My Favorite NYC Moments #7: Gahm Mi Oak

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When all you’ve been doing is eating (which is all we do in NYC) and you need something gentle to settle your tired stomach, look no further than Gahm Mi Oak in Manhattan’s Koreatown for the Asian version of chicken soup in Sul Lung Tang.  Maya and I always end up here, after nights of over-indulgence.

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Maya’s Bibimbap.

korean food

We were like teenagers at Denny’s at 2:00 a.m., recovering from a bad hangover after a night of crazy partying.  Instead, we were trying to recover from food overdose at 10:00 p.m.

Here’s the full list of my top 10 moments:

  1. Dinner at Villard Michel Richard
  2. Lunch at Babbo
  3. Picnic at Central Park
  4. Serendipity 3
  5. Lunch at Balthazar
  6. Grand Central Oyster Bar
  7. Gahm Mi Oak
  8. Dominique Ansel Bakery
  9. La Vie at JFK
  10. Bryant Park at night

My Favorite NYC Moments #8: Dominique Ansel Bakery

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Okay, Cronuts were already sold out when we got to Dominique Ansel Bakery in the afternoon and I didn’t even try the other popular desserts like Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shot, but the chocolate eclair I had was pretty good!  And it gave me an excuse to hang out in SoHo, one of my my favorite areas in NYC.

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Here’s the full list of my top 10 moments:

  1. Dinner at Villard Michel Richard
  2. Lunch at Babbo
  3. Picnic at Central Park
  4. Serendipity 3
  5. Lunch at Balthazar
  6. Grand Central Oyster Bar
  7. Gahm Mi Oak
  8. Dominique Ansel Bakery
  9. La Vie at JFK
  10. Bryant Park at night

My Favorite NYC Moments #9: La Vie at JFK

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Seriously, why is Salad Nicoise so delicious at La Vie?  And the bistro is inside an airport!

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Even the fries are first class!

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Maya’s omelet.  “Quite delicious” is how she described the egg dish!

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Here’s the full list of my top 10 moments:

  1. Dinner at Villard Michel Richard
  2. Lunch at Babbo
  3. Picnic at Central Park
  4. Serendipity 3
  5. Lunch at Balthazar
  6. Grand Central Oyster Bar
  7. Gahm Mi Oak
  8. Dominique Ansel Bakery
  9. La Vie at JFK
  10. Bryant Park at night

My Favorite NYC Moments #10: Bryant Park

My BFF Maya and I spent the weekend in New York City doing what we do best: eat and laugh together.

I selected my top 10 favorite moments from the trip, and here is my #10: Bryant Park at night.

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There’s nothing more New York to me than this. This night, a crowd gathered for a performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  We walked thru the park on the way to eat some Korean food for late dinner.

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Here’s the full list of my top 10 moments:

  1. Dinner at Villard Michel Richard
  2. Lunch at Babbo
  3. Picnic at Central Park
  4. Serendipity 3
  5. Lunch at Balthazar
  6. Grand Central Oyster Bar
  7. Gahm Mi Oak
  8. Dominique Ansel Bakery
  9. La Vie at JFK
  10. Bryant Park at night

Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant in Chinatown NYC

I was craving some good Chinese food while in NYC, which was a little odd because I seldom crave it. Chinese food is not particularly my favorite cuisine and it’s only when I’m lazy and don’t want to cook that I turn to my neighborhood Chinese delivery place for a quick bite. Maybe it was because it was dark and raining outside on this particular day. There’s nothing more appropriate than comfort food in weather like this.

Shannon and I ventured out to Chinatown for some soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant, a mere 10-minute walk from the hotel in SoHo. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to us when we left the hotel, that it was pouring outside and we literally had to swim to get there! We were so glad that the soup dumplings were good enough to make us feel that the swim was worth it.

Happy and dry Shannon!

Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant
9 Pell Street
New York, New York 10013
★★★★☆

Eataly NYC

Shannon and I had an amazing lunch at Eataly. The food here is so amazing, I salivate just thinking about it. We ended up at the pasta restaurant and had dream-like Italian delights. It was worth the long walk we endured in a super humid NYC afternoon.

One of the best Caprese salads I’ve ever tasted.  These little heirloom tomatoes tasted like a ray of Tuscan sunshine.

I came out of meat retirement to have a few pieces of prosciutto and salami from Salumi Misti … and it was worth it.

I was a bit disappointed that my favorite spaghetti dish was not on the menu. We were told that the pasta machine was broken, and they were very limited in pasta dishes. Paparadelli was still very delicious but I would have loved to revisit the amazing pasta dish that I had on my last visit to Eataly.

Here’s Shannon’s Fru Fru, special oval-shaped 3-season pizza of ricotta cheese and ham; mozzarella and tomato sauce, and parma ham, arugula and Parmigiano Reggiano shavings.  She didn’t get her pizza until I was almost done with my pasta dish so by the time she got her meal, she was already full.  That was a bummer … but the pizza was pretty amazing.

This Ginger Ale was CRAZY good!

And of course, Gelato to top off the amazing dining experience! I can’t wait for this place to open up in Los Angeles!

Eataly
200 5th Avenue, NY, NY 10010
(Entrances on 5th Avenue and 23rd Street)
★★★★★

Balthazar Restaurant

Shannon and I spent the last four days in NYC and had a wonderful time. All we wanted to do on this trip was to relax, eat good food and drink, and that’s precisely what we did. We stayed in SoHo and we pretty much didn’t leave the area! Some may think that we missed out on a great opportunity to explore the city, but being lazy was what we needed to unwind … and escape from the real world!

Our first stop was lunch at Balthazar, located two blocks from where we were staying. I’ve seen this restaurant before but didn’t realize that this was a New York hot spot, with celebrity frequenting this French bistro. We got really lucky and got seated right away. By the time we ordered our food, this place was jammed packed with locals and tourists, looking to enjoy the French flare.

Salad Nicoise and French Fries for me, and Mac and Cheese for Shannon.

Amazing bread!

Creme Brulee — a perfect finish to a great lunch.

Balthazar Restaurant
80 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012
(on Spring, between Broadway and Crosby)
★★★★☆

Day 4: I Heart Brooklyn

Maya and I welcomed Day 4 of our NYC adventures with mixed emotions. While we were excited that we had another good afternoon ahead of us, we were so sad that this was going be our last day in NYC.

We spent our final afternoon sightseeing in Brooklyn. Our first stop was DUMBO (shortened for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), where we got to be at the foot of Manhattan Bridge. I actually think Brooklyn Bridge is 10 times prettier than the neighboring Manhattan Bridge.

We stumbled upon a wonderful restaurant called Al Mar (thanks to Maya and her handy Android), where we enjoyed a fabulous lunch. The place was cozy and very Brooklyn.  I can totally see myself spending hours here with a good book.

Maya had Eggs in the Cloud (baked egg yolk floating on whipped egg whites, Fontina cheese, smoked ham, toasted Brioche, served with saute spinach) and I had smoked salmon sandwich (with avocado, cucumbers, beets, and creme fraiche, on pumpernickel breads). We split the tart. Everything here was absolutely amazing!

After lunch, we strolled over to the Brooklyn Height neighborhood and took in the picturesque Downtown skylines. I am absolutely in love with Brooklyn and this is perhaps my favorite spot in this borough. I get a rush of energy whenever I stand here.

It still feels a little strange that the World Trade Centers are no longer standing proudly among these buildings in Lower Manhattan. I’ve been to NYC many times in the last several years, but I still haven’t made the visit to Ground Zero. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to go there.

What I love so much about this magnificent city is that each neighborhood has its own, unique charms. Brooklyn doesn’t feel, at all, like Manhattan. You feel like you were transported to another state when you get off the subway. Brooklyn feels slower paced, greener, and a lot more relaxed, than Manhattan.

After the visit to Brooklyn, we hurried back to our hotel in Times Square to collect our luggage (we stopped by at Pie Face for some cute savory pies for the road). We took a cab to JFK, to get ready to board our flights home. We ate an early dinner at Le Vie in the jetBlue terminal – our last supper together on the trip. Maya and I toasted our Chardonnay and Espresso Martini to short but a wonderful four days together, and enjoyed delicious meals of escargot (for her), Salad Nicoise and Pomme Frites (for me).

Now, it’s time to find a destination for our next adventures! (Oh, and to unpack and resume the real world.)

Day 3: All Things Jo

Maya and Hirono’s NYC adventures are not complete until we go on a shopping spree, so we headed over to the famous Fifth Avenue for some much-needed retail therapy. We checked out Tiffany and Co, Louis Vuitton, Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman, Longchamp, and other fancy shops, and although most of our time was spent window shopping, we did do a fair amount of damage along the way.redface

Maya found this French restaurant called JoJo on the Upper East Side online with raving reviews, so we decided to give the place a try for lunch. It was a cozy restaurant with wonderful service and even better food.

We started with cocktails (Maya had Manhattan and I had Rhubarb Cosmopolitan), followed by warm asparagus salad. For entrée, Maya had the sirloin steak and I had the grilled salmon.

The food in NYC is seriously fantastic (which is one of the reasons why I love this city so much). You just can’t go wrong, wherever you are. This place reminded us of the restaurant we loved in Paris and the food also took us back to the little bistro we frequented during our stay in the City of Light year and a half ago. The pound cake with rhubarb sorbet that was had for dessert was out of this world.  All this for $32 prix fix … not bad at all!

We stopped at Central Park on our way back. We didn’t have a chance to explore the park much, but we did climb the rock and took pictures of the Upper West Side neighborhood.

We’re not sure if it was the buzz from the curiously strong cocktails we enjoyed over lunch, but we had this BRILLIANT idea of having our portrait drawn by a street artist … which, we quickly realized, was a horrible idea.

The artist, who claimed that she was trained in New York and in Shanghai, successfully turned Maya into a 14-year-old non-Asian girl on paper, with absolutely no resemblance of her beautiful, Indonesian self.eekThe portrait was so awful that we crack up every time we look at it. So, any tourists out there … unless you’re doing it for a laugh, stay away from these “artists!”

Our Central Park portrait adventure was a total bust, but our dinner at Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant was definitely a hit. We didn’t get to go to the original one in Chinatown but ended up at the Midtown location, near Carnegie Hall. We ordered soups to warm up after a chilly walk and a subway ride, and shared an order of the famous soup dumplings (crab meat and pork meat) and not-so-famous Shanghai fried rice.

I am so lucky that I live near Alhambra and San Gabriel Valley where I can get some pretty darn good Xiao Long Bao, but if you don’t have an authentic dim sum place nearby or have never tasted these amazing dumplings, Joe’s is a must when you’re in NYC.

We took pictures at the famous Love sculpture on our way back to the hotel, and proceeded to Pie Face for dessert. I recently learned about this Australian chain and was very curious about it ever since, simply for the pies’ pure cuteness (they all have faces!). I picked up mini-size apple pie and vegetarian savory pie. I haven’t tired the veggie one yet but the apple pie was pretty yummy!

I can’t believe how quickly time flies when you’re having fun!  Tomorrow is our last day in NYC.  We’re planning to squeeze in as much fun as possible before we fly home at night!

Day 2: Anything Goes!

Day 2 of Maya and Hirono’s NYC adventures began with lunch at Eataly, in the lovely Gramercy neighborhood.

When you walk into this place — a food court meets grocery shop (on steroid) — you instantly feel like you have stepped into Italy. There are eateries stationed in each corner of the warehouse-like building, each serving up different dishes, from seafood, to steak, to pasta, to wine / cheese, to desserts.

Maya and I ended up at the Pasta section and had one the best. pasta. dishes. ever.  Our server was a handsome Italian guy with a full-on Italian accent … so we decided to call him Mossimo.  The place felt completely authentic (unless, of course, Mossimo was really from Nebraska).lol

This was spaghetti with simple tomato sauce. The menu had this dish served with penne but I changed it up to my favorite pasta. It was seriously amazing – simple but an absolute perfect meal.

Maya’s ravioli dish was pretty darn amazing too.

After lunch, we walked across 23rd Street to Chelsea Market. We walked by Shake Shack on the way, which has always been one of the places that I wanted go, but now that I don’t eat meat, the burger didn’t appealed to me all that much … but I took a picture of it anyway.

When we arrived to Chelsea Market, the home of Food Network, we made a beeline to Jacques Torres for a cup of hot chocolate. It was nice to relax a bit over a nice cup of Wicked (spicy hot chocolate, aka liquid crack). Maya and I shared a delicious piece of Earl Gray chocolate.

We weren’t particular hungry but we saw a bunch of people eating whole lobsters so we HAD to try it too (we are a total culinary ambulance chasers and we get so curious as to what others are eating) ! We got to choose our lobster from the fish monger who cooked it and cracked the shells for us.  We were glad that the lobsters were already dead … otherwise, we would have felt super guilty, knowing that we were directly responsible for the poor crustacean’s destiny.cry

We named the lobster Oscar … and he was delicious.

Chelsea Market was jam packed with a Saturday tourist crowd, with barely a room to walk, so we didn’t get to explore all that much, but we made sure to stop by Fat Witch for some yummy brownies.

We spent a few good hours shopping at SoHo, after we left Chelsea Market. We went to Purl SoHo (aka mecca) and picked up some new fabrics, and bought the entire Uniqlo store. After we dropped off our stuff and relaxed for a few minutes at the hotel, we were off to see the Broadway musical, Anything Goes, which turned to be one of the most entertaining shows I’ve seen, on Broadway AND elsewhere!  We seriously spent two hours laughing.  I was a bit disappointed at first that Sutton Foster was no longer on the show, but It was still amazing nonetheless.

Then, it was time for late dinner at Gam Mi Oak in Koreatown for some ox tail soup and kimchi. Maya ordered cow’s knees (yep, I guess they’re edible). I didn’t eat the knees but I had some vegetables in the dish and they were awesome.

Ready to go to sleep — it’s almost 3:00 a.m. and we have another busy day tomorrow!