30 August 2012

Travel tales: the posh end of NYC. Bar Italia. Acapella Soul. A drink at the bar.

I still have a lot of memories of New York to record. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

On our second Tuesday in New York Mum and I found ourselves in the posh area of town. The Upper East Side. Mum was sick and so we booked an appointment with the travel doctor, who happens to have an award signed by Donald Trump. We had a long wait for the doctor and so we walked up 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue. How the other half live! We saw stunning apartments, embassies and lots of trees. And compared to the neighbourhood we stayed in (Midtown, close to Times Square) there was not much rubbish on the pavements. I made up a game - who can guess the embassy's flag. I think I won this game!

We were both tired and so decided to rest when we saw a group of acapella singers outside the Met. It was a lovely hour sitting on the steps of the Met, listening to them sing and watching the crowd, as delighted as we were. The group Is called Acapella Soul and they told us they have sung for Paul McCartney, Uma Thurman and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, just to name a few. We enjoyed My Girl, Lean on Me, Your love keeps lifting me higher and other mowtown songs. It was such fun, and a really good way to spend an hour. There is always something to do in New York City.

The trip to the doctor confirmed, once again, what a lucky country we live in. For a 15 minute consultation, Mum paid $280, and for three prescriptions she paid $240. Fortunately we both have medical travel insurance, but for many, a visit to the doctor would be inaffordable. It is a scary thought.

Being in the Upper East Side meant we could browse the shops we could never afford to purchase from. It was fun, and I jokingly thanked Mum for getting sick. We stopped at the first restaurant we found - Bar Italia (768 Madison Avenue) - after a long walk down Madison Avenue. There are many many clothes shops along Madison Avenue, but few restaurants. By 2.30 pm we were both on the verge of Angry-Hungry, so a meal at Bar Italia was just what we neede. And we were impressed! Bar Italia served the best spaghetti cabonara I have ever had. It was so tasty. Creamy and cheesy and just salty enough. I think the secret was that it was topped with parmesan toasted breadcrumbs. Delicious!

I had dessert too - vanilla bean panna cotta with berry coulis. My only complaint was that I didn't have two servings. Yum!
To be honest, the service started a little gruff at Bar Italia - and it wasn't helped by the fact that I had spilt the olive oil and vinegar bowl on the table - but after I complimented them on the best cabonara I had ever eaten, the staff warmed to us, telling us that some Italian builders told them the cabonara was the best outside Italy. While on the pricey side for a New York meal ($23 for the bowl of cabonara), I do recommend eating at Bar Italia.

After lunch we wandered through the shops. Mum treated me to two silk tops, one hugely discounted, from a store called Talbolt's. Talbot's is a bit old lady, but if you hunt around long enough, you can find some pretty pieces for a corporate wardrobe. Here's me in my blue and green top (sitting on the couch at home!).
Fortunately Mum felt better quite soon after she began the million dollar antibiotics and painkillers. Like on most of our nights in New York, we made a trip down to the bar. I had my new favourite drink - a very chocolately brandy Alexander. Brandy Alexander happened to be the show name of one of our dogs.
I do believe this cocktail - and another - may have been followed with a Quarter Pouder chaser at midnight...


  1. Isn't New York just magic? The energy, the diversity.

    SSG xxx

  2. I love this post SO much! My parents are there at the moment having the most wonderful time!

    1. PS Was the brandy alexander at the New Yorker? Will tell mum - she loves those!

    2. It was the New Yorker. That hotel was amazing! Are your parents staying there?
      Have fun Michelle's parents!

  3. What great adventures, you capture the mood of your trip so well. Can't wait to go the NYC one day and will use all your recommendations (except the quarter pounder at midnight ;) L xx

  4. I haven't traveled with my Mum for ages but you are reminding me why it is so brilliant. I should do it again soon.

  5. I love reading about your NY adventure Carly, you are such an inspiration, and a damn fine blogger too!

  6. Talbot's is SUCH an Upper East Side Older Lady store...but almost my entire corporate wardrobe is from there. I'm only 38, but I also work at a hoity-toity bank - I have to dress the part. I'm glad you had such a fun day. Yes, Acapella Soul is a treasure. Did you happen to catch the Ebony Hillbillies, too? They usually work the 34th street subway station near Macy's. They are also amazing!

  7. Thanks for your blogs. We are off to NYC with our baby boy in November cannot wait!!

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