Friday, January 13, 2012

NY for NY

I stand by my original comment that everyone has to go to Times Square for New Years once in their lifetime. I can now successfully, and with a smile on my face, cross this off my bucket list


  • Totto Ramen 5*: On December 31st, we had two real goals, (1) to eat great Japanese ramen, and (2) go to Times Square to see the ball drop. That morning we woke up, went to see the Empire State building and Korea town and headed to Totto Ramen. We put our name on the list and 2 anxious hours later were seated in this restaurant that seats 20 people total, hence the wait. Worth it: heck yes!! The food was absolutely excellent, and I would recommend a 2 hour wait to go there. My favorite line from one of my trav buddies was "So, I noticed that all these other asians are waiting in line for food, which means it must be good, but can't they let us go first since they have access to it all the time? Seriously!" WE proceeded to laugh for 10 minutes....racist!
  • Akdeniz Turkish Cuisine 4*: Walking around Times Square on December 30th proved to be more challenging than walking around on December 31st. We arrived to NY earlier that day, and were famished. My trav buddies loved to look up restaurants on yelp to see ratings, and found this random Turkish place. I had this meat entre of chicken kabobs that had been ground up with red and green peppers, myriad of spices and was served with lemon rice. I think my favorite thing about the meal was mixing my appetizers of humus, Tebuleh (Cracked wheat with mixed parsley, scallions and tomatoes tossed with olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice) and Babaghannous (Char-grilled smoked eggplant puree flavored with tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice) with my chicken and eating it all together.
  • Rice to Riches 5*: I am a huge fan of rice pudding! HUGE! I am always looking for the best of the best. At first, we were a little too full to eat much more, but when we stumbled upon this gem, the branding beckoned to us...and we just had to eat. And eat we did! Not only is the marketing scheme hilarious (which was also included in the bathroom of the establishment with signs that say 'you are dead sexy' on the mirror), but the rice pudding was perfect. The menu has 13+ different kinds of rice pudding, which you can top with 13+ different kinds of toppings. We had half coconut pudding topped with toasted coconut, and hazelnut topped with oatmeal. WOW...I mean, WOW!
  • Chinese Pork Roll 2*: While the bun was delicious, I was probably just not in the mood for this amazing Chinese Pork Roll we got in Chinatown. We didn't eat at the establishment either, so this rating is a little below average.
  • Paris Baguette in Koreatown 5*: Diana, my trav buddy, told me that Paris Baguette is HUGE in Korea. We stopped there for a little doughnut refreshment. And yes, it was an incredible donuts, as donuts go. I had one regular Cinnamon and sugar twist doughnut and Diana shared a chocolate filled chocolate doughnut which was also SO yummy. (I am trying to think of other words to say besides 'amazing'.
  • Pacific Grill at South Street Seaport 3*: We visited Pier of my fave spots. Since we were at the pier, we just had to get fish and chips. I think that if we got fish and chips at any of the pier restaurants it would have been the same. It was still good nonetheless. I was quite impressed by their tartar sauce. It seemed more vinegary than mayonnaisy...which I LOVE because I have a slight fear of mayonnaise.
9/11 Memorial - totally recommend this at night, it was amazing
Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island - every time I go to NY, the island is closed. It was so cool to finally go over and read up on its history.
The Bull - totally made me think of the scene from Hitch
Wall Street - what, no more "occupy,"...bummer

China Town
Little Italy
Korea Town
Harriet Tubman Statue
Washington Park with the Arch

Good Laughs

  • Dancing while walking. For some reason, New York brings out my boogie....and not just mine. I often caught my trav buddies doing it too.
  • OCD tendencies of my trav buddies
  • "Someone's hands are molded to my A#$....seriously," as shouted by someone in the crowd as we tried to jam into a corral
  • Bed bugs??
Memorable Moments

  • The ball dropping! What a riot. I really didn't know that there was a countdown for each hour on the hour. The 12:00 midnight countdown was the loudest
  • Having people in the apartment in Times Square yell out the window and getting a response from thousands of us.
  • Karaoke during the 8 hour wait. One member of our group held a phone with the rockin tune, and all others found the lyrics we could sing to. People around us thought we were trashed...from the sound of it though, who can blame them.
  • Climbing 5 flights of stairs every day to get to our apt and throwing off our jackets as soon as we entered.
  • The process of jamming into the corral. One guy would purposefully shuffle, not really moving forward, causing everyone behind us to push forward. There were 4 cops in front of our corral slowly letting people in who kept shouting "Stop pushing." Then one cop came up and said "I am making an executive decision, this corral is closed, you are going to have to use the side streets." As if we were little children that were being reprimanded. I hopefully stood around not going anywhere, and then the cops decided to let some of us well-behaved into our cage. Ah....from one cage to another. Poor mice.
  • Igor, our security friend totally doped up and acting like a policeman.
  • Bert tap dancing upside down and Mary Poppins flying over the audience.
  • Going to the September 11 memorial. We went at night, which I highly recommend. It seemed like night time gave way to reverence and quiet and the city around it was kind of quiet too. It was a pretty incredible experience.
  • Running to catch our boat to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis island.
  • Having the world's most amazing cheesecake at Junior's.
  • Having the best group to celebrate New Year's with!
  • Visiting great friends in NY, and seeing their rooftop which overlooked Ellis Island. Pretty amazing!

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