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Image courtesy nytimes.com

I grew up in Wisconsin, and the hubs and I were able to fly back for a few days over the holidays.  We were there for four days, but one of those days was Christmas Eve and one of those days was Christmas and both those days had all-day family commitments (which was great, but not the same as just being at home).  So all told I spent two and a half days at home in 2012, which is not enough days.

That said, my hometown it is not a bustling metropolis. When we visit my in-laws in New York, I get a much better deal than my husband. I get to see my lovely in-laws and also explore New York City and catch up with college friends. Ian just gets laugh at my sister and me as we play the Zumba Experience on the Wii (its comedy gold).

One afternoon I met a friend at Grand Central. After careful deliberation, we decided to go to the bar inside the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle for lunch. We made our own salad and got soup from the prepared food section (sweet potato, apple and shallot? yes please), then went to the Skyscraper Museum in Battery Park City.

The museum had a lovely exhibit about the garment district and the way its existence shaped the built environment of Manhattan, but the layout of the exhibit was a little awkward. It looked like someone wrote a brochure that they blew up, framed, and hung on the wall. And the rest of the museum was more just pictures of skyscrapers than a museum.  But it was an experience. And they had a really nice little bookshop where we poked around for a while.

After that, we went to Tacombi in Soho and got spiked horchata. I love the idea, but what should have been a deliciously cinnamon-sweet drink just ended up tasting like liquor.  But the restaurant! I loved it! the whole place was set up to look kind of…outdoorsy? There was a popsicle stand in the restaurant, a VW camper van parked along the wall where they made all the tacos, big advertising-style murals painted on the wall, and aluminum outdoor furniture. It was fantastic.  We didn’t eat the food, but next time you’re in Soho, you should.

Then we went jacket shopping at REI, where I bought mittens instead of a supercute $400 black wool coat, and walked to Chinatown to eat delicious and cheap pho (because its all Asia, I guess? Vietnam and China don’t even share a very long border). It was a really nice day, even though it was rainy and gross out, and I was so excited to see a friend I hadn’t seen in over a year.

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