On our last day in New York before returning to the UK for Christmas, Jon and I have established a tradition. I finish off the Christmas shopping. He meets me at Columbus Circle to see the giant hanging stars do their light show thing and to carry the bags. We go to Thalia and eat cheeseburgers and drink martinis.
Then we go home to pack.
Itâ€™s always hard to leave Manhattan. Itâ€™s exciting to be going home, of course. Lovely to be around the family again. To watch lessons and carols with my grandparents. To go to the ballet with my mum and Dad. To eat a proper curry with my sister. To see old friends and catch up on their news. To talk to godson Arthur about his school play and hear all the details of his extensive Christmas list – soldiers from Toy Story and various lego kits are rumoured to figure highly.
But that means leaving New York. Turning off our Christmas tree lights for the last time. Having one last walk through midtown with a hot apple cider on the way to choir, or home from work, to chunter impatiently at the tourists ambling along the side walk, then to stop, suddenly surprised to be in Rockefeller Centre, and to see the tree presiding over the spinning ice skaters and to realize with a shock, once again, that this is not a movie set, but where I live.
So as I hunt about for my passport and book the town car to take us to the airport, Iâ€™m torn between two homes, neither fully there not fully here.
But where limbo exists, I firmly believe martini and cheeseburgers to help.
Itâ€™s the Monday before Christmas, and so, controversially for a food writer, I know, Iâ€™m suggesting that you donâ€™t cook. Treat yourself. Itâ€™s cheeseburger time.
Places in New York that I like to eat cheeseburgers at:
- Thalia â€“ the onion bun is not to everyoneâ€™s taste, but I love it. And their martinis are stellar
- Stand Burger â€“ delicious burgers and fries, great portions â€“ though the s’more milkshake defeated Jon, a most unusual occurance, so be warned, you may want to share with someone
- ShakeShack â€“ not the most relaxing burger, but itâ€™s delicious if you can stand the queues
- Corner Bistro â€“ this is my friend Euanâ€™s favorite cheeseburger â€“ he came to stay with us for 5 days and ate 9 cheeseburgers, so his opinion most certainly counts. Itâ€™s not my first choice because I’m yet to sit at a table that’s not drafty, but other than that, itâ€™s great
- Wild card choice;Â Delicatessen – Amazing cheeseburger spring rolls. Yes, they’re aÂ gimmick, but yes, they’re really good