Thursday, February 24, 2011

Only in New York

I almost don't have words to describe our experience on Arthur Avenue last Friday night...but here goes.  :)

Chris and I had been hearing about how great the Italian food is on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx for awhile now.  We looked up a few restaurants but didn't really have a specific one in mind.  Sometimes it's more fun that way.  We just parked the car and started walking up and down the street, peering into windows and perusing menus until we found one that looked promising.

We settled on Enzo's Restaurant.

Some of the places looked way too big, almost like banquet halls, and others were small but empty.  Enzo's looked cozy and most of the tables were already occupied- so we figured the food had to be good.

We were seated at a little table in the corner and it didn't take us long to decide what we wanted.  Eggplant rollatini to start (which was fabulous!), stuffed pork for Chris and penne with vodka sauce for me.  It was all excellent and, although we were too stuffed for dessert, we couldn't resist ordering two cappuccinos.

Once our drinks arrived I got nervous that the time on the meter was going to run out.  It would not be my idea of a good time to have our car towed in the Bronx.  Chris left to add another 15 minutes or so...and that's when it started.

See, just as our appetizer arrived a table of four had been seated right next to us.  They were funny, loud, and had very distinct accents.  (Think "Jersey Shore").  No big deal, they seemed perfectly nice.

Once Chris left I overheard one of the husbands tell a short story about his brother's behavior during a recent trip to a strip club.  I realized quickly that the wife wasn't happy about it...

"You are disrespecting me, and everyone in this restaurant!"
"You shouldn't be telling ANYONE that story, let alone ME, your WIFE, in this restaurant, in front of our FRIENDS!"
"You and your bleepin' brother Mitch!"
"You are a bleep!  Such a bleepin' bleep!"
"BLEEP YOU!!!"

And so it went.  They weren't making any attempt to keep their voices down.  I know the entire restaurant could hear them because when I went to the restroom a customer at a nearby table was complaining to one of the waiters.  The yelling did stop briefly when the waiter came and tried to take their orders, but they eventually sent him away and resumed the argument with even more vigor.  Chris came back somewhere in the middle of all this.  We sipped our cappuccinos and tried to look anywhere but at the table of four less than two feet away.

It sounds sort of terrible, and I was at one point worried that someone was going to throw a punch (or worse), but it was just so darn ENTERTAINING!  We laughed about it almost the entire drive home.  Chris even complimented me on my great Italian accent.

But after all that...the food was so good we'll definitely be back.  :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

St. John: Day 2

Saturday- dive day!  We were both really excited to dive after all the work to get certified (or re-certified in Chris' case) and we knew that St. John would be 1000 times better than diving in Long Island Sound!

We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning...one hour too early, actually.  For some reason I thought we needed to be at the dive shop at 7:30, when we actually didn't need to be there until 8:30!  Whoops.  Totally my bad.  But in keeping with the laidbackness of an island vacation, we threw our towels on the beach and gazed at the harbor until the employees of the dive shop started to arrive.

We'd heard from several people that Low Key was a great company to dive with.  We had a full dive boat, with four different dive masters splitting the divers between them.  Ours was Jeremy and, although he sort of lost us at the very beginning of our first dive, he was a great dive master and very understanding of the fact that these were our first real ocean dives.

The reefs were beautiful, the fish colorful, and we didn't see any sharks!  Didn't see anything bigger than a Carribean lobster, actually, but had a fabulous time nonetheless.  The visibility was just amazing!  I was swimming on the bottom and could see all the way up to the surface!  Just incredible.  Oh, and one more thing about the dives...my husband thought I was crazy to do them.  Because as we were getting all our gear on at the first dive site, I fell on my mask and cracked it.  Yeah...the mask is sort of a critical component for diving.  But, I popped my prescription lenses back in, confirmed with the dive masters that the crack was insignificant, and into the water I went!  No way was I going all that way to sit on the boat and be seasick.  :)

We had lunch at Hawksnest Beach and then ended the afternoon at Trunk Bay.  Trunk Bay is the beach that has an admission fee of $4 per person, but it is worth it!  I couldn't resist taking a video so I could remember how beautiful it was:


We had dinner at Morgan's Mango, which was the perfect way to end another day on St. John.  My new most favorite place on earth.  :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

St. John: Day 1

We left for St. John on Thursday, February 10.  It was f-f-f-freezing in New England and we couldn't wait to put our toes in the warm Caribbean sand!  :)  After a slight mishap with our plane (they had to deboard everyone for over an hour because some pipe had frozen), we arrived in St. Thomas!  We picked up our rental jeep, drove to the ferry at Red Hook, and after a quick ride on the ferry...WE WERE IN ST. JOHN!  It was just as beautiful as we imagined.

Once we found Sol Cottage, our rental house that was just a 10-minute ride from Cruz Bay, we decided we needed to EAT!  We were starving and it was late.  Though we couldn't wait to try out some of the restaurants in Cruz Bay, we decided to have dinner at the lovely Westin Resort.  And since, no matter how hungry I am, I can't eat half of a chicken, my leftovers provided lunch on Saturday and Sunday!  There's something about being on the beach, after a swim, that makes a sandwich takes like the best thing ever.  :)

We woke up bright and early on Friday, excited for our first full day on the island.  And it did not disappoint!

We started the day at Cinnamon Bay.



After lunch, we drove to Maho Bay.  This pic is from the road looking down on Maho.  So beautiful!!

These guys are everywhere!  Now that's free range!  :)

Maho Bay.  The water was so calm here!  While snorkeling, we saw a stingray and a HUGE sea turtle.  He was right there in front of us!  Incredible.  Since we like to bring home a Christmas ornament from every trip we take, we found a beaded stingray to remember this day.  :)

This isn't a great picture, but Zozo's Restaurant looks out over the ocean and is THE perfect place to have a drink and watch the sun go down!

I may be overusing the word perfect, but our first day on St. John really was!  After Zozo's we had dinner at Rhumb Lines.  Although it wasn't in either of our guide books, several different people had recommended it.  And it was fantastic!!  Soooo good.  So good, in fact, that we were worried we'd found the best restaurant the first night and would be disappointed every night after!  :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sweet St. John

We're back!  We're relaxed!  We're tan!

St. John was wonderful.  The perfect vacation.  Not enough time to blog about the fabulousness right now (plus the Mac is at the Apple Store and uploading from my laptop is slooooow).  I will, however, leave you with this picture of us on the most beautiful beach I've ever stepped foot on.  Maybe looking at this picture will make me forget that the low tonight is 11 degrees?  :)

Trunk Bay - St. John
February 12, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thanks Phil, at least you've got our backs.

Well, it's official: Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow and we're going to have an early spring.


Right.

Tell that to our NBC Connecticut chief meteorologist, Bob Maxon, who looks like a kid on Christmas morning each time he gleefully announces we have another winter storm on the way.  (Cari- he's from Oswego!)


I do feel like he hyped this current storm up a bit too much, at least for our area. We were supposed to get 6-10 inches of snow yesterday and I think we got 3 or 4. We were all prepped for an ice storm with batteries, candles, and kerosene, but so far the ice today doesn't seem too bad.


View more news videos at: http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/video.


This is our ninth snow day for Waterbury, which means we'll be in school until at least June 20...and winter's not over yet.  I really can't trust a groundhog that's only right 39% of the time, you know?  I'm pretty sure the guys in his Inner Circle (yes, that's what they call them, it's Phil's very own secret society) decided that morale was getting a little low this winter and, poof!, no shadow.

Another unfortunate side effect of this winter mayhem?  Our mail isn't coming every day.  :(  Although they did leave this helpful note in our mailbox:


Happy Shoveling!  :)