Relaxing Day in NYC

My husband, Mr. B., was on vacation this past week, so I called in sick at work to spend a random Wednesday with him (I know, they’re so lucky to have me as an employee).  We decided to spend the day in the city, and headed over to Aire, a spa we like in Tribeca.

Aire is a bath spa, and it has five or six different pools of varying temperatures, from a 95 degree whirlpool, to a hot tub, to a freezing cold 50° ice pool. The atmosphere is super dark, quiet, and candlelit, so it’s very romantic and relaxing.  I love to sit in the steam room, which was dark and foggy and full of peppermint steam that was heaven on my clogged sinuses.

But my real favorite part is the “Flotarium,” a Dead Sea- style salt pool that enables you to float. It was so incredibly relaxing- you can hook your feet onto the wall and just lay there. My ears were underwater and everything was beautifully silent and meditative. I could have laid there for hours, and I am not a person who relaxes easily.

For a post-spa lunch, we walked 15 minutes up to Parm, on Mulberry Street in Little Italy.  I’d never been before, and I officially love this place. First off, it looks like my old Italian aunts’ kitchens- chintzy wallpaper, old fashioned tile floor, diner-style chrome rimmed tables. It’s tiny and cramped, and they blast amazing oldies music- Motown, the Beach Boys, Frankie Valli- all my uncool favorites.

The menu is a small but perfect collection of classic Italian red checkered tablecloth joint food- meatball parm, chicken parm, garlic knots, baked ziti, and zeppoles. They’re Italian comfort food favorites done really, really well.

We started with the “Holiday Salad,” which was identical to my mom’s salads, that is, chock full of unglamorous iceberg lettuce and drowned in red wine vinegar.  Like my mom, Parm adds cherry tomatoes, celery, and cucumbers, but unlike her, they also include giardineria cauliflower and chunks of salami and Provolone. Yum.

We also sampled the pizza knots.  I resisted ordering these things, as I hate the heavy, garlicky lumps you get in pizza places, but these were another breed entirely- light, airy, and dusted with Parmesan cheese.  Delicious.

Finally, we each got a parm sub- chicken for Mr. B, and meatball for me. They were so, so delicious- soft bread, gooey mozzarella, fresh and tangy tomato sauce. As a good Italian daughter I’ll admit my mom’s meatballs are still my favorite, though I guess I’d have to admit these were technically better. They were soft and fell apart, with a nicely browned exterior and a light garlicky flavor.

I’m seriously going back to Parm sometime soon.

The rest of the day was relaxing and wonderful, reading on the couch and powering through Season 3 of Breaking Bad. I’m thinking the hubs and I should call in sick a little more often!

What’s your favorite way to spend a day off from work?

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