Easter makes you decide. Should the chocolate should go on top of or below the Peeps? And should you wear the green tie with the gray or the gray tie with the green?
Below the Peeps, obviously, and green tie with gray (light green preferably), and now that we’ve settled that, two more Easter decisions for you: where to go and what to eat.
Let’s start with the what to eat. Chocolate-covered Peeps are a definite, along with a chocolate bunny or five, and if you can’t get to one of our favorite Valentine’s Day candy stores that have these commodities in droves, let us recommend Cummings in Salt Lake City and the ever-clever Bunny Hops from Zoe’s Chocolate Co. You’re not going to get to chomp the ears off your bunny on Easter unless you’re a walk-in, but permit us to share a secret: Easter candy tastes even better after Easter. It needs to age, and under the bed is a prime aging spot.
Now, onto the main course. Ham is the traditional Easter entrée, and as far as we’re concerned, ham doesn’t get any better than the bone-in smoked ham from Nueske’s Meats in Birnamwood, Wis. Unless you live by us and pick up your ham from the company store (a great place for all your smoked-meat needs, including the many varieties of the company’s famous applewood-smoked bacon and the ethereal corned-beef hash), again you’ll have to wait until after Easter for your Easter dinner. That’s not a problem. Make one of the many Easter recipes curated by our friend Sam Sifton over at the New York Times cooking site – including the best biscuit recipe we have ever seen in our lives! – and consider yourself tided over until the ham shows up.
Assuming you don’t want to cook on Easter (and many people don’t), you’re presented with another raft of choices of where to eat. We can’t answer every where-to-eat dilemma for you, but when the topic is Easter eating out, especially with uncomfortably well-dressed kids, we immediately look South. Any of the myriad places we’ve recommended in Charleston, S.C., will suffice, as will any of our gravy faves and of course the Biltmore, but if you’re looking for someplace new, our thoughts immediately go to Atlanta’s Flying Biscuit Café, where absolutely everything remotely breakfast-related looks good, including the blackened shrimp and grits, the oven-fried green-tomato BLT, and something called “moon-dusted potatoes” that has definitely piqued our interest. And biscuits. Keep the biscuits coming, please, and don’t stop until we tell you.
We can recommend Easter in New Orleans for myriad reasons – the flowers and the incredible softness of the days – but also very much for the food. An Easter breakfast from Stanley — and here we’re thinking Eggs Stanley, with the Canadian bacon swapped out for some boudin – followed by a walk through the French Quarter down to the water would be just about perfect.
If we can’t have Easter breakfast in New Orleans or Atlanta, we will gladly settle for a homemade Pop-Tart from Ted’s Bulletin in Washington, D.C., ideally the one hard by Capitol Hill. Even if the cherry blossoms aren’t, just to be close enough to the White House Easter-Egg Roll to hear the happy screams is plenty good for us.
Enough of the food. Now, where to go. If we look south for the food, we look north for the destinations. It simply makes sense to spend Easter in a city with deep religious traditions – and the more traditions the better. That immediately brings Boston to mind. The temperatures might not be quite as temperate as down south (51 degrees on Sunday, per Weather Underground), but the mood is inspiring and hey! The snow’s just about gone. We are absolutely committed to the Good Friday concert of stirring sacred music at the city’s historic Trinity Church, featuring the renowned LaFarge Ensemble. After that, we can see catching public transport to Braintree and scoring some dark-chocolate-covered Peeps from Phillips Candy House, Boston’s oldest chocolatier. Then, on Sunday, we’d start with some Burnt-Ends Scrapple Benedict from Bergamot. The scrapple dish (and if you don’t know scrapple, here you go) is part of a $44 prix-fixe brunch that also includes poached cod with linguiça. It all sounds great … even if we had to look up “linguiça” online. (We’ll save you the trouble. It’s Portuguese pork sausage.)
We’ll cap things off with a spin around Boston Harbor courtesy of Odyssey Cruises. Again, the weather may not be 80 degrees and sunny, but it’s Boston and Easter and we’re on the water, and there’s a chocolate fountain. We’re doing fine, thank you. We might even be persuaded to stick around for Opening Day.
If not Boston, then New York. We’ve already told you about the Easter parade. Give it about half an hour. To fill the rest of the day, numerous things. We’ll actually start on Easter Saturday at Herald Square by catching the last day of Macy’s annual flower show. This year’s theme is “Art in Bloom,” and when Macy’s says “art,” they are not exaggerating. The displays, which range from simple topiary to the avant-garde, are breathtaking in their color and creativity.
After our encounter with flower art, we’ll bop over to the 10th-annual International Pillow Fight Day, at Washington Square Park. We’ll take particular pains to remember the rules of NYC Pillow Fight 2015: no down pillows (they make a bit of a mess when the seams let loose), ho hard hits to the head, and no slipping a blackjack into the pillowcase. After the fight people can donate their gently-fought-with pillows to help the less fortunate, which sort of brings Easter weekend back full-circle, as far as we’re concerned.
We’ll kick off Sunday with a hot cross bun from The Breslin. It’s an indulgent take on the rather austere sweetbread that includes sultanas, tea-soaked currants and candied orange peel and lots and lots of butter, finished with a cross of orange-flavored glaze.
Still munching our bun, we’ll flit past the Easter parade before heading to Full Bunny Contact, the slightly bizarro cross between an Easter-egg hunt and a Halloween haunted house. This creation of the twisted minds behind the Nightmare Haunted House features an egg-hunt cage match and our personal favorite, the Keister Bunny, where participants pull eggs from a rabbit‘s behind. It’s not President Obama on the White House lawn, that’s for sure.
Happy Easter, everyone.
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