Best. Gift. Ever.
We stayed at the Casablanca Hotel in Times Square - the same place we stayed two years ago. I love this hotel. Perfect location, nice rooms and awesome concierge level with a European-style outdoor patio.
And they are always leave this nice "Happy Birthday" wine bottle for my mom. Her birthday is actually on Christmas, but that's not a good time for us to travel so we celebrate in the summer.
Here are some of the highlights of the trip.
9/11 MEMORIAL MUSEUM
We were so fortunate that the museum had recently opened to the public. There are no words to describe the experience. We spent two hours in the museum. Could have spent longer. There were tears, but we left feeling proud of our country.
The pictures above and below show a memorial to those that could not be recovered from Ground Zero.
All members of Ladder Company 3 were inside the North Tower still heading up to those trapped in the building when the tower collapsed.
A piece of facade from the North Tower from the floors that were struck by the airplane.
The slurry wall. This was built in 1966 for the construction of the World Trade Center to prevent the river water from seeping in and flooding the site. When the North and South towers collapsed, there was concern that the integrity of the slurry wall may have been compromised, causing flooding. This would have significantly affected the rescue efforts. Fortunately, the slurry wall held. It still freaked me out to be standing so close to it, so vulnerable. The wall is massive. You can see the tiny people looking down at the wall in the top left corner of the photo. Also pictured, the Last Column to be taken down at Ground Zero in the center of the room.
One of the pools at the 9/11 Memorial. There were many flowers placed on the ledges.
The outside of the the 9/11 Memorial Museum
I cannot stop singing Carole King's songs. This musical was the best I've seen in a long time, possibly in my Top 5 (along with Wicked, Book of Mormon, Jersey Boys and The Lion King).
We also saw Kinky Boots. It was fun and had some good music.
Hands down this is my favorite meal of the day to enjoy in NYC. There are so many delicious restaurants to choose from.
Rock Center Cafe at Rockefeller Center
Some of my other favorite brunch spots in NYC are Norma's at Le Parker Meridian, Bouchon at Columbus Circle, Sarabeth's and Junior's in Times Square.
There is no better place to abandon my sugar-free diet for a few days than NYC. I have died and gone to Treat Heaven. Here are some of the best.
We bought 26 cookies on our way to the airport before heading home. We didn't mess around this time. I had to see if my attempt at making the Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie was at all close to the original. Here's the real deal:
Oh my sweet goodness...And here's my attempt:
I purposefully made mine smaller because it's hard to justify eating an 8 oz cookie in one sitting. My cookies were about 4-5 oz each but not too shabby for my first attempt! I just have to figure out how to not let them spread as much so their more chubby.
There were so many delicious bakeries to choose from. We ended up going with Ruthy's and she didn't disappoint!
Mom loved the cannoli!
We stopped by one of the farmers markets in my old neighborhood to see if my favorite baked goods from Meredith's Bread were still there. The sweet breads are the best!
Happy birthday Mom! xoxoxo
PS - My mom and I saw the Lambert Airport STL 250 cake by the American Airlines ticket counter, but we were racing to our gate so I didn't get a chance to take a picture by it. None-the-less, I'm still counting it toward my cake total.