What I learned from traveling “alone”/in NYC
July 29, 2012 1 Comment
My last post related to NYC. I promise!!!!!
- New Yorkers are nice. Promise. Unless you tick them off. It’s nothing personal. But if you speak to them all smiley, they’ll smile and converse with you freely as well.
- A smartphone is definitely needed.
- ….with an extended battery. (Apple stores are great to charge iPhones, but your’e not gonna get 5 in one city like NYC. Not to mention, even in NYC they’re spread out all over Manhattan Island).
- There are cheap places to eat that still offer GREAT food. you just have to find them. I came into the city thinking that I wanted go to some fancy-shmancy restaurant that has expensive prices and small portions.
- You’ll never explore all of New York in one trip. Or two, or three, or four, or five, or six….maybe 7.
- It’s better to go to NYC with a theme in mind. For instance, my trip this time around was centered mainly around food. And I, for the most part, wasn’t disappointed.
- Of course, the only regret is that I probably gained at least 5-8 pounds.
- I thought I did…in five trips…then I realized I only maybe satisfied Manhattan. Didn’t even touch other boroughs. ::sigh::
- I personally think if you’re travelling with friends you should make time to spend them but also make time to spend by yourself. It gives you the best of both worlds…there were times, admittedly, where I’d get a little lonely walking around the city by my lonesome, so I was very fortunate to have friends who either lived in the city or were coincidentally visiting the same time as me (I’m so popular, I know…hah).
Special shoutouts to Neha, my Aunt Dawn and my cousin Sowon for letting me crash at their places for the past five nights. Also, shoutouts to Anisha, Nita, Cortney, Danielle, Caitlin, Scott and Justin for making this trip memorable and worthwhile; it was a joy to see you all in NYC, especially because it was kind of unexpected haha.
Now for the serious stuff:
- Best dessert place (this includes cupcakes/cake/anything of sort): Holey Cream.
Holey cream was the only place that did not disappoint in the slightest. The ice cream they had was phenomenal, and I didn’t even have their homemade ice cream flavors. You can also put ice cream and doughnuts together…YUM.
- Worst Dessert Place: none, but that doesn’t mean NYC gets away with it just yet.
I was directed to two cupcake places and one doughnut place by various friends. People kept on edging me towards Crumbs, Baked by Melissa, and Doughnut Plant. Crumbs looked good…but admittedly I went at an off-peak time and the icing seemed sort of dry. (I HATE dry icing…that sounded awk). Good cupcakes, just not great. Baked by Melissa….was….interesting. Really small cupcakes, and they packed enough flavor…for $1 worth. But you kind of expect something more magnificent and magical to come out of a little bundle and it just didn’t happen (holy crap I’m sounding awk). Doughnut plant….I tried one of each type: yeast and cake. The yeast one was a val-something chocolate (I’ll hereby call it Fancy chocolate), but there was nothing tasty about it at all. I could’ve gone to a Dunkin Donuts and had something better (and I hate Dunkin Donuts). The carrot cake donut, however, was amazing. It was exactly like a carrot cake and yet still felt like a donut at the same time. Overall, a disappointing muster from the NYC dessert scene.
- A good place you should go to if you make it rain cash: Omen or Momofuku Ssam Bar
I honestly didn’t want to go to Asian places while in NYC, but both of these places made me eat those words quickly. Omen is a wonderful modern Japanese restaurant in SoHo that only takes cash or Amex, but does a great take on some classic Japanese fare. Not to mention, their preparation of sashimi is exquisite and fresh to a point where I even had my senses titillated (I’m not a fan of sushi/sashimi). But their other dishes are very well prepared (I recommend the filet mignon and the portabello mushroom). Momofuku is also very good because it plays off of Asian fusion so well…and it isn’t some weird hybrid Asian/Italian, Asian/American fusion…it’s Asian/Asian fusion. Done very well, and highly recommended especially if you can’t go to the other Momofuku restaurant which is highly-renowned: Momofuku Ko.
- Honorable mention: Boqueria (flatiron district or SoHo)
If you want more traditional Spanish tapas fare with a modern twist, head to Boqueria. Even the simplest sounding dishes burst with flavor. GO FOR ANYTHING WITH POTATOES YOU WON’T REGRET IT.
- Best Pizza: none. Worst Pizza: Merilu.
For all you Gainesville-ites, lemme put it this way: I would have Five Star any day over this restaurant’s pizza. For everyone else: Cardboard + grease tastes better. I’ve never been more deceived by Yelp until I went to this place…after going to “original Ray’s” (there’s about a handful of them in Manhattan btw) and being disappointed by their white pizza I had to redeem myself somehow. Merilu just confirmed my fears: I need to go to Lombardi’s and the pizza place at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge. The chicken and bacon pizza was craptastic (worse than crap), and the normal mushroom/olive oil/basil pizza was just crap. Please trust me and don’t waste your money…I don’t care if I went on an off-peak time.
- Best place overall: The Kati Roll Company.
Very rare do you go to a place that enlightens you in so many different ways than just in a culinary fashion. The Kati Roll Company does that. It challenges your perception of Indian food…who would think to put chicken tikka in a wrap? Sure it seems easy to think about it, and I’m sure countless cookbook cooks write about it, but at the same time execution is key and Kati Company does a fine job. Not to mention, it took me a few days to realize that there was no rice in the wrap…and I’m fine with that. The sauce, the perfect blend of ingredients….it wakes you up. It’s definitely flavorful as you eat it and then after you’re done the sting from the spices reminds you that you actually want more. And all for $4.50-$5.50 a wrap. It was the only restaurant I went to twice in my whole time at NYC because I needed something to save me from the terror that was Merilu (see above bullet point).
- Other restaurants to mention: Meatball Shop and S’Mac.
Meatball shop is really cool because you can choose from an array of types of meatballs + types of sauces that you never thought possible. When you go there, go crazy. Share with friends. As for S’Mac, I highly recommend the Cajun mac n’ cheese. I’ve also been told to get the buffalo chicken one, which I will…whenever I go back to NYC best.
- Dobbs Ferry exclusive: Dobbs Dawg House.
If you’re ever in a riverside town like Yonkers, Ardsley, Hastings or, well, Dobbs Ferry…make your way to Dobbs Dawg House. The hot dogs are uberly unique, and their french bread cupcake is to die for. (Your blood vessels won’t thank you, but your heart and soul will!)
Excuse me while I go run my life away on a treadmill now.