Dates: August 12-19, 2008
Travel Partner: Ate Di
Tuesday, August 12 & Wednesday, August 13
NYC, Here We Come!
Yes, it says it all right there. I LOVE NEW YORK. So it’s been a good month since I have been back in the Bay Area and I have had a lot to reflect on. New York City seems like a dream world when you are not from it. From the events of 9/11 and watching movies set there like Batman and Men In Black and Sex and the City (<-- my favorite of all), I began wondering before I stepped foot here: is this place for real? Can one city conjure up so much emotion and inspiration and peculiarity?
My friends, NYC is for real and I feel so fortunate to have come here even if only for one week.
We left San Francisco on a Tuesday night so that we could catch a few Z’s on the flight over. We got a really good deal with Virgin America - $298 (plus taxes) for a roundtrip. What a bargain! I think we decided to go for real just because the fare was so cheap. Anyway, Virgin is for rock stars. Leather seats, monitors to play video games, watch music videos and Top Chef, etc. at every seat, purple and pink mood lighting? Shoot, this is SO my airline. So we finally get to JFK and hitch a ride to our hotel. Momma hooked it up so we got a great rate. Even though she booked us for an early check-in our room was not ready yet. Great. It’s all good because Momma was only book us for one Queen bed. We didn’t mind sharing, but our front desk girl hooked it up with two double beds. =) Yay. It was about 10 in the morning and I was starving…so we ate:
I know I know, we can get McDonald’s anywhere, but please consider the fact that we don’t know anything about what’s around and this was familiar and we were STARVING. =) Besides, that Southern-Style Chicken Sandwich is my new guilty pleasure. After getting some fuel, we went walking since we had a couple hours to wait for our room. Our hotel was on East 40th and 5th Avenue. Such a fabulous location because it was in Midtown and was close to a lot of sights.
Grand Central Station might just be an ordinary train station to an everyday NYC commuter, but I found it to be beautiful. I loved the architecture on the inside and the interior was fantastic as well. Just walking in there reminded me of the locker in Men In Black and a couple scenes from the movie Unfaithful. Bryant Park which is known for their film festivals and performances is just a block from the hotel.
When Momma gave me the location of our hotel, I looked it up right away and I literally squealed in joy. The park like I said is a block from our hotel, which means the Public Library is a block away as well. I am a HUGE Sex and the City fan. One reason for coming here was to feel that magic Carrie feels for her city. Seriously, NYC is my Disneyland. When I watched the movie, there was a part which left me breathless and in shock. If you are a true fan of the movie or simply have a great memory, you should already know what that part is. I don’t want to spoil it for everyone, but the last three photos in the montage above should hit you like a ton of bricks. Yes, I was there friends, I was there, and yes, I was breathless.
Times Square is like the Magic Kingdom to me. When you stand there with numerous of people walking around you, you have to have someone pinch you to make sure you ain’t dreaming. The vibe was busy and lively. Taxi cabs rushing through the streets, hundreds of people crossing the streets at a time…it was a visual orgasm. Everything was so energetic and colorful. I loved it. It was everything I would expect it to be and a bit more. After walking Times Square and meeting some interestingly attractive people, *nudge nudge Ate Di*, we headed back to the hotel because we were tired and had to rest up for our first dinner in New York.
Gotham Bar and Grill - Our First Dinner in NYC
Restaurant: Gotham Bar and Grill
Address: 12 East 12th St., between 5th Ave. and University, Greenwich Village, NYC
Phone Number: (212) 620-4020
Date Last Visited: August 13, 2008
Our friend Chuck recommended Gotham and it was so fitting to eat here. With the hype of The Dark Knight in theaters, it was cool to think that we were really eating in Gotham City. I know, I’m kind of cheesy. I was sucked into the charming vibe of the restaurant. It was kind of dark and mysterious with a retro to the Manhattan of the 50’s type of feel where men wore long coats and mafia hats. Very classy and sophisticated. I was ready for Bruce Wayne to come to our table and offer me a martini and whisk me away and fight mobsters on the street.
Whenever I make a reservation on Opentable, I make sure that I mention that I want to take pictures and that it would be appreciated if we were seated where we wouldn’t bother other diners. They put us in the corner by the bar and it was perfect.
Side note: that’s actually my “signature” on Opentable: something along the lines of We would appreciate a table where taking pictures is not an issue. If this is going to be a problem, please call me… I haven’t had any problem with this at all, and wherever I have sat was appropriate and sometimes better than I thought it would be.
The fact that we were in the corner by the bar was fab because people at the bar are there to drink and mingle, so they’re going to be loud anyway. Since we were not in the actual main dining room, we didn’t have to worry about bugging other people or ear hustling. It was as if we were in our own private area. Very cool.
and Ate Di’s Midori Sour in the background
Yes, I ordered a Cosmo here. How could I NOT? It’s friggin’ New York for God’s sakes. And oh so Sex and the City-like. What can I say? Fabulous.
salted butter seems to be the trend these days
Shiso Leaf and Sweet Miso Asian Ginger Vinaigrette
Chef Alfred Portale is known for his skyscraper presentations, and this is a prime example. The attention to detail is impeccable from the scallop-edged cucumber and perfectly-placed greens. I love the height and presentation. Cliché, but it was too pretty to eat. Unfortunately, we had to knock it down, but the tuna was so delicious. Fresh and succulent. I actually prefer this over MM’s tuna tartare, and we all know that MM’s tuna tartare is renown here in San Francisco. This one is lighter and fresher, partly due to the addition of the greens and cucumbers. Winner.
Lobster, Avocado, and Lemon Vinaigrette
Said to be Gotham’s most famous dish.
I seriously cannot think of a more perfect seafood salad. Simply dressed, not in a mayonnaise goop. I was surprised of how much seafood there was. Some places just add a lump or two of crab and one or two rings of calamari, but this was packed with seafood. There were so many texture and flavor contrasts here from the sweet crustaceans to the subtle avocado to the slivers of bell pepper to the crispy leafy greens to the pop-in-your-mouth fish roe. I absolutely fell in love with this dish.
As you can tell, seafood is heavily used the first courses. I really liked this dish because the rice was cooked perfectly. I have had other risottos and the inside was not cooked. This was perfect because there was a little tiny “bite” on the interior, but the outside was starchy and felt very luxurious on my tongue. It’s new to me to have seafood and tomatoes together in a risotto, but it totally worked. Ate Di said it was a bit too salty for her, but I thought the seasoning was about right.
Here we go again with the “tower” presentations. Isn’t that color on the fish beautiful? I loved the look of the various colors the heirloom tomatoes had against the white fish. When I had my first bite, it immediately reminded me of my Inang’s sarciado*. The burst of bright flavor of the tomatoes combined with the firm fish just brought me back to another place and time. If you are into lighter dishes, you will really like this.
*sarciado - A dish which my Inang made with fried tilapia (newly fried or leftover from a previous meal), tomatoes and onions. She sautéed onions and garlic, added fresh tomatoes and simmered. Once tomatoes broke down and onions were tender, she added the fried tilapia and sometimes added a beaten egg.
Tableside presentation - server pouring sauce over duck
You all know that I love duck. This duck was fantastic. Do you see those portions of foie gras? Enormous. Star would have had an orgasm if she came here with us. And do you see how much meat they have on this plate? It was cooked perfectly rare in the middle. Very tender. The duck breast also comes with a leg bone for you to gnaw on. Ate Di thoroughly enjoyed that. *haha* They offer a little serving of white rice which was good because I found the sauce to be a bit too salty. Ate Di, on the other hand, thought it was perfect.
Vidalia Onion Rings, Bordelaise Sauce
Now this was the star of my meal. My New York steak. *ohhhhh* I wanted it medium rare, and I regret not taking a picture of the inside, but it was prefect. Because the steak is in an awkward shape, the end piece was done more than the other end, but it was still so tender. It came with interesting sides. The Vidalia onion rings were delightfully crispy. The baby carrots were sweet and cooked nicely without overcooking it to mush. The most intriguing thing on the plate was the marrow mustard custard. WTF? Marrow? I’m not a marrow eater on ordinary days, but since this was probably the first and last time I would have it, I tried it. For some odd reason, it worked. The custard was very creamy and the mustard was just a slight hint - not overpowering at all. As for the marrow, if I hadn’t known there was marrow in it, I’d probably have no clue it was even there. I would spread just a teeny bit on each slice of steak and they went very well together. I promised myself and Robert our waiter that if anything, I would finish all of my steak. You can tell that it was going to take some concentration and focus, but I did it. He said I am a woman of my word. Word.
Cheese Gelato and Sage-Infused Pineapple
Jo and carrot cake? Seriously? Yes. On an ordinary, I would have skipped this, but oddly this tickled my pickle when I read it off the menu. I was pleasantly surprised. Great ice cram cake. It was garnished with a piece of candied sage and a paper-thin slice of candied carrot. I asked what the gelato was made of and Robert indicated that they wanted to mimic the cream cheese frosting traditional carrot cakes had. I loved it. The sage-infused pineapple was a bit random, but it complimented everything else so well. It was warm and juicy, so the contrast of temperatures was lovely.
Isn’t the presentation of this dessert the best you have ever seen? The passion fruit mousse was encased in that white chocolate box. That squiggle on the bottom is a passion fruit sauce. In the glass was a little piña colada cocktail. To the right was a kiwi “carpaccio” (f’in clever, man) with milk sorbet and a meringue wafer. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The way it was presented and the way it tasted - it was light and a pleasure to eat. Beautiful.
By the time these little guys came out, I was exhausted from all the eating. I sampled the pink meringue and it was cute. Not too sweet. What looks like the mini cupcake in the upper right hand corner was really a coconut bon bon. Reminded me of the Rafaelo’s or the coconut Ferrero Roches, but I could tell they were made fresh. Crazy good. Ate Di loved everything else, especially the chocolates.
What an extraordinary first dinner! The food was remarkable! Did you see those wonderful presentations? The service was also fantastic. We had a lot of fun even though our server Robert was a bit stiff at the beginning of the meal. I was afraid that it was going to be a really stuffy of an environment where we couldn‘t be ourselves, but it took a little chit chat and our girlish charm for him to warm up to us. I think it was the question of, “Do you like Linkin Park?” which sparked him to be a bit more open. I asked that question because he looked like Chester Bennington with dark spiky hair - from 10 years ago. *haha* But upon closer examination (once he started smiling), he looked a lot like Jake Gyllenhaal. So look out for him, ladies. He’s great. After this meal, I knew why San Francisco and New York are culinary rivals. Gotham was marvelous and the quintessential New York restaurant.
Things Don’t Always Go As Planned
So this was the day of our scheduled Tyra Show taping. Ahhhh! Tyra Banks!!! Above shows our bellman Frank hailing our FIRST-ever NYC cab. I love NYC cabs. Each one has a touch-screen monitor if you’re bored or fidgety and have to touch something. It has the news, info on Broadway shows, Zagat, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff. On our way to Chelsea Studios, we passed Madison Square Gardens. *^_^* So we get to the studio only to be told that the taping for the day was cancelled. WTF? They took our names to be called back so that we could go to the taping the next day. That totally sucked because we had perfectly planned a lunch at Nobu on Friday for NY Restaurant Week. Now we had to cancel lunch to go back to the Tyra taping. I was a bit disappointed. =( But what can you do? So we hauled ass back to the hotel. That’s Ate Di hailing a cab on 7th Avenue. =)
Before coming to NY, I did a little bit of research on the street food. Chuck told us that halal carts are just as famous as hot dog carts. Fortunately, there was a halal cart on the corner of our hotel. Actually, they’re on almost every busy corner of Midtown.
For 5 bucks you get some sort of meat over rice with salad and they prepare it right in front of you. Not bad. I wish we had this in San Francisco.
When I was at the cart, I asked what was in the Combination plate and he said lamb and chicken. I said I didn’t do lamb, so I ordered the chicken over rice instead, but when I got to the hotel room, I saw this. I guess we got lost in translation or something because he gave me the combination. That lamb was so spicy! But the chicken with the rice and salad was really good. I knew I had to have another one of these before we left.
I call this the “rip-off’ buffet at Café Charlie, next door to our hotel. Ate spent $17 on friggin’ fruit. It sure does look delicious, but never again.
Since we had some time to kill before our show in the evening, we decided to take a walk around Midtown, mainly along 5th Avenue and Rockefeller Center. We took the subway and I found it to be a lot scarier than the subways here in San Francisco. And it was SO HOT down there. When we come up from underground, it was absolutely POURING. It was weird because the day before was clear and hot. Now it was hot and rainy. Strange. What was even stranger was we were in the subway for no more than 10 minutes. The storm seemed to come out of nowhere. Fortunately, the Radio City Music Hall was right outside the subway exit, so we took refuge there for a few minutes as the thunderstorm died down. Bottom picture: me being OA and posing Asian-style. =) I love love. Don’t you?
Donald Trump was my hero when The Apprentice came on television for the first time. *winks at The Queen Rebel* So seeing the Trump Tower in person was mind-blowing. Why you may ask? He’s a friggin’ man of power with tons and tons of money. I can’t really think of a building in San Francisco that has the same affect. He has more control and power than the president I think. 5th Avenue is a shopper’s dream. Chanel, Dior, LV…Momma would have an orgasm here. I mean, yeah, we have the same stores in San Francisco, but it’s not the same. The scale of the stores here are gargantuan. Rockefeller Center. I would love to come here during the holidays and see the tree here.
After walking in circles and getting lost, it was coming close to show time and I was so hungry, so we had to find a place to grab a quick bite to eat. Pearl’s was a random Chinese joint in Times Square.
Beef in Brown Sauce - my favorite of the three entrees because the beef slices were so tender and I really liked the slices of Napa cabbage. Very simple and great over rice.
Not extraordinary - but it hit the spot because I was hungry. Then it was off to the show!!
Ate Di and I went back and forth between In the Heights and The Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid is my all-time favorite Disney movie, but Ate Di’s argument was that In the Heights was the 2008 Tony Award’s Musical of the Year. It was set in New York’s Washington Heights and it got rave reviews. Okay okay, Ate Di won. I am so glad she did. If you want a little sampling of this show, check out the video below to watch their performance at the 2008 Tony Awards and you will see what I am talking about.
In preparation for the show, I purchased the cast recorded soundtrack on iTunes. I purposely only let the first 5 songs of the soundtrack download so that I would not ruin the ending for myself. So everyday on the train and bus on my way to work, I listened to those songs. Friends, this is a fantastic show that everyone and their mommas should watch. It is funny, hip, touching, and just plain wonderful. I was so moved by the show already, that meeting the cast seemed too good to be true, but it happened. The cast was so nice to us, especially Janet Dacal and Mandy Gonzalez in the first picture who we ran into by accident in the lobby when everyone else left the theater. We convinced the security guard to take a picture of Ate and I in front of the poster at first, and THEN Janet and Mandy came walking by and asked US if we wanted to take a picture with them. =) AYYY! Orgasm! I told Mandy that I listened to her every morning. OMG, I was star-friggin’-struck. The rest of the cast we met on the side of the building. We found them because we heard the screaming. =) Lin-Manual Miranda is a genius and I told him that his acceptance speech for Best Score at the Tony’s was incredible. =) If you can freestyle an entire acceptance speech, you are a genius. The rest of the cast, Robin de Jesus, Christopher Jackson (whom Ate Di flirted with by telling him he was hot!) and my girl Karen Olivo were so nice. =) Of all people, I wanted to catch Karen Olivo because I saw her on Law & Order a few days earlier and she’s just plain HOT. I lost sight of her and I began panicking and asking Ate, “Where’s Karen? Where’s Karen?” like I had lost my own daughter or something. From out of nowhere, I hear an “I’m HEEEEEEERE!!!” and see Karen Olivo snatched Ate Di’s Playbill to autograph. Orgasm #2. Friends, truly a night to remember. =) It’s been a month since this has happened and I am still cheesing from ear to ear.
In celebration, we headed to the 24-hour McDonald’s two blocks from our hotel and got my oh-so-favorite Southern-Style Chicken Sandwich. =) Perfect meal to end the night.
Chelsea, Greenwich Village, SOHO, Meatpacking District
Above: Our entrance passes Below: The hallway we had to wait in before the security guard confiscated our phones and cameras
So the time finally came. It was Tyra time. We got there a little early to ensure that we got good seats. We waited in this hallway for about 20 minutes, then we went through the security guards who took our electronics, then we went through a metal detector, then we went into another room to sign release forms and do last-minute bathroom trips. Then according to entrance pass numbers we were escorted into a giant elevator and finally into the studio and our seats. It really doesn’t matter what time you get to the studio because once you get into the studio to be seated, they profile you and determine where is the best place for you to sit. So if you were not looking your best or if you wore something inappropriate, they will stick you in the sides along the wall or down in the lower left corner that in right under the camera that films Tyra. If you looked pretty good, they’ll stick you in the middle where the cameras pan across for audience shots. We were seated in the left hand section in the second row along the aisle. Ate Di sat in the aisle seat and I next to her on the left. Oh gosh, this is going to take a while to explain, here’s a rough picture:
The Show I Watched Live Will Be Televised THIS FRIDAY September the 26th. See if you can find me!
So basically we were on the left at the beginning of the show, but we were moved to the front row (RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE BEAUTIFUL TYRA BANKS), so that other guests’ mothers and family members can use our seats. The red arrow shows our migration. The whole thing, including waiting in line and in the holding room and taping, lasted about 4-5 hours. At the very end of the taping Tyra had a short (short as in 5 minutes) Q&A. I was a bit disappointed because I wasn’t really into the topic of Violent Girls - which should already have been televised. I really wanted a celebrity or at least a topic that wasn’t so depressing. Another thing was that during the taping, Tyra wasn’t really engaging with the audience. At the beginning, she did say thanks to us for coming, but during the taping, she would scurry off to the side of the stage and consult with her stage managers and producers. She spoke not one word to us. She also read off of cue cards and the teleprompter most of the time. So those clever things that she says don’t really come off from the top of her head. The producers claimed she was sick - that’s why the taping the previous day was cancelled. BUT STILL. She exited the stage to our right down that catwalk and she looked right at us. =) At least she knows I exist. LOL. Nonetheless, good experience and something I can say I have done, like, “I’ve been to the Tyra Banks Show!” One thing is for sure, Tyra is beyond beautiful. She wore this fitting dress from H&M and 5-inch heals. She was gorgeous, just gorgeous.
The Rub - The Best Butt?
Restaurant: The Rub BBQ
Address: 208 W 23rd St, b/t 7th and 8th Aves, Chelsea, NYC
Phone Number: (212) 524-4300
Date Last Visited: August 15, 2008
Dining Partner: Ate Di
After the taping, we walked toward Greenwich Village to get something to eat. She came across this BBQ joint called “The Rub.” They claim to have the best “butt.” Hey, get your head out of the gutter. =P Pork butt, of course! Above was Ate’s wings and corn bread. I love any type of chicken wing. This was good, not great, but good.
I liked how they sat the chicken on a slice of white bread to soak in the sauce. This chicken wasn’t bad. I’ve had better, but it was still really good and the meat was very tender. The potato salad wasn’t bad either. Generous portions - it was less than $20 for the two of us. After lunch we decided to head down to SoHo for shopping…
Magnolia Bakery - Like One of the SATC Girls
Restaurant: Magnolia Bakery
Address: 401 Bleecker St b/t 11th St & Perry St, West Village, NY
Cuisine: Desserts, Bakeries
Phone Number: (212) 462-2572
Date Last Visited: August 15, 2008
Dining Partner: Ate Di
After walking a few blocks down 7th Avenue and consulting our map, I realized that we were just a couple of blocks away from Magnolia Bakery - made famous by the SATC gals. Of course I had to make a stop here. There was a line that wound around the corner and we met a couple of great NY’ers in line who suggested places to go while we were here. NY people are nice - except for this lady who was walking her dog. She muttered to her dog, “Let’s just get past all these tourists.” WOW. Hostility. It’s okay because once we got in, I fell in love.
You had your usual vanilla on vanilla, and vanilla over chocolate, and chocolate over chocolate and so on and so on, but I was here for their red velvet. =)
It sure reminds me of Easter. We didn’t eat them right away because we still had to walk to SoHo, so we decided to pack them up and save them for dessert later that night. For real now, we were on our way to NY’s largest shopping district.
I found this to be really cute. We walked through what seemed to be a strip of Italian specialty shops. For some reason, I didn’t take pictures while in SoHo. I actually didn’t find it to be anything special. There was an H&M, Old Navy, and a whole bunch of stores we have in San Francisco. It was just like a whole bunch of Market and Mission Streets bunched together. It was humid and gloomy and dark to me. I guess I wasn’t feeling it because we didn’t have much time to spend there anyway. If we had a whole afternoon it would have been different I guess. After shopping at a couple of stores, we were off to dinner.
Scarpetta - Just What the Doctor Ordered
Address: 355 West 14th Street at 9th Avenue, Meatpacking District, NYC
Phone Number: (212) 691-0555
Date Last Visited: August 15, 2008
Dining Partner: Ate Di
Scarpetta was recommended to me by one of the doctors I work for. He’s from NY and is a foodie like me, so I trusted that this would be a great place. I remember in an episode of SATC, the ladies were having lunch in the Meatpacking District. Us just being here made me happy. =) I know, I’m a dork.
I loved the interior of the restaurant. Rich chocolate tones, neutral colored walls, and leather decals. It felt very rustic in a supplicated way. Like a modernized rusticity…if that’s even possible. The dining room is not big, but the mirrors on the walls reflected movement which made the space seem a little bigger. We got to the restaurant just in time because not five minutes passed until we heard large raindrops hit the glass ceiling. Yes, another thunderstorm…kind of romantic. =)
I love their bread selection here. At other places, the bread guy would usually come by with his bread tray with 4 or 5 selections on it and ask you to pick one. Here they come with four different kinds: Italian loaf, focaccia, ciabatta and Stromboli. This is the first time I have ever had Stromboli outside of my mall’s Sbarro’s, so it was interesting. There was cheese and meat rolled inside. Great selection. I think this was my favorite bread selection in NY.
Along with the bread came various adornments. Butter is not good enough for their bread, so they came with a sweet, fruity, rosemary-infused olive oil for dipping, a savory eggplant tapenade for topping, and creamy mascarpone cheese for smearing. All were lovely with the bread, especially that eggplant. That was my favorite of the three. It tasted tomato-based, but I could be wrong. Still delicious.
For my first course I opted for the tuna because I wanted something meaty yet light. It was filled with carrots and watercress. When carrots are freshly grated they have this spicy tone, add that to the pungent watercress, you have a very peppery filling. The tuna was top quality, but I felt that the filling overpowered everything. Oddly enough, it had too much of a bite.
Avocado, Citrus Salad and Chives
This was Ate Di’s and I ate more of her dish than my own. Each bite was different because if you had a scallop with avocado, the flavor was subtle and had a buttery, fatty texture in your mouth. If you had the radish with the scallop, there would be a slight crunch and tender feel. If you had the scallop with the citrus, you get a burst of bright citrus juice engulfing your mouth. I absolutely loved the little wedges of lemon and orange running through it. That was my favorite. The scallops were so delicate, fresh and sweet. The olive oil dressing everything lent a silky feel. Everything worked so well together! One of my favorite appetizers - EVER.
and Fonduta, Mushrooms & Parmigiano
These were similar to ravioli. The filling was made with cheese and different types of meat like beef and veal. The pasta was topped with more cheese and those cute, little mushrooms. I had the first bite and I thought it was pretty good. I noticed there was not much sauce drenching the little packets of meat, but that was on purpose because there was so much truffle going on in there. After three or four more, I was pretty much done with the dish. The filling was so fine that it felt like much almost. I don’t mean it too much in a bad way, but it was way too soft and pureed-like. I would have liked big crumbles of meat in there. I think the thing that most irked me was the truffle. I don’t know…I think truffle is overrated. At the beginning of the meal, the waiter offered us fresh truffle in our dishes for a supplement of course. If I had paid for that, this dish would be inedible for me. Too rich, I think. But if you like truffles, go for it. I wouldn’t do this one again.
I really appreciated the fact that the pasta was made in-house. I really appreciated the fact that there was a huge portion of it. I really appreciated the fact that the ingredients and presentation were really simple. But the truth was, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. I think it was the sauce - I’m used to jarred sauce with banana ketchup, ground beef, and hot dogs (so Filipino). I think I was not used to the amount of basil flavor in there. Even though the pasta was cooked al dente the “correct way,” I still like my a little bit more done (so Filipino). I don’t know exactly was it was, I just didn’t think it was my favorite dishes. It was beautiful though.
with Hazelnut Milkshake and Biscotti
When I got this I was surprised with how much was on the plate. On the far left you have the parfait, in the middle were biscotti, and to the right is a little glass of hazelnut milkshake. When I read “vanilla and chocolate parfait,” I thought it was going to be a simple layered dessert with vanilla and chocolate mousse (or cream or pudding or something). I was not expecting the blackberry, the espresso coffee granita or the itty bitty cocoa nibs. I honestly would have liked it if the parfait didn’t have all that riffraff on top. I also would have liked if the proportion of vanilla to chocolate in the parfait was equal. If you look closely, there are actually three layers - milk chocolate, vanilla, and a dark/semi-sweet chocolate I am assuming. I could have done without the dark chocolate. I dipped the biscotti in the milkshake and it was pretty good. The milkshake was REALLY good. Light and not too nutty. I actually liked the milkshake more than the parfait. This dessert was just okay.
This dessert surpassed the previous one. That little cookie was so cute and the edges were my favorite part - crispy and caramelized. When I took the picture, we thought that the panna cotta was that white thing, it was actually UNDER the guava soup ( very good, by the way - light and sweet). For some reason, I didn’t take a picture of the actually panna cotta, but it was so good. It was simple, refreshing and delightful, not heavy and complicating like the first dessert. I loved how the guava soup cascaded over the panna cotta like a waterfall whenever we’d spoon out a bite. It was so pretty.
I really liked their bathrooms. I liked how the sinks were in one area, so women and men wash their hands in the same place. How awesome. So what did I think of this restaurant? Ambiance-wise, it was very warm and the service was some of the best I have ever encountered anywhere. The servers answered all our questions and filled our glasses when they were half-empty. I never had an empty glass. I think that’s the best part of the restaurant to me. The food was just alright. The appetizers were the stars of the meal, the entrées were so-so, and the desserts were a little better. It being a restaurant that was only about 3-4 months old, it was pretty good. It still has its kinks like the entrées, but their service, location, first-courses are top-notch. I did notice that the demographic was a bit different than what we are used to. We were the only ones in there who were under the age of 30 and of minority. I could imagine doctors, lawyers, and business men making this their spot, but not young women like us. The server who took care of us seemed to like the change in patronage because he was quick to ask us what we were doing for the rest of our trip and to put in a shameless plug about his music website. =) The price is not bad either - with three courses for the each of us, it come to about $120. Would I come back if ever in NY? I don’t know. I’ll let the place work itself out and we’ll see. I think I’d come back for that scallop first course. It was fabulous.
When we were back at our hotel, we swooped on the cupcakes. I know we had dessert at the restaurant, but hey, when is the next time we would have these again?
Yeah, they looked kind of messed up when we opened the box, but they were still delicious.
This was my red velvet cupcake. Sorry, the image is awful, but the color was pretty and the frosting was so good! I appreciated that it was not stiff. I liked how light it was. YUM!! Now I can say we had Magnolia. =) I sure wish I had one right now. Too bad we only ate two and had to dump the other two. We brought home so much food and it sucked because we didn’t have any refrigerator. No mini-bar! How awful is that!!! Warning - they are not cheap. They’re like $2.50 each, but they were really good. HOWEVER, I can think of a couple places here in San Francisco which are as good if not better. Good treat.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
We started early - 10 o’clock early for our mini road trip to Atlantic City. On our way to Jersey, we drove by the largest Macy’s store EVER. The reason why Macy’s is so dear to my heart is because I dedicated two years my life to providing my customers with outstanding service working in the Women’s Shoe Department. Yes, like Rachel Ray, I worked at a Macy’s. =) We also passed by the Empire State Building. I wish we had the time to go to the top. Oh well, off to New Jersey we went!
We made a few pit stops and at our first one, I absolutely had to have something to eat. OH GOD. I love hot dogs. ESPECIALLY with cheese. It was funny because when I went to order, I said “cheese dog” with a NY accent. LOL. Yeah. I caught myself and giggled. The guy who rang me up didn’t charge me full price for my water. =) Interesting. Anyway, this is not your usual nacho cheese. It’s real cheddar sauce. =P Ketchup and grainy mustard and I call that a perfect breakfast for a road trip. What’s better than Nathan’s? Can’t think of anything. No wonder Kobayashi injured himself over these. They’re too good.
Before you move forward, I have to admit that there was nothing much in New Jersey as far as good eats went. So I’m just going to have to torture you with regular scenic and tourist pictures I took while I was there. Enjoy!
See those three red dots? Connect them using the green lines - that was our route. So it took us a whole 4 hours to get there. GADDAM! Trust me, when we got there I was seriously wondering what was so great about. I was thinking it was going to be like Reno - which I dislike, but it was different…more like if Las Vegas and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk had a love child. Atlantic City would be it.
GAH. I lost 70 bucks in the casino. =( I also found a couple of places that sold saltwater taffy. Too bad forgot to buy some before we left. It was actually THE PERFECT DAY to come here. The weather was absolutely flawless. Warm air, slight breeze and beautiful scenery…the smell of the salt water…it was just perfect.
Our feet-sies touching the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. =) Guess which set of feet are mine. Haha. Jo + K: that of course is for My Sweety K. The bottom picture is of me in my stunnah shades. AND YES, THAT IS MY FOODBUZZ BAG. I brought my tote to the Jersey shore! =) I thought it was a pretty nice picture until I saw the guy in the background. LOL. Yeah, the one over the N and the T in AtlaNTic. =P
After gambling a bit, we walked to the Pier Shops at Caeser’s Palace. They have everything in that shopping center: LeSportsac (I bought a cute fanny-pack from there), Burberry, Louis Vuitton, MAC, among other high-end stores. What got to me was that the casino interiors, especially the ceilings which are painted like the sky, look exactly like how they do in Las Vegas. It brought me back to my last vacay to Vegas. =) After spending a few hours at the slots and Blackjack table, we left for New York. Jersey was cool. I know Ate Di enjoyed herself A LOT. Haha. *inside joke* I just love that bottom picture of the two bridges.
Day 5 - August 17
Chillin’ in the Upper East Side
Serendipity 3 - Finally After All These Years
Restaurant: Serendipity 3
Address: 225 East 60th Street, Upper East Side, NYC
Phone Number: (212) 838-3531
Cuisine: Desserts, New American
Date Last Visited: August 17, 2008
I am a big fan of the Food Network. Not so much of the cooking shows, but of the shows about travel. Of course, I am a fan of the Travel Channel as well for obvious reasons. Both of these networks showed Serendipity 3 as a place to eat in New York City. I had wanted to come here for, literally, years. This was my chance to go and I was stoked.
After a 20 block walk, we were finally here. It seemed surreal to come here because I had been dreaming of this moment for so long. I promised that I would come here in my lifetime and the time finally came. It’s quirky and cute (like me)!
served open-faced on garlic rye toast with greens and salsa
I initially didn’t intend on eating an actual meal here, but since I didn’t eat breakfast I got this: STEAK CHAR CHAR. It is SO not cheap. $18.50!! See that’s the thing with this place. They jack up the prices because they know that tourists flock here everyday. Anyway, was it worth the $18, you ask? Well, I was thrown off with the salad because the greens were not dressed in anything. I assumed that’s what the salsa was for, so I used that. The onions were thinly sliced and they were just okay. I did like their crispiness. The steak was cooked to a medium and placed over a slice of rye bread. The steak was good, but I have had so much better. I also would have preferred if I had the steak whole just so that everything didn’t cold so fast. I’m not a fan of rye bread because its heavier than regular bread and they seemed to have included something in it which gave it an herby flavor. Eh, just okay. The slaw they served in that little plastic container was not good to me. I would have rather had coleslaw from KFC. The best thing on the plate was the steak and the salad, but they were not GREAT by any means. Just good. I don’t think it was worth 18 bucks. I think I’ll skip this if I had a chance to come here again.
Next was dessert!! We ordered the Golden Opulence Sundae which consisted of the passion fruit caviar, ice cream with the world’s most expensive vanilla, gold foil, fudge made with the best chocolate in the world, sugar flowers and the golden spoon. SIKE. Just kidding. I ain’t THAT rich. When I win the lottery - maybe. But for now we ordered the signature dessert of Serendipity 3:
Behold the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. For some odd reason, I don’t favor chocolate ice cream or chocolate milk shakes. I’d choose a vanilla or strawberry over that flavor any day, but for some odd reason, I love hot chocolate. My usual morning drink at work is a hot chocolate with a hit of hazelnut creamer. It’s good. =) When I first saw this, I was afraid it was going to taste like a chocolate milkshake, but like what the title of it says, it’s a frozen hot chocolate. Hot chocolate flavor with the temperature of a milkshake. I love it so much. I drank so much of it so fast that I had a couple of brain freezes, but oh, the pain was worth it! So finally, I had a taste of this fantastic dessert. =)
This place is such a tourist trap with their ridiculous prices and their mediocre food, but just to have the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate is such a great experience. Unfortunately we were seated upstairs where the décor was not as flamboyant, but I am still glad I came here. Another check on the “Places to Go Before I Die” list.
Dylan’s Candy Bar – Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet
Location: Dylan’s Candy Bar
Address: 1011 3rd Ave. at E 60th St., Upper East Side, NYC
Phone Number: (646) 735-0078
Walking out of Serendipity 3, I realized that Dylan’s Candy Car was right on the corner. My Sweety K and I caught a segment on this place on Food Network, and we thought to ourselves how cool it would be to get married here. Getting married in the sweetest place in NYC? That’s f’ing awesome. Well, I came here and I didn’t find it OMG. It’s just a giant candy shop. I am not much of a candy person anyway. I mean it’s cool, but it’s nothing special. We ended up walking to Central Park. We all know it’s HUGE, so there was no way I was going to see all of it. We walked past the Zoo, and that was it. Haha. At least I can say I set foot in Central Park. Then after that we walked back down 5th Avenue back to the hotel.
When we got back, Ate let me have a bite of a piece of sausage pizza that she picked up on the way back to hotel. I remember the crust having this perfect crispness. I hate soggy pizza crust or crust that is too chewy. I like a light crisp one. This was awesome. Yay! My first slice of NY pizza in NY! The sausage was interesting too. I am used to sausage mounds, not circles. I liked them too. =) Good job.
The Comic Strip - Are There Any Asians In Here?
Venue: The Comic Strip Comedy Club
Address: 1568 2nd Avenue, Upper East Side, NYC
Phone Number: (212) 861-9386
Cuisine: Liquor, Fatty Foods, and Pee-In-Your-Pants Laughter
Date Last Visited: August 17, 2008
Laughing Partner: Ate Di
We got tickets to the Comic Strip by Times Square from one of those guys on the street (like gullible tourists do). The comedians were hilarious. A couple of them I remember from television. For some odd reason, the place was filled with a bunch of people from England and Australia. For some reason one of the stand-up comics asked if anyone in the room was Asian…and Ate and I were the only Asians in there. Yup, he busted us out and put us on blast. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the “Asians can’t drive” jokes are SO PLAYED OUT, Mr. Comedian. Think up new ones for your arsenal. Aside from that the show was hilarious, and as you can see, we veered toward orange-colored food and drinks. Ha! Ate had a Creamsicle and I had a Long Island Ice Tea. We shared some nachos and cheese-smothered French fries. Yeah. Gluttons. The drinks were expensive and the food was expensive. Hey, it’s NY in the Upper East Side. What did we expect? But we had our laughs and it was a lot of fun.
Papaya King - Stalking Places Where My Love Has Been
Restaurant: Papaya King
Address: 179 E 86th St. at Lexington Ave., Upper East Side, NYC
Phone Number: (212) 369-0648
Cuisine: Hot Dogs, Juice Bar
Date Last Visited: August 17, 2008
Dining Partner: Ate Di
A couple of weeks or so before heading to New York, I caught an episode of “No Reservations” of course featuring My Love Anthony Bourdain. He said he has no reason going to the Upper East Side, but whenever he is in this neck of the woods he goes here. Yes, my love was here.
I really wanted a pineapple drink, but by the time we got here, which was about 11 or so, they had stopped making them. Phooey.
We don’t have anything like this in San Francisco. I am quite envious of those who have these in their neighborhood. When it came to ordering, I think I got a #1 combo - 2 hot dogs and a drink - about 5 bucks. Like My Love Anthony Bourdain I asked for one with kraut and one with onions and a mango drink…
but when I opened my container, I got two with kraut and onions. I guess the guy was rushing to close that he didn’t care for the details and my pickiness…
So we left, grabbed a cab, and drove down 5th Avenue past Central Park and “Heaven on 5th” (from Sex and the City - Building 1040). Yes, I pretty much squealed when we passed it. I got to enjoy my hot dogs in the comfort of my hotel room. They were delicious! I usually am not a kraut girl, but I think I have converted. Those onions - no matter how artificially colored they were - were so good! Yes, I really wish I had one of these right now. You NY’ers are very very lucky.
Day 6 - August 18, 2008
Our Last Full Day in NYC
This was when it finally hit me: we were leaving for the West Coast the next morning. Honestly, Ate and I were beginning to feel really sad. Because our schedule was fudged from the beginning - how we were planning to go see the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero our first day and how that didn’t happen because our rooms weren’t ready when we checked-in - we had to move Lady Liberty to Monday. Good thing we didn’t plan something big for each day. Monday was our “Cushion Day” for activities we did not get the opportunity to tend to the days before.
We took a cab to the Staten Island Terminal and we opted for the free ferry as opposed to the ferry that brings you to the actual island because seriously, we were broke. We walked around Battery Gardens and the Armed Forces Memorial a little bit before embarking. It was a stunning day. Beautiful sunshine - no thunderstorms!
Since we left the hotel before eating, I got another hot dog. Make that 4 for the entire trip. I love hot dogs. I can eat them anytime in the day. Whether I’m sober, sleepy, drunk as a mofo, I will eat hot dogs. This was not one of those special hot dogs like the one I got from Papaya King the night before, but it still satisfied me.
I loved the inside of the ferry. It was so clean! We passed Ellis Island and looking at it conjured a little annoying twitch in my body. Thousands upon thousands of European immigrants came through this island. Some detained for periods of time due to health. I can’t imagine being kept in this facility with the city so close. What a tease! I don’t know if it is true, but I heard that one of my ancestors came through Ellis Island.
How do you expect a Filipina girl like me to get a last name like Boston?” We had asked one of my Lolos and he said one of our Lolos before him came to America through this island from England. Then he or his son was in the American Army and was sent to the Philippines to fight in the Spanish-American War around 1908. He bang-banged those Spanish in the battles and I guess bang-banged one of my Lolas as well. That ladies and gentlemen is how our family has the Boston last name. This could be a pile of horsesh*t that my Lolo is telling just to amuse us, but it sounds really cool, so I’m believing it.
There she was. I’m actually kind of happy we saved her for one of our last days. She left me breathless. For the longest time I just leaned on the railing and just stared at her. For the past 120+ years, she’s seen in all. Riding the ferry with my jaw dropped, watching the water speckled with purplish-pink jellyfish, and feeling the wind hitting my face and messing up my hair made me think. The last four-five days were non-stop. I was more tired on this “vacation” than a usual week in SF. There was so much to do, things to see, and people to meet. Just looking at her gave me a sense of peace. This is what I was waiting for my entire trip. There were times when I thought, “I’m dreaming, I am not in New York City having the time of my life.” When I saw her, it finally hit me, that yes, I am in this awesome city and sadly, I was leaving the next day. I don’t think I would have felt that emotion if I saw her the first day we were here. I think she was planned on our first day just to check her off our to-do list because we were uber touristy that day, but seeing her at this time of the trip meant a lot more to me because we had already done what we wanted to do and I was grateful for even having this chance to come here. She was the icing of the cake. It kind of gave me a sense of closure and I liked it.
We headed back to the hotel but not before we hit up Macy’s. Yes, the largest Macy’s EVER. It was friggin’ ginormous. Like I have said in previous posts, I spent 2 (long) years working at Macy’s when I was still a struggling student as a full-time in the Shoe Department and as a part-time “Flyer” who goes to different parts of the store if a department was understaffed. I sold shoes, watches, pots, pans, Coach purses, jewelry, luggage, everything! I don’t work there anymore, but I make sure I visit every so often to check up on everything. Visiting this Macy’s was cool because this is where it all started. SF’s Macy’s has nothing on this store. After a few minutes here, we headed back to the hotel.
Yes, I had another one of these. I mean, this is just delicious! I got the chicken rice and it was not nearly as spicy as the lamb. You can’t beat it! 5 bucks for a substantial amount of awesome food. God, I wish SF had these or at least a restaurant that serves this. If you know of any, holler at me. I really miss this. Excuse me while I go cry.
One if By Land Two if By Sea - *cricket cricket*
Restaurant: One if By Land Two if By Sea
Address: 17 Barrow Street b/t 4 St. and S. 7th Avenue, West Village, NYC
Phone Number: (212) 228-0822
Cuisine: New American
Date Last Visited: August 18, 2008
So it was our last night in NYC and we wanted the last dinner to be a good one. A night we will always remember. Yeah, it was a night to remember, but not for the reasons we had intended. That’s for me and Ate to know and you to be forever curious about.
Let me tell you right now, if you are looking for a intimate place to bring your special someone, this is the place to go. Each table is illuminated with candlelight and the red velvet chairs increases the romance in the air. Again, why we chose this place? I don’t know. So something I would do.
My Cosmo and glass of rosé. The Cosmopolitan I had at Gotham was way better. This was harsh. Eh. I liked my glass of wine. I’m usually a sparkling rosé girl, but I didn’t see any on the wine list, so I got a still rosé instead. Very good.
Sucks how they only give you one roll at a time. LOL.
Um, I don’t like beets. I don’t like this. That’s all. Ate drank all mine.
Sautéed Gulf Shrimp. Finally something good. I loved the shrimp - they were HUGE, succulent, and perfectly cooked. I would not have expected this combination of the watermelon cubes with the feta cheese, but for some reason, it worked gloriously. The sweetness of the melon with the tang of the cheese was pleasant and dressed the shrimp well. Interesting and delicious.
Diver Sea Scallop Carpaccio. Scallops have been one of my favorite ingredients lately. Ate wanted to compare this to the dish we had at Scarpetta (which I loved). The difference here is that the scallops are left in bigger cuts and the garnishes are different. I was not quite sure about the “poor man’s caviar” - those weird gray clusters. Visually, they were not appealing to me at all. I had a bite - without the caviar - and the scallops were what they were supposed to be: perfectly raw and sweet. Ate said she preferred this one over the Scarpetta dish since she is not a citrus-girl like I am, and you probably can tell that I liked the other one more.
Linguini with Shrimp and Snow Peas. This was alright. The shrimp in this course was no where near the size of the ones in the watermelon/feta cheese dish. Nothing special.
Bavette Steak with Sweet Onion Kim Chee and Potato Chip Salad. Meh. Again. Just okay. The steak was steak. I express my feelings about the side accompaniment in a minute.
The pork chip came with the same sides as the steak. Before I go into the pork chop, I’ll go into the sides as I promised. THEY SUCKED. Who the hell makes salad with potato chips? The kim chee was horrible. I’m used to those juicy, spicy, sour, leaves of cabbage. I love traditional kim chee. This is a bored gringo’s take on kim chee. Horrible. However. There is a silver lining to this ordeal. The pork chop rocked. I expressed my love for the chop to the server and he confirmed my assumption that the chop was brined before it was grilled. It was perfectly cooked and juicy. Great chop. I would have to say one of my top pork chop experiences. I don’t even remember the sauce that the pork chop sat in, but it was good. Unfortunately the potato chip salad and kim chee SUCKED.
Beef Wellington with Morels, Asparagus, and Foie Gras Sabayon. Supposedly the specialty of One if By Land. I remember the meat to be very tender. The pastry was crisp and nicely baked to a wonderful golden brown. However, I found it a bit too rich. Additionally, I wasn’t too fond of the pasty texture of the dough touching the meat. Again, just okay.
Watermelon Salad with Sangria Sorbet. This was okay. There were slivers of basil running through it and I did not like it at all. Why are there herbs in my fruit salad? The sangria sorbet was very intriguing upon reading it in the menu and it did live up to it’s name. Very deep fruity wine flavor. Eh, just okay.
Chocolate Fondant. It was a tasty dessert, but by no means extraordinary. A bit too rich for me. Wasn’t diggin’ how chocolaty it was. Plus I don’t tolerate coconut well, so I kept my consumption of this dessert to a minimum.
Roasted Strawberry Shortcake. What a poor excuse for a shortcake. This was the worst shortcake I have ever eaten. I don’t even call it “shortcake.” It’s a hard ass wafer sitting on a bunch of cooked strawberries in a watery soup. Ugh. I was so disappointed. The cookie was so hard and tasteless. The strawberries seemed like they were sitting around and had no bright flavor anymore. Blah. WHYYYYYYY? I ordered the regular (more expensive at $78) prix fixe menu just for this damn dessert and it let me down. I could have saved 40 bucks and gotten the Summer Prix Fixe instead and have been equally disappointed. =(
The most pathetic mignardis plate I have ever seen. It’s sloppy and had nothing in it. It’s like they just threw a whole bunch of stuff on the plate and expected us to like it just because it was complementary. I was so let down by the time we got this that I didn’t even bother tasting anything on it.
Okay, some of you were probably thinking, “Why is she taking so much time to post about the rest of her trip?” This is why: the last dinner was so disappointing that I wasn’t even motivated to write anything about it. Since we laid down some major cash on this place, I had to. I think that was my motivation in the end. You probably noticed that the descriptions were half-assed and not something I would usually do. If I like a place, I go all out. I would have the menu right next to me so that I can copy the descriptions word for word. At the restaurant, I had even asked our server Gill what my rose was and I wrote it down. Those pieces of paper are somewhere in my room, but I think it’s a waste of time to look for them because I was so incredibly disappointed. Sh!t. I should have gone to White Castle instead. That would have saved me 200 bucks. That just shows. Just because you’re spending money in a place doesn’t mean you’re going to like what they serve you. In this case one of those little burgers would have satisfied me 100 times more.
One if By Land Two if By Sea
Day 7 - August 19, 2008
Time to Go Home
On our last day, we went back to Grand Central Station’s Dining Concourse for lunch. Nothing special. It was a normal cafeteria. I actually think that the Food Emporium at Westfield Centre in San Francisco wins this contest. I had some Chinese and Ate had a watery turkey burger.
Before we left, we promised ourselves that we would have some Junior’s. Good thing they had a little outlet in the concourse.
I don’t understand why they call this a “cheese pie.” Do you know why? If you do, please comment. The cheese portion was dense and creamy and luscious and yummy. =) Yay for New York cheesecake! Now I have a problem with that strawberry goop they put on top of it. The strawberries were actually very juicy, fresh, and sweet. That goop just killed the whole thing. Doesn’t it just look so artificial? I had to take it off in order for me to enjoy it. It tasted like strawberry cough syrup. The cheese pie would have been so much better without it.
I should just call Ate Di “Miss Chocolate.” Her Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake had the perfect ratio of cheesecake and chocolate. =) Awesome. Her Black and White cookie was humungous. It’s more like a cake than an actual cookie. Ginormous. Both very good.
*sniff* One last look at our hotel, our chauffer, and JFK. $1,500 for a 6 days in Midtown NYC? Shoot, thanks Momma. PERFECT location. Room 2003. Hahaha, inside joke.
Then we were in the air…Goodbye, New York. =( By the time we had reached Utah or something, I was starving. Virgin America didn't serve snacks - just beverages. You have to use your fancy-shmancy touch screen to order your food. Damn it, I should have stopped by White Castle and bought a Sack of 10 or something. Instead I got a cheese and fruit platter for friggin’ 9 bucks. It did hit the spot though! I guess I was just so hungry that anything I ate would have tasted great. A couple of hours later, I was back home. A few hours after that, I was back at work.
So what did I learn in New York City? As much as I was sad to leave this incredibly fantastic and exciting city, I appreciated what I had at home a whole lot more. My people, my bed, my man.
While I was still in NYC however, I saw why people think this is the greatest city in the country. There are so many people bustling and hustling. NYC is so big and there is always something happening at every corner. Everyone was rushing to go somewhere and we got caught up in the rush. San Francisco is so chill. I hear that if you live and work in NYC that you have a totally different view of the city as opposed to a tourist. I can see that point. I spend majority of my day in San Francisco for work, and I don’t think of riding the cable for leisure or going to the Wharf for dinner and watching the sea lions.
Let’s get real here. We all should know that one of the biggest reasons why I came was for the food. NYC cuisine and SF are different. SF doesn’t have near as many street vendors as NYC. NYC wins that battle for sure. Those halal carts and hot dog stands haunt me in my dreams. I miss them so much! When it comes to higher end food, SF takes the cake. The ingredients are fresher and just the presentation is far more superb here in the Bay. I do have to say that the service in NYC is exceptional. Every server we met and talked to were all fantastic. Sure SF and NYC are rivals in the culinary world, but San Francisco is the winner all around. =) I know I’m biased. I’ll always be a Bay Area girl.
It was so great to finally walk the streets, eat the food, and meet the people of NYC. Truly an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life and I cannot wait until I go back.