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New York City Weekend – WTC Memorial

17 Oct

Good morning!

I’m finally going to get started on some highlights from our NYC trip.

But first, breakfast!

Two scrambled eggs, a dash of parsley, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, half of an avocado, drizzled with Ed’s homemade spicy (for him, not me) tomatillo sauce.  I sided it up with a small glass of orange juice and a few sips of coffee.  The same pumpkin spice I left on the coffee table on Monday morning.  A “few sips” being the perfect choice of words.  It wasn’t very tasty 2 days later, but I don’t like to waste.  So, I gave it a shot.

World Trade Center Memorial

My friend Kelly and I escaped Maryland via Bolt Bus on Friday afternoon to go visit her sister, Elsa, who lives in Queens, NY.  She moved there about a year and a half about and we’ve been discussing a trip there together for some time.

My attempt to beat bus ride boredom. I read ZERO pages in that book.

The bus ride was quiet and the two of us chatted for the better half of it as well as a quick nap since sleep was not on the itinerary for the next couple nights.

We arrived NYC at around 8PM and bolted to their friend Ken’s place to drop our bags off before dinner at Lena Latin Grill.  We were hungry and I gobbled up my grilled chicken with tomatillo and avocado sauce (Yum!), sweet plantains and fried yuca in no time.  Since our bus was so late, we headed to Queens to rest up for an early morning at the WTC Memorial.

On our way to the World Trade Center Memorial, Elsa convinced me that a bacon, cream cheese bagel is the best street car breakfast in NYC.  I didn’t argue since I was hungry and there just happened to be one of many food carts outside the memorial.

Bagels, cream cheese and bacon are three of my favorite cheat items.  So, what can I say, I approved.

The memorial has come a long way since I visited Ground Zero last in 2008.  While there is still some to be done to put the finishing touches and officially open it to the public, it was quite a different site from what happened just over 11 years ago.

While waiting in line for our 11:30AM entrance, Kelly and I discussed where we were and how we found out about the tragedy that surrounded that day.  I was in 9th grade and in 2nd block gym class when we walked by the television inside the fitness center.  That was my first glimpse of the first tower and eventually the hit of the second.

South Pool

Ken, Elsa, Kelly

Even though I was a young 14 year old, the phrase “terrorist attack” was not something I had much knowledge of before that day.  From my memory, I think many people, older and younger, had to take a moment or two to figure it all out from afar that day.  Some couldn’t bare the site of it, while others chose to ignore it completely.

The memorial still has some final touches they are working on, but the beauty of the grounds was obviously there.

The Survivor Tree

North Pool

Rainbow across the North Pool

Needless to say, we left the memorial with a deeper honor for those whose lives were lost that day.

We will never forget.

After spending our morning at the memorial we headed on to enjoy the rest of our day in the city.

Where were you on September 11th, 2001?

Ladies’ Night – Cuba de Ayer

24 Aug

Girls night happened Thursday night in a fun and unexpected fashion and included a few special ladies.

My friend Kelly and her daughters, Cienna and Charlotte were in the area where I live (they only live about 35 minutes away, but in rush hour DC time, this is a rare occasion) and wanted to meet for dinner.  Of course, I worked 45 minutes late and was currently in my work parking lot when she called.


But Kelly was persistent and it took a whole 30 seconds to convince me to meet her and the girls for dinner.  They’re currently having a “staycation” while most daycare’s are not in business being the week before school and dad is traveling for work.  Kelly wanted “Spanish like food” and I immediately thought of a great place, but I can never remember the name.  So, a quick Google search and text to another friend while sitting in traffic and I found I was only 10 minutes away from Cuba de Ayer.

Isn’t it such an eye sore from the outside?  I’ve been here twice before and it has DELICIOUS and authentic Cuban food.

We started the meal with Tostones Relleno which included stuffed green plantains with shredded beef.


Just so we’re clear, this was a nice place.  Our meals were not served in styrofoam trays…this was a post dinner shot of a Totstones Relleno which made it back home with me 🙂

Then we ordered our main dishes.  I ordered Ropa Vieja.  I had only ordered pork here before and the beef did not disappoint.  So, tasty! The sweet plantains and black beans were spot on too.  Rice…yeah…that went home in a box for my husband 🙂

The above is a photo of my dish from their website.  I couldn’t get a good shot before the food hit my mouth.

While dessert was tempting, we knew we would be back without kids to indulge in their homemade Rum Cake.


The only down fall of this hole in the wall gem is the space.  While we were there on time and able to get a comfortable table, it gets crowded, fast!  There is no waiting area which means when you wait, you are standing right in someones dining area.  I’ve been on both sides.  Both are awkward.

As you may remember from my Simple Things A to Z post, Ed and I are local food restaurant snobs.  We love hole in the wall places and make it a point to avoid chain restaurants at all costs for date nights.  Our taste buds usually thank us.

Maryland Friends

Kelly became a fast friend when I first moved here.  Her, her husband, Jake, and two girls transferred to MD from Miami, FL the same time I did from Cleveland, Ohio in April 2011.

“Yes, there were some tense basketball conversations this past season.  Obviously, I lost.”

Jake and I worked for the same agency while Kelly also got a job at the time they were transferring (Talk about perfect timing!).  Kelly and I work on the same campus and were put in the same orientation class.  We quickly found we both shared a lot of the same tastes for fun and new experiences in life and have since spent lots of time planning events from tea parties to rock climbing.

Moulin de Paris Evening Tea – June 2012

We started experiencing Maryland/DC together.  She encouraged me to go back to school to finish my masters degree and has made it her goal to find a home for Ed and I closer to her house.

Elyse – “What about this house?”
Kelly – “Nope, to far from me.”

And that’s, that.

We’re planning a girls getaway to NYC to visit her sister, Elsa (Maria) in October.  We are SO excited!  It’s sure to be a weekend of crazy girl events, typical touristy attractions (Like maybe the Cake Boss store!) and very little sleep.

So, now I ask you…

“What would you do on a girls weekend to New York City?”

P.S. Did you know you can “Follow” my blog through through your email?  Take a look to the right of your screen and click the “Follow” button to keep up with more food reviews, recipes and workout routines!

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