Monday, April 5, 2010

I ♥ NY

Well it does indeed appear that my "new life" has far less room for blogging than my "old life" did. That's not the worst thing ever, but I really do love blogging and yet, find that on my evenings at home these days I'm vegging in front of the TV (for some sound in the house) and not blogging. But maybe some encouragement would help me along? Please feel free to leave me comments on blog posts so I feel like people are reading!!

Ah, New York City

Well as my last post mentioned, I spent about 4 days in Manhattan in March. I truly ♥ NY. And somehow all my visits to New York City have turned into solitary ones. Meaning I spend each day touring around by myself because the friend I'm there visiting is working or in school during the day. But this is actually the best way - because one can do whatever they want whenever they want! And that's exactly what I did on this trip!

Grand Central hustle and bustle, on a Tuesday morning

Taken from the Meatpacking District one morning

My four days in NYC seemed to turn into some type of "Food Tour"... But come on - would you expect anything else from me?

One of the highlights of my trip (um, other than seeing Ms. Stewart) was dining at Thomas Keller's Per Se. I've been to French Laundry but it was many, many years ago and I barely remember the experience (is that really allowed?) So when I got a last minute reservation for dinner on my first full day in the city - I was thrilled!

Thomas Keller's Per Se: an experience

The meal was perfect, the service was spectacular without being snobby and we even got a KITCHEN TOUR. A KITCHEN TOUR! That was amazing. I think it's rather common, but it was still amazing. However... I just don't think the meal warranted its price-tag. We opted out of the wine pairings and still walked out roughly $300 poorer...EACH! I'm all about spending money for fantastical food but I don't think this was a $300 experience. $150. Maybe $200. But not $300. And I say this after dining at many a Michelin rated restaurant and none with quite a price-tag (even the French Laundry sister cost about half this price when I was there - yes that really dates it doesn't it?) I've had meals no more spectacular for half the price. Just sayin'. But it was an experience and I'm happy we did it.

Two favorites: Gruyère Gougères filled with Béchamel &
"Oysters and Pearls": Pearl Tapioca with oysters and caviar

Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster with Beets, hazelnuts, Japanese greens
and sunchoke mousse. ~~ Yvonne and I on our kitchen tour!

What else did I do?... I walked through Central Park and I sipped frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. I was awed by the magnitude of Dylan's Candy Bar and I strolled through the MoMA. And I saw Next to Normal which just about blew my mind. If you loved Rent, and can handle a little grit in your Broadway show - I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.

My stroll through Central Park

[Peanut Butter] Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity

The stairs at Dylan's Candy Bar

van Gogh's Starry Night was on display at the MoMA!

Time's Square boasting its multitude of Broadway shows

But what did I really do in New York City?... Let's just say, it's a good thing I walked about 30 miles over those 4 days. Because all I did was eat.

The night I arrived in Manhattan I ran across the street from my friend's place to 44&X ("pronounced" forty-four and ten) for dinner. What a wonderful find in the middle of Hell's Kitchen. I loved the ambiance of the place - think white, with twinkle lights and a trendy yet not overly contemporary decor.

44&X is 'pronounced' forty-four and tenth :)

My friend, Daphnie and I dined on the Lobster Taco with avocado relish, Braised short ribs with basil mashed potatoes and Turkey & wild mushroom meatloaf wrapped in bacon. The lobster taco and short ribs were FANTASTIC - and I loved the basil mashed potatoes. But the meatloaf was a little dry for my palate. I topped off my meal with Meringues, pineapple, mango and raspberry sorbets and mango chutney. A perfectly light dessert after that meal - though I think the meringues could have been better.

Lobster Taco with avocado relish

Braised short ribs with basil mashed potatoes

Meringues, pineapple, mango and raspberry sorbets and mango chutney

Another important, albeit trendy stop was at David Chang's Momofuku Milk Bar. If you are a foodie of any form you likely know all about David Chang and his ridonculously popular restaurants which vary greatly in food and price, yet share a common name of Momofuku, which means "lucky peach" in Japanese. Momofuku Ko, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Milk Bar and the newly opened Momofuku Má Pêche. From what I hear, Chang serves his pork belly buns at every restaurant - finding some way to "fit" them into each menu regardless of whether said restaurant is high end, casual or a dessert shop.

A few more pix which epitomize New York:

I know - it's so "typical" but it's still clearly New York

Gotta just stop by Rockefeller on every visit to New York

I found myself back at our hotel "early" one night. 10:30pm. Yes - that's early both for a New Yorker and for a Californian in New York (7:30pm, sorta). So I rushed over to Milk Bar, which was very subtly hidden behind Ssäm Bar. I bought almost everything I'd heard raved about: the infamous pork buns, cereal milk and cereal milk soft serve, a compost cookie and a cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie. I had to pass on the crack pie since I was already a little embarrassed at my order - but at least half of it was for my friend, Yvonne!

Momofuku Milk Bar goodies: cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie,
compost cookie, pork belly buns and cereal milk

I'm not a huge cookie person. And the cereal milk was very interesting but not earth-shattering. But what did rock my world? Them pork buns. Oh man... the pork belly buns. Obviously, David Chang is a generous man since he has printed the recipe for them in his über popular cookbook. Thank you Mr. Chang. I'll be attempting them sometime in the near future.

*DROOL*... seriously, like BUTTAH

A breakfast stop at the original Ess-a-Bagel on 1st Ave. was something I had to do after many a New Yorker friend told me they couldn't be missed for their incredible bagels. And it was followed a few hours later, by lunch at Ippudo for one of the greatest bowls of ramen noodles I've ever eaten.

My Ess-a-Bagel plain toasted with veggie schmear

Shiromaru Hakata Classic ramen - Oh man... if only I could fly to NYC for lunch

And with that I will be pausing to take a break, since I fear my raving about the food in New York City is getting a bit long winded. Part two will be coming shortly...PROMISE!


  1. Great photos and descriptions as always! I love your blog..

  2. it was a blast traveling with you and thank you for all the little treats you picked up during your explorations! you are an awesome travel buddy! :)

  3. What gorgeous food and pictures! Thanks for sharing...



  4. with hopes of not sounding too much like homer simpson, lemme just say, "mmmm... pork belly bun..."

  5. great photos! did you shoot all of them with your d90 and 18-200 zoom? you don't really need a flash w/that lens right because of VR?

  6. Great post! I love hearing about food. Can't wait to read part two.

  7. Terrific looking food with equally beautiful shots you took. so many wonderful things to eat in NYC

  8. Re: Cost of Per Se...when I was in Napa sometime in 07, I stepped into French Laundry to see what it was all about, and learned that the dinner tasting menu was $240. We walked away as alas, a $500+ meal was unfortunately not in our budget.

  9. Lisa, your macarons are the best this side of Paris! Thanks for all your hard work today,
    Celia Sack, owner,
    Omnivore Books on Food

  10. These photos are terrific! Makes me want to go to NYC, like, right this second. And eat my way through the whole trip!