Only a few days after coming home from Rome last week, my sister, dad, and I were lucky enough to visit another amazing city in honor of our dad’s 60th birthday – New York. It had been about three years since I had last been there (graduating from college and moving to Italy can be time consuming) so I was really excited to have the chance to go back. New York is one of my favorite places in the world, on par with Rome, Bologna, and London. Much like Rome, there is always something different to do or see in the city – there are musicals, operas, and ballets to enjoy, museums to explore, sights to see, countless stores to shop in, and restaurants to try. New York City possesses a certain energy and feel that I love and that I haven’t found anywhere else. As happy as I am in Italy New York City is one place I would like to live in one day.
Lucky for us, New York is only a three hour drive from where we live in Rhode Island. Early Saturday morning, we left for the city. Our first order of the day was getting to the Metropolitan Opera House by 12:00 to see their production of The Marriage of Figaro. My dad has been an opera fan since he was little so we knew this would be the perfect way to spend his birthday weekend. Best of all, our friend Rachel recently made her Met debut in this production of the opera in the role of the Countess, so we were especially excited for the show. As expected, she and the other members of the cast did an amazing job (this is the Met after all) and the performance was beautiful – we also got to go backstage after the show to see Rachel, which was especially exciting for my dad, who has been to the seen many shows at the Met but never had had the opportunity to go behind the scenes. Thanks Rachel!!!
Eating in New York is always an experience, as there are so many wonderful restaurants to try – past favorites have been Mesa Grill, Nobu, and Babbo. When we make a trip to the city, deciding where to eat is usually quite a process – I take a couple of days to research restaurants, look at their menus and reviews, and then finally narrow it down to the best one. This time around however choosing where to have dinner was easy. My friend Carolina (who we recently met up with during her trip to Rome) is a chef and part owner of Comodo restaurant in Soho, a fairly new restaurant that specializes in Latin American cuisine. We had talked quite a bit about the Comodo when she was in Rome, and the menu looked great, so I knew right away where we would be eating on Saturday night.
Allie ready to eat at Comodo
We had dinner at Comodo with Rachel, her husband Rasmus, and their adorable daughter Lydia. Between the five of us, we tried the cilantro soup with crab meat, goat cheese, and roasted peppers; roasted cauliflower gratin; lamb sliders; and arepas* with oyster mushrooms for appetizers. All were superb, but my favorite were the lamb sliders, which were perfectly cooked and served with an awesome dipping sauce. Yummm.
Allie and Rachel posing with cheese and honey we brought Rachel from Rome!
Dad, Lydia, and our awesome waitress at Comodo
Arepas with oyster mushrooms
Lamb slidersFor the main course, we ordered the poblano pepper pasta, the coffee rubbed cochinita (braised pork) served with spinach and mashed potatoes, and the special of the night, braised rosemary short ribs served with yucca. All of the dishes were absolutely delicious, especially the cochinita, which is a Mexican dish I’ve also made a few times at home. For dessert, I ordered the café con leches cake, or rather a tres leches cake infused with coffee. Tres leches cake is one of my favorite desserts (recipe to be on the blog eventually) and I liked the coffee twist on it – the coffee made what is usually a very sweet dessert a bit more elegant and grown up. As if the evening couldn’t get any better, Rachel sang a beautiful rendition of Happy Birthday to my dad at the end of the night – not a bad way to end your 60th birthday! Thanks Rachel!
Poblano pepper pasta
Coffee rubbed cochinita
Café con leches cake
The next day we met our friend Anna, who lives in New York, for breakfast. You might remember Anna from the guest post she did on the blog not so long ago; she went to college with me and my sister, and also lived in Bologna with us during our junior year abroad. It had been two years since we had last seen her (like I said, living in Italy and working always makes life a bit more complicated) so meeting up with her again was great.
We met for breakfast at a restaurant called Saju Bistro, where we had French toast, eggs benedict, and omelets – all dishes that we very rarely get to indulge in in Rome!