The last two weeks: A former VIP lounge, A concert, A baseball game, A fireworks display…A whirlwind

So much for basking in the glow of my week away cruising the Atlantic and visiting Bermuda.  Although I returned to work during the middle of a week and had a shortened week (last week) thanks to the July 4th U.S. Independence long holiday weekend, there was enough that brought me back to reality that I was home.

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Below 54 - Inside

The first day back to work transitioned into the first night out on the town to Below 54, a fabulous jazz place in the Theater District.   It’s got a bit of history.  It used to be the former VIP lounge of “Studio”, as in the famed nightclub of the 70s and 80s — Studio 54.  Oh, if the walls could talk!

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Four nights later, on Saturday night, I was bounding up the stairs to the street of the Atlantic Avenue subway station into a crush of minglers outside the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.  Two words:  Floor Seats.  (Yay, me!)  I had no shame.  Yes, I was screaming my lungs out and grooving to Bruno Mars.  One more word:  EPIC.   The man is bad!   And is band?  Wow.  Just awesome.  That pintsized dude (Mr. Mars, a.k.a. Mr. Hernandez) — yes, I am there for him in every way as a performer.  I’d never seen him live and he did not disappoint!  I enjoyed it so much, it did cross my mind to find a way to the nearest city to see him again, but I knew it was nothing short of crazy to fly to Montreal, Canada.

Bruno Mars - 2 (2013)

Bruno Mars - 1 (2013)

Bruno Mars - 3 (2013)

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Citi Field - Mets Game (2013)

Two nights later, I was at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team.  Yes, the “other” New York baseball team.  I’d been part of an invited group to tour their suite spaces and to see what they had to offer those with “deep pockets” in terms of bars, restaurants and snack areas.  Our host could not have been more hospitable.  Although I’m not a Queens baseball chick (I’m a New York Yankees fan — always have been, so the Bronx is where I belong), I actually enjoyed every minute of my visit to Citi Field.  But I will admit, it’s not like the old Shea Stadium, their old home.  Can’t help to have a little bit of a soft spot for the old stadiums.  Gone are Shea and the original Yankee Stadium — the house that Ruth built.   It was great to see the “new” home of the Mets, especially since they’ll be hosting the 2013 Baseball All Star Game very soon.

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Macys Fireworks - Waiting (2013)

Three nights later, I was seated on the West Side Highway ramp — yes, seated, in the middle of the street (see photo above) — with about 50,000 other New Yorkers and tourists waiting for nightfall and the annual Macy’s July 4th fireworks extravaganza.  It was a wonderful sight once the show began.  Sure, I had to wait for hours in the heat (we’d had days of 90 degree weather and humidity that were relentless), but I had a bottle of water (that unfortunately became warm very quickly, but at least I had liquid), my Nook to read some downloaded magazines, and my relatively new smartphone.   (Yes, I got a new phone!…I’m no longer walking around with my 5-year old or almost 5-year old BlackBerry.  I now have a Samsung Galaxy S4….BTW, the photos you see on this blog post were all snapped with the S4.  Not bad. Actually, anything is better than my antiquated BlackBerry.  Yes, I’m throwing shade to my “old faithful” now relegated to being an “ex”.)

Fireworks - July 4 - 2 (2013)

Fireworks - July 4 - 3 (2013)

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In the midst of these activities, I managed to visit The Second Mother twice and spent some time with Sassy Spitfire, The Traveler and The Kid, squeeze in a brief stroll through Central Park on my way to Sunday brunch with a friend, and had a very long overdue bonding and catching up session with Momma Rockstar, the BFF, who I hadn’t seen in weeks.   We took refuge on a sweltering Saturday afternoon in a mall.  Now that’s a place I haven’t been to in forever.  I don’t do malls, but when the temps rose, this island girl refused to be outdoors.  Re-fused.

So, tired yet?  That was my last two weeks.  What were you up to?

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From Pancakes to Po’ Boys: The Brits do it one way…The Americans do it another.

My fellow Americans, this may be a bit of an education for you.  You see, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island and all its dominions beyond the seas — er, actually, the British Commonwealth — on what you call “Fat Tuesday”, the Brits and the Commonwealthers refer to it as “Pancake Day” a.k.a. Shrove Tuesday.  I know what you’re thinking…: “IHOP”.  No, this is definitely not IHOP.  British-style pancakes are not thick like IHOP pancakes and not as thin as French crepes.  But on the day before Lent begins, you consume a lot of pancakes.  This is the way it is and will be forevermore.  (The West Indian Mother probably made about a million of them over the years.)

Sooooo, when GEORGE, the youthful arm of the St. George’s Society of New York announced they’d be hosting a Pancake Day on Fat Tuesday, what else could I do but hit up my foodie partner-in-crime, a.k.a. @SingleGalNYC, to entice her to join me for flour, eggs and whatever else?

Our bonding with the Brits was brief:

  • We arrive at a traditional British watering hole, The Churchill (where you hear — piped through speakers in the bathrooms no less — recordings of our favorite portly Prime Minister, Churchill, reciting his speeches)
  • We go in, order cocktails.  (We’d decided no cocktails during Lent, so this was our last hurrah.)  She orders an “Absolut-ly Fabulous”.  I order a “How’s Yer Father?”

TheChurchill-Cocktail-Absolut-lyFabulousTheChurchill-Cocktail-HowsYourFatherFirst thought on my drink — “How’s Yer Father?”:  This was the type of drink that would put hair on your chest.  Second thought:  Even if I’d been able drink this thing (believe me, I could only take two tiny sips), I probably would have glowed in the dark for the remainder of the week. I promptly returned it to the bar.  (I can’t remember the last time this happened.)

  • Finally, the pancakes arrived.  We were only able to grab one each.  In a blink of an eye, they were gone.  The nice, shiny, silver tray was empty and the friendly looking waitress disappeared, I assume, for more. But, she didn’t return fast enough.  We decided to move on.  It was, after all, Fat Tuesday.  We were hungry and had worked up an appetite for southern cuisine.  We needed New Orleans in New York City.

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Two subway stops later, we were in Union Square heading to Brother Jimmy’s BBQ.  Definitely not our first choice.  We’d have to fork over $35.00 for a “Mardi Gras” pre-fixe meal — appetizer, entrée and dessert.  We’d also have to wait.  After what seemed like an eternity, we were finally seated and beyond “hungry”.  In hindsight, we could have spent our money elsewhere, but this is what happens when you do things on the fly.  You take what you can get:  fried shrimp with Cajun mayo, fried okra, po’ boys, ice cream sandwiches.

BrotherJimmysMardiGrasPreFixe2013

Notice the mention of “Unlimited Hurricanes” in the promotion above?  As you can imagine, after my two sips experience at The Churchill, there was no way a Hurricane wasn’t going to be in my life.  “Laissez les bons temps rouler.”

BrotherJimmysHurricane-MardiGras2013

As usual, @SingleGalNYC and I chatted happily about work, our can-you-believe-what-happened-to-us opportunity (?!?!) on the night of the closing performance of Evita on Broadway (we rubbed elbows with the cast and crew at the private cast party — OMG!), traveling, and our next foodie adventure (which will be French cuisine — stay tuned).

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This would not be a night for us to hang out until all hours.  The next day was a work day.  Unfortunately, our pancake feast was not to be.  As for Brother Jimmy’s, it definitely wasn’t the “Mardi Gras” experience we hoped for.  But look on the bright side:  We got beads and didn’t have to flash anyone to get them (not that we would…).