What's better than a waterfront food festival with a view of the Manhattan skyline and over 100(!) vendors representing the city's best restaurants?
Attending that food festival on a glorious 80-degree October day . . . with my sister Trina . . . who was in town for the weekend to celebrate my birthday.
Of course, that meant the entire weekend was something of a food festival, but first things first. After a quick change of clothes (meaning that Treen changed into my clothes and I changed into hers), we headed over to Williamsburg, an uber-hip Brooklyn neighborhood that would be a food and drink paradise even without Smorgasburg.
It is no exaggeration to say that we tore a hole through the place, feasting on everything from cheeseburgers and cheese steaks to BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and banana pudding . . . and a heck of a lot in between.
Of course, we didn't eat all of that one sitting. We took a cocktail break . . . and then went back.
Drinks were had at Hotel Delmano, which is not actually a hotel . . . though after a few of their expertly-crafted cocktails, you might wish it was.
As beautiful as Hotel Delmano is, the day was even more so, and so we snagged two sidewalk seats for a little people-watching with our libations.
Trina and I agreed that our favorite was The Alibi, made with pineapple-infused tequila, cinnamon, vanilla, lime, and molé bitters.
And after two rounds, we discovered that even the bathrooms at Hotel Delmano are beautifully designed.
After our return to Smorgasburg for Round 2, it was back to Manhattan . . . to get ready for dinner.
We decided on a low-key evening of chips & guac, Mexican street corn, and frozen hibiscus margaritas at Fonda, followed by dancing until the wee hours at an 80s club in Manhattan's edgy Alphabet City neighborhood.
Opened in 1979, the Pyramid Club is not an 80s-themed club but an actual club born in and still firmly planted in that decade, never having changed its decor, its prices, or its commitment to the East Village gay and drag scene in the last 40 years.
We had a really good time. Some of us more than others.
The next morning it was time to shake off the night's excesses with some pizza. But not just any pizza: The crispy, crunchy, burnt-just-right-on-the-ends square pizza topped with 'roni cups at Emily in the West Village.
After lunch Angel headed off to run some errands, while Trina and I decided to enjoy the gorgeous weather with a stroll from the West Village down to TriBeCa.
Eventually we found ourselves near the piers.
We weren't just meandering, though; we had a destination in mind: Grand Banks, an oyster bar aboard a historic wooden schooner, the Sherman Zwicker, which offers spectacular views of lower Manhattan.
After the sun set, we headed over to Bubby's, a TriBeCa comfort-food institution that I used to frequent when I clerked downtown.
That evening we had plans for a birthday dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Left Bank, which I love for its ever-changing menu of seasonal favorites and cozy atmosphere.
After we finished our entrees, Angel revealed a secret: Those "errands" he ran after lunch consisted of driving to the Hamptons to pick up a cake that I'd long admired at our local grocery store, King Kullen -- a traffic-filled odyssey that, mid-afternoon on a gorgeous fall Sunday, took roughly six hours round-trip. When I asked him why he didn't just pick up the cake at one of the dozens of other, closer King Kullens on Long Island, he explained that he didn't want to risk that the same cake from a different store might look even a tiny bit different from the one I liked.
He even made (yes, made) matching wrapping paper for my gifts.
A sister who flew to NYC for the weekend just to force down 7,000 calories a day with me, plus a husband who spent 6 hours in the car to get me the perfect birthday cake?
Either they're crazy, or I'm really, really lucky. Or maybe a little bit of both.