Two weekends ago, Therese and I took off half of Friday and all of Monday and had ourselves a vacation at home (not to be confused with a stay-cation - more on that below).
Friday morning, Therese went to her office for a few hours, and I did some computer work at home. I met her at lunchtime at the Metropolitan Museum to begin our fun weekend. She treated me to lunch at the Petrie Court cafe: http://www.metmuseum.org/visit/plan-your-visit/dining-at-the-museum/petrie-court-cafe-and-wine-bar. I had a Jerusalem-artichoke salad (don't usually like frisee, but lightly sauteed, it was quite pleasant) and herb-roasted chicken salad, while Therese had the Wild Mushroom Bisque. We paired them with the suggested beverages - an Ommegang Hennepin beer for me and some sort of white wine for Therese (not realizing that doing so saved each of us $2 over just ordering from their beverage list. Another pleasant surprise was the size of the portions - I remember Petrie as giving very small portions, but these were huge - I would've been stuffed just from the chicken salad alone...
So no better way to work off a big lunch than to walk around and see some incredible art. Our focus was on seeing the new Islamic Wing: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/10/30/arts/design/20111030-met-islamic-wing.html. It was fabulous. Therese liked the room full of Arabic rugs, while my favorite was the blue ceramic Mihrabs. I also liked the section on Andalucia, the section of Spain that was ruled by the Moors for over 6 centuries. It reminded me of the Alcazar in Sevilla, the Alhambra and so many other breathtaking Arabic architectural ornaments you can find in Spain.
After leaving the museum, we discovered we could take the bus to get pretty close to our next destination, the Church of Holy Innocents near Penn Station: http://www.innocents.com/schedule.asp. The first Friday of every month, there is a special all-night vigil that begins with a 6pm Mass for the Sacred Heart. My friend Charlie Weaver leads the chant choir, and that gives me a chance to sing traditional Gregorian chants. This was the first time Therese has gotten to hear me sing chant, and she was delighted. http://www.latinmassnyc.org/
Friday evening was a quiet one for us - we wanted to be home early so we could get a good night's sleep and prepare for Saturday.
The main activity for Saturday was attending the Live in HD broadcast of Wagner's "Siegfried" put on by the Metropolitan Opera. But we went to the Brooklyn Academy's Rose Theater to attend a pre-opera lecture given by opera and Wagner aficionado Fred Plotkin, followed by watching and listening to the opera. http://www.bam.org/view.aspx?pid=3472
There were two 30-minute intermissions, and we were ready - we had brought a kind of picnic lunch, made up mostly of goodies I bought from the Fairway Supermarket on Broadway and 74th Street: http://www.fairwaymarket.com/store-upper-west-side/. We ate Pinot Grigiot-infused sausage and cheese on French bread, seedless grapes, Pate de Champagne, washed down with Snapple iced teas. Mmmm, yummy. The music was amazing, the intermission interviews somewhat less so (Renee Fleming is not so good at interviewing people...). The new tenor who sang Siegfried was quite good, the singers were excellent all-around. Now if they could just figure out what to do with that dragon...
Saturday night we were wiped out a bit, so we stayed in and ate leftovers of our wonderful picnic food. I made us up a couple of huge charcuterie plates, we watched some Food Network shows, and we were good to go.
Sunday morning was another early one - we had to make a sign to root on Therese's cousin ken who was running in the NYC Marathon. We had figured out how to negotiate around the transit alterations to get pretty close to the mile 17 marker, 1st avenue and 77th street. And we had calculated when Ken and his girlfriend Karen would be passing by. Miracle of miracles, we saw Ken - or rather he saw us and ran over to wave at us! We missed Karen, though. It was fun rooting on the runners - our first time ever doing that.
Well, after rooting on runners, we found we had worked up an appetite - you know, taking turns holding the sign over our heads for minutes at a time was tiring! So on our way back to the bus, we stopped in for brunch at Per Lei: http://perleinyc.com/perlei/index.html. We started with glasses of Prosecco, followed by an ink squid linguini Fruiti di Mare for me and some wonderful stuffed crepes with a scrumptious tomato sauce for Therese. A nice little romantic bistro - good food and good atmosphere.
A New York thing to do on Sunday is read the mammoth Sunday NY Times, and we decided we would spend the afternoon doing just that, accompanied by a lovely bottle of red Spanish wine, Protocolo, that I bought Therese for her birthday a few weeks ago: http://www.tintofino.com/detail.php?id=734. She tackled the Travel and Arts and Leisure sections and the Magazine, while I went straight for the crossword puzzle.
We finished up Sunday watching two of our favorite tv shows, "The Next Iron Chef" and "Pan Am": http://www.foodnetwork.com/the-next-iron-chef/index.html
Monday we slept in and then both spent a good deal of time doing admin catch-up (I know, not very vacation-like). Then I made us lunch (sorry, I don't remember what that was!), and in the afternoon we went to Trader Joe's to do a grocery run and stock up on lots of our favorite frozen prepared foods: http://www.yelp.com/biz/trader-joes-new-york-5.
We finished up Monday, and our long weekend, with dinner with Therese's work colleague Ken at Park Avenue Autumn, the seasonally themed restaurant on Park and 63rd: http://parkavenyc.com/autumn/. The food was very good, and the atmosphere was better, and the hospitality hostess gave us free glasses of dessert wine to apologize for a door that kept hitting Therese's chair. A great housewine, and the company was the best thing of all. We can't wait to go back for the winter version of the restaurant in December!
So there you have it! We live here in NYC, and it is so easy with our busy lives to miss out on so many of the great events and things there are to do here. So for one weekend at least, we acted like tourists and did a whole bunch of those things. Very different from a stay-cation, I think (except for Monday when we did our admin...), where you take time off to put in new drapes or whatever. And delightful! We are already planning when our next vacation weekend in NYC is going to be!