Greenwich Village...West Village

Our first full day in Manhattan was on Saturday. It was a gorgeous day, not too warm and not too cold. We decided to head south down 8th Avenue after grabbing some coffee at Starbucks. From 46th Street in Midtown, we walked all the way down to 12th Street where Greenwich Avenue begins and angles southward and eastward. It was a long walk, but we were finally on the edge of the village. As we headed in, the streets became quaintly lined with red or golden facades and charming and classic brownstone stoops. We aimed straight for some park benches at Bleecker and West 11th. This was a beautifully treed plaza of benches next to Bleecker Playground. Kiddie corner to where we sat was the Magnolia Bakery, where several people wandered out of with pretty little white boxes and one cupcake in hand. This place is famous for being featured in Sex and the City, where Carrie and Miranda had made an afternoon stop. After some people watching we ventured deeper into the neighborhood to discover a cute first edition bookstore, several high-end boutiques, cafes & bistros. It was the time of year for wisteria to be in full bloom...and it was. We found beautiful old wisteria climbing up 3-5 stories of the gorgeous brownstones. I told Brad, if I had unlimited funds, this would be a place where I would have an apartment or townhome at the ready for me to live in while I visit NYC. I loved the West Village...while I know nothing about what it's like to be in Paris, the village had a very French feeling. Our last stop in the West Village was at Sant Ambroeus (check the links). We had a delicious lunch there and highly recommend it to anyone who plans to visit New York in the near future. The tomato and mozzarella salad was not served in the classic way with olive oil, pepper, balsamic vinegar and basil, (or at least the usual way that we have had it before). Instead, they served it without the balsamic vinegar and basil. However, this helped us to discover the flavor of the mozzarella which was incredibly flavorful...more than we have ever experienced! This salad was followed by my delicious TONNÈ--fresh tuna salad with vegetables on tuscan bread (the best roll I have ever tasted and best tuna) and Brad's RAVIOLI Di brasato burro e salvia--homemade braised beef ravioli sautéed with butter and sage, which I could swear was finished with truffle oil. Be prepared to see famous locals there, as I have read that it is a favorite. The only famous person that I encountered on the whole trip though was Andrew Shue (Billy from Melrose Place) on my flight to Newark. He sat right in front of me. Four photos of the West Village are at my Flickr site. Next post...SoHo.