Friday, July 22, 2011

NYC with the BF

Hi Everyone! I'm recapping our recent trip to NYC, which includes some places I've written about before. There are a lot of pics, so you have been warned =)

Day 1:

The bf and I took a quick 1-night trip to NYC since we had never been there together. I heart NYC. It has always been a dream of mine to live in the Big Apple, but for now, I am only a reasonable 4-hour bus ride away. We ended up taking Tripper Bus from Bethesda for $25 each way.

86 E 7th St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Neighborhood: East Village

We got into the city in the morning and needed coffee badly. We visited this place because it was a few blocks away from our ramen lunch spot and yelpers liked it.

This place is so "NY" because it's like the size of my bedroom. There is no seating except for a tiny bench outside. Basic menu of very strong coffees and baked goods. Sorry, there are no sugar-substitutes, just white sugar in a canister.

The bf is so not a coffee drinker, and ended up saying "I'll have what she's having". We left sipping two Espresso Macchiatos ($2.50 each). We didn't add sugar so they were potent, had great flavor and didn't taste burnt like Starbucks can be at times.
Abraco on Urbanspoon

Ippudo NY
65 4th Ave
(between 9th St & 10th St)
New York, NY 10003
Neighborhood: East Village

I've been craving this place ever since the last time I went 2 years ago!

I had to take him here because there is no other ramen place I've ever tried that compares to it. It's so trendy and the staff is loud and fun.

Top: Nakasu Kawabata Shoyu Ramen (Soy flavored ramen noodle in a triple soup base of "sori-paitan" chicken, tonkotsu, and vegetable. Topped with pork chashu, red picked ginger, cabbage, garlic and scallions) for $15. I ordered this special ramen, which was very gingery and had thicker noodles.
Bottom: Akamaru Modern (The original "Tonkotsu" noodle soup topped with Ippudo's secret "Umami Dama" miso paste, pork chashu, cabage, kikurage, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil) for $15. The bf ordered what I had last time, which included thinner noodles and a creamier broth. I believe this is their most popular ramen bowl, and our favorite too.

We didn't want to be super touristy and go to Times Square or climb the Empire State Building, but we did visit Battery Park at the southern tip of the Manhattan. This is where you can catch a ferry to the Statue of Liberty. We opted for a quick stroll and photo before hoping back on the train.

Chinatown was our next stop for some refreshing drinks and snacks.

Vivi Bubble Tea
49 Bayard St
(between Bowery & Mott St)
New York, NY 10002
Neighborhood: Chinatown

OMG, tell me this isn't the cutest bubble tea place you've ever seen?! Why is Homer Simpson there? Well, doesn't matter because the bf liked him there.

Another very tiny place without much room for sitting. They offer a variety of bubble tea flavors, shaved ice, popcorn chicken, corn dogs, etc.

How cute and fitting for us. I ordered a Lychee Black Tea and he ordered a Taro Milk Tea ($3 each). They were just fine and what we needed while walking around town.
Vivi Bubble Tea on Urbanspoon

Eileen's Special Cheesecake
17 Cleveland Pl
(between Kenmare St & Spring St)
New York, NY 10012
Neighborhood: Nolita

I wanted to introduce the bf to my favorite cheesecake place.

It was so hard for me to decide! I like the mini sizes and the fluffy texture of the cheesecake.

The bf ordered a Plain while I ordered a Pecan ($3.50 each). He apparently prefers more dense/smooth cheesecake rather than light/fluffy. Oh well, I was happy.

While shopping in SoHo, we took a hot dog break.

During our walk back to the hotel, we found that on the weekends a good number of streets are blocked off for vendors. We grabs an AMAZING gyro in Midtown East.

924 2nd Ave
(between 49th St & 50th St)
Manhattan, NY 10022
Neighborhood: Midtown East

We decided to have a romantic but low-key dinner at a French restaurant not too far from our hotel.

To our surprise, they had a jazz band playing, which made the dinner even more romantic and cute! Check out Avalon Jazz Band's page: They play there on Saturdays. NYC has the smallest places ever! The front wall was open to the street, so that made it feel more open.

It was perfect. I love cozy, romantic, non-pretentious restaurants with good food. I heart this place so much.

We shared a Side of Truffled Mac & Cheese (Bachamel, Ham) for $14. We loved it! So yummy, and the bread crumbs on top added nice texture.

Top: "Julia Child" Beef Bourguignon (Bacon, Mushrooms, Carrots, served with Butter Linguine Pasta) for $23. The bf thought it was good, but slightly too salty.
Bottom: Mushroom Risotto (Asparagus, Parmesan) for $17. I thought it was good, but could have been more flavorful. We ended up switching dishes 1/2 way through.
Matisse on Urbanspoon

SPiN New York
48 E 23rd St
(between 5th Ave & East 23rd St)
New York, NY 10010
Neighborhood: Flatiron

I met up with some friends from home that happened to be in NYC the same weekend. We were all exhausted from walking around the city all day, so we chose to do something low-key.

Ping Pong! This place was playing hip hop, had a fully stocked bar and tons of room. It wasn't crowded, stayed open late, and the couches allowed for us to lounge while watching our friends play.

53rd St & 6th Ave Halal Cart 
53rd St & 6th Ave
New York, NY 10079
Neighborhoods: Theater District, Midtown West

If you have never had "Chicken and Rice" at 3am in NYC, you haven't lived. This place is a must, and I like the lamb. This was the bf's first time, and he ate all of his and the rest of mine. Sorry I didn't have a pic, I was chowing down! You can check it out during one of my other trips.

Day 2:

Aroma Espresso Bar
205 E 42nd St
(between 3rd Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10017
Neighborhood: Midtown East

A few blocks away from our hotel was this coffee shop to fuel us for our last day.

I ordered a Vanilla Latte and the bf once again orders something he doesn't know - an Iced Cappuccino ($3.25 each). We both thought the drinks were ok. All of his ice was melted because the frothed milk was hot...oh he has so much to learn.
Aroma Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Museum of Modern Art
11 W 53rd St
(between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
New York, NY 10019
Neighborhood: Midtown West

We love art and NYC has some of the best art museums in the world. We wanted to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art too, but in the end, MOMA was closer to walk to.

This place was huge and featured some cool and weird stuff too.

So many famous paintings where there! I teared up when I saw Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night. The bf's favorite painting was by Salvador Dali.

Pop Burger
14 E 58th St
(between West 58th St & 5th Ave)
New York, NY 10022
Neighborhood: Midtown East

My girl NV introduced me to this place the last time I visited her. Unfortunately I didn't get to see any of my NYC friends, but I wanted to show the bf this cool place.

The Pop Burgers with cheese ($10) and French Fries ($4.25). These fries are so crispy, I love them! The burgers are small and have a thousand island sauce on it. Delish.

This was my first time in Central Park and we only hung out for 20 minutes because it was hot and we had to get back to the hotel for our bags. Being there reminded me of Sex and the City.

Wafels & Dinges
New York, NY 10011
(866) 429-7329

On the edge of Central Park was a food truck I saw on Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

We ordered De Throwdown Wafel (spekuloos spread and whipped cream) for $6. OMG it was amazing. Spekuloos is made of ground up Belgium speculoos biscuits (closest thing to a graham cracker/gingerbread thing). The texture of the waffle is more dense. It was refreshing to wash down our snack with a San Pallegrino.
Wafels & Dinges (MOBILE CART) on Urbanspoon

Radiance Tea House
158 W 55th St
(between Avenue Of The Americas & 7th Ave)
New York, NY 10019
Neighborhood: Midtown West

We walked and took the train everywhere! It was so hot outside so we decided to grab another refreshing drink before leaving the city.

The tea house was very nice and had a large variety of traditional teas. Peaceful environment, even though the wood doesn't help with the chatter. The staff was super nice too.

Left: Pineapple & Mango (Indian black tea, pineapple and mango fruit pieces) for $5.
Right: Southern Joy (Radiance Classic Black, fresh lemon, rock sugar) for $4.
Both were refreshing and tasted like tea, not just sugar.
Radiance Tea House and Books on Urbanspoon

Our trip was way too short, but it was a  fun weekend that we enjoyed (and probably gained 10 lbs from). Hope you guys can check out some of the places we tried!


Matt L. said...

Have you tried Toki Underground on H St. NE yet? It's the closest to Ippudo I've found in the DC area.

Marie said...

Holy crap no I haven't! I went to Temari this week for ramen and it wasn't great. My friends recently went to Ren's Ramen and they didn't like it. Thanks for the tip, I'm def going.

Matt L. said...

I tried Ren's when the reopened, and thought it was unimpressive... Toki is way better, albeit a bit less convenient for Maryland folks.

Be prepared to wait a while for a table @ Toki... a good opportunity to check out the other goings on H. St (notably: Biergarten Haus & Granville Moores)