Eataly. This place, y’all, is incredible. After our day around the city and our afternoon in the Met, we went to Eataly to celebrate Kevin’s birthday. Anish had been raving about this place since his last visit to New York, so I knew it would be good. True to form and Anish’s good taste, it was fantastic.
Eately is hard to explain. But here’s the gist – it’s a huge market with tiny shops inside. Delicatessens, cheese shops, artisan foods stores, gourmet Italian, espresso bars, and more. It’s also home to several restaurants–some right in the middle of the market. If you’re a food lover, you’ll love this place. Just go. No questions asked.
Walk in through the side door and grab an espresso with shaved dark chocolate from Caffe Lavazza. Make your way through the crowds, stopping to look at the fresh pasta shop. Nibble on a bit of cheese from the cheese stall. Buy a few Italian sweets while you make your way.
When you reach the heart of Eataly, you’ve made it to La Piazza. Stop there and take a rest at one of the standing marble tables. Grab a menu and order a plate of cheeses and meats. If you’re feeling sassy, get a bottle of wine too.
Get a bottle of wine even if you’re not.
Sip your wine and obsess over how fresh the mozzarella is. How you’ve never tasted anything like it. Exclaim over the prosciutto. Feel sophisticated. You’re a real New Yorker tonight.
Afterwards, follow our lead and head to the rooftop restaurant, Birreria. Drink the beer made in-house and eat a delicious dinner there under the New York skyline, with the Empire State Building in view. Look around at the wonderful friends you’re sharing this evening with and be content. Cheers to a wonderful friend’s birthday. Be happy.
Eataly is a recipe for a good time (har de har har ). But really, just go.
A few weeks ago after I returned home from Georgia the second time, we went down to New York for the weekend. It was our dear friend Kevin’s birthday, and his parents, who we adore, were in town. We always have an amazing time when we’re with Kevin and his family; we couldn’t miss his birthday. Anish’s mama had been visiting in Boston, so she went down with us. We got in late off the bus, dropped our things at the hotel, and then went downtown for a guaranteed-to-be-amazing late night meal–a slice of artichoke pizza from Artichoke.
The next morning, we woke to the news of the Boston bombings stand-off and watched the news until we ventured out for a late breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien. It’s a chain, I know (I usually avoid chains), but I still adore that place. The tea and scones are heavenly. We headed uptown later after a little shopping to meet Kevin and his parents at his place for some afternoon drinks and catching up.
The evening was reserved to celebrate Kev’s birthday, but we had plenty of time for an afternoon at the Met. It was my first time and I wandered the halls in awe. The Met sits on the edge of Central Park, imposing and proud. The halls inside never end. It’s a dreamy place to spend a Friday afternoon. We didn’t even make a dent. We were there for a couple of hours and we barely scratched the surface. I stood in front of Monet. Degas. It’s a glorious feeling to be in the presence of legendary art, isn’t it?
It was a wonderful start to the weekend, and just like in the Met, we had barely scratched the surface.
I‘ve been visiting the State Botanical Garden in Athens, Georgia since I could walk. Maybe even before that. We used to go in the summers when we would stay at Ma and Pa’s for a few weeks. In the dense Georgia heat, we would walk through the Flower Gardens and onto one of the many trails leading down to the Middle Oconee River. From the groomed gardens, we would enter the woods and walk down, down the sloping hill through the deer gate and beyond until we reached the rushing river.
I have many fond memories of that place, so I was eager to get back to it. On Monday before I left Georgia (only to return a week later, though I didn’t know it yet), Jesse, my cousin Danielle and I drove over to the Garden and set off on the Orange Trail. We were feeling adventurous, so we took the Orange all the way to the White and trekked the 4+ miles until we made it back to the car. It took a couple hours, but the sun was shining, it was warm (not hot), and we were happy.
If you’re ever in Athens and need something to do, besides visiting UGA’s campus and the sweet little downtown area which is a must, head on over to the Botanical Gardens for the afternoon. It’s a breath of fresh air.
Rewinding back to my first trip to Athens almost four weeks ago. I’ll go from there to catch you up on what’s been going on in my world. Remember the first post I wrote about my other home?
After spending two days in Atlanta with Amy, my amazing mama friend who I’m somewhat related to, Jesse came and picked me up and took me to Athens. I had had a wonderful time with Amy and the kids for the two short days that I was with them. Friday was especially sweet – we spent the morning getting pampered (massages and facials! Thanks Amy!!) and then went to Lenox Square Mall to shop for bathing suits.
Soon (to soon!), it was time for me to go to Athens. Jesse came and picked me up late and we drove back in the dark on the familiar lanes of 316. We rolled down the hill that leads straight down to Ma and Pa’s, where Mom lives, around midnight.
From that moment on, the weekend was a whirlwind! We woke up the next morning and spent a while outside in the backyard. My sweet (wild) pup, Gatsby, lives with Mom now and I hadn’t seen him since I left. He was so excited, and so was I. After a while and many slobbery kisses later, we headed out for coffee at Jittery Joe’s. We visited Mom at work, walked down around UGA’s campus, and zipped around Athens to explore while we waited for Mom to get off work. Then lunch at Schlotzsky’s for my favorite sandwich in the world. After, we went home to visit with my Aunt M and cousins who had come in for Easter. Danielle. Morgon, Russell, and their babies.
We went to the park where we (Danielle, Morgon, Jesse, and I) had played as kids. We walked the trails, slid down the same slides, and played in the waterfall. We ended the night at home eating take-out wings, another family tradition.
Sunday was Easter, so Mom, Jesse, and I woke up early and went to their church. The Easter service was so vibrant and cheerful, and the people there were so kind—you couldn’t help but leave smiling. Back at home, we opened up Easter baskets with the littles and then started cooking the Easter feast while folks napped off and on, and Disney movies played in the living room while the babies ran in and out.
Our menu: Grilled leg of lamb. Roasted chicken and vegetables. Stuffed mushrooms. Green bean casserole. Homemade cornbread. And strawberry peach pie with vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. It was an amazing dinner and we devoured it.
At the end of the day, we had an egg hunt. S., the oldest at only three, ran around picking up eggs until his basket was overflowing and he needed another. Little E., just one, picked up some eggs before she figured out that opening and closing each egg was much more fun.
By Sunday evening, everyone was tired, but happy. The weekend went by in the blink of an eye, but we were content and that was all that mattered.
Athens. You beautiful, sweet little city. It had been far too long since I’d seen you.
A year and a half ago, I packed up my car until there was only space for Anish and I to sit. He had flown down to drive me up to Boston… for good. I had just come back that morning from Destin and got home to a surprise party with my Mom, closest friends, and Anish. We celebrated my birthday and departure, and that evening, we drove out of Mom’s driveway, headed north to Boston. How far we’ve come in the last couple of years!
It was so good to be back this weekend. Not a thing had changed, which was both surprising and comforting. The weather was fantastic–warm and sunny. Jesse and I spent some time wandering around North Campus at UGA and downtown Athens. It felt strange to be back there and not be a student. Fond memories.
Good ol’ Athens, Georgia.
Happy Easter (a day late), friends! I’m having the best long weekend in Athens with my family. I was too busy hunting eggs with sweet baby cousins yesterday to post something on the blog, but I’ll be back tomorrow with photos and stories from Athens and Easter. Happy Monday!
Today is the DAY, y’all. I’m flying south for spring and running away from the never-ending winter that has gripped Boston in its icy claws for far too long. I AM SO EXCITED. I haven’t been to Georgia since Thanksgiving… I am ready for the food and most of all, my family!
So yeah, I don’t have much to talk about today because –
Georgia is on my mind!
On that note, I leave you with Ray Charles and his classic song. See you soon Atlanta!
I‘m itching to take a trip. This always happens when I’ve been at home for an extended period of time. I start feeling that antsy feeling, and a voice inside me whispers, “Go somewhere.”
It might be my love for wandering and adventure, or it could just be cabin fever during the neverending winter. Either way, I’m ready to hit the road. (The Jetblue deals for island vacations aren’t helping.) Luckily for me, I’m heading to Georgia at the end of the month, so that’s kind of a consolation.
I also came across this video today that helps ease the pain of yearning for a trip. A road trip through 33 states in the U.S. Shown in a 5 minute time-lapse compilation.
Without further ado, I present to you “Drivelapse USA” from the interesting folks at Defrees Productions.