Thursday, January 31, 2008

Top Ten Restaurants

Top 10 Restaurants I've Been to in New York City (not really in order). Please keep in mind we are far from high rollers and live in the neighborhood of Washington Heights which has a huge culinary shortage.

Tao - could be considered a chain because there is one in Las Vegas and is decidedly tourist-ridden, but the food is delicious and the prices are high, but not out of this world for a special occasion.

Carmine's - Family-style Italian - always go with a group and don't miss the lemon butter chicken which isn't on the menu and the "tugboat" which is a scaled down version of the "Titanic" ice cream dessert. I've been many times, usually when friends or family is in town, and each time is very fun and memorable.

before sinking the Titanic

Shanghai Joe's - I don't know if I can forgive Joe's bathroom, which was one of the worst disasters I've ever seen in my entire life, but the food was good Chinese smorgageboard. You sit with complete strangers at your table, but it seems to work out fine.

Ollie's - the Upper West Side location at 86th St. seems to be the best. All of the locations do their menu slightly differently but the General Tso's chicken here is my favorite in the city. Service is very fast and prices are cheap.

Saigon Grill - We tried this place because it was in Columbia's Guide to the City and went back many times for the lightning fast service, amazing spring rolls, yummy Vietnamese dishes and the ability to accommodate large groups at a moment's notice.

Yu II - I had to include Yu II because it's my favorite Washington Heights restaurant though we don't go too much because it's sushi and you can't eat that every weekend.

Citrus Grill - We went here for Valentine's Day and were subjected to a special overpriced menu. It was still really good though, but is better on regular days for half price.

Ruby Foo's - I just love Asian food. Good service and atmosphere.

La Vela - Inexpensive Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. I've tasted several of the dishes and love them all, especially the Pollo Al' Forno.

Max's Soha - I loved that the employees were willing to move heaven and earth (and all of their other customers) to fit Charlotte's stroller in this tiny restaurant near Columbia's main campus. The prices are amazingly low and I've been back a couple times for the rich, lasts-for-two-meals lasagna.

**Had to leave off some of the great restaurants I went to during working lunches. I think everything tastes great when you're not paying, don't you?

Dishonorable Mentions:

Mars 2112 - Where do I even start? We went here with friends several years ago and I still vividly remember the sickening "ride" you HAVE to take to get to the eating area, the absolutely overpriced terrible, alternating rubbery and rock hard food, non-existent service (yet a 18% automatic tip added on) and the rat that Helaman spied in the corner.

Maxine's - No one in my family appreciated the huge portions of semi-frozen entrees or the fact that you were subject to a "sharing fee" if you wanted to split it with someone in this Times Square joint.

Roxy's - Owned by the same peeps as Maxine's featuring $20 sandwiches with absolutely nothing but meat on them (not even a swipe of mayonnaise) and never-ending fees.

dislocating my jaw to get a bite

Honorable and Dishonorable Mention:

Serendipity III

The Good: We've had many good times with visiting friends and family here eating the delicious, rich ice cream and amazing frozen hot chocolate. I've loved our girls' mornings out here chatting in the rain and freezing temps while we wait.

The Bad: Employees of this restaurant are complete snobs and the service reflects it. They also don't allow strollers (even folded up ones) though once some of our friends coming straight from the airport brought about 200 pounds of luggage and there was no problem with that. There is usually a 2-3 hour wait to get in, though once you get in you notice that a LOT of the tables are empty. Last but not least - we all know about the closing due to roaches.

taking the good with the bad

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


So yesterday Helaman got an email at 8:45 am telling him that he was matched to the University of Texas-Southwestern/Parkland Memorial Hospital located in Dallas, TX for his oral surgery residency. We are VERY excited to move there for the next 6 years, especially since it is just 3-4 hours from Houston, where my parents and two brothers live. He graduates in May, and then will start the residency on July 1. I'm so proud of Helaman, who has worked super hard since Day 1 of dental school to get to this point.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

07 Roundup

I've enjoyed reading so many other year end round up posts from other bloggers I thought I'd throw together my own, before January is over.

January 2007: Helaman put together Charlotte's crib and we squeezed it into a corner of our bedroom. I got a great raise at work which I thoroughly enjoyed for the next couple months.

February 2007: We went to one of the many New York restaurants that has a "special" (read: way more expensive) Valentine's Day menu. It was delicious. Spent most of our weekends at Coldstone Creamery.

March 2007: Charlotte arrived two weeks early. Subsequent panic set in and my mom came to our rescue.
April 2007: Charlotte's first everything. Pete came for the weekend to help with a 2 hour Ollie's run.

May 2007: Phil and Jen visit for Memorial Day weekend. A mediocre season of 24 ends. Parent payoff in the form of more frequent smiles.
June 2007: Charlotte and I spend the month in Houston getting spoiled while Helaman does externships.
July 2007: A rained-out 4th. Many trips to Central Park.

August 2007: Visited the Ericksons in Salt Lake and spent a lot of time in Park City.

September 2007: Charlotte tried baby food. We create a bedroom for her out of the hallway to sleep at night to save our sanity.

October 2007: Pete visits again, he couldn't get enough of the subway. We carved a lot of pumpkins. Charlotte got several Halloween costumes and then ended up going to bed early on the big night.

November 2007: In Houston again while Helaman interviews for Oral Surgery residencies all over the nation. Took a family vacation to the Massachusetts Berkshires for a week to experience our last New England fall.

December 2007: Trekked to the Brooklyn Bridge to take our Christmas picture. Spent Christmas in Houston.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

three of my favorite things

Charlotte in the bath. She's graduated from her baby tub and enjoys the backstroke.

Can we get on with breakfast?
Thanks to mom for coverting this dish towel into a full coverage bib and making her cute new pink bow since I lost the last one. I try to always have Charlotte in a bow out in public. I know it shouldn't bother me, but I can't take any more "He has such big eyes!" comments.

Making an escape in a sleep sac. Watching her scoot around the living room in this is great entertainment (since there is no good TV on). Note to self: wash wood floors asap!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 14, 2008

on the move

Thanks Jen and Phil for brightening up an otherwise post-holiday "blah" month with their new baby Wade. Hopefully we can get a picture of him with his eyes open soon!

Charlotte has become mobile at long last. Once she saw kids younger than her at playgroup scooting around, she decided to get off her diaper and start moving. Just crawling for now, but as you can see she is anxiously training for her first steps using her grandparents' Christmas gift to her.

Helaman is now studying for Part II of the Board exams (he took Part I two years ago), and waiting for Match Day on the 28th.

rising up out of a sea of toys
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 03, 2008

9 months

We enjoyed our Christmas in Houston very much. Charlotte was very excited with all the presents and people around to give her attention.

The weather was awesome, so we took a trip to the zoo.
Charlotte didn't know what to make of the carousel when it started going up and down.
She also got reacquainted with her aunt Katie and uncles Mark and Steve. Shy at first, but warmed up quick.

Cutest kids ever

The cousins had a lot of fun playing together. Helaman and I enjoyed the warm weather, being able to drive places, and grandparents who loved taking care of Charlotte. We were able to go to a performance of "It's a Wonderful Life", Helaman went to a Rockets game with my brothers and mom, set off fireworks on the driveway on New Year's Eve, and ate as much ice cream as possible. Vacations are always too short!

Today Charlotte went to her 9 month checkup and flu shot, weighing in at 17 lbs. 2 oz. and measuring 28 inches. I'd have thought she'd weigh a lot more since she has been eating everything she sees, but apparently it is going straight through her! She's trying her best to crawl but gets discouraged easily. She's certainly missing all the attention she got at Christmas!

Posted by Picasa