For a while, not much progress was being made on my 101 in 1001 list, but my awesome mini-vacation this weekend gave me the opportunity to check a few things off my list.
11. Take a personal day to do something fun
Looking back, I can’t even remember how I heard about the Great GoogaMooga; I’m sure it was mentioned somewhere on the internet. In an uncharacteristic move, Brian and I decided to attend and even take a day off to do so. So last Friday morning, instead of heading to school, we headed South. Our trip was completely uneventful (unlike most school mornings) and we arrived at our hotel in New Jersey before 11 am. We boarded a bus into the city and sough out lunch.
39. Go to Katz’s Delicatessen
Eating at Katz’s Deli has been on my to do list for a long time, largely the result of its frequent appearances on “Best Of”/“Must Try” sorts of television shows and articles. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by incredibly friendly and helpful staff and a lack of lines—we hardly had to wait at all for our food. The pastrami was definitely the most tender and juicy I’ve ever had, better than I even expected. I’m not sure I need to return in the future, but that’s largely due to the number of other places in NYC I want to try.
We spent the rest of the day in the city without a real agenda and the goal of not wearing ourselves out before the festival. We visited FAO Schwartz, the LEGO store and Toys R US (because we’re clearly just overgrown 8 year olds), as well as wandering through Central Park. Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped for pizza which was fabulous. I love my homemade pizza, but it is nothing like “real” pizza.
After breakfast Saturday at Murray’s Bagels, a short visit to Macy’s and a subway ride into Brooklyn, we arrived at the Great GoogaMooga shortly after 11. At that time, the crowd was small but it certainly increased as the afternoon wore on.
The Great GoogaMooga when we arrived
The Great GoogaMooga, before we left
40. Eat at a David Chang restaurant
Momofuku Milk Bar was very high on the list of places I wanted to try at GoogaMooga, as I’ve been hoping to go to one of David Chang’s restaurants for years and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’m taking a bit of liberty with this one, since I didn’t actually set foot in a restaurant, but they had 2 of my most-wanted foods – crack pie and compost cookies – so I was more than happy. Incredibly delicious, both of them. The crack pie was, as one would expect, extremely sweet. I was also surprised to discover that it was served from the refrigerator and therefore very cold, but that made it all the more satisfying in the heat. We saved the cookie for later in the evening because we were trying to pace ourselves, which I think reduced the quality a bit, but it was still pretty darn good. I imagined the ingredients (which include chocolate chips, pretzels, coffee and potato chips) to be in larger pieces. Since the bits were so small, it was difficult for me to discern individual flavors, but the soft cookie was still great.
I also had the opportunity to try food from Colicchio & Sons, Craft, Russ and Daughters, and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, among others. It was really exciting to see so many of New York’s most famous establishments in the same place and to be surrounded by people as interested in eating as I was. Certainly, the festival wasn’t perfect and I’m sure that some of the negative publicity is completely justified. Some of the lines were long, but we’d expected that. Apparently some of the vendors ran out of food Saturday evening, but we either didn’t try going to them or were already gone before that happened. There were issues with the credit card machines which led to impossible lines for beer and wine tasting tickets. We ended up forgoing the tasting pavilions and just buying 2 beers, but I’m not too disappointed with that. Overall, we had a really fabulous day, ate a lot of great food from restaurants I’ve dreamed of checking out and enjoyed the experience. Brian and I didn’t really have any major complaints. I’m sure it will be even better in future years.