NYC: Magnolia Bakery & Manana...walking tour

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Before I can begin to talk about dinner, I must first start with my walking adventure.

Earlier in the day, I had it in my head to explore the island, to go away from my immediate 5 block radius. Today, we were talking sweets, all sorts of delicious treats: cupcakes, cakes, frosting, etc. I guess what sparked it was talk of Mardi Gras. And yes, it was time to indulge (not like I hadn't been doing much of that to begin with already!). I'd had Crumbs before and while it was ok, it certainly wasn't Sprinkles. I did remember that there was a specific bakery to NYC that I'd been wanting to try out and hadn't had a chance: MAGNOLIA BAKERY!

After work, I ran to the hotel to layer up nice and good. I switched out my purse to carry my homemade bag (thanks Carol!). I asked the concierge where Magnolia was and he asked me which one. He printed off instructions to the original location off of 11th and Bleecker. The doorman helped me hail a cab and off I went. Traffic was typical and the ride was easy. I took the sights in and told myself that if I really wanted to, I could probably walk back.

He dropped me off across the street from the bakery and smiling at me was an eccentric little bookstore. This was the kind of place I'd been looking for! My imagination ran wild and I had to go inside to smell the books. Just as I was browsing the books on the sidewalk, I saw a man walk inside with his dog. Any place that allows dogs is ok by me. I treated myself to 3 special books: Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Neruda's Love Poems, and the Scanimation book, Swing. One for me, one for Don, and one for Mari. I checked out after I finished eavesdropping on a colorful conversation about our current President, Alabamans and the "N" word. Interesting because I know of no place in Texas that would allow for such free flowing conversation without scornful looks, outright tsks, or even worse. I bid the workers adieu and happily trotted across the small street for my sweet treats.

The thing that first struck me about the bakery was not the picture window filled with beautifully decorated cakes, nor was it the other window filled with oodles and oodles of cupcakes. It wasn't the bustling workers or the people inside. It was struck by the fact that it didn't smell like a bakery. It didn't smell bad, it just didn't have a smell. Initially, it made me skeptical, but I was quickly won over by the friendliness of the plentiful workers. Each doing their own task, concentrating, and periodically looking up. I was completely blown away by their busy-ness. This was one of those places where everyone automatically knew the flow. I must admit, I felt a little strange and unfamiliar, but I jumped right on it and went with it. I ordered a variety of yummies: pumpkin cheesecake, red velvet cake, small banana pudding, and cherries jubilee. I wanted to bring some happies to my buddy Gen. The packaged all of it right up and I set off for my walking adventure.

My tummy grumbled, but I soon forgot it. I disregarded the cold and was mesmerized by the neighborhood. This little gem of Greenwich Village was so welcoming, so inviting. There were people tucked away having private conversations, there were folks strolling hand in hand, people closing their shops. It was so great to stretch my legs and walk. I walked past the legendary Lips cabaret and for a split second I wanted to stop. But I REALLY, REALLY wanted to go on Bingo night, but it was Tuesday and Bingo is on Wednesdays. Before I knew it, I was outside of the Village and into Chelsea.

Then I passed Madison Square Garden. I walked for several blocks behind a group of friends chit-chatting about their bosses and what not. I couldn't help but eavesdrop and I missed my friends.
Next up was Times Square. I can see why the locals tend to stay away. All of these commercialized eateries line the bright neon, none of them truly the taste of NY. I felt bad for the people eating around there because it's a shame that they didn't venture off the path to discover more of the real NY.
Then, I came upon the Fashion District. There's a small part of me that will always wonder "what if." As I stared up, I could see the different fabric shops and I was upset that they weren't open. Oh well, maybe this weekend!
The further away I got, the neon volume turned down like the noise all around me. I was surrounded by working people. People dressed in suits, trenches, clutching onto their briefcases, speaking quickly into their earpieces. I just toned them out. I passed by the MOMA and the Sony building and came upon the Radio City Music Hall sign.

Somehow, I found my way back to familiar stomping ground and I gleefully started singing some random made-up song. Instead of going back to my hotel immediately, it was time to glutton it up. I remembered there was a Mexican restaurant around the corner, so I gave it a try. BIG LETDOWN.

It was incredibly overpriced food, even by the upscale restaurants in Dallas. The service was ok, withdrawn, actually. They seemed more interested in talking with each other than following-up with patrons. I wish everyone would've been as friendly as the hostess, who didn't mind that I didn't tip her when I checked my coat (Flame away, my fault completely! I didn't have any bills on me.)

This was the best part of my meal: the Lujuria Margarita. Don Julio Silver tequila, lime and orange juice, with Cointreau. At first sip, it was perfection, but because I didn't drink fast enough, the acidity from the juice married the bite from the tequila causing a bitter explosion. But I do love Don Julio!

These are the overpriced enchiladas. Three rojo chicken enchiladas. No beans and rice, no other kind of side came with it. Just the plain enchiladas, which were quite tasty, but in my opinion, were NOT worth the $23. YIKES! I'm so glad I ordered a side of corn, otherwise, I'd still be hungry!

Here's the previous mentioned side of corn. It said traditional Mexican roasted corn, but where's the paprika? Where's the queso fresco? Where's the mayo? They said it was already all in there. I didn't believe them and the flavor from the dish didn't lie to me either. But I was starving and didn't feel like complaining. I wanted to get out of there ASAP so I could make it back to my room to sing to my daughter goodnight.

Unfortunately, she didn't wake up from her nap at all, so no singing. I actually woke Don up as well. Ooopsie! I quickly said my love-yous and miss-yous, and bid him goodnight. I sprang up from the bed and danced over to the red velvet cake. It was, after all, screaming my name all night long. I dove right on it and only ate 1/3 of that delicious goodness. (Sorry, no picture folks!) It was light and the frosting divine! The cake wasn't as moist as Sprinkles, but flavorful it its own right. Highly recommend that one.
When I was sufficiently full, I opted to zone out to HDNet TV. Angie Everhart had documented her trek up Kilimanjaro I was intrigued and for some odd reason, I wanted to climb Kilimanjaro too. No, that isn't in the near future (money, for one thing, is a killjoy!), but it could be on the list of things to do. It looked beautiful and I hate that the glaciers are fading. Anyway, hope you all are doing well!
*oh, and yes, it was incredibly cold, but as long as I kept moving, things weren't so bad!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear Magnolia stacks up...gosh, if I'm ever in NYC I am doing a cupcake bakery tour! ;)

Your adventure sounds fun!!

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