Category Archives: New York

New York: City and Wedding

I lived in New York for over six years, which is like 12 years elsewhere since New York moves twice the speed of any other place in America.  I am always happy to return.  My employed visits entailed non-stop meetings and business meals.  This time, I took more of a tourist approach and slowed it down a bit.


October 14-20, 2013 (Monday-Sunday)

We arrived to Jack’s place in the East Village and had dinner with John and Ellie (Jenni’s friends from Cornell) at Café Mogador on St. Marks Place.  It is a cozy, subterranean spot with good food.

OK, I am having a hard time writing at this moment but feel compelled to catch up more so please excuse me as I do this post in bullet format…

  • Bagels, lots of them…tasty sable sandwich at Russ and Daughters
  • I love the energy of New York…it is not an exaggeration to say that in a five block radius one can find an assortment of restaurants, bars, shops and ethnicities to rival most mid-sized cities in America…actually, said blocks would easily surpass in the ethnicity category
  • The electronic walk signs count down the seconds remaining until the light changes, and when I cross an avenue I like gazing at the synchronized wall of vehicles approaching a few blocks away since all the lights are timed…and unlike in Los Angeles, you might get a ticket for not jay-walking


  • I had my first experience at a TKTS booth…we walked from the East Village down to the South Street Seaport location and got two tickets to Jersey Boys for $177, not a small sum but a substantially discounted price for very good seats dead center in orchestra Row T.  The show was very good and a nice cultural injection since we so rarely see plays or musicals
  • After the show we had drinks with John at Annie Moore’s Bar, and while I figured this Irish pub next to Grand Central would slant towards men, I did not expect that Jenni would be the only woman in the establishment
  • For the first time I saw strollers with neat skateboard like attachments so the toddler can ride along and keep up with the adults pushing the infant
  • The Maine style lobster roll I got from the Red Hook Lobster Pound booth at Madison Eats rivaled anything I got in Maine…it might have been the best of the trip, with a dusting of paprika and perfectly buttery, toasted split top roll
Roberta's pizza at Mad Eats

Roberta’s pizza at Mad Eats

  • Eataly is pretty impressive with its huge selection of Italian food and beverage and rooftop restaurant
  • While watching Project X briefly before dinner at Redhead with Emily, Mike and Jayme, Jenni said “I bet this makes everyone in the world nostalgic for college.  Except Jack, because I bet it makes him nostalgic for last Tuesday night.”
  • For old time’s sake, I got my haircut at the legendary Astor Place
  • Despite unemployment, we paid the full freight $50 for two tickets to the Met…if you don’t know, ticket prices are merely a suggestion and you can enter free, but I decided to atone for some past transgressions.  The roof top affords some of the best views in Manhattan
  • We had a fun, Tufts group dinner at DBGB (solid burger) where I ran into Eduardo who is the sommelier and was an acquaintance in Los Angeles…so, Doug, I misspoke and there were at least three chance encounters on the road trip
  • Before meeting Ross for drinks at the swank top floor bar of the James Hotel, Jenni and I popped into The Dutch for a snack.  We were not dressed terribly well and struggled to understand the extraordinary treatment we received.  Sitting at the crowded bar, we did not even order alcoholic beverages and along with our lattes and two small dishes we ordered came cornbread, an extra oyster sandwich, broccoli gougeres and a piece of key lime pie with coconut sorbet.  Did they recognize alisnotlost and butitsonmylist?!
  • I rode public transportation more in a few days in New York than eight years in Los Angeles
  • Over drinks at The Wren I concluded that the pickleback has gone mainstream…someone even told me of a bar that offers several flavors of pickle juice.  This is a good development
  • We had lunch with cousins Nina and Jonathan at the Breslin and then saw Jonathan again the next day at my grandma Elsie’s house along with Mickey and Sharon.  Elsie just turned 97 years old!!  I always considered her house décor less than attractive, but Jenni was enthralled by the mid-century modern…and some outstanding photos of me and my family from days past!
  • My policy is to be sparse when discussing friends’ weddings, but I have to say a few things about Phil and Eileen’s nuptial bash, in addition to the supreme Guinness served at the Viana…
Did this spark the 4-game win streak?

Did this spark the 4-game win streak?

  • At the rehearsal dinner, Phil’s father spoke in Russian and Phil translated…it was pretty neat to see Phil talking about himself through his father’s voice
  • At the wedding itself, there was a pre-cocktail nearly hour with drinks, then a cocktail hour+, then a reception that lasted until about 2 am…with a bottle of cognac and Russian standard vodka on each table…then an after-party…I went to bed around 6:30 am


  • Jenni had to drive the next day down to Seth and Jill’s house in Maryland, and Jenni had gone to bed not that much earlier…she was a tad displeased

So that was our time in New York in a nutshell.  Countless details omitted.  There is so much to see and do in New York and I make no attempt to offer comprehensive guidance, but in addition to the “usual” websites like Yelp or Tripadvisor or Citysearch (does that still exist?), you may find useful information at,,,, and I’m sure lots of others…

New York: Anniversary in Ithaca

Jenni went to Cornell University for undergrad and Ithaca is a lovely town in upstate New York, so we figured this would be a nice place to spend our one-year anniversary.  By coincidence, it was also Homecoming Weekend.

September 21, 2013 (Saturday) – Armed with Dunkin Donuts coffee we set off for Ithaca.  The leaves have begun to change but the colors are not yet in full effect.  We arrived around 1 pm and checked into a nice room at the Statler with a view over the clock tower and hills.


You may know that Cornell has a hotel school of world-renown.  The Statler functions as both an upscale lodging property and training grounds for some of these students.

Alumni and students were swarming and we were glad to be rid of Sven for the day.  We picked up tickets and Jenni received the alum gift of a wine glass contraption that excited her.


Outside the stadium was a large paved area with lots of sections and tents for various schools (i.e. law, business, liberal arts, etc.).  We bought wine in the drink section near a food station serving Dinosaur BBQ before realizing we would get six drink tickets and free food at the arts and science tent.  The BBQ pulled chicken with coleslaw on a roll was surprisingly good.

It began to rain and we headed into the stadium to watch Big Red take on Bucknell.  Is there a more laughable mascot than Big Red?!  Both of my mom’s parents and my wife (i.e. nearly my three favorite people in the world) attended Cornell University, but c’mon.  Worse still were all the attendees who with their existing or impending Ivy League degrees could not figure out that using an umbrella inside a stadium might obstruct views and lead to rain pouring in unnatural ways onto others.  Seeing Jenni so happy to be back made this but a minor inconvenience.


We tore ourselves away from this world-class sporting event as College Town Bagels (aka CTB) beckoned.  I do not know if all Cornellians feel the same way, but if you asked Jenni to encapsulate her college experience in one phrase, it would likely be CTB.  Were she forced to choose between me and CTB, well…Given that it was really pouring by now and homecoming weekend, I was surprised to find CTB merely crowded and not a madhouse.


We split the Vegetarian from a massive selection of bagel sandwiches and related items.  It consists of veggie cream cheese, tomato and melted Muenster cheese served open face on your choice of bagel.  Which for me was the rosemary salt bagel, a superb selection, indeed.  With the obligatory pitcher of sangria we snagged a picnic table under cover before moving inside.

I do not feel old, but I did make a mental note that since the newly arrived freshman are in the class of 2017, I graduated college when they were born.  Unfazed, we walked over to see Jenni’s sophomore year house and I insisted we try to enter.  We disclosed to the group of guys living there now that we are from Los Angeles and one had a Dodgers shirt on but I said I was not that into baseball.  He replied that this was now the baseball house.  The bookshelf filled with dip cans should have tipped me off.


Next we walked to Jenni’s senior year apartment and entered a random unit with youngins preparing for a centennial Tri-Delt formal party.  Everyone was pretty friendly and respectful of this aged writer.

With the old palaces and castles segment of the walking tour complete, we hit the dive bar Dunbar’s for an $11 pitcher of Shock Top.  We struck up conversation with a few other patrons when I offered them some of our beer.  This is often an effective method.  Apparently Rulloff’s is a better option for later in the evening.  Instead, as Dunbar’s emptied out, Jenni got some pad thai from the Asian Noodle House (not near as good as she remembered) and I hit CTB for the second time.  Partly to honor my grandparents who went to Cornell and lived in Queens for 60 years, I ordered the…Queens.  Which is a bagel with egg salad, tomato and bacon.  The Vegetarian is better, but it was still good.

September 22, 2013 (Sunday) – Today was our one-year anniversary!  We agreed that we are in a much different place physically and spiritually than we would have guessed on our wedding day.  A stroll downhill took us to Carriage House Café for brunch.  Jenni raves about the brie-stuffed French toast here maybe even more than about CTB.  But let’s be clear, I am not contradicting my earlier statements.  This is but one dish, whereas CTB is a way of life.  Initially told the wait would be an hour, Jenni advertised our anniversary and 15 minutes later we were lounging on a couch perusing the menu.

The French toast with berry coulis is very good, but the hype was a tad too much for me to overcome.  We were denied mimosas by the antiquated law forbidding alcohol service before noon on Sunday.

The up hill walk burned off a quarter nibble and we heard Coldplay emanating from the clock tower.  It drizzled on us a bit but cleared up and we walked all over the attractive campus.  Check out the neat permaculture exhibit/bench below.

In the afternoon we picked up Sven, cruised by the impressive Greek houses and parked down in town.  We saw that Michael Franti was playing at the State Theater tonight, and two minutes later we saw Michael Franti standing on the corner.  We walked up and down the Commons which had the entire middle area torn up for construction.  There are lots of shops and some bars and restaurants.  We went into a used bookstore and I miraculously resisted adding a Biggie book to our storage locker.


Ah the everyday struggle

I confirmed that boba (aka bubble) tea and Thai food are everywhere before heading back to the hotel to watch the end of the Giants’ weekly embarrassment.  We headed downstairs for a cocktail in the bar lounge before our 6:30 pm anniversary dinner at Taverna Banfi.


The charcuterie plate was very good, though it needed a little more cheese to balance out the meats.  We also split a seared feta grapefruit salad and Jenni got the cavatelli Bolognese.  My duck was outstanding, with a maple parsnip puree and brussels sprouts alongside.  They started us with free glasses of champagne for our anniversary and the bottle of 2009 Foxen pinot noir we had was outright wonderful and an even better value.  A successful anniversary!

September 23, 2013 (Monday) – One more stop at CTB and we departed for Burlington, Vermont to visit my Dad and Linda.  Throughout this bucolic area we saw many farms, rivers, wildflowers and signs for maple syrup soft serve.  The town of Greene, New York looked nice, as did the Sherwood Inn.  There are towns here with a divided Main Street with cars parked head-on at angles in the middle.  We noticed statues of union soldiers and crossed the Chenango River.

We drove up the western side of Lake George which is a popular resort area.  This brought us back to the land of painfully slow speed limits and above-ground pools.  In Crown Point we visited Gunnison Lakeshore Orchards and got a fancy (as opposed to utility) half peck of apples for $8 shortly before crossing the bridge to Vermont.