For Macy's spectacular fireworks display on the Hudson River, we had decided to go the more extravagant route and dip into the bank account. We secured reservations to a restaurant offering VIP parking and seating right on the riverfront for the 4th of July. The kids excitement was not only contagious but well worth the effort. The day might have been blistering hot but the warm summer breeze as the sun faded on the water was comforting. We were able to drive right down to the waterfront with the windows open, soaking in the sights and sounds of the city electric. The kids were bouncing from window to window in the back seat as we were waved through each successive road block and check point. The roads were empty of traffic as we cleared the final barricade and headed for the valet stand.
We needed to arrive nearly an hour ahead of our reservation to ensure passage through the multiple checkpoints and building traffic for the anticipated fireworks. No one seemed to mind, however. And once we left the car behind, the hour of waiting for our reservation time to come seemed to only be part of the adventure. The kids spent their time watching all the boats bobbing on the river, jockeying for the best spot on the water. It was like a giant floating city of partying and BBQ. The NYFD was well represented on the water and their firefighting ships were putting on quite a display in their own right, blasting multi-colored water in every direction. Somewhere above us music drifted through the summer air and added to the atmosphere. Our table time was a distant thought when it arrived.
Our outside, riverfront dining was exceptional. We watched formations of helicopters fly over head as we sipped sangria at our table. The kids experimented with lobster ceviche and picadillo as the last rays of the day turned the river a magical purple hue. Our main course was brought to the table in spectacular fashion, as the NY skyline shimmered with fiery blasts. Sparks and booms filled the night sky and paella, arroz imperial, and sole del alma filled our table. Each forkful was celebrated with its own bursting spectacle. Taste buds exploded with flavor and new found favorites as eyes were filled with the wonder of fire in the sky. As a dad, I had captured lightning in a bottle, and an unforgettable dining experience, an event not soon to be replicated, boyfriends beware. The crowd began to dwindle as dessert arrived. Plates were traded or placed in the middle of the table so all the selections could be sampled by everyone. Trio of flan was hard to come by as my oldest somehow hid it away. An enormous helping of tres leches bested my little one, ensuring a taste for everyone. Churros were an afterthought, a dessert after dessert, to be nibbled on as I enjoyed a cafe con leche basking in the success of this special evening.
The ride home was quiet, everyone sleeping with full bellies. I creeped home in the waning traffic, smiling the whole way. Son Cubano was a the perfect restaurant on the perfect day. In the end I silently thanked my Spanish friends for the spattering of phrases that impressed both my waiter and my family and for the experiences they have opened my children to.