When a day starts at 530am with cramming too many suitcases into a rental car and driving off in the dark and the rain, there’s really nowhere to go but up.
I got into Buffalo earlier than I expected, which worked out well as I had to switch rental cars and rental car companies. This involved asking strangers in the Enterprise world to babysit my stuff in the first car while I ran up and down stairs and in and out of terminals looking for Avis and filling out reams of paperwork. Then I got my second car and drove it up to the first car and unloaded and reloaded.
I have a lot of stuff.
No one is surprised by this.
But even the rental car guy turned around at one point and said “ I keep seeing you put stuff in that car and I can’t figure out where it all goes. You’re like a magician!” Welcome to tour skills 101: learning to pack a giant pile of stuff into a much too small space.
And my new car is cute! Cherry red little Chevy Cruze. I think she’s a sports car trapped in a soccer mom shell so I’m calling her Rihanna to encourage her rock star side.
Rihanna and I headed out into the grey misty depths of Buffalo NY, a city that looks like it’s been rained on and sat on then folded up and stuffed in a bottom drawer and forgotten. I was looking for a Starbucks to partake of their free wifi so I could figure out how to get to my friend Kirsten’s apartment in NYC, and lo did I search. Absolutely nothing.
In the looking I got really lost. Drove endlessly out of my way, wasted time and finally found a Tim Horton’s where I slammed a cup of coffee, wrote out directions and Rihanna and I took off. By this point, I knew I had a slim chance of getting to NYC in time for dinner. Which meant that I had to drive and drive and never stop. No eating, no peeing, no looking, just driving. Driving and thinking about dinner. And wishing I hadn’t had that cup of coffee…
In other words, exactly the way I want this trip NOT to go. Basically I’m looking at a lot of this:
And foggy snow in the Pocanos:
Pretty right? As well as red barns falling apart in a picturesque manner that I didn’t have time to photograph because I had to drive. There were all manner of things I’d have loved to explore but instead I had to drive.
But one get one free souvlaki? I’d love to! But I have to drive.
Niagara Falls? Fortunately I’ve seen it because I can’t stop. Must drive.
Wine country. Sounds delightful. Toss a cup in the window as I blow past. I can’t stop because I’M DRIVING.
Gotta pee? Hold it. Thirsty? Don’t drink anything. You already have to pee. Wait until you are out of gas and then you can stop. Look at the window at all the things you can’t do, listen to The Joker on the radio for the 4th time because you don’t have a way to listen to your ipod (MUST FIX THAT SITUATION) and the DJ is offering a free carbon monoxide alarm as a prize in a trivia contest. $37 value!
And then drive some more.
By 530pm, miraculously, I was in new york city. Lost. You know, like you do. I had written directions and a map but somehow I ended up in Newark and couldn’t get out. And then got out and got into the Holland Tunnel getting honked at by taxis and crushed by buses. Kirsten called me to see how I was doing and I just yelled “whose idea was this!!! Why didn’t you talk me out of this? Me driving in NYC? Am I crazy?”
And then got out of the tunnel and turned the wrong way on West street at which point Kirsten hung up to call the restaurant and tell them we’d be a tich late and would that be ok. It’s Monday night, so they said it would be fine.
FINALLY arrived at Kirsten’s glorious loft apartment – pictures to follow – went through my Kitcho routine of getting ready in 4 minutes and got back in the car to drive to the restaurant, during which time we called the restaurant again to push our reservation back again. Fine, no problem. They were delightful.
And a half an hour later we pulled up in front of wd-50, the domain of chef restaurateur, Wylie Dufresne. Wylie Dufresne looks like your crazy uncle and has a bit of the Unabomber vibe (with cooler glasses) but he makes amazing food that’s all deconstructed and reinterpreted. I had smooth silky foie gras shaped in a perfect hollow sphere full of tart liquid passionfruit. A boiled egg with an EDIBLE shell made of clay, chocolate leather (like fruit only chocolate) full of crunchy cocoa bits, an “everything bagel” made by soaking the bagel in water and then using the flavored water to make ice cream and molding the ice cream into tiny bagel shapes that taste EXACTLY like an everything bagel. Only cold. And melting.
Crazy stuff. Pasta made with seaweed, pasta made with sourdough bread, pasta made with strips of oyster mushroom, a dessert of grapefuit curd and sorrel sorbet that tasted like I opened a window in spring and took a deep breath.
A long delicious 11 course tasting menu with every course stranger and more delicious than the previous course. Clearly Wylie cannot take the time to cut his hair because he’s way too busy thinking up unusual food combinations.
We ended the night at Milk Bar so Kirsten could try cereal milk ice cream and compost cookies, found a place to park the car and stumbled home.
Successful day one? I think so. Tomorrow involves yoga, a spa date and possibly The Book of Mormon?
More later, doncha know.