New York Part II: Morimoto, The High Line, and Other Touristry

On our second day in New York City, we took a long stroll from our hotel in Midtown to dinner in The Meatpacking District via the High Line. It was magic hour, and thus it was extra magical. Not even hoards of other like-minded tourists could spoil it for us.

We traversed the entire High Line and took almost no pictures because we were too busy being awed (and I was too busy trying to figure out which building was the famous voyeur hotel -- it's the one above). Then it was dinner time. BATTLE dinner time, you could say.

What's that? Morimoto? You mean...

Yes, this Morimoto! The Iron Chef Japanese himself. Ever since being a loyal watcher of the original dubbed Iron Chef show in high school, I've wanted to try the food of the most badass Iron Chef of them all. And try we did.

It was super swanky on the inside, as you would expect from an eponymous celebrity chef restaurant in the Meatpacking District.

We decided not to half-ass the experience and opted for the Omakase (chef's choice) meal, so everything that arrived was a surprise. It started with tuna tartare and then was a blur of delicious plate after delicious plate. It was also appropriately dark and sexy in there, so all of the food photos turned out very... um, dark and sexy.

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This was a meaty custard broth with veal tempura and was my favorite course...

All of these sushi pieces had that nice melt-in-your-mouth quality, but the fluke (second from right) was an unexpected star...

After we thought the dinner was finished, they still sent out a set of little mochi boobies. Morimoto, you salty old perv.

Also, the bathrooms had some of the coolest stalls I've ever seen. This photo is unfuckedwith.

The next morning we weren't too hungry, so we decided to have cheesecake for breakfast. You know, as one does.

The classic cheesecake, for which Junior's is most famous, was excellent. It was fresh and somehow light and we wolfed it down. The carrot cake cheesecake was a little more leaden and tasted like it had been in the fridge for awhile, probably because it's a product that doesn't move as fast. We couldn't finish it. WE COULDN'T FINISH IT! CARROT CAKE CHEESECAKE! (If you know me very well, that should be shocking.)

Afterwards we walked around the Midtown area and checked in with another celebrity chef pal, human Flaming Hot Cheeto Guy Fieri.

We also checked out Rockefeller Center, in order to pay homage to my soul sister Liz Lemon. 

Rockefeller Center also contains a store that feeds Jason's soul....

Look at that happy gentleman. He enjoyed the display of old Nintendo systems.

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We also swung by Bryant Park....

And then thought about bustin' some ghosts (bustin makes us feel gooood.)

And we did all of this before lunch. Such is the majesty of NYC. 

Then we had to go back home to suburbia, of course, filled with BIG CITY DREAMS. 

Obidos and Nazare, Portugal

En route from Lisbon to Porto, we made two stops. The first was a brief chance to check out the tiny Medieval fortified town of Obidos. I climbed the castle walls to snap some pictures.  

Overall the vibe of the town was very touristy, but still very pleasant. The one main street that wound upwards through it reminded me a lot of Mont St. Michel. There were a lot of stands selling locally-made Ginja, a cherry liqueur served in a chocolate cup. I bought some to bring home, natch. I can never resist local booze. 

Our next stop was for lunch in the seaside town of Nazare. It had a bit of an abandoned feeling since the beach-going season was over, but it was still very beautiful.

We had lunch at a seaside restaurant. My fish dish was... not my favorite. It was deep fried (usually a plus for me!) but full of bones, rendering it difficult to eat. Most fish is served bone-in in Portugal and Spain, I would soon learn. I don't find the bones gross, I just find them challenging to eat around. 

But I didn't care much about the not-great food, because the setting was ON POINT.

Awwwwwww yisssssss.

Cross Country Moving Road Trip: Days 1 & 2 - San Diego to Odessa Texas via Tucson

Our move to Atlanta happened very quickly. Jason had a phone interview, flew out there, was offered the job, and we left, all within three crazy weeks. We shipped one car, but decided to drive the other. Why? This little princess...

Evie got to spend over 2,000 miles comfortably ensconced on our laps. 

For our first day, we took it relatively easy and drove only to Tucson, where my cousin Patrick lives with his family. It's a stretch of road that we're relatively familiar with since we have family in Arizona and find ourselves there at least once per year.

We had to stop in Dateland for date and prickly pear shakes, which never disappoint. 

We had made such good time (OK, Jason had... I was just as spoiled as Evie and just sat in the passenger seat) that we arrived in the Tucson area in the early afternoon.

Patrick (and his lovely wife Brittney and daughter Mariah) has a sprawling house out on the edge of the desert with lovely views. They recently had their basement finished by Antonio Sabato Jr. and his show Fix It and Finish It. My other cousin, Alex, just moved in with them as well, so the house was bustling with family (sorry guys). Patrick grilled up some steak and delicious asparagus and zucchini from their garden. 

We got up early the next morning to get back on the road for a long day, from Tucson all the way through Arizona, New Mexico, and the nothingness of West Texas to Odessa. Having never been past Tucson on this highway, out interest was piqued by these billboards...

"THE THING?" Well, obviously we had to check it out. It was early enough in the morning that we were able to leave Evie in the car (a problem that plagued us throughout our journey), so we decided to stop and get our Ozzie Smith on. 

So what's THE THING? Well, I am here to tell you, to demystify this very mysterious THING. 

WARNING: DO NOT KEEP READING IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE THING? IS. If you ever drive across the country, you too may want to experience the mystery for yourself, I guess?

First you walk through several trailers full of dusty antiques of dubious origin. There is even a Hitler car

The you get to THE THING? itself, which is...

A mummy? With a basket obscuring its genitalia? Maybe a peek at the genitals costs extra. MYTH: BUSTED? (For anyone curious, here is more info on it.)

I actually really appreciated the old-tymey hucksterism and Americana of the place. It was a welcome diversion, especially considering the miles and miles of nothingness, punctuated only by the hotspots of Las Cruces NM and El Paso TX, that followed. I didn't bother taking any pictures of the sameyness, except this shot of the pretty sunset, with splattered bugs on our windshield in the foreground. 

Our journey continued.