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!