Thursday, April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday | A Foodie's Dream Trip To New York

Almost a year ago to the day, I went on one of the best and most exhausting trips of my life. I went to New York City with my mums, where we blithely ate and drank our way through Hell’s Kitchen, Union Square, and Brooklyn. It was uh-freaking-mazing.

The sole reason for our visit was that I miraculously got an appointment at Colombia University with the Infectious Disease Center that have some of the world’s most experienced Lyme disease professionals.

The mums informed me that since this was probably the only trip we would ever make like this, and since the testing I would have to undergo would be so rotten, that we should live it up and anything I wanted to do, we would do.

So what did we do? We ate our way through all of the great restaurants, bistros, and bars that I had been reading about since I discovered the great, big, sexy, world of food blogging.

I'm also pretty sure that I gained 4 pounds, but they were all worth it. 

Our first evening in town, we walked 2 blocks down to Hell’s Kitchen where we sat on the sidewalk of an Italian restaurant and ate the best chicken Marsala I’ve ever had. I can say that because I never actually ate chicken when I was in Italy.

We had omelets with the creamiest goat cheese I’ve ever had, champagne with almost every breakfast, and this was the trip where I discovered, thanks to a charming, bearded bartender, that I love Tanqueray gin.

Thanks to Lyme disease, I used to lay on the couch a lot and watch a lot of TV. One of my favorite shows was Restaurant Stakeout, where host Willie Degal helps restaurant owners overhaul their flagging businesses. His credentials? He is the owner of Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse and WE FREAKING WENT THERE!!! I could wax poetic about the charm of the wooden paneling, the dim lighting, and the bartender who introduced me to Tanqueray (oh wait, I already did that), but I won’t because instead I’m going to talk about the food.  

We ordered filet mignon and French fries because let’s face facts, that IS the perfect meal. And not only was the steak not over cooked and served sizzling with just the perfect amount of butter and garlic, but to be perfectly honest with you, the garden salad was to die for. Most garden salads have pathetically wilting spinach and a few arugula leaves and a heavy Italian dressing and bada bing, you’re supposed to be pleased. This. This was to die for, and the only reason that I can figure was because of the freshness of ALL the ingredients. Creamy goat cheese that didn’t even taste like goat cheese and cherry tomatoes and toasted walnuts and craisins all served over a bed of crisp greens and peppery arugula…uh. It was simply amazing. I would fly back to Uncle Jack’s every afternoon for the salad alone if I had the money. But I don’t, so instead I’ll just write about it.

A day between testing at the university, I demanded that we simply HAD to go to Brooklyn and visit Mast Brothers. My mums being the obliging person that she is, agreed, even though she hates chocolate. After riding the subway for an hour, we finally made it to the quirky town of Brooklyn. Mast Brothers is run by two brothers (duh) who share a common love of chocolate and sailing. They roast and grind the coco beans there in the store, and also have a counter where you can buy hand rolled truffles that will literally make your eyes roll with delight. If you’re ever in the area, I STRONGLY suggest that you go.

Coco beans in Mast Brother's 

On the way back to the hotel it started pouring rain, so naturally we ducked into a German Beer Garden and ate sauerkraut and wiener schnitzel until we dried out.

Apparently Beer Gardens make me giggle 
Before escaping the delights of Brooklyn, we ended up in an artisan cheese shop that is supposedly owned by J.K. Rowling. Like, you know, the author of the Harry Potter series?? We stood in line for 45 minutes and it was worth every second. Seriously, what about this description of the Limburger?

“Oh so not your mother’s limburger. Gone are the days of the affronting aroma of overly ripened, overly processed cheese product. This elegant, organic cow’s milk brick is gooey and rich and smells like freshly smoked hash in a dank ass basement. If you’ve ever wondered, this is the time to try. Pair with a pint.”

I totally offended the hipsters by laughing my ass off….too funny for words.

We also bought a block of pate and had a picnic back at our hotel room 

Our last night in town, we went to a restaurant just two buildings down from our hotel because I felt awful, and to be perfectly honest I wasn’t expecting much from this particular place because I thought it was going to be a fusion joint. It was amazing. It was incredible. It was the first place I ever had risotto. It blew my mind. Etcetera Etcetera, I applaud you. 

This is shrimp and saffron risotto. It's mind blowing.

My beautiful mums at Etcetera Etcetera, just because she's beautiful, inside and out.

So. After donating countless quarts of my blood, sitting through hours of cognitive and psychiatrist tests, I flew home. With my chin up and hope firmly in gathered about me like a blanket. Which it turns out I needed, because I got so sick on the flight home that I slipped into a Lymey coma and damn near died. Which was fun, except not really.

Months later, my test results came back and it turns out I am one of few people who have beat chronic Lyme disease.  That’s almost unheard of, and I attribute it to the prayers of people all around the world, and a Buckaroo Barbie mindset of never, ever, but NEVER, giving up.

So to all of you that are struggling, physically, mentally, emotionally...don’t give up hope! Look at me! If I can make it then you darn sure can. Don’t ever let the bastards get you down.

 And eat risotto, every chance you get.

xo xo Liz


  1. Sounds like a great trip, even with the mission of seeing doctors.
    If you are ever looking for another great food city, head on over to Charleston, SC for some down fine yummy food starting with down home southern cooking and ending with a fine French meal. Plus it's just an amazing city filled with incredible history.
    Keep up that Buckaroo Barbie mindset and stay well!

    Cowgirl Dirt Rep

  2. That is amazingly wonderful news! Have often wondered how you were dealing with it all and to know that you will beat it and be able to get off that darned couch is music to my ears. Look forward to hearing about your adventures! ~Teri