06 September 2009

From the Top of the Rocks

Well, yesterday was Laura's birthday, so we spent the evening in the city. It's a funny thing, but the whole experience made me feel, for the first time, that I'm actually living here in New York.

We took a train into Grand Central and then hopped the Subway from there to our first destination, a lovely Mexican restaurant called Rosa Mexicano. While the entrées were priced a bit outside our budgets, we took advantage of their sizable and reasonably priced appetizer menu to build for ourselves a meal. Jamie and Laura each ordered the tortilla soup for a "first course," and were surprised to see it come to the table in two vessels apiece: they were each given a bowl with a little heap of chicken, fried tortilla strips, queso fresco, and avocado, and then our server poured in over the mound a thick, brick-red soup. I ordered the house salad to start off, which was a pile of mixed greens, shredded carrots and jicama, quarters red and yellow grape tomatoes, and a delicate, sweet-and-spicy vinaigrette with mint and sweet peppers.

Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, we got our second dishes. Laura and Jamie had ordered the flautas and taquitos, respectively, and I ordered a dish called "Zarape de Pato," which will go down in history as one of the most delectable dishes that has ever passed between these lips. It was made of tender, juicy, seasoned duck, shredded with spices and sandwiched between two soft corn tortillas and drenched over with a smooth, sweet, creamy puréed corn sauce. It was fantastic, sweet, spicy, smokey, and the duck was cooked as I've never seen it before--not chewy, not stringy, not tough, and not overly gamey. We left very full and very happy, and walked next to Rockefeller Square, where we had previously purchased tickets to go up to the "Top of the Rocks," at the top of the Rockefeller building. I need say not a thing--here are the photos:

Some of them are a little blurry, but I think it only adds to the charm.

You always here people describe the lights of New York City, the silver and neon, the sky that's never black, but it's another thing entirely to see it, and from above. Looking out over the city, with the golden September moon above me, I cannot say that I felt as though I were home. But I can say that this whole experience no longer felt like summer camp.

We walked about the city a little more after that and then caught a 10:30 train back to Bronxville. We were tired and our feet were thrashed, but we'd had a lovely time.

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