Sunday, June 24, 2012

Birthdays in the Big Apple

For anyone who didn't know, this year I turned the big 3-0.  While I can't say that I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of my thirties, my wonderful husband gave me a fabulous birthday (followed a few days later by our trip to St. John!) and now I am happily settled into my 30s.

Quick pic before heading to Robert (taken with the new tripod)

I knew Chris was taking me into the city for the birthday, but he was keeping the location a surprise.  It turns out he'd searched for a restaurant with a view, and ended up with: Robert.  (Great pics on their website!)  It's on the top floor of the Museum of Art and Design on the edge of Central Park, and we actually watched the Macy's parade right across from the street from it this year, not realizing there was a restaurant at the top!

The view of Columbus Circle from our table..amazing.
When Chris made the reservations he told them it was for my 30th birthday, and they gave us THE best table in the house- right smack in the middle of their window overlooking Columbus Circle and the edge of Central Park.  What an incredible view!  I had not one but two (hey, I was turning 30) of their signature cocktail "The Isabell".  It had elderflower liqueur in it, and though I still have no idea what that really is, I can say it's DELICIOUS.  :)  I had parsnip soup for an appetizer and their short ribs for dinner.  In short, it was fabulous.  I can't ever remember what Chris had I was so excited by my own dinner!

And while we ordered a piece of peanut butter/chocolate decadence for dessert, our kind waiter brought out a second dessert as well: bomboloni, cinnamon dusted ricotta fritters with caramel and chocolate dipping sauce.  It was on the house, since he too had recently celebrated his 30th.  Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate 30 years on this planet, and I'm so lucky to have such a thoughtful hubby.  Thank you again!

Best part of my meal...dessert.

In Columbus Circle after our meal...it's always freezing for my birthday.  :)

Fast forward to June.  Chris' birthday this year fell on a Wednesday, so the initial celebration was bit low key.  He wouldn't even let me bake a cake, and insisted on just brownies and ice cream (although I did make homemade caramel sauce as a concession).
Doesn't he have the best smile?

So we waited until Saturday to really celebrate, and celebrate we did...by going to Mario Batali's restaurant Babbo in Greenwich Village.


It is practically impossible to get reservations at Babbo.  We've tried before.  They take them exactly 30 days prior, from when they open at 10:00.  And even if you start calling at 10:00 on the nose...the line is immediately busy.  Chris did get through once, for our anniversary I think, but the only opening they had at that point was for 11:00 p.m.

So for his birthday, we decided to just take our chances with walking in and trying to eat in the bar area...and it worked!  We only had to wait about 45 minutes before we were seated at one of the five little tables in the bar area.

Not only did we actually get to see Mario at one point, standing just five feet away in his crocs, shorts, and vest, with his hair in a ponytail like always, but the food was out-of-this-world.  Best meal we've ever had, including all the incredible dishes we had on our Italian honeymoon.

Chris started with the mussels and I had an appetizer with grilled squash and buffalo mozarella.  For dinner, he chose their famous pork chop:


And when I asked the waiter to help me decide between two pasta dishes, he actually recommended a third I'd never even considered: casunzei with poppy seeds, very thin ravioli filled with roasted beets in a poppy seed and buttery cream sauce.  Amazing.  This picture doesn't do it justice.




I was so glad it worked out!  Chris deserved a wonderful night.  It was extra special for us, since we don't know how many more dinners out we'll get to enjoy once we celebrate another very important birthday on or around October 28.  :)


Bailey is not quite sure how to handle the upcoming role of Big Brother.  :)
Today I'm 22 weeks, so we are over halfway there!  Can't believe it.  In the first pic I was 15 weeks, in the second pic 21 weeks...what a difference a month makes!  :)  We can't wait.