On Sunday, the conference was officially over and my flight home didn’t leave until 7:30 pm. All alone in New York with a day to myself? What a lucky girl!
WARNING: photo-heavy post ahead! Go get yourself a cherry-yuzu soda or something while you wait for the photos to download. (This joke will make sense later in the post. It won’t be any funnier though.)
I loaded my iPhone up with a list of stores I wanted to visit and headed to SoHo to do some shopping.
First stop: Pearl River Market!
The Pearl River Market is three floors of bright colors and pure inspiration.
It’s jam-packed with imported Asian goodies and everywhere you look there are bright colors. Oh! The colors!
Paper umbrellas small and large, Japanese snacks, silk lamps, clothes, bags. It’s all so delicious!
I bought some of these butterflies to hang in our bedroom:
I also bought one of these beckoning cats. I’ve wanted one for years.
I spent over an hour exploring the Pearl River Market and I could have probably stayed another two hours.
My next stop was Muji. Muji is a Japanese store, but it’s the complete opposite of Pearl River. Where Pearl River is all bright colors and chaos, Muji is soothing neutrals and strict order. The two stores couldn’t be more different if the two owners coordinated.
Next stop: Purl Soho! I’ve been reading Purl’s excellent craft blog, The Purl Bee for quite a while now and I couldn’t wait to see their store full of luscious yarns and fabric in person. Visually the store did not disappoint:
The wall of Liberty of London fabric samples was gorgeous. I had planned to buy some fat quarters but apparently I’ve never really looked into how much they cost because I was stunned by the prices. When I picked up a small bundle of fat quarters I thought the $95 price on the tag must have been a misprint but then I discovered that the fabric on the bolts was running around $35/yard and I realized that it’s just really frickin’ expensive fabric. I decided to by-pass that particular purchase.
Somehow I resisted this rainbow of wool felt, but I did end up buying a book about felt food written in Japanese. The pictorial instructions look pretty good, but we’ll just have to see how it goes when I sit down to try it!
After all that shopping and eye candy, I was ready for some lunch. I logged onto Yelp! to investigate restaurants in the area and decided to treat myself to a fancy meal at Mercer Kitchen. I didn’t realize it until after I was seated but Mercer Kitchen is one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants. As a celebrity chef stalker, I was excited to finally taste some of his food.
I started off with a salad of roasted red, yellow and white beets with big knobs of goat cheese. It was dressed in simple vinaigrette and had some kind of micro-greens scattered on top. It was very simple, but the flavors are some of my favorites and the ingredients were top-notch. Delicious!
To drink, I ordered the house-made cherry-yuzu soda. Wasn’t it a pretty color? If you’re wondering what yuzu is, it’s an Asian citrus fruit about the size of a small grapefruit. (I had to look it up.) It should not be confused with a yakuza which is a Japanese gangster.
My whole meal at Mercer Kitchen was great — the best of the many delicious things I ate in New York — but the entree was what really knocked it out of the park. I had sea scallops with pea greens ravioli in a bacon vinaigrette. The ravioli were not what I expected. I misread the menu when I ordered and I thought I was getting ravioli with a pea puree inside (have you been watching Top Chef? Are you sick of them saying “pea puree” a million times per episode?) but I was pleasantly surprised by what actually came. The greens inside the ravioli had a nice herbaceous flavor and they cut the richness of the scallop and bacon flavor perfectly. So, so delicious!
OK, the last thing I want to show you from Mercer Kitchen is the bathroom! There was a big skylight in there along with white-washed bricks and this cool arched door. When I noticed that it was devoid of any plastic toys it became clear that it was nicer than any room in my whole house and I decided I wanted to move in. Is that weird?
After my lunch, I headed back to the hotel. It was too early for me to go to the airport, but I didn’t want to just sit around in the lobby, so I went over to Central Park to relax for a while. I walked around a little at first and admired the views of the tall buildings rising up over the trees.
Then I parked it on the ground by a pond and watched the ducks. There were people everywhere and birds kept flying so close to my head that the back-draft ruffled my hair. After a few minutes a mom and a little girl around Augie’s age sat down next to me. The toddler was intent on petting a duck and her mom and I started commiserating about how hard it is to keep two-year-olds out of ponds. And that’s when I realized that really, it was time for me to come home to my boys.
New York — I’m smitten. I’ll be back as soon as I can!