God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Walking Greenwich & So Much More

Saturday morning broke sunny and warm--nice for October in NYC--making me glad that my winter parka was still in the back closet at home, thanks to wise advise from friend Vicky. We people from SoCal do not acclimate well to cold--which is anything below 60ยบ. I even opted to leave my light leather coat from Florence in the hotel closet.

Sheri, Carol, Leslie and I found the subway, which I kept calling the metro, causing constant correction, which makes no sense to me as the card clearly says metro.
We correctly got on the train that was going to where we needed to be for the short jaunt to where we were to meet our guide for the Greenwich Village Food and Culture Walking Tour. At this point we were without Vicky and Rosie who still needed to get to the hotel, register and, hopefully, get the subway/metro to where we were before the tour started. I was worried about this.

Sephra--Great Guide
At the meet-up point, we met Sephra who was a pure delight. I really think she was a poorly paid comedic actor who was supplementing the pantry as a guide. She was cute, funny, knowledgeable, personable, friendly and pregnant. By the time the other members of the tour arrived, we knew the tour was going to be a fun 3 hours.

Sheri, Leslie, Carol and Me

Finally it was time to start walking but Vicky and Rosie were still on the subway/metro somewhere. Fortunately, our first food stop--Joe's Pizza--was almost on top of the exit stairs so just as Sephra began extolling the virtues of the "slice of pie" we were about to enjoy, our two women popped up and joined us--perfect timing.   
Rosie, Carol, Leslie, Me, Sheri, Vicky
The next three+ hours we walked the village, stopping every 5 minutes or so for a bite to eat at a vast variety of establishments. By the end of the time, we had consumed a whole meal--no need for lunch. Sephra shared stories and legends of the village. We learned where Lady Gaga got her start as a waitress (failed); the location of the origin of off-Broadway theater; where Tom Cruise was dining that night (unless Sephra was joshing); where speakeasies plied their trade and lots more. Next time I'm in NYC, I think I'll do another one of their tours; hopefully Sephra represents the quality of all the guides. She was a joy.

About now we were tired and full so decided to return to the hotel, kick back and prepare for what we knew was going to be an excellent Italian dinner. Things got a little complicated trying to figure out which subway line to take back and where to get off; finally after a 6 way discussion, we were pretty sure we knew. And we did--except we got off a stop too early and so extended our walk for several blocks and another meander through Times Square. OK--I thought, more exercise, more lost pounds--more on that later.

After mastering the subway/metro, we decided that we should use it again to get to dinner. How hard could it be? We just had to transfer trains at one point--not hard to do in Europe or England--but, there they have signage and boards that make sense, even when in another language. Whereas NY requires psychic powers or the wisdom to seek directions from someone in the know--which we discovered is not someone trying to read a subway map. Eventually we did get the connecting train, after searching for and finding the two block tunnel we needed to traverse to the other tracks.

So the six of us were on board a very crowded car, relieved when we studied the route map and knew we were headed the right way. When we arrived at our station, Sheri, Leslie, Rosie, Vicky and I pushed our way out the door, following the lead of real New Yorkers, relieved to be free. But.....as the train pulled out, we saw Carol, mouth agape, staring at us from the other side of the window, on the way to the next stop. Now what to do?

We five headed on to the restaurant, skittish by now so stopped 3 times in 2 blocks to get directions, hoping that Carol would find her way. After a harrowing experience at the next stop, which was virtually deserted, she arrived by taxi, a little disheveled and flustered, but nothing that a glass of wine or two couldn't repair.

Now onto Pepolino--yes! What a great meal we had--so Italian! It was almost like being in Italy except a little more crowded and noisy than restaurants there. There was such an aura of authenticity with the totally Italian staff, wines and food. And the food-----was delicious. I started with a fig and ricotta bruschetta antipasto followed by a whole, grilled branzino, which is often my choice in Italy. It was delish! Everyone raved about their meal--even Leslie after she sent her first primi back for being too salty. 

I know that there are 100's of good restaurants in NY, but, if and when I go again, it will be difficult not to return to Pepolino. We have nothing this good in San Diego--or at least as far as we have found.

After dinner, prudently, we took taxis back to the hotel--no more subways this day.

And so ended day two of our adventure. It was well worth the long travel from California. Tomorrow--breakfast with more friends, Eataly and the theater.


barb cabot said...

Wonderful wonderful wonderful. Thanks for all the details...so great to hear all about it and see photos. Clearly a great great time had by all.

Amy said...

Sounds like a fun day! Glad you enjoyed Pepolino. Isn't the bartender adorable?

Anne said...

$20 for one lollipop?? Hope it was gold plated! Glad you are enjoying yourself, such times to just hang out and be with our women friends are often precious and few in our lives. Carpe diem when they come along!

Jane said...

Hi Anne, well, it wasn't Venice but it was still fun with good friends. We did have a good time. You are right--we need more time with our women friends--just to be us. Need to plan more such opportunities. I want to hear about your time in Italy. I just read that you made some killer food.

nancyhol said...

Your dinner looks delish!