If someone had been videotaping us while we explored the city, anyone watching would laugh. When Mark and I are together I never stop laughing and being a new city was like adding a million more lights onto a Christmas tree as it was extra special and really the most perfect weekend.
I plan events for a living and one would think that I would come to New York with strategic plan as to what I thought we should spend the weekend seeing and doing. I did create a trip folder with various maps, post its and lists of recommended spots in the Big Apple but my food obsessed self threw the whole generic trip planning mentality for a loop as most of my post its in "the folder" did not contain things to do or see, but things to eat! Life is short, after all, and food is meant to be enjoyed and savored with every bite and what better city to do that in than NYC. I was practically thinking about these blog posts from the moment my flight was booked.
We spent Saturday just enjoying each other and New York and even went to our first Broadway show! We saw Chicago and it was just fantastic. I wanted to jump on stage and dance with the cast and I'm pretty sure Mark enjoyed the show as much as I did. I have seen many Broadway shows in my lifetime but this was the very first one ON BROADWAY in New York. It was such a fun thing to experience together. We made our way to Chinatown and Rockefeller plaza and were able to say that we had a celebrity sighting in the city! Thanks to Mark's superhero-ness, he spotted Hoda Kotb from the Today Show! This turned into an ongoing joke the rest of the weekend because Mark could not remember her name for the life of him and decided her name was Qdoba Coffee! He is crazy but that had us laughing for a long time. I snuck a picture from behind but I am definitely no paparazzi. I do have to say, she is much taller in person than I pictured. We walked all over the city and took it all in. Dinner was on our brains all day and we wanted to be sure to eat something fabulous. Carmine's was recommended to me by several friends so we thought we would give it a whirl. Located near Times Square in the Theater District, the restaurant was packed but on a Saturday night in New York we would have been waiting anywhere. The restaurant smelled delicious and we knew we were in for an Italian treat.
The food at Carmine's is served family style and the atmosphere of the restaurant is family oriented and completely comfortable. It's the Italian, make yourself at home and stuff your faces atmosphere that makes places like this an overall great production from the time you walk in the door until you leave with a smiling stomact. Thank goodness some of Mark's classmates from training joined us for dinner because this is definitely a place to go with a big group and a huge appetite. We started off with calamari which was without a doubt the best fried calamari I have ever tasted. It wasn't chewy and rubbery but it had just the perfect amount of crispness and had an abundance of flavor. Squeezed with a wedge of lemon and dipped in marinara, it was incredibly satisfying easy on the palate. A staple at a good Italian restaurant and the perfect "go to" appetizer to share with a big crowd. I like to think I am decent at deciding menus so Mark and I put our heads together and made executive game time meal decisions when it came to ordering for our indecisive table. Penne a la vodka has won my heart since I can remember when so I insisted we go with that. I know my penne a la vodka as well as I know my hair and this was the best I have had at ANY restaurant by a long shot. Our waitress suggested a linguine dish with bolognese sauce and a seafood dish with fresh salmon, mussels and clams. The bolognese sauce was like nothing I had ever tasted before. I don't know what was in it but it must have been made while a whole lot of Italian love because the flavor was outstanding and the pasta was cooked to perfection. The salmon was bathing in some sort of white wine and lemon sauce that I could have slurped up by itself! Carmine's was so highly recommended that I was not surprised at the quality of the food and the amazing service. Our table was thrilled with our menu choices and much to my excitement, the Penne seemed to be the all around favorite. We all spotted
Tiramisu on the menu before we even looked at dinner options so not ordering it at the end of our meal would have been a crime.
Tiramisu always has a spot on my top 5 desserts list and Carmine's version was a Tiramisu dream come true. Not only had I never seen it presented how it was but the chocolate shavings on the top literally pulled at my chocolate loving heartstrings. A good Tiramisu is hard to come by and very easy to mess up. This one was superb and Mark can attest, the words escaped my mouth but each bite left me speechless. Carmine's was absolutely worth the hour and a half wait because what we devoured was nothing short of breathtaking and coming from an Italian, that means its pretty darn delicious. As it was highly recommended to me, I will pass on the love and send anyone else there, too.
More to come on the Big Apple Blog...I could sit and write all day but my stomach is starting to get full as I seem to feel as though I have re-eaten everything that I ate last weekend.