NYC Necessities

I just got back from a trip to Manhattan to visit my big sis. I try to go once a year to hang out with her, do a little shopping and take in some new culinary experiences. On previous trips, I’ve often waited to blow all my cash at a celeb chef’s restaurant. Not only that, but I often try to make these dinner plans in advance in order to ensure that we’d get a reservation. This time, however, I tried to take a more laid back approach to NYC. I also let my sis show me some of her fave restos, and introduce me to some new flavors and dining experiences from a New Yorker’s point of view. Though I had a list of spots to visit, and we hit several of these, we also let our noses decide where breakfast, lunch, dinner and Happy Hour would be.

I arrived at Angie’s Upper West Side apt in the rain- womp, womp! That didn’t stop us however, from pulling out our umbrellas, hopping on the subway and heading down to Trader Joe’s on the Lower East side to stock up on wine and snacks for the week. Angie had told me that TJ’s was the place to go for groceries in Manhattan; super cheap and super delicious…and she was right! This shopping trip provided key kitchen staples for munchies with wine, a mid-afternoon snack and, well, maybe some late night snacks too!

The groceries for under 30 bucks: edamame; carrots, grape tomatoes, celery & 3-layer humus; Boursin cheese; rice crisps & potato curls, salted almonds and an %85 Valrhona chocolate bar.

I thought that this was a pretty good deal for a load of groceries, but it got better when we ventured into TJ’s Wine store next door. For $52.74, we got 6 bottles of wine: Cono Sur Voignier, Lindeman’s Pinot Noir, Villa Borghetti Pinot Grigio, Ruffino Chianti and Blason de Bourgogne Cremant.

I want to take a sec here to mention how pumped I was to finally get my hands on a Valrhona bar, generally used as a baking chocolate, but I had to taste for myself. I’ve read several NY’ers blogs heralding this amazing French chocolate; even chef Jean Georges Vongerichten has a Valhrona chocolate cake on his dessert menu. This chocolate made a great taste of something sweet, especially when paired with some of the almonds that we got.

And so, we sat out on the terrace that evening, drinking wine, eating snacks and listening to the sounds of the city in preparation for out night out to see Meika Pauley at the Rockwood Music Hall in Soho. This girl has got some serious pipes- her website is definitely worth a look. Anyhow, Angie’s group had played with her last year and was not letting me miss out on seeing her live.
After our stint at the Rockwood (and far too much wine later), we felt the need for a little grease and headed over to Pommes Frites, Authentic Belgian Fries. This place is known for their selection of dipping sauces- Vietnamese Pineapple Mayo, Parmesan Peppercorn and Hot Chili Paste, to name a few. But I was in the mood for something a little richer, something with…perhaps, cheese and gravy? Yup, that’s right, we breezed past the exotic sauces and treated ourselves to a familiar favorite; poutine. And the verdict? Pretty tasty, but Canada can do it much better!

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