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Eating Our Way Through New York

It's 6:45 AM and I'm on the corner of Third Avenue and 44th Street in New York City. It's dark and the streets are still fairly quiet, but I know the onslaught is coming. The city was busy dismantling the signs of Christmas this past weekend, as stores and offices took down the decorations that make this city sparkle at this time of year. It's a sad sight to see, for that means the holidays are finished and the frigid days of January are here. The only problem is that today will see a high of 66 degrees (18 for my non American readers). It was a short winter, that's for sure.

I came down to do some work at Starbucks, but they have no water pressure this morning, so I had to settle for Plan B and come to a place called Cosi for an omelette bagel. It's not Starbucks, but it will do. You always need a Plan B in New York, whether it's for shopping, driving or entertainment. The unexpected is a way of life here, and you have to go with the flow or live in a constant state of angst.

We came to New York for the weekend to do some work and have some fun. We also wanted to see our children, who both live here, before the year's activities move into warp speed. Last night we ate hamburgers at Rare Bar and Grill on the corner of 37th and Lexington. Before that, my son and I went to see Chazz Palminteri in his one man show, A Bronx Tale. Palminteri wrote the show, made it into a 1993 movie and is back in New York with the show. The movie is a gangster film based on the story of Palminteri's life growing up in New York and is one of my son's favorites. If you ever get a chance, I suggest you see the show or the film. It's a powerful story of a father's love and guidance.

Before the show, we went into Dale and Thomas for some gourmet popcorn. I spent $4.00 on a small bag of popcorn. Forgive me, Lord, for such extravagance! After that, we went in to an exotic sandwich shop on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 47th Street. I can't remember the name of the place but it was worth visiting. If you get the idea that one does nothing but eat when one comes to New York, then you would be correct. I don't know how my son stays so thin, because he loves to eat good food. I think he was created to live here.

On Saturday night, we went to see America's Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Only I call it America's tree, but the title fits. Every year, people submit pictures of their tree in hopes that the Center will choose theirs. The tree must be a Norway Spruce and be at least 65 feet tall. This year's tree was 84-feet tall and it's other claim to fame was that it was decorated with energy-saving lights. After we saw the tree, we went across Fifth Avenue to see the Christmas windows at Saks Fifth Avenue and the manger scene in St. Patrick's Cathedral. New York is cool at Christmas time. New York is cool any time.

We were near Ground Zero on Saturday as we escorted some friends from Zimbabwe on a shopping expedition. I should say my daughter led the expedition; we just followed along and carried the bags. My daughter can shop and everyone went home happy but a little lighter in the wallet. My son came in from Brooklyn and took us to a noodle restaurant in the East Village called Momofukus. Pretty good stuff. Friday night we ate sushi at East's Japanese Restaurant on East 44th Street.

So today the New York excursion ends and it's back to Pittsburgh and life in the real world. It's a six-hour drive back to Pittsburgh, but before we go, I hear they have great hot dogs at a chain called Papaya Dog. Maybe, just maybe, I can fit in one more culinary experience before I head home.

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This was a delightful, culinary experience as you shared eating your way through New York. The timing was so perfect; our whole staff started a Daniel fast for 10 days, and yesterday was our first full day of incredible organic vegies, fruits, nuts, water. It's a great experience to do this all together though. We do miss the morning Starbucks, but we're excited for the rewards God brings through fasting.

Ryan Cook

I am very jealous of your eating experience in NY. We are starting day 8 of 10 of the Daniel fast. Even though it is late, my stomach is now growling. I am looking toward the rewards to get me buy!! Sounds like you started the new year off right! Take care John.

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