Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Girls Getaway...Without Going Anywhere: Day 1

Planning the ultimate girls getaway doesn't necessarily mean expensive spa vacations in exotic destinations or rock star escapades in Vegas. A fun, memorable "getaway" is as simple as clearing your weekend schedule (well, maybe that's not so simple in N.Y.C.) and spending a couple of quality days and sleepover-style nights with the chicks you adore most.

My latest girls getaway was right in my own Manhattan backyard with two of my best girl friends, Sarah and Jen. It was such a success that I had to share what I think is the perfect recipe for a fun, laid-back and inexpensive but ever-so-girly weekend.

Friday Night Femme Feast:
Men, listen up. Women can survive on a diet of cheese, chocolate, more cheese, wine and cupcakes. So don't waste your time fumbling around with elaborate recipes, unless you're the next Boulud. Just get friendly with your neighborhood Whole Foods cheese man and you'll be sure to please. Our kick-off girls dinner revolved around the above essential "food groups."

Our cheese platter was complemented with sweet fig marmalade (which could be substituted with Quince Paste from Whole Foods), Carrs crackers and Sarah's ceramic cheese labels. They are a fun idea for entertaining large groups or inspiring girlishness. Not sure which cheese to buy at Whole Foods? These are some of my favorites: Midnight Moon, Truffle Tremor, Montenbro, Manchego, Pecorino Ginepno, and of course, some aged Pa Pa-Pa-Parmiggano.

For chocolate, my favorite place to buy (or try free chocolate samples) is Pure Dark on Bleecker. I often purchase things based on the emotion I feel when I'm in a shop. Pure Dark's low lighting and earthy colors conjure up the same sexiness you feel with every divinely bitter bite of dark chocolate. That's reason enough to buy a few slabs and leave it out at your girly feast for repeated visits throughout the night.

Wine is obviously left up to personal taste but should be purchased in abundance for any girls getaway. Since women tend to appreciate themes (why do you think we're so good at bridal showers?) here are a few extra-feminine bottles to be paired with long intense chats about (ex)boyfriends, dating, and no particular order.

Little Black Dress - Pinot Grigio
Four Sisters Chardonnay or Shiraz
2007 Ménage à Trois Rosé

After you're nicely buzzed and divulging details that you never thought you'd share, it might be a good idea to eat something more substantial. I whipped up one of my classic risotto (sans peas due to Jen's childhood hatred for them) and Sarah re-invented her Nana's roasted chicken recipe with impressive ease! Although we were all admittedly stuffed from over-doing it on the cheese, we were so pleased to be enjoying an inexpensive home-cooked meal, and even more excited to be eating it in our pajamas.
Tomorrow, get the lowdown on the rest of our Manhattan Girls Getaway: biking around downtown Manhattan, shopping the local farmers market and discount stores, lounging at the park, eating New York's best ice cream, and discovering the village's best kept secret [garden].

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