Counting Down the Rollercoasters!

Sunday, June 13, 2010



Chapter 1: Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army?
Time just flies when you’re having fun and today, Monday 7 June is our third day in New York. In keeping with our theme of doing some different activities – many which Barb had either not done or hadn’t been to in a very long time – we wanted to go to an authentic NY deli. And you can’t get more authentic than Katz’s. Located in the East Village, Katz is regularly voted in the top deli’s and it has a wall of photos with famous movie, television and sports stars, politicians, celebrities and other famous people who have eaten at Katz. Our brush with fame was the actor George Hamilton who walked in and was seated at the table right next to us! Despite looking paler than usual, George looked pretty good for 72! And it wasn’t long before the Katz people came over, camera in hand looking for a photo op for the wall. The other cool thing was that while we weren’t sitting at it, we were sitting at the table next to the site of Meg Ryan's and Estelle Reiner's famous "I'll have what she's having" fake orgasm scene in the 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally. The table at which Meg and Billy Crystal sat, is marked with a sign that says "Where Harry met Sally...hope you have what she had!". Anyway, to the food. A huge pile of pickled pickles and tomatoes were delivered to our table to crunch on while we deliberated over the menu. Being a traditional Jewish deli, we shared knishes (fried turnover filled with meat and cheese) and latkes (crispy potato pancakes fried in oil) with sour cream and apple sauce, Justyn went the soup and sandwich - chicken noodle soup and a half brisket sandwich, Kelly and I ordered the deli special Rueben on rye (corned beef, swiss cheese, russian sauerkraut combo) and bagel, lox and cream cheese split them, and Barb had the salami sandwich. All very very tasty and delicious and it totally lived up to expectations. Another fabulous New York moment!

PS: During World War II, Katz’s encouraged parents to “send a salami to your boy in the army” which became one of the deli’s famous catch phrases, along with “Katz’s, that’s all!” which is still painted on the side of the building.

Chapter 2: Late Nights with Jimmy Fallon (at 4pm in the afternoon… pssst its not live on the telly!)
Justyn is a particular fan of Jimmy Fallon, I quite enjoy watching him, Barb likes him to and Kelly had no idea who he was! (FYI he hosts a daily night late night talk show similar to David Letterman and Jay Leno). J was determined to get tickets to see him – they are free and you have to call within a certain time period to get tickets to the day you want, so he had called a few times while we were at home – but Barb came to the rescue again via Soul Joel who knew a writer on the show and voila! We had four tickets set aside for us for the day we wanted. Another BIG thank you to Barb and to Soul Joel. The taping started at 5:30pm but we had to be at the NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Place around 4pm to pick up the tickets. Getting a little lost, we eventually found the floor, the location, talked the guy into giving us the tickets and then queued. Again. Hey, this is a coaster holiday and queuing is mandatory! Finally we were ushered into the studio and it was weird to see it in real life as opposed to through the box at home. The warm up guy was pretty funny and as usual asked for people who had travelled from outside the country to see the show and Barb yelled out that we were from Australia (her catch cry for our visit!) so we exchanged the obligatory “you arrived before you left” and “you say things differently down there” which included uni’s vs colleges and apparently we call vehicles ‘wheelie-wagons’ and when J responded that we call them ‘cars’, he received a lively response from the audience and stumped the warm-up dude too! (You probably had to be there for that written delivery to be funny....) Anyway it was time for the recording to start and the house band ‘The Roots’ filed in (Justyn is a particular fan of theirs), the Applause sign started flashing and then Jimmy stepped through the curtain. Show time! It was interesting to be at the taping of a show like that, there were some re-takes (which were funnier than the final edit), watching the hair and makeup ladies retouch Jimmy, the producer checking on what’s going on and the cameras rolling around the floor. It was pretty cool though. The guests on tonights show were Molly Shannon (she is a comedian, a SNL alumni, has appeared in heaps of TV shows including Glee, Scrubs, Will & Grace etc) spruiking her new animated TV show Neighbours From Hell, Chris Colfer who plays Kurt in Glee (he was very funny, cute and charismatic and FYI he told Jimmy that he originally tried out for the role of Artie but that they were so taken by him that they created the role of Kurt specially for him - Kurt because as a boy Colfer, of course, had played the Von Trapp in a school musical, and Hummel because he looks like one of those pink-cheeked porcelain dolls). I must note the not-so-subtle revelation that Chris gave about Glee, the Glee Club name in the show is New Directions, which Chris rather bluntly told us should be pronounced, and I will note it phonetically "nood" "ih-rek-shuns"! The other guest was some golfer dude.  Unfortunately the music was some oddball Norwegian guitar group called ‘Kings of Convenience’ who just were not anyone’s cup-of-tea - they were woeful to be honest!  Oh well, you win some, you lose some! At the end of the show, Jimmy runs around the audience seating and hugs and shakes hands with people and I tried to get J to jump in, but he was playing it cool....

PS: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is on the Comedy channel on Foxtel at home and we mentioned it by text to Justyn’s uncle who watched it and apparently we get some air time!

Chapter 3: Pizza, Pizza, Pizza @ Mario Batali’s OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria
We wanted to take Barb out to dinner as a thank you for being our “mama duck” and putting up with us and our antics so in keeping with the pizza theme, we went to Mario Batali’s New York Pizzeria called Otto Enoteca. Located in the Greenwich Village we had some time after the taping of Jimmy Fallon to get there, so we set out for the Marriott in Times Square where they have a revolving restaurant on the 49th floor. Justyn hadn’t seen the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building and from that aspect, he would get to see them both in the one spin! Getting through the crowds in Times Square proved a challenge as the restaurants of the area were having a food festival with tents selling tasters of their meals. Would have been fun if we weren’t already salivating at the thought of a Batali pizza! Up to The View which is what they called their revolving restaurant, we finally managed to get seated and served and we all indulged in more cocktails and maybe made a little fun of our cocktail waitress... Now its off to Batali for dinner! Fifth Avenue gets a little confusing from where it starts and our restaurant was at the start of the street so we were a little late for a booking, and it was busy! By this time it was going on for 9:15pm and still people were coming in through the door looking for a table. We were seated and ordered a jug of Bellini’s (yes a pitcher full of Bellini’s) while we perused the menu. While there was not a huge selection on the menu – lots of antipasta a al Italy, it was noted for the sheer number of wines available; 750+ Italian wines available for selection! We stuck with the Bellini’s because we were simply overwhelmed by the choice! Okay, onto food. For antipasta we chose olives, eggplant Caponatina, funghi misti, english peas & prosciutto and marinated anchovies. We kept the pizzas simple with one a undemanding white pizza topped with mushrooms and taleggio cheese and the other was a red pizza with tomato, spicy salami, cacio and mozzarella. And we cannot forget dessert! Kelly was in gastronomic heaven with 'Black & White' which was milk chocolate chip gelato, hazelnut croccante, crème fraiche gelato, chocolate sauce, caramel crema, Justyn & Barb went with a selection of three different flavoured gelatos – each – including salted peanut, pistachio, key lime, and dark chocolate and I went with Rhubarb Coppetta which tantalised my taste buds with vanilla gelato, polenta cake, poached rhubarb, lemon ginger curd, candied ginger, strawberry prosecoo zabaglione. Perfect end to a perfect day!

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