Hoboken, NJ

So Paul has given me the “you haven’t blogged” speech several times a week and he’s right, I haven’t blogged.  In fact, the post you are about to read I wrote months ago, but didn’t publish.  I’ve got some pretty good excuses for not blogging: I’m an extremely devoted teacher, an aspiring chef or grocery store enthusiast (I spend way too much time at Whole Foods and Wegmans), and an executrix of an estate.  Therefore, I’ve been a little busy.  However, I love to write and since I’ve got this lovely thing called “summer vacation”, I’ve got plenty of time to blog.  So, without further procrastination…HOBOKEN…

Before I begin.  This post is not about a bakery.  There is more to Hoboken than Carlo.  Just don’t tell the people waiting in line, they would never believe you.

We went to Hoboken over spring break.  We didn’t jet off to any European countries, nor did we go anywhere that has a sun, and this is unfortunate, we know.  But we have plans, big plans for the summer, and so, we had to put away any grand ideas we had for our second winter break (I mean spring break).  Therefore, we’ve seen the sun for a whole five minutes or so, and we’ve spent a great deal of time lounging around dreaming of Italy.

Since it’s not like us to stay home for any great length of time, we knew we would become restless and gave ourselves permission to take a small trip.  So, despite our lack of interest in baked goods, we chose to stay in Jersey and check out Hoboken.  We liked it so much we plan to go back, that is if the sun decides to make an appearance again.

We booked a room at the W Hoboken, and much to our surprise, were upgraded to a room  on the 10th floor with a spectacular view of the NYC skyline.  Upon entering our room, this is what we saw:

And then the phone rang.  We barely got the chance to put down our luggage when the front desk called to tell us that they couldn’t valet our wheels due to the one flat wheel we rolled up with.  How did we manage to make it all the way to Hoboken on a flat tire?  My guess is this: I was overly concerned with the fact that our GPS kept directing me towards the Holland Tunnel.  Since this was my first time ever driving to Hoboken, I was unaware that you make a left just before you enter the tunnel.  Make that left and it says “Welcome to Hoboken”.  Don’t make that left and well, “Hello NYC!”  Therefore, with sweating palms gripped ever so tightly on the steering wheel, I maneuvered through lots of traffic in hopes that I wouldn’t somehow find myself in the Holland Tunnel and in the middle of Times Square.  I have never driven in NYC and don’t ever plan to.  As a result of all this driving anxiety, our tire went flat and nobody noticed, except the valet guy at the W hotel.

So we called AAA.  While we waited for the tow truck to arrive, we sat in this amazing chair and gazed at our spectacular view of the city.  I loved this chair.  I want one for the house.

After the tow truck came and put the cute little doughnut on our car, we headed towards Washington Street to look for some feed.  Of course, I had done my research ahead of time and there was one place I just had to find.  La Isla.  La Isla is an authentic Cuban restaurant.  It’s tiny with luncheonette style seating.  The employees all wear blue shirts with the word CUBA displayed across the front.  It’s bustling and people are in and out, sitting at little tables and on stools at the counter, quickly scooping up rice and beans on their lunch breaks, then vacating their seats so others can have their turn.  The food was exceptional.  To start, Paul and I both had shrimp and chorizo skewers, served next to a green salad.  Then, we both had a Cuban sandwich, ham and cheese melted perfectly between two pieces of warm crunchy bread.  When our bellies were full, we happily exited La Isla, and, so not to disappoint anyone, glanced across the street at Carlos.  Then, we turned right around and walked in the opposite direction.

I was intrigued by the variety of restaurants Hoboken has to offer.  Just like NYC, you can find almost any type of cuisine.  Stroll down Washington Street, or according to our GPS, “Carlo’s Bakery Way” and you can find just about any type of food you desire.

We decided to return to our hotel so Paul could get some photo opportunities of the skyline and I could just relax in my chair and watch the boats go by.  Every once in a while, an enormous cruise ship would pass by.  It was a beautiful sight with the Empire State building looming in the background.

Since we spent most of the afternoon staring at the buildings of New York, we decided we would settle for a light dinner at the Sushi Lounge just one block down and one block over from the W.  I love sushi and I’m always looking for new places to try.

The Sushi Lounge is a busy place at night.  It’s exactly what its name implies, a lounge type restaurant with the type of seating you experience in big cities.  Little tables placed so closely together that you feel like you are having your dinner with the complete strangers sitting next to you.  While some people hate this type of seating, I absolutely love it.  First, there is the possibility that you could be seated next to two completely entertaining people, or the opposite.  But either way, you are seated so closely that you can check out everything they order and decide if you want that too.  It’s fun.  So, keeping that in mind, this is how our evening at the Sushi Lounge went:

Paul and I were seated next to the partition that separated our table from the side door of the restaurant.  I was sitting with the wall to my back, while Paul sat with the people at the sushi bar to his back.  The partition to my left blocked the wind from the door and I was very comfortable.  Paul, on the other hand, had a completely different experience.  Since the partition didn’t extend enough to where he was sitting, he kept getting blasted with a gust of wind whenever the door opened.  As if that wasn’t enough, the hostess stand was near his seat, and after being blasted by the wind, he’d be blasted in the face by a purse or by an elbow.  Women can be dangerous with their purses!

In addition to Paul ducking and dodging purses and elbows, the people sitting next to us, we guessed, were on their second or third date.  They were sitting so closely that we could hear every bit of their extremely awkward conversation.  This reminded me of just how much I don’t miss “the dating days”.  I agree with Paul-this marriage thing is a good deal.

After some edamame and four delicious sushi rolls, we headed back to the W, to once again sit in the chair and watch the lights of NYC.

The next morning, we woke up and headed towards Sears Auto Center in Jersey City to get a new tire.  Luckily, their service was quick and we were back on the road, this time heading in the opposite direction of the Holland Tunnel, towards home.

In conclusion, Hoboken is a very cool little town.  One that should be visited when its warm out, when you can walk along the Hudson and admire the views of NYC.  You should also go for the food.  It’s delicious.

The W Hotel is beautiful and ideally situated, and their valet service is extremely understanding and accommodating when it comes to flat tires.  We also think Hoboken is a convenient place to stay when you are going into the city.  Just hop on the Path and you can easily transport yourself from one fun place to another.  For this reason, living in Hoboken must be wonderful.  Just don’t get your coffee from Carlo, you might be a little late for work.

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