Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New York Trip - Friends, Food, Shopping, and a Fat Baby

I know, I've been really bad about keeping this blog updated!  I have a BarkBox post to upload (two actually, but one is so outdated I'll only do the September one) as well as some other posts to upload into my food blog, Grubbin Pugs.  As an intro back into Lil Smug Pug, here are some photos from a recent trip I took to NY to visit a friend.  Had a great time but of course am glad to be back with Sunny and Rosy!

First I dropped off my very sad pugs with my parents. They get treated so well here but of course they were still sad to see me go.  Rosy looks deceptively happy here but that's because she was doing some nervous panting after she frantically tried hurling herself into my arms. (I pick her up to put on her harness when we go out so whenever she wants to go somewhere she tries to jump up like she does when I pick her up - it melts my heart!). Look at Sunny's sad slumping!
My friend has a really cute and friendly cat nicknamed Fat Baby.  She looks fatter than she really is!  Even though they're pretty sure she didn't have kittens before they adopted her, she has that loose belly skin like how Sunny has (who had 5 litters by the time I got her!) and it swings side to side when she walks around.  Love it! She is more dog-like than a lot of other cats I've met and she kinda reminded me of Rosy at times, who has some weird cat-like mannerisms.  Look at her holding her paws up to show off her belly.
During my trip I was missing the girls a lot so I was totally bothering Fat Baby all the time. I think she must've thought I was a crazy needy freak. I often felt like Elmyra from Tiny Toons as I'd try to follow her and pet her. See, she doesn't look pleased.
I have another friend who lives in New Jersey so we met up for a fun day filled with food and shopping!  First stop was a late lunch at Bouley. The restaurant opens up with a beautiful room with apples in their walls, floor to ceiling. People are free to take an apple, which of course we did even though I don't like apples (unless they're in pie or similar dessert form).
We did the lunch tasting menu which is a really great deal for the restaurant.  Dinner can be pricy here so lunch is a great option because you get a ton of dishes! The restaurant was kinda house/mansion-like in the downstairs portion more than a restaurant. It was a little too quiet downstairs and we felt like we practically had to whisper at times!  The bread cart cracked me up because it looked like the breads were being held prisoner in this wooden cage. I will free you bread and into my belly!
First course was a tomato and basil kind of broth with crab. Look at how beautiful the plate was!
Next was big eye tuna and roe over an apple foam.
Followed by a porcini flan
And then my favorite part of the meal - the most tender beef cheeks ever with mini gnocchi.
Dessert was a bit disappointing as the menu listed something with peaches and donuts and so of course we got excited about the donuts. But we think they meant to say the dessert was donut peaches, so NO DONUTS.  Obviously we were devastated. Also this didn't really look very appetizing.
But luckily they redeemed themselves with a second dessert of chocolate cake and ice cream!
And then they gave us a random sampling of cookies which we were too stuffed to eat.
Next we did a lot of walking around and shopping. My friends know me so well that when we were in an Anthropologie (yes I know I can go to Anthropologie where I live but of course we had to pop in for a stop!) one of my friends beckoned me over to this wall to show me these creepy pug heads. Tsk tsk, she's touching the pug head even though the sign on the wall says not to!
And then somehow we magically had room for a waffle from the Wafels & Dinges truck (at least we shared one). We chose the soft kind of waffle with nutella and strawberries. Sooooo good!
We then ended the night with one of the best meals I've ever had at Annisa.  We chose the 5-course tasting menu and were blown away by the flavors on each plate!  First up was my favorite dish of the night, barbequed squid with thai basil and fresh peanuts. Sorry the lighting is so bad in these photos, we only had one dangerously open flame on the table (those gas lights made me very nervous!).
Followed by an amazing soup dumpling topped with seared foie gras. I think I would've liked this better if it had been slightly easier to eat as the soup spoon they gave us was so small the soup liquid poured out! That's precious deliciousness that's pouring onto my plate and not into my mouth! But so very good.
Another amazing dish was the Spanish mackerel with a Korean chili sauce. This isn't a Korean dish necessarily but when I smelled it and then tasted it, something about it reminds me of more traditional Korean food. I usually don't like mackerel for sushi, but I love it cooked because it's one of the few fish that my mom used to cook when I was younger so this reminded me a lot of my mom's dish even if they are still very different dishes.
The next entree dish was probably my least favorite of the savory dishes although it was still amazing.  It was lamb with chickpeas, harissa, and black sesame. The tagine had mini lamb meatballs and a delicious salty broth of some sort. My friend was obsessed with the mini tagine because it was so cute when it came with its own little mini lid.
They then brought us three different desserts to share among ourselves - a bread pudding with meyer lemon sauce, a strawberry parfait with tofu, and pumpkin beignets with some kind of icy bourbon dessert (my favorite of the three).
The next day my friend and I went for a jog around the reservoir to burn off a tiny smidgen of the massive amount of calories we had consumed and were about to consume. Then we headed over to Madison Square Eats for a sampling of delicious foods outdoors!  It was a struggle finding an open table but once we landed one we started stuffing our faces. And it was awesome.
We had (in order of deliciousness): short rib grilled cheese, coconut curry chicken empanada, wasabi potato salad, banh mi hot dog, Korean chicken wings, sausage and broccoli rabe rice ball, and a bulgogi taco. We also chased all that down with some beer and then got some Momofuku cookies, chocolates, and macarons to go (and for my family).
I spotted an adorable lil French bulldog going to town on all the crumbs people were dropping! I hope he didn't eat any of the spicy foods! As you can tell I was really missing the girls by this point since I was now taking photos of a stranger dog. Not even a pug! Although French bulldogs are somewhat similar and very cute.
Afterwards it was time to pack up and say bye to Fat Baby. I think she didn't want me to leave (or at least that's what my deluded Elmyra brain was telling me).
After taking the train back to DC I quickly drove over to my parents to pick up the girls. I was tired but of course I didn't want to wait until morning to pick them up! It's really weird entering my apartment without them there. When my mom opened the door the two were sitting curled up together in one bed (even though there was a second bed right next to them!) and just stared at me for five seconds. I think they couldn't comprehend that it was me and that I was back. And then they went bananas and were jumping, licking my face and legs, and making those heart-melting whimpering sounds. And then because they were so excited they ran off to do their favorite activities - Sunny sucking on her toy and Rosy attacking Sunny's drumstick.
I am glad to be back home but I had a great trip and will miss New York (and Fat Baby).

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