It's been almost three years since Bryan and I had a traditional, American Thanksgiving dinner (something he grew up eating every year!). That was back in 2010, when we enjoyed a traditional turkey dinner at Upstairs on the Square, one of Boston's most well known Thanksgiving dinners.
In 2011, I ended up cooking an Asian twist on the traditional Thanksgiving meal for the first time, complete with oven roasted duck, Chinese sticky rice "stuffing", and kabocha pumpkin mochi cake. In 2012, we went on a three week trip to Australia and New Zealand with Bryan's family, and thus ended up celebrating an American holiday as foreigners in Sydney, Australia.
This year, sort of on a last minute whim (I had some free hotel coupons I had to use up), we decided to travel to New York City over Thanksgiving weekend.
I know, I know - I'm not done with the Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka series yet (I promise I will get back to it really, really soon), but I just wanted to share with you a preview of our New York trip, including some fantastic eats we enjoyed.
We purposely booked an earlier flight in order to make it to New York in time for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Little did we know that our flight would leave Boston right in the middle of a terrible storm that had already wrecked havoc for travelers in other parts of the U.S.
Thankfully our flight was uneventful (except for the fact that no one - not even the flight attendants - could get up during the bumpy flight). We arrived into New York on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.
Rumors were flying all over the place that the balloons might not fly during the parade due to high winds, so I insisted that we make a special trip out to the balloon inflation the night before, an event almost as popular as the parade itself.
It's a great way to see the balloons up close and personal. You also appreciate how much work goes into assembling and blowing up the massive balloons.
Though it was raining, it wasn't too crowded, and we had tons of fun visiting all the balloons.
The next morning, we bundled up (it was sooooo cold outside!) and stood oustide for three hours watching the parade go by. It was blast, though we almost couldn't feel our toes near the end of the parade.
Snoopy was the first, and he ended up being one of my favorites. He's just so cute! Plus, since it was the first one I'd ever seen, it was all the more exciting.
They look like they are flying since you can't really see the strings that much from a distance.
Autumn pumpkins bobbled through the air.
Pikachu chased after his ball.
Hello Kitty flew in an airplane! I loved this one as well. To see all my parade photos, check out my Flickr Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Album.
After warming up our extremities at a nearby coffee shop (ha ha, doesn't Bryan look like a popsicle?) we headed off to a special Thanksgiving lunch at a place where I had one of my favorite restaurant experiences four years ago.
We surely had never had Thanksgiving dinner at a 3-Star Michelin restaurant before.
We sat in the lounge, which is more casual (no jackets required!), more relaxed, but just as good (the food was exactly the same as the main dining room, but significantly cheaper). We had a phenomenal meal which culminated in the Duo of Organic Heritage Red Bourbon Turkey with giblet stuffing and cranberry chutney.
And just like Thanksgiving dinner at home, you could get seconds (how often does that happen at a fancy French restaurant?). Like I said, the atmosphere was surprisingly and pleasantly relaxed.
We really had a great time.
Of course, you have to end with a pumpkin dessert. This one was topped with a small gold leaf.
That evening, just for fun (since our hotel was right there), we decided to check out the flagship Macy's in Midtown, which opened on Thanksgiving evening. It was crazy! Check out the mob trying to get up the escalator.
I was extremely amused, since I'd never gone Black "Friday" shopping on a Thursday (or even midnight on a Friday) ever before. I did score some nice boots and overall was able to get quite a bit of shopping done over the entire weekend.
For the rest of the weekend we wandered around New York, enjoying the festive feel of the city.
I love how the buildings are decorated to look like wrapped presents. Many of the large department stores also have beautiful displays in their windows, some of which even move!
We enjoyed the best white truffle tasting menu deal in town - a three course (each course with a generous shaving of white truffles from Piedmont), for $99.
We had a fabulous lunch at one of the most popular restaurants in New York - I can't believe it took us this long to get here.
And then we explored David Chang's Momofuku empire. We fell in love with his rice cakes.
Bryan declared this Habanero, Coriander, and Black Pepper Fried Chicken as the best fried chicken he'd ever had in his life. It's too bad that it only comes in one size (a whole chicken!), so we ended up taking a lot of it back to Boston with us (thankfully this was our last meal in NYC!).
Of course, you have to try one of these crazy hot drinks (literally heated with a 1500 degree red hot poker!) from David Chang's bar, Booker and Dax.
Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone.
Stay tuned for details on each of these restaurants after the Japan series is over - probably 2014!
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