Empire State Of Mind

One hand in the air for the big city
Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty
No place in the world that can compare
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say “yea!”

In New York… concrete jungle where dreams are made oh there’s nothing you can’t do…

Guess where Craig and I are going in May?


I’m so excited. I’m sure you can’t tell. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, my sister, Ashley, lives in the big apple. Craig and I are taking some vacation time and going to visit her and her boyfriend, Andrew. We’re very much looking forward to the trip and since Craig and I have both been there before we’re not interested in being too touristy. Rather, we’re just looking forward to spending some quality time with family.

One thing we are looking forward to is our “splurge night.” Craig and I have decided that we’re going to go to a restaurant that we can’t afford. LOL. In actuality we’re saving up for the event since we know it’s going to be half our budget. We’ve been watching a lot of Chopped and Top Chef lately. Craig is a former chef and has a great love of food. Together we decided that it would be a ton of fun to go to one of the top restaurants in the city (heck, the world) and really enjoy ourselves. Tom Colicchio is a lead judge on the show Top Chef and his restaurant, Craft, is one of the places we considered.

However, once really exploring our options I started pinning various restaurants that have been written about and considered some of the best in the world. Our list has evolved to include some other restaurants that aren’t quite as expensive but still get top billing however we’re really leaning toward these top choices.

So far we have:

Thomas Keller is famous for his restaurant French Laundry, in Napa Valley, and we felt immediately pulled to his New York restaurant, Per Se. This restaurant has been called the “best restaurant in New York City” by the New York Times and is a top contender. On a typical night, each diner is given the choice of one of two prix-fixe menus: a nine-course vegetable tasting menu or a nine-course chef’s tasting menu, which includes non-alcoholic beverages and service. Menus frequently include up-charges for luxury ingredients such as foie gras and truffles.

Next up is Eleven Madison Park, also one of the top restaurants in the world. This restaurant does not have an à la carte menu but rather a card printed with a grid of 16 ingredients from which the staff design a meal, taking into account any ingredient dislikes. A few dishes display techniques of molecular gastronomy.

Next on the list is Le Bernardin. Eric Ripert is the executive chef. This restaurant is one of only seven in NYC to be awarded three Michelin stars. It has been around a while and is consistently ranked highly so it’s also a strong contender.

We also have Daniel on our list. Daniel Boulud is a French chef and restaurateur. His flagship New York City namesake, was awarded three Michelin stars in the 2010 Michelin, the book’s highest rating. In addition, Daniel’s New York restaurant was awarded 19 points out of 20 on the restaurant rating system invented by fellow Frenchman André Gayot of GAYOT.com. In January of 2013, Daniel NYC was inducted into Culinary Hall of Fame.

Have y’all ever splurged on fine dining? There are a few other great restaurants I haven’t mentioned here but I still have tucked away in the event we change our minds. I haven’t ever spent that much on one meal so I’m both excited and a bit overwhelmed. In addition to the one fine dining experience on our vacation, we’re planning on hitting up some great local eats so please share your favorites. My sister already has some great ideas but I’d love to hear your take.


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