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Posted on Jun 7, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 46 comments

The Big Apple: Part II

Brace yourselves, guys. This post is gonna be a doozy. But I can promise you that if you can stick through the endless barrage of photos that’s about to hit you–pow!–right in the kisser, it’ll be worth it! (I can actually promise celebrities in this post! Eeeeeiiiiiiii!!!!!) Okay. Let’s get to it.

Saturday morning started off bright and early with breakfast at the hotel. The amazing thing that I learned about staying at a Residence Inn is the complimentary breakfast that they serve! I was expecting some cardboard-y danishes and lukewarm coffee, but was instead pleasantly surprised with quite the impressive spread!


A blueberry muffinette, eggs, home fries, a wee bit of sausage, and… oatmeeeal!


I topped mine with brown sugar, raisins, and walnuts. Nom! Also, eggs with salsa & sour cream may be the best combination EVER.


Yummy. We had to fuel up, after all, since we had a busy, Harry Pottereffic day planned! First up, getting in line at the TKTS booth to score discount Broadway tickets. Specifically, to How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying starring the one and only Daniel Radcliffe!


(Sidenote: he is not nearly that tall in real life, hahahaha.) The TKTS booth opens at 10 AM for matinee tickets, so we were (read: I was) hasty to get in line and wait it out.


The line looked way worst than it was — I think we only waited for 20 or 30 minutes before we were outta there, tickets in hand! Then it was time to get my TOURIST on, hehehe.


A little jaunt around Times Square, then onto the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Discovery Museum!


Needless to say, I was just a little jazzed about it.


Unfortunately, they are super strict about taking pictures inside the exhibit, so I didn’t get any photos of the rad movie props and set pieces (I was TOTALLY geeking out!) I didn’t even try to sneak any phone pics because I didn’t want to disrespect the fact that Steve’s friend who works at the exhibit got us in for freeeee! But I did force him to take a shot of me where it was allowed:


Riding high on Harry Potter mania, we stopped to get a quick bite to eat at a totally random place around the corner from the theatre. Couldn’t risk being late for the show, after all!


I got a chicken philly. Another mark on the ever-increasing list of horrible food choices from the weekend, hehe. I think you know what happened next:



No, seriously though, the show was SO good. Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette were both very impressive, but Daniel especially surprised me. He can really sing! And the choreography was so athletic! I was in awe pretty much the whole time, loving every hilarious minute of it! The young actress playing the role of Rosemary was very good too, but Steve and I both agreed that the star was the actor playing Bud Frump, the “villain” of the show. He was fantastic! All in all, a great time. I LOVE MUSICAL THEATRE!

As the cast came out for their bows, Steve and I rushed out (clapping, of course!) to head around to the receiving entrance of the theatre as we were instructed by his friend.


And we waited…


And we waited. Until a security guy came out to inform us that Daniel and John don’t come out after matinee performances. Fail. He told us we could try to come back after the evening performance if we wanted, but I didn’t really think that would end up happening. So, downtrodden, we went to Shake Shack to drown our sorrows in custardy goodness.


I got a “concrete”, which is essentially a much classier McFlurry. Mine had vanilla custard, strawberry preserves, and pieces of donut! Whaaaat? 🙂


I’m sure you’re all still wondering, however, how my playbill ended up going from this:


To this:


Hmm? Well, this story is far from over. After our consolation shakes, Steve and I ambled back to the hotel — though not before making a little stop…



Then we headed out to dinner at Kashkaval, a restaurant I found on Yelp that is a combination of mediterranean tapas and… wine & cheese. Weird? Maybe. But it totally worked!


We split a sampler plate of various tapas, including baba ganoush, tzatziki, ajvar (roasted red pepper spread), baked elephant beans (these were the biggest beans I’d ever seen in my LIFE!) and dolmas. Served with warm pita bread! Yummm.

We also got a pot of cheddar fondue to share, with some french bread and an assortment of meats to dip in it. Like I said, a weird combo but absolutely delicioso!


Much though it pains me to promote a chain over a local restaurant, I do have to say that The Melting Pot might have the art of concocting a smooth, creamy fondue down just a smidge better. It was still an absolutely delightful dinner! After we finished eating, we decided to walk back to the hotel to aid digestion and whatnot. It was almost 10:00 at this point, so Steve kept asking if I wanted to go back to the theatre to try to see Daniel Radcliffe after the evening performance (what a good boyfriend, right?) My stomach was acting up a little after all that cheese though, so I said it was fine, let’s just go back to the hotel. As we were walking back, however, we saw this guy:


Yep. Chris Rock. NBD. He is starring in a play on Broadway, and just happened to be exiting as we were walking past! So we stopped to snap a few pictures of him and see him hop into his car. After that, I found myself buzzing with celebrity excitement, and asked Steve if we could go back to the theatre after all, hehe. And here’s where the story starts to border on the ridiculous:

The receiving area for the evening performance was split into two sections: one for people who didn’t go to the show, and one for people who did. We got there before the evening performance got out, so we went over to the side for people who had paid to see the show to set up shop. While the other side was already 5 or 6 people deep from the front gate, there were only two other girls on our side, so we settled in at the front. That is, until Daniel Radcliffe’s douchebag bodyguard came up and abruptly told us to go to the other side if we didn’t go to the evening performance. Of course, my thinking is that 1) we did pay to go to a show that day and 2) they had told us we could return after the evening performance anyway. But, being the good little rule-follower I am, we headed over to the other side.

For about 10 seconds. And then I decided that I did not come all the way to New York, already having waited for an hour between the post-matinee wait and the current situation, just to be stuck idly in the back groping for a few distant phone pics of my fictional boyfriend. No sir! I hopped back over to the other side and started to plead with said d-bag bodyguard, explaining that we had been at the matinee and were told we could return in the evening. Eventually he stopped protesting and just started ignoring me, so I figured that was as good as a yes!

… Until the second security guy came out. His name was Neil. And while he actually seemed quite nice, he got on our case FAST. The same lines were repeated, asking us if we had been at that evening’s performance and telling us to show him our tickets. Except this time, the questions were being directed at Steve who, quick thinker that he is, said something akin to “She has them.” Then as I flipped open my playbill, he smoothly added, “Oh no, did they fall out of your booklet?” Hehe.

Too bad Neil wasn’t buying it. He told us to get our behinds over to the other side post haste anyway.

And that’s when I started to cry.


Don’t judge! It was just the situation, y’know? The waiting, and the disappointment, and the being scolded by Russian bodyguards, etc. I didn’t really burst into tears exactly, just the very early stages. You know, wet lashes, tight lips, eyes brimming with the stark reality of dashed hopes… It’s usually a curse, really, my incredible oversensitivity and the fact that I cry at the drop of a hat. But in this case, for the first time EVER, it ended up working to my advantage. With a roll of his eyes and a loud, frustrated “Awwww, man. Don’t cry! FINE!”, Neil let us stay. Much to the chagrin of girls on the other side, who loudly cried out “WHAAAAT?!”

I still felt bad, but I really do feel it was ridiculous that even though we paid just as much to see the matinee show earlier, they were trying to get all segregated up on me. And my guilt only lasted a few minutes anyway, as it was about to begin… 🙂


First a few other cast members came out, and I collected their John Hancocks and congratulated them on a job well done, and then John Larroquette joined the fray. He was SO cool! He stopped to take pictures with people who asked, made conversation with us (I said I was from DC and he conversed with me about it! Whoo!) Steve was most excited to see him, but let’s be honest. We all know what the main event was for me.


Hello, lover.


Daniel Radcliffe signed pretty much everything that was thrust in front of him, though he didn’t have time to take pictures with anyone (when asked, he declined very politely. His bodyguard, however, just dove further and further into profanity as they went down the line, haha.) And as he was signing my playbill (he signs his full name!), I said “You were really fantastic. Clearly made for the stage!” or something equally cheesy, he looked up at me and thanked me. Yes, my friends. WE MADE EYE CONTACT! That basically means we’re BFF now. NBD.

Needless to say, I was very glad that we decided to go back and wait it out. Totally, 100% worth it. Be jealous. Be totally jealous. 😉

And with that, I’ll leave the final nuggets of NYC for tomorrow’s post. This has literally been the longest post I think I’ve ever written. Sorry! Hope it was at least slightly worth it though!

So who’s got Harry Potter love? I dooooooo!

PS: Daily Eats from yesterday are posted here.


  1. I don’t even care about Harry Potter but this post made me SO GIDDY. I am so excited for you and so excited for my own NYC adventure!

    • Hahahaha, well I guess that is an extra level of compliment if you’re not riding the HP Train!! 😀

  2. SUCH and awesome story, I guess sometimes tears can be helpful in getting what you want, eh?
    I am completely jealous that you met Daniel Radcliffe. That’s awesome.

    • Hahahaha, and men all over the world are collectively groaning now that we know that tears really can work. 😛

  3. 1. OMG DANIEL RADCLIFFE!!!!!!! you lucky girl.
    2. those are, in fact, MASSIVE beans. tasty? what kind of sauce was on them?
    3. cute outfit! where is your skirt from? I had an abercrombie frayed jean skirt for years that I LOVED, but it shrunk/I grew and now I’m in need of a new one.

    • They were incredibly big beans, but they were good! They had some kind of tomato sauce over them. It was a cold dish though (as were all the other spreads, obviously) so I think maybe I would have enjoyed the beans more if they were warm? I couldn’t get over the gigantor-ness of ’em.

      And I *think* that skirt is from Old Navy from approximately 18 billion years ago, hahahaha.

    • The beans were in a tomato and onion sauce. They were good but definitely would have been better if warm. They were like big lima beans.

  4. I’m so glad you had so much fun and that it all worked out with getting the autographs and everything! Makes for an even better NYC story experience 🙂

    • See, it’s all about quality, not quantity. You may have been to NYC many times over compared to me, but I do it RIGHT. 😉 Hahahaha

      • I always went for work! Totes different.

    And since you’re now besties with DRad, and I am friends with you, it means I’m friends with him, right??? *stink eye*

    • Um, shyeah! We’re all set to summer on the cape together, duh! 😉

  6. What an amazing day!! I think its great that you were able to even get tickets!! Seeing/speaking to him was definitely the icing on the cake!!

    • I know, right? It really was just the cherry on top.

  7. You are hilarious!!! I can’t wait to hear the story at your wedding: “I went to see his play, then we made eye contact, then we fell in love and got married” 🙂


      In my dreams, maybe! Though right before he came out, I did ask Steve to make sure I looked all right. You know. Just in case…

      • To which I replied, “why does that matter?”

  8. I’m proud and thankful that you didn’t take pictures in the exhibit (even though I would love to see what it looks like). It means the museum nerd in me doesn’t have to scold you though 😉 Glad you had an amazing trip!

    • Oh, you museumer. Of course that’s the one detail of my epic story you honed in on! Glad to have done you proud. Hopefully you can get up to NYC before the exhibit closes to see if for yourself! Steve and I kept thinking about how cool it must have been for the person creating THAT exhibit!

  9. I also have HP love 🙂 great story!

  10. I AM sooo sooo jealous, now I’m gonna go spend the rest of the day being mad at you (JK) Thats so cool I loove Harry Potter, I’ve been rereading all the books to my kids, yes I’m 32 yrs old and I am in love with little Harry Potter too (hey I hear he likes older women, but dont think hubs would approve )I’m so bad I didnt even look at your food I just read as fast as I could to get to the pictures of Daniel Radcliffe:) Glad you had a great time.

    • I am convinced I will love Harry Potter until the day I die. No shame.

  11. Gretchen,

    I’ve been reading the blog for a while now, and I just had to say–I know this isn’t at all what your post was about, but you look great in your NYC pics!! They say joy makes you more beautiful, and I definitely believe that is true (most of my favorite pictures of myself are me being truly joyful).


    Ps. Congrats on Harry!!! Ah!

    • Oh gosh, thanks so much Lisa! Your comment came with perfect timing, because I was just obsessing over my outfit choice, questioning if I looked okay, and generally falling prey to all that negative self-talk. So thank you! Even I’ll admit that the jumping pic is one of my favs. 🙂

    • To be fair, the guy was definitely doing his job. I can only imagine what would have happened if one of the screaming teenagers managed to weasel her way through, hahaha!

  12. I. AM. 100%. JEALOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (but man. Daniel is TINY! haha)

    • Yeah, I think he’s only like 5’5″ or 5’6″, tops. Adorable little tyke. 😉

  13. Sooo exciting! I’m always completely awkward when I meet celebs and end up pretty much saying nothing. Did you love the exhibit at Discovery? I went in April with my little bro. He made me rush through, so I’m definitely going back for the audio tour. 🙂

    • The audio tour is definely not worth $8 or whatever it was but we got it for free so it was enjoyable

      • *definitely

    • I LOVED it. But I agree, if the audio tour hadn’t been free, it’s not really worth the $7 that they charge for it. I definitely think it’s worth going through a second time though if you were rushed! It was like my dream to be able to see the thought, detail, and intricacies of the prop and set items… must… rewatch… all films….

  14. I’m loving the NYC updates!

    Wasn’t the show great?! I thought the same things afterward….who knew Daniel Radcliffe could sing and move so well! lol Although he is so tiny! But again, the whole cast was really stellar.

    I’m so happy that you got to meet your man! : )

    Awesome weekend – looking forward to the last part!

    • I know! He was so wonderful, and I have high Broadway expectations, hahaha. 😀

  15. Hey Gretchen,

    (Relatively new reader here…)
    That’s awesome that you got to see Daniel Radcliffe. I love me some HP.

    I have experienced some crazy stuff at stage doors before too, as I am a musical theater junkie. At the WICKED stage door years ago with the original cast, security wouldn’t even let us take photos of the cast, let alone WITH them. I did it anyways, and have several shots of Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel that are all blurry and/or have their heads chopped off. Ah, the sneaky no-flash shot.
    Anyhow, just wanted to say that I’m enjoying your blog – and am super-excited for you about everything! (your weight loss and Daniel Radcliffe – all good things!) 🙂


    • Oh my gosh, I can only imagine the mob scene that Kristin & Idina would net! I was fortunate enough to see them both perform the show when it was on its pre-Broadway tour in San Francisco randomly, but I didn’t even know who they were at the time! If I had… aw man, I’d already be a side-door-stalking pro by now, hahaha.

  16. Love the pic of you in front of Times Square-it looks like it could be in a magazine! That is so awesome you got to meet them all, I didn’t know John Laroquette was looking so rough. I used to looooooove Night Court!

    • He’s getting a little on the, er, more distinguished side, true. But he’s still fantastic! 🙂

  17. You make New York look so much more exciting than I feel living here!
    (And I think it’s adorable that you cried.)

    • Hahaha, I think the same thing anytime anyone visits DC. I’m like, oh, right. It’s kinda cool here, I guess! 😛

  18. Omg I love that you met him!!!! Way to stick it out. Totally jealous 😉

  19. p.s. Too bad you didn’t see the show he was naked in 😉 hehe

    • HAHAHAHA. Riiiiiiiight? Le sigh. 😉

  20. I’m SO glad you got to meet him! If I would’ve gone though all that stuff, I probably would’ve started crying, too. haha 🙂 I’m glad you had a great time. 😀

  21. 🙂 This post just made me smile. I could totally feel all the energy and excitement you had during your time in the city! It looks like you had a GREAT time.
    Harry Potter Exhibit, Broadway show, and meeting talented actors = awesome! 🙂


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