endured (in his own words): “8 neck, head and jaw injections of anaesthetic, 45 minutes of neck physio, a neck X ray which highlights I have a crushed disc between C2 and C3 vertebrae, a jaw relocation back into normal position and spinal realignment, followed by intense strong muscle relaxants, I feel a little better and am only $17 out of pocket thanks to American medical insurance.” Hopefully our mattress gets here soon!

Yes – we are still waiting for our stuff to arrive! We know it has cleared customs and now needs to be unloaded and dispatched to us. Fingers crossed! Matt’s heading to Israel for work next week so hopefully he’ll come home to a furnished apartment! For those in awe of our culinary adventures – it’s hard being at home with nothing to do… I’m just saying J Eating is a great pastime.

We’re glad 2013 has arrived. The last two weeks were probably the hardest to be away from home and family in a new city. Here’s a small list of the things that we’re:


-         Snow – and seeing Lulu trying to eat, roll, paw and skate over it!

ˇ         Walking – even when it’s cold it’s refreshing

ˇ         So many different cuisines

ˇ         Metro – love the impromptu dance shows in the carriages and trying to not be caught out watching the crazy people…

ˇ         Very yummy ice cream

ˇ         Christmas tree sellers and now the discarded trees on the sidewalks

ˇ         Our neighbourhood


ˇ         Bad tea – can’t find a decent tea

ˇ         Sugary cereals – spending 15 minutes in the isle trying to find something a little healthy. Finally bought Sultana Bran (don’t like it much) but when we opened it we discovered the raisins were coated in sugar!!! As if raisins aren’t sweet enough…


ˇ         Family and friends

ˇ         The sun

ˇ         A sense of home and knowing how things work

ˇ         Triple J – until I started streaming it through my phone J

ˇ         BJ and Lenny

ˇ         Good meat, fruit, veg and COFFEE

Baffled by:

ˇ         Frequent whooping, yelling and clapping by some individuals in spin class this morning?

I’m sure I’ve missed a few and that there’ll be more to come!

So far I’ve stuck to my resolution of getting fit and have been going to the gym so I can keep funding my eating habit. J I’ve enrolled in a beginner’s Spanish class starting next week. I’ve wanted to learn Spanish since before going to Mexico a few years ago and it should be a good way to meet some people. I also found a Meetup group for art and design people starting or with their own business so will go to the Meetup later this month. I’m trying to work out what the regulations are with small businesses here and if I can run mine on the visa I’ve got. Very frustrating and confusing but I’m sure I’ll get there!

Time to sign off till next time!
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Mersa on

Hi Rene,
Sounds like your keeping busy! A friend of mine from work lived in the US for a few years..., will pick her brain and find out where to go for good food and furniture, get some ideas and let you know.
I've started watching Hart of Dixie, finished season 1 and am hooked. Cannot wait to see season 2, might have to jump online and watch it.
Try and stay warm and keep up the gym sessions!
Will speak soon

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