Exactly a year ago I had the chance to spend New Year’s Eve in the ultimate place to be on that night: Times Square, NYC.
I chose to buy tickets to Rosie O’Grady’s special party. For 400 US dollars (per person) I got a 3-course dinner, access to a cordoned sidewalk on 7th Avenue with unobstructed views of Times Square just seven blocks away and unlimited drinks for the night. It ain’t cheap, but if you are not ready to wait for hours in the cold (without access to any toilets…) to get a decent view of the countdown, ball drop and fireworks, it really is a strong option to consider! Prepare well in advance, as tickets sell out fast. You need to sign up for their newsletter and act quickly when you get the notification they start selling tickets (a couple of months before New Year’s Eve). Don’t expect any fine dining experience or trendy atmosphere though. The place is vast (3 different floors) and rather convivial than distinguished, with average quality food and drinks. But it gives quite a nice way to spend the special night and it’s mainly about the spot after all. Those few minutes before and after midnight on the sidewalk among the crowd, with a full belly (and most of all without unpleasant queuing) are priceless. You will certainly feel to be in the place to be on New Year’s Eve.
Having dinner at Eleven Madison Park in NYC is the quintessential fine dining experience, in a restaurant awarded with the maximum of 3 Michelin stars and currently listed third best restaurant in the world. Here chef Daniel Humm takes you to an incredible gustative journey of several hours. The venue itself is imposing, almost grandiloquent (an atmosphere fortunately softened by nicely dim light). Food could be described as traditional gastronomy with a twist. I visited in winter and their menu being strongly inspired by the seasons, dishes were classical and rather straightforward. No delicate spring flowers or green leaves, but squash, beet, onion, celery and cauliflower instead. Main ingredients included lobster, caviar, oysters, foie gras, venison, eel, sturgeon and scallops. Nothing less. Highlights of the dinner were traditional breakfast muffins to go with the caviar, a refreshing Waldorf salad prepared by the table and with a surprise velouté underneath, botrytis ice cream, and to end the evening a funny chocolate game (match the right milk with the right chocolate). All in all, Eleven Madison Park is very refined and still very American. Ready for some pictures? Let’s go!
Let’s face it right away, 2 days to experience both these national parks is short. But if you don’t have more time and still want to see the main highlights, it’s feasible! You just need to be well prepared. This suggested itinerary starts in Gardiner (Montana), close to Yellowstone’s North Entrance. You will go all the way down through both national parks until Jackson (Wyoming) on day 1 and then all the way up back to Gardiner via a different way on day 2 (first night in Gardiner, second night in Jackson and third night in Gardiner). Roads are in good condition and (most of) the main sights are very close to a parking, which make these great national parks easy to visit. All the attractions are clearly marked and the visitor centers provide very good maps of each site. Note that this trip can only be done in summertime, when all the roads are open.
These 2 US-cities in the Pacific Northwest region and less than 3 hours from each other by car are well worth a few days’ visit. Like any big city in the world, Seattle and Portland offer many sights to the traveller… Here is a short list of the main things to do if you have only a day or two for each city.