Friday, May 11, 2012
Last month, I took a weekend trip up to New York City. I got to attend an amazing Indian wedding and reconnect with Matt - one of my oldest friends, who took me as his plus one to the wedding. We squeezed in a whirlwind of eating, drinking, and sightseeing.
Hands down, my favorite thing about New York was Central Park. Now I realize that in my lifetime I've only seen a very small portion of NYC (and as I mentioned before, I really need a NY-savvy tour guide to show me where the cool places are), but Central Park blew me away. After a few days of walking our feet off through a concrete and glass metropolis, the park offered a lush and green respite from the stress and energy of the city. I also realize that I only got the chance to see a very small portion of the park (the southern tip - we didn't get to see the lake or the reservoir). I can't wait to go back and check out the rest.
The day we visited happened to be a) Easter Sunday, and b) quite possibly the most beautiful day of the year. These pictures are not photoshopped - the grass really was that green and there was a perfect clear blue sky. At the height of spring, everything was popping into bloom.
Our plan was to have a picnic in Central Park. Our proposed menu included cheese from the famed Murray's Cheese and THESE TOTALLY AMAZING CUSTARD AND JAM DONUTS, HOLY CRAP from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery. I learned about these donuts by googling "best donuts in NYC" and as soon as I saw the custard donut on Serious Eats I knew I HAD TO HAVE IT. Also, a Thomas Keller DONUT? Yes, please! As you can see, I was just a little excited about these donuts.
Well, it turns out Murray's Cheeses was closed on Easter Sunday and Bouchon Bakery was not the cute trendy little bakery I had envisioned, but was actually located in a mall. I would've forgiven this, but they did not even have the Custard and Jam donuts. In fact, they didn't have any donuts AT ALL. Waaaah!
So, feeling both disappointed and hungry, we bought a few treats from Bouchon anyway and then went downstairs and did the rest of our picnic shopping at Whole Foods. Then we made our way to Central Park, strolled among the cyclists, pedicabs, and horse and buggies, and found the perfect rock to people-watch and enjoy our picnic:
On our revised menu: goat cheese brie (amazing), olive bread, hummus, strawberries and pineapple, orange-mango juice, and the treats from Bouchon (which were extremely disappointing, but then again, how could anything live up to a CUSTARD AND JAM DONUT?!).
It was one of the most enjoyable and relaxing afternoons I've had in a long time. Picnics in Central Park totally rule!
On the way out, we walked through Sheep Meadow. I could not get over how green and clean it was. If we didn't have a wedding to attend, I could've spent the whole afternoon lounging in the grass here:
If I lived in NYC (which will never happen), I'm fairly certain I would spend every free minute in Central Park. Well done, New York! I can't wait to come back...and next time you'd better have those donuts!