NYC Take Three: Cousins Club Takes Aqua Grill

So in case you missed them, here are a few recaps from this weekend’s trip to NYC:

Saturday night, though, was for family.  If you’ve been reading for a bit, you may remember my cousin’s NYC wedding last month!  Well, the happy couple just recently got back from a glamorous honeymoon in Turkey, and offered their home for a little happy hour before dinner.

Ted and Whit, the happy couple!

The title of this post actually references to the “Cousins Club” that all of my younger cousins had growing up. My mother’s one of 8 kids, so you can imagine there are quite a few cousins in that club.  Well, this past weekend, I felt like we were the grown up generation of the Cousins Club!  And what’s more grown-up than a bit of a cocktail hour for the Cousins?

Whitney and Ted were fantastic hosts, and really pulled out all the stops for their guests (namely, Claire and me).

Quite the spread.

Quite the spread.

We got to tour Whitney and Ted’s apartment, which was adorable and perfect and totally reflected them.  Whitney even picked up some tasty craft beer, knowing how much I love it!

Clearly I was a fan.

Clearly I was a fan.

It was the Smuttynose Imperial Stout, and it was rich, malty, and oh-so-drinkable (perfect to go with all the salty cheeses and meats!)

After a quick photo op, we were on our way to one of their favorite restaurants, Aqua Grill.

Tiny tiny tiny

Tiny tiny tiny

Aqua Grill, located in the Financial District, is one of the newlyweds’ favorite spots and, the moment we walked inside, I could tell why.  The atmosphere was infectious. Even though it was a late dinner (around 10pm), the joint was bustling. There was a din of chatter and laughter, the lighting was warm, and they had a gorgeous display of raw oysters as we passed the bar.  I could tell we were in for a treat.  I ordered a Jalapeno Quencher, the spicy cocktail I mentioned in this week’s Six Pack Sunday. It was delicious and, after careful deliberation, we decided to order four different kinds of oysters for the four of us (16 oysters. MATH!) I even took a picture so I wouldn’t forget which ones we ordered.

Ah, memories.

Ah, memories.

We did an impromptu “oyster tasting”, which was actually my first opportunity to taste the different types of flavors that you can get from different types of oysters. They were creamy or briny, and we also ordered my first “wild” oyster. Maybe it’s because I date a fellow raised in the Cajun tradition of loving all things oyster, but this was just an awesome experience. We let our tongues do the tasting, and it was an exploration of flavors before the main course.

I'm selfish for shellfish

I’m selfish for shellfish

Ted also ordered us a little sushi type dish but, I’ll be totally honest, while it was tasty, it almost paled in comparison to the oysters and the main course.  For moi?

Heavenly

Heavenly

Seared Diver Sea Scallops with Dungeness Crabmeat Risotto and Sugar Snap Peas in a Tomato Shellfish Emulsion

MY GOODNESS!! This was to-die-for!  I’ve only had scallops once before and these were so on point, matched perfectly with a creamy risotto and the sugar snap peas were a surprisingly crunch every time I bit into one. I think my favorite was putting a little bit of each piece on the fork before eating to merge all the flavors and textures in one divine bite.  I can’t speak highly enough about this dish.

Aqua Grill certainly did not do us wrong. Although there was a bit of a wait for some of the dishes, it was a packed Saturday night, so I kind of expected that. No worries, as the company more than made up for the wait.

My tummy was so stuffed and sated by the end of this meal, I felt like I should either float or be rolled back to the apartment. We made a quick attempt at “going out” but, after weighing our options (and pushing through the crowds at another crowded NYC bar), we thought it might just be more pleasant to fall blissfully into bed, dreaming of salty oyster shots and luscious scallops.

I’d say that if the younger generation wants to compete with this cousins club, they have some work ahead of them.

Six Pack Sunday: Brooklyn, Baby!

Greetings friends, from one very exhausted jet-setter.  It feels like I barely left on Friday for my jam-packed weekend in the Big, juicy Apple of New York!!  Though I plan to write a more serious grown up post documenting my experience in the future, this travel-addled brain thinks that, for right now, I’d better stick to the easy stuff. Namely, a Six Pack Sunday!  Here are a few little nuggets from my trip that I can’t wait to share.

WARNING: Graphic images of cobra genitals are in this post. If that offends your delicate sensibilities…. read no further.

Six Pack Sunday: Brooklyn, Baby!

1. I’m Bringing Sexy Pickle Back

Have you ever heard of a drink called a Pickle Back?  It’s not really a drink, per se, as much as it’s a series of two shots.  In my fraternity, we used to call it Dickle and a Pickle, I believe. But that’s just semantics.

You start with a shot of whiskey (preferably Jameson). Then, you chase it with a shot of briney pickle juice.

Ready for my first pickle back...

Well, I finally tried one (I was down to try any/everything this weekend).  My reaction?

Oh no no no no no, never again

Claire’s a bit of a pickle princess, but I really don’t think I’ll be ordering this one again.  Then again, I’m pretty pleased that I can proudly claim the experience.

2. Anne Hathaway Reading a Book and Drinking Wine

I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a celebrity-crazed lunatic most of the time if/when I’m near a famous human.  This weekend, I had an especially lucky brush with fame.

I spotted Anne Hathaway, in Ippudo, reading a book and drinking white wine.  Well, technically, Claire spotted her first. And I tried not to ogle. And then, demonstrating EXTREME restraint and self-discipline, I didn’t run over and wildly demand a picture.  In fact, I played it cool.  I was all like, “Oh, Anne, I will acknowledge we’re dining at the same establishment, nbd, this happens all the time.”

This should sort of paint a picture for you.

This is exactly what it was like.

Secretly, though, all I could think of is “I’ve seen your boobs” which is (normally) not something I think about my dining buddies.  Oh well, part of the business, I’m sure.

3. Museum of Sex? Yes, please.

Speaking of “boobs”, we went to the Museum of Sex! Through Google Offers (Google’s group buying site!), I got my ticket for half-price, and definitely saw enough that I definitely got the bang for my buck (bahahaha cheesey sex jokes).

Sexy, can I?

There were oodles of exciting and interesting exhibits but, I have to admit, the Sex Lives of Animals was beyond fantastic.

Mounting!

Pleases all the lady cobras.

4. Hot Cha Cha!

Since I’d already tried one crazy cocktail in the Pickle Back, I couldn’t resist the Jalapeno Quencher at our fancy, amazing dinner at Aqua Grill.

Feel the Burn!

Described as: Chilled Ketel One Vodka, Pomegranate Liquor, Jalapeno, Lime, and Cranberry Juice, this left my mouth on fire in the most delicious way possible.

5. Smorgasburg Started Off Right!

One event I’d been looking forward to since the moment Claire described it was Smorgasburg.  A Brooklyn Food Flea Market, I couldn’t wait to go for brunch Saturday morning.  And what better way to start off brunch than an oyster shooter?

When in Williamsburg...

The oysters were from Brooklyn Oyster Party and I couldn’t imagine a better appetizer for the meal we enjoyed later!! An interesting way to start a morning, without a doubt.

6. You Look So Good in SWEAT!!

Easily the most inspiring part of the weekend was cheering on the runners of the famous New York City Marathon.  Sunday morning, we strolled to Prospect Park-ish, right around the 8 mile mark to cheer them on.  We saw so many runners, shouting encouragement to them all, as I tried my hardest not to burst into tears from being blown away and inspired and proud all at once.

You're so fast!!

Shouting things like “You’re KILLING IT out there!” or “You’re a speed demon” was great, but my favorite were the runners who had their names on their shirts.  To be able to pick out Katie or Paul (easily the most frequently seen name, I’ll never know why) from the pack and shout personalized encouragement was my favorite. They always looked so excited to be called out and some of them gave us high fives as they raced their hearts out.

It was beautiful, it was awesome, and I think I got a sunburn from the whole thing.  Worth it.

Love those runners!!

Congrats to all the runners!!  You’re amazing.

Clearly, we packed a lot into the weekend (perks of being hyper-planners) so I think I’m off to relax a bit before an early bedtime.

Have you ever been to New York city?  

If so, what was your favorite part of your visit?

If not, what would you want to see/do if you visited?