New York Day 6

The last day in New York… it was bittersweet. I was pooped but we still had half an afternoon to enjoy the city one last time before heading to JFK for our flight. Warning: this is a long post and does not contain all fun NY activities like the previous posts.

– Headed south to grab lunch with Lijen at Momofuku Noodle Bar (Laurie was craving ramen). It took a lot longer than we expected because a building had collapsed causing the subway to shut down!! The 96th station was closed so we jumped on a bus to ride to 86th station to catch the subway there… we ended up waiting 20+ minutes for a train to come, not to mention that once it did, it was PACKED. I am not super comfortable with crowded areas, but luckily things eased up once we hit Grand Central Station. Anyway, the noodles were delicious. I got the Momofuku Ramen which also had this fatty pork that I am a big fan of.
– After eating myself silly with the huge bowl of ramen, we walked to Max Brenner where you might not believe… I denied taking a free sample because I was so full. Laurie picked up some white chocolate covered apples (with cinnamon) as presents and we were on our way. While Lijen headed to Starbucks to work, Lars and I headed back to the apartment to meet up with Matt who was picking us up with the car service he ordered… or so we thought…

This is where the afternoon craziness begins:

– From Max Brenner, we jumped in a cab (knowing we wouldn’t make it if we rode the subway) back to the apartment. It took FOREVER… but we got there. I got a phone call from Matt saying that the car service screwed up and that they wouldn’t be picking us up anymore. CRAP #1. It was almost 4PM at that point and our flight was at 5:55PM from JFK.
– No car service. What to do. We grabbed our luggage (which included Lijen’s luggage too) and ran to Madison Ave. praying we could catch a cab. Several taxis drove by shaking their hands because they probably saw our luggage and knew we were going to the airport. Bastards. Anyway, one cab driver named Malik was kind enough to give us a lift. After asking how much the ride would be, I realized I only had $42 but the ride to the airport was $45 and he only accepted cash. CRAP #2. Laurie jumped out of the taxi and ran to the BofA a block away while I directed Malik where to go to pick her up. Note: this was no easy task because of the number of cars….
– Lars grabbed some cash and we were on our way… in traffic… trying to get off the damn island of Manhattan. I started to realize that we probably wouldn’t make it to JFK. CRAP #3. I called JetBlue and luckily they had other flights that night going to Oakland… I felt a little better at that point.
– Malik saw the pain on my face and drove like a speed racer getting us to JFK at 5:15PM!! Yowza! I got in line while Laurie checked us in. While trying to push two full pieces of luggage, holding a guitar, and wearing a backpack… the handle on Lijen’s bag literally ripped off. CRAP #4. It was a challenge moving that thing after that…
– Checked in our luggage and ran to the security line. Some nice people let us jump in front of them. Luckily the line wasn’t super long. In record time, we had all of our stuff in those grey bins ready to jet through the metal detector… but… the person watching the monitor had to run someone’s stuff through the machine TWICE. CRAP #5. Lars got so annoyed that she even started swearing… loudly! haha..
– We walked through the metal detector and started waiting for our shoes and bags to go through the machine. The lady took her merry time… and then grabbed Laurie’s purse and said “I’m going to have to run this in the machine again.” CRAP #6. We were late for our flight, it was hot, and I swear… I thought Laurie was going to jump over the machine and strangle her.
– Finally, the lady realized that Laurie wasn’t carrying any weapons of mass destruction and we ran to the gate. WE MADE IT. As I sat down in my seat, I realized that this was all part of the New York experience.

Thanks to those that took the time to give us recommendations, show us around, and enjoy NY with. Special thanks to Grace, Norman, Elaine, and Steven for letting us crash at their pad. We had an AWESOME trip.

New York Day 5

The theme of day 5 was eating. NON STOP EATING. Thanks to great recommendations from Grace and Norman, Laurie and I pretty much ate something every 45 minutes the entire afternoon. Here was our path of consumption:

РStarted the day at Cara Cas and had some killer arepas (these delicious Venezuelan sandwich like things) along with the BEST coconut milkshake that had little coconut chunks and a pinch of cinammon. We wanted to have the special Venezuelan style guacamole with chips but they ran out of chips so we had to settle for a basket of Teque̱os (deep fried cheese) instead. If you go to NY you must go to this place.
– Walked to the SOHO area and stopped at Cafe Habana to snack on some grilled Mexican style corn which is their specialty. The mix of cheese and lime on grilled corn is good. Trust me… or ask anyone from Mexico.
– Proceeded to our next eating spot – Joe’s Shanghai. Literally 30 seconds after we sit down, the waiter comes up to Norman and asks “how many dumpling you want” (in chinese though…) We hadn’t even looked at the menu at this point so we stumbled a little to figure out how he knew what the hell we wanted. The little dumplings were good… filled with pork juice, just the way I like them. I think the waiter was slightly disappointed when we only ordered 1 order but he had no idea this was already snack #3 for the day.
– Topped off our meal(s) with some dessert at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Laurie got a scoop of ginger while Norman got almond cookie. I mouched off both of them while we walked northwest to meet up with Lijen.
– Took a shopping break in SOHO at Yellow Rat Bastard where Laurie wanted to get some discount shirts and sweaters while Norms and I checked out some cool t-shirts.
– Met up with Lijen who was working in some hidden coffee shop with free internet and headed to Magnolias to grab a few cupcakes. Not bad… but nothing special. If I was craving cupcakes though, I’d go back.
– Headed to Madison Square Garden to watch the Knicks play an exciting game against the Magic… sadly they threw it all away in the last minute. MSG was pretty sweet with a classic look. You can definitely feel the history in there. Plus we got to see the New York City Dancers which included one of the girls trying out to be a Pussy Cat Doll.
– After the game, we finished the night at a 24 hour restaurant (I don’t remember the name, and I’m not so sure it had an English one) in Korea town which physically is more like Korea street. I wonder if all the Koreans in NY flocked to K-street and went crazy when Korea did really well in the World Cup…

For our second to last day in NY, I think Laurie and I spent it pretty wisely. I’ll post about the stressful Day 6 later. Also, pictures to come.

New York Day 4

We down-shifted quite a bit on day 4. The day was much more chill than the previous days. Again, some more highlights in as much detail as I can remember. Wouldn’t want to forget all the fun we have had on our first trip out here =).

– Slightly slower from the day before, we woke up and headed straight to lunch in Union Square at Republic. I ordered some spicy beef noodle soup while Laurie had something a little more exotic… the spicy coconut chicken noodle soup. Both were pretty good even though I was a little skeptical about the “pan asian” restaurant to begin with.
– Said goodbye to Bryan and Cho who headed back to their respective hoods then we quickly headed to Broadway to watch the matinee showing of Les Miserables at the Broadhurst Theatre. I can see why this show has such a large following. The music is catchy, the story is touching… there is love, fighting, comedy… the show has everything you could ask for. It was AWESOME. It could have also been the fact that this show was on Broadway although I don’t have any other musical for comparison. Laurie said it was a lot better than the version she saw in SF…
– Post show, I picked up some honey roasted peanuts at a Nuts for Nuts cart. I wasn’t sure how sanitary nuts would be from a cart (reference from Along Came Polly) but the smell of them made them irresistible. Plus, they were a great snack for the subway…
– For dinner we headed to Gyu Kaku, a Japanese BBQ joint (it felt more like a Korean place though…) for Matt’s birthday. It was a little pricey but the beef was really delicious. The one thing that I am not a big fan of is the fact that I smelled like piece of steak once we left… I think Korean BBQ places (or in our case Japanese BBQ) should provide some Febreeze at the door so you can spray yourself before you leave. Just a thought…
– Ended the night with some drinks down the street at B Bar and Grill which had a great red sangria. Good times with both old and new friends. Post drinks we had a late night snack at Mamoun’s on St. Marks. We originally were craving Belgium fries at Pommes Frites but they had just closed 15 minutes before we got there. Boo! I shouldn’t complain though. Getting a $2.50 falafel past 1AM on a Sunday night is not half bad.

New York Day 3

Highlights from day 3 in the big apple:

– Started the day in search of foooood. We had THE BEST pastrami sandwich at Katz. It was pretty pricey, but the meat was so tender and juicy. As I type this, I am actually craving it again. Add some hot mustard and I am in heaven. Katz’s is located on Houston street which is weird because it is really pronounced “How”-ston vs. the Texas city.
– Headed west and “shopped” around SOHO. We were going to meet up with some people but they were busy shopping for intimate apparel. I convinced Laurie to pass on meeting up.
– Spent some time at the World Trade Center. I can’t believe that two skyscrapers stood there… It is true, America will never forget.
– We headed to Taisho for a pre-dinner snack but it wasn’t opened yet so we headed to Crooked Tree Creperie because Laurie wanted a cup of their apple cider. I wasn’t a big fan of the cider (or any cider for that matter) but it was nice to get out of the cold and relax from all the walking. After, we headed back to Taisho. This place is all about these mini skewers that they cook over a charcoal grill. The chicken skin skewer felt so bad but tasted so good…
– Later we had our real dinner and celebrated Carolyn’s birthday at La Palapa and had some pretty good duck with mole and some awesome plantains. After we went to Ludo and got our groove on. Grace was by far the most popular girl on the floor because she can really shake her booty. Anyway, we all had a great time. I still don’t know if I have the endurance to last in NY. Leaving the clubs at 3:30 am is rough.

New York Day 2

Day 2 we ventured further south than yesterday and basically did a tour of Midtown. Here are the highlights:

– Had the Recession Special at Gray’s Papaya for lunch. Two frankfurters topped with crout, hot mustard, and ketchup is a good way to start the day. Plus it was only $3.50 (which included a soda btw) and Laurie was buying =).
– Picked up Les Mis tickets at the box office and walked through the Theater District.. saw a bunch of other shows that looked just as good but sadly we don’t have time to watch them all (not to mention the money for the tickets).
– Eventually ended up in Times Square. All I have to say is WOW. I can’t imagine how crazy it is there during New Years when the ball drops. Must be nuts.
– Walked East and ended up at Rockefeller Center. Outside skating rink.. cool. Outside skating rink in the rain… not as cool.
– Crossed Midtown to check out Fauchon (get some good sweets) but they were not where we thought they would be… all we found was a construction zone, a Ferrari dealership, and the BCG offices.
– Hit up the Apple store aka the “Cube”. I was blown away at how cool the darn thing is AND how many people were in there…
– Walked around the Time Warner Center. Laurie and I aren’t big shoppers so it wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be, but the architecture and walking there was fun. We think we might have passed a filming of Law and Order, but we didn’t see any of the regulars. On a tangent note, I like the “ding ding” sound that show has.
– Consumed the best cream puff ever at Payard… mmmm… the hazelnut cream was very excellent. A great way to end a busy day.
– For dinner we met up with Bryan, Lijen, Cho, Brad, Koo, Ching, and Caroline at John’s on 12th street. Pretty good chicken but nothing that blew me away.
– Headed back to Brad and Koo’s place to kick back, have a few drinks, catch up with folks, and chill. Good times. Half drunk around 1 AM, we decided to hit up the “barsington” at a nearby bar. All I have to say is that New Yorkers know how to stay up late. The late night snack at Ray’s Pizza was delicious. Not sure if it was the fact that I had been drinking or if the fresh mozzarella pizza was just that good.

New York Day 1

This is the first of a series of blogs from NY to capture what I did the previous day. This is my first trip out here and so far it has been… amazing. I never considered myself a “city person” but this city is quickly making me realize how much I enjoy taking public transit and walking from block to block. Granted, Laurie and I are on vacation so this wouldn’t be typical living, but you get my point. Anyway, day 1…

– Arrived here at 7AM sleepy as hell. I discovered why people rave about JetBlue and came to love the “Red Eye” package that came complimentary with the flight.
– Rode a taxi to Grace, Norman, and Elaine’s place… woke everyone up… then passed out for a few hours.
– For lunch we hit up John’s for some good wood-fired, authentic NY pizza. It was good, not great, but I was hungry so it made me happy.
– From there, we walked west and passed by Serendipity III which looked like the Bart on Halloween… crowded, uncomfortable, and not worth it. We didn’t go in but took a picture to capture the moment from outside.
– We kept walking west and went into Dylan’s Candy Shop. I got some sour candy and Laurie got a bag of Harry Potter Bertie Botts Beans.
– We finally hit Central Park and started walking north. We took plenty of “bench breaks” (basically sitting at a park bench and watching people walk by) and ate our candy… I had a black pepper jelly bean while Laurie tried bacon, grass, and vomit.
The Met was amazing. Laurie and I covered all the galleries we wanted to check out. I was a big fan of the Modern Art and Arms and Armor galleries (they had a huge section on Japanese armor which was pretty awesome) while Laurie enjoyed the European paintings and sculptures.
– Met up with Elaine afterward at DTUT cafe for a coffee break.
– Headed to the west side for dinner with Ronni at Fairway Cafe on top of the grocery store! Quite the scene and really good food. Plus I got to catch up with Ronni and hear about her super exciting NY life and try and convince her to come back to SF more often to visit.

My day finished with some nice TV and hanging out with the apartment people. Great way to start the vacation. Laurie and I are off for an exciting Day 2… we don’t have plans yet but I’m sure we’ll figure out something fun to do. Pictures to come later…