Christmas in New York
Today I was a tourist in Manhattan. I live here and rarely venture above 39th Street or below 23rd (as my friend Ange will attest to), but this weekend my sister is visiting from Ottawa so I followed her to all her desired shopping and cultural destinations - namely, Abercrombie and Fitch, Trump Tower, MOMA, and Barnes and Noble. Not for the faint of heart, I swear. I actually waited in a line for a half and hour to get into Abercrombie and Fitch in the rain. As a New Yorker, I normally would never do such a thing on principle but having had prearranged to meet her there there was no choice - no back-up plan! (...as in, if you don't see me by noon, I'll be at the bar in the Regis Hotel...) I had to get inside for the rendezvous because her cell phone doesn't work here. As soon as I gained entry, I felt anxious and and worried about whether I would find her in 3 floors of madness - I also wanted to leave immediately. It's dark and creepy inside Abercrombie and Fitch, and the loud music disorients you. How diabolical! You'll hand over your credit card to your kid, just to get the heck out of there. The merchandise is stacked very, very neatly. ALL the sales people are very cute, especially the boys, as my daughter observed. (...could be the basis for a class action, along the line of the lawsuit against Hooters?) The clothes are not very cute but the advertising follows the same sexy format as Victoria's Secret - and that's not surprising since Les Wexner is the master mind behind both brands. The message is twofold: shop here for these average and overpriced clothes and you will find love, or at least sex, with a pretty girl or muscular, bare chested lad, AND your room will be tidy (the latter directed toward the moms). And it works, of course - the place was doing a heck of a business!
When we got out of there we crossed the street and gained entry to the Trump Tower and waited in line at the Starbucks on the mezzanine After that we made our way 3 blocks south on Fifth Avenue to the MOMA, through a sea of head-poking and eye-stabbing umbrellas, where the line were also very long - not so much for the art exhibits but for the lunch...actually (once you get a seat) the cafeteria on the 2nd floor has pretty good food and the portions are rather large enough to restore your good humor, so you can go back and properly admire Monet's Water Lilies etc.
The MOMA gift shop is a good place to shop for quirky gifts. My sister is very efficient and quickly selected gifts for about 10 people on her list. A side benefit to being divorced is not having all that many friends so I don't have to worry as much about that sort of thing.
These stuffed chicken breasts are really delicious and very easy to prepare:
1 yellow onion
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 package frozen chopped spinach
2 slices Gruyere or Swiss cheese
2 slices ham
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth (I use a bouillon cube)
Slice and saute in olive oil onion
In a separate pan, cook the spinach and drain - completely squeeze out all the liquid
salt and pepper
a tiny dash of nutmeg
Slice the chicken breasts carefully along the side to make a pocket - try not to cut any other holes
Fill with the chicken with:
a slice of ham
slice of Gruyere
Season generously with:
Hot Hungarian Paprika
Close the chicken breasts with wooden skewers
Add the chicken to the onions and brown on both sides
De-glaze with white wine
Chop the tomatoes and olives and add to the chicken
Add the 1/2 cup chicken broth (or 1/2 cup water and a bouillon cube)
the juice of the lemon
Cover and simmer, turning the breasts several times during the cooking (using the skewers as little handles!)
Just before serving, stir in
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 large tablespoon Cream Cheese
Serve with a nice green salad
And a baked potato - top it with Greek yogurt or sour cream, if you like.
It was totally worth all the lines - check out a happy tourist: my sister at Rockefeller Center!