25th December 2010, aka Christmas Day:
We had a wee lie in on Christmas morning before we got up and decided it was time for presents!
We all sat around the lounge room in not-our-house in Chelsea and exchanged gifts. Everyone was pretty thrilled with their presents, especially me and Chloe. We assumed we weren’t getting anything, as we thought NYC being covered by our parents’ wallets was more than enough, but were surprised with pearl rings from mum’s work. Hooray! So pretty!
We then got ready and headed out for lunch at the Plaza Hotel. THe day was bitterly cold, though not as cold as we expected. Mum was hoping desperately that it would snow, although it was not forcast to until Boxing Day. (And trust me, we got it: BLIZZARD STYLE!)
We took a taxi to the Plaza, considering the cold weather and it being Christmas Day and all, and ventured into what I’d have to say is the most glamourous, ridiculously over the top, yet still classy, beautiful hotels I’ve ever been into. The Plaza is exactly how you imagine it to be mixed with exactly how it is described in Eloise At The Plaza. (A brilliant book that the Plaza obviously loves too because it has an Eloise flag and Eloise dolls and paintings near the elevator.)
The lobby is very old fashioned, just big enough (see: small-ish) and is cozy and warm after entering from the cold via a red carpet and a swishly-dressed doorman.
We were quickly seated in the main restaurant which was directly behind the lobby, and given menus. Being Christmas, the hotel had a set menu of Christmas specialities: goose, lamb, turkey. Very American.
I asked specially for the vegetarian special, whilst Chloe ordered steak, dad chose lamb and mum ventured out in ordering goose for her Christmas lunch.
While we waited, Chloe and I gave ourselves a tour of the dessert trolleys in the middle of the table, oh we couldn’t wait to dig into the adorable little pastel-coloured macarons, intricately designed chocolates and about five different amazing looking cakes with my name marked ALL OVER THEM!
We were served our first course, which was a really delicious pumpkin soup with a hint of truffle and a vast array of different little rolls for us to use to mop the soup up. The soup was rather on the thin side, which normally I would complain about (I prefer thicker ones), but I think the intense flavours of the herbs and truffle demanded something a little lighter.
Whilst waiting for our mains, Chloe and I ventured to the toilets. Unfortunately (or rather fortunately, as I see it), we got terribly lost and stumbled into the grand ballroom. It was GORGEOUS, the absolute height of last-century interior design with delicately carved wall decorations and rich red carpet and beautiful chandeliers. We didn’t stay long and quickly snapped a few pictures before bailing as we didn’t want to get caught!
The vegetarian course I had ordered was char grilled vegetables rolled around goats cheese. It was well seasoned and surprisingly good, despite the goats cheese being a little toooooo melty for my liking.
The steak, Chloe said, was decent and dad was thrilled with his lamb chops, but the goose was an ABSOLUTE disaster. Mum said she has never eaten drier food in her life, which is characteristic of meat like goose if not properly basted. Oh well, we weren’t at the Plaza for the food, we were there for the ambience! (Which is unusual for a family of foodies, but hey, we had great food every other meal!)
Then it was FINALLY time for the desserts. HOORAY! Let me say: they did not disappoint!
Chloe ate her weight in macarons, following a game of “guess the flavour” and I came back to the table with 3 different kinds of chocolate cake plus a tiny baby chocolate tart. Lord do I love that sweet sweet brown stuff. Yes, we made sure we got our monies worth out of that dessert table.
Earlier mum had insisted that all she wanted for Christmas was a horse and carriage ride around Central Park. So we ventured back into the bitter cold and rugged up under a warm blanket inside a cute vintage carriage that took us for a short ride around the park, which was just across the road from the Plaza. It was loads of fun, and a nice way to see the park on a day where it wasn’t much fun to be walking long distances.
We then spotted the UN Secretary General’s car outside of the Plaza (yes, for realz, I have photos) before heading off down 5th Ave to check out more Christmas displays and hopefully spot the Rockefellar Christmas tree, which is legend. NYC goes ALL out for Christmas. Seriously, I thought Americans generally did Christmas decorations well (especially after what I saw in Chicago), but no one does it like 5th Ave, with displays that would climb right up the sides of sky-scrapers.
We spent the rest of our Christmas day exploring free and always open sights such as Grand Central Station (where I pulled a Serena from Gossip Girl) and admiring architecture, such as the Crysler building.
All in all it was a pretty great Christmas, although I don’t think I could ever get used to a cold Christmas and will definitely be spending this year’s (2011) on the beach in scorching Australian summer style. You definitely need to experience a cold Christmas once, but I’ll always prefer summer Christmas, it’s my Christmas.