January 21, 2014

Thanksgiving, 2013

This year we shook things up a little. Instead of having everyone over for a big Thanksgiving dinner, Ryan and I skipped off to New York and my mom and dad stayed at our house, and had everyone over for a big Thanksgiving dinner. I felt a little guilty leaving Ella and Anna, but they had a blast with Grandma and Grandpa and cousins and aunts and uncles, and Ryan and I had a great time with Jamie and Taylor.

We started off our trip with another save from Grandma Sue. Bad weather in New York combined with day-before-Thanksgiving crowds made us a little nervous about our mid-day flight. So like it was nothing, my mom drove to our house at 9:00 pm, and spent the night so we could catch the 8:00 am flight. And of course, no flights were cancelled, but better safe than sorry.

We started off by eating at Ipudo, the sister restaurant to the one we loved in Tokyo.  It wasn't as good as the original, but still tasty.

This was a cucumber sesame dish. It was better than it looks in this picture

Part of the draw of Thanksgiving in NYC (besides seeing Jamie and Taylor) was that Duke was playing in the pre-season NIT tournament at Madison Square Garden. When we first thought of going, I used Ryan's fancy American Express Concierge service to see if they could get us better seats for the game. They didn't have anything great, but were very nice. Then the day before we left I got a call from a random number. I almost didn't pick up. Glad I did. "Mrs. Packer? This is so and so from American Express Concierge service. We are sorry that we couldn't help you with seats for the final game of the NIT conference. But if you would like, we have complimentary seats in our box for the semi-finals tomorrow night. Would you be interested? How many would you like?" Jaw. dropped. Even better because we didn't have a seat for Jamie, and now we had a free one. So we put our tickets on stub hub, sold them, and went to the game for free, in their floor level box. I have to say, I could get used to this. The seats were fantastic, and the attached box had food and drinks and even Magnolia cupcakes. This picture isn't great, but it's what I snuck as I was walking down the stairs from the short hallway connecting our seats to the box.

View from our seats. It wasn't a great game, but it was really really fun. (Despite the completely obnoxious New Yorker who sat behind us. I suppose he made the experience more authentic.)

The next day was Thanksgiving, and instead of slaving all day in Jamie's little kitchen we let the people at Whole Foods do the dirty work. All we had to do was heat and serve. I have to say, it tasted really really good, and only took us an hour start to finish. Whole Foods doesn't do cranberry fluff, though. That we had to do on our own.

We kept tradition and made M&M turkeys. Thank you Duane Reed loofah. 

Thursday night we drove up to Connecticut and spent the night with Chris and Thayer. It was great to see them and catch up. Thayer and I went on a gorgeous run Friday morning, and Chris graciously let Ryan use his trainer and bike so he could get a ride in.

We left CT and drove back to NY. We ate lunch at Eataly. We had some time to kill before that night's Duke game, so we went in search of a cronut. We knew we were too late in the day to get the original, but we thought an imitation would at least give us an idea of what we were missing. After hitting three stores we decided it wasn't meant to be. But I did have a chocolate carmel cake that was delicious. Really really good.

The second game wasn't quite as fun as the first. Our seats were good, but they were no floor-level suite. The game before ours was really close. I felt bad for the players, because everyone just wanted to move on to the Championship game, so when they made the bucket to tie and go to triple overtime there was a collective groan from the crowd. In the Championship game Arizona came up with the win. It's always fun to watch Duke play, but less fun when they lose. 

On Saturday we went with Jamie to look at the Christmas windows. It's so fun (for me--Ryan may not agree) to see what magic they've come up with. We liked the Bergdorf's the best.


Ryan and I finished off our adventure with dinner and a play. We saw Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays. It is his autobiographical one man show. It was really really good. We laughed. We cried. We loved it. 

We got dinner after the play and headed back to Jamie and Taylor's. We got up at 5 the next morning and headed home. Such a fun trip--thanks Grandma Sue and Grandpa Paul for watching the girls, and Jamie and Taylor for being such great hosts.