So I've been away from the interweb because I've been in NY. It was like SF on the coldest night of the year, except every day = bearable, but this California girl is very happy to be home! The trip consisted of lots of eating, shopping, walking (to pseudo-counter the eating, kind of but not really), and time with good friends. =) WARNING: this is a long-ass post.
I try to go to NY once a year, yet I still hadn't tried some of the city's staples. I'd only heard of Murray's Bagels from the Amateur Gourmet, and I must say that it was very eh. Honestly, the bagel I had was no better than Noah's.
I also made it a point to go to Joe: the Art of Coffee, but when I walked over to the Waverly location, I realized that I had been here before over two years ago. Random. My NY friends seem to live by this chain, but I thought their coffee was ok. Their chai, however, was incredible. I visited Joe maybe 5+ times during my trip, and all but one time got the chai. I need to find out what they use! Stupid work has their site blocked =P
I also headed over to Katz deli on the LES, and it was way bigger than I thought it would be (it was huge!). The pastrami was, indeed, very tasty when fresh and hot. Definitely not as big as Cyn made it out to be - I could totally eat the entire thing, but then again, I have a freakishly large appetite. But $15 for that sandwich? Are you kidding me?? They're lucky they're famous and can get away with charging that much!
We also stopped by the Bryant Park/Times Square area to visit Joyce at Conde Nast (she's an editor at Cookie) and got to relive parts of The Devil Wears Prada except in baby-size. We visited, but didn't eat at, their cafeteria which was designed by Frank Gehry. Too bad we didn't run into Anna Wintour =P We also got granola (so much gluttony!) at 'wichcraft since there are booths everywhere in Bryant Park, and it was pretty money.
To kill some time before dinner, I went to Bouchon over at the Time-Warner Center since I had never eaten there (none of the locations). I really just wanted one brioche, but since they only sell them by the dozen, I settled on a pesto croissant which I had for breakfast the next day. Very tasty when toasted, and spicy! But really, who doesn't like a pastry that's 75% butter. Ah, if only I were kidding....
Sam Mason, the chef-owner and former WD-50 pastry chef, should really just focus on his sweets, because that was really where our meal shined. The Manchego cheesecake was squirted onto the plate like toothpaste, the sassafras cake tasted like a root beer float, and I really enjoyed the smoked vanilla ice cream that accompanied one of the dishes. The restaurant is also surprisingly large, maybe to a fault since it's so new, and the toilets were super cute. The dining area was pretty empty, but the downstairs bar/lounge seemed to be pretty happening. If I were to visit NY again, I wouldn't mind coming back for dessert. That's really what this place should be - a dessert bar/lounge. Afterwards, we thought about going to Bar Fry but our stomachs just couldn't hang.
So I got my one order of crab-pork XLB to go and was looking for a place to just sit and eat before they got cold. The thing about NY that I don't like is that... there's NOWHERE to just stop and sit. There are parks, but aside from that, there just aren't any benches or anything. I wandered around for a good 10 minutes before finding myself in the middle of Confucius Plaza. Screw it, I'm eating was all I was thinking. Since I was already so full, I was planning to just eat one. Oh, how naive I was. In the next 10 minutes, all 8 were gone. Compared to Shanghai Dumpling King, Joe's XLB were much bigger, and the soup was pretty effing amazing. There I was, standing alone in the biting cold in an empty courtyard with old Chinese people walking by, too indifferent to care about that crazy girl stuffing her face with XLB. In my defense, it wasn't all just gluttony. The soup was so hot and I was so cold! But it was mostly gluttony. The only thing I didn't like was that the skin was thick and on the sticky side, as opposed to SDK's thinner and more delicate skin. But that soup was pretty yummy.
I ended my day with dinner at Bao 111 which I don't need to talk about, and at MJ Armstrong's to watch a depressing defeat. But, it was a great trip, and after my burrito and pizza today, I will go on detox. =P