NYC Summer Trip!

8 Sep

Oh New York, how I love you!  Anyone who knows me, knows that NYC is basically my favorite place in the world as of late.  Since visiting last summer for the first time in my adult life, I’ve become enamored by the city *o* and I’ve visited 5 times since.  So when some travel plans fell through a couple of weeks ago, I decided to call up my best friend (because NYC is simply best experienced when you have your nearest and dearest tagging along for some adventures) and we decided on an impromptu trip during our extended holiday weekend!  This is probably one of the more crazy trips I’ve had, we experienced many things including winning some lotteries, walking into random festivals, walking around the streets at 3am, falling down in the middle of the street, and oh yea, meeting some rock stars ; )

And of course, let’s not forget the most important thing, eating everything lol.  So if I’ve piqued your curiosity, I invite you to keep reading : )!

Our adventure began with Joani (my long time best friend) and I meeting up at JFK after arriving from our flights, we don’t live near each other, so anytime we get to spend together is always so wonderful : ).  After picking up our luggage, we made our way to our hotel.

I’m a big fan of the hustle and bustle of midtown, so I usually choose to stay in Times Square, I know it’s touristy, and loud, and crowded, but I kind of love that I can go out at 1 AM, and it’s full of people : ).  We always stay at the Hotel Edison which is on 47th street between 7th and 8th, and we’ve always had a great stay there, this time was no different!

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Joani and chilling in the hotel : )

Our NYC tradition is to always have our first meal at Go Go Curry, a fantastic Japanese curry house located in the Garment district.  I always get the Curry Katsu, which is Japanese curry with panko fried chicken.  Joani got the regular curry, with a plethora of her favorite pickled daikon radishes.

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We then spent our first day there shopping around and just relaxing around midtown.  Made a dessert stop at Paris Baguette, one of the best Asian/French bakeries I’ve been too.

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We had dinner at the Capital Grille, which normally we try to stay away from really common chain restaurants since we can eat them elsewhere, but I had a terrible craving for their mashed potatoes and their truffle fries : x… plus it was really late by the time we actually got hungry, and we were nearby.

We ordered the chicken, which turned out to be a rather large plate, in fact we definitely could have split a meal, but I had no idea the dish would be so big!  As usual their potato side items were delicious, as was the chicken : ).

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As usual, we had to make a stop at the Disney Store in Times Square. If you don’t know, I’m somewhat a of a Disney-holic, and the Disney store in NYC always has the cutest Minnie Mouse fashionista shirts, so of course I had to stop by and check out their new merchandise!  Additionally, we love to look at their stuffed character plushes, because we find that sometimes they just have some of the funniest faces, and well then this happens…

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And here’s one from last time lol

1-IMG_0149Laina’s highly accurate imitation…

I know, we’re strange.  I blame the fact that by this time we’ve usually been up for almost a full day lol.

Our second day, we made our way to the Upper East Side to have lunch at Alice’s Tea Cup.  Alice’s Tea Cup is an adorable Alice in Wonderland themed tea shop, which also houses a full lunch menu.  Joani and I decided to order their burger, along with their ice peach tea, and an amazing pumpkin scone.

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Hamburger with herb goat cheese, onions, tomato, and lettuce.  Served with french fries : )!

The burger was absolutely amazing.  I normally don’t get cheese on my burgers, but they offered a herb goat cheese, and being a big fan of goat cheese, I couldn’t pass it up!  My favorite item was definitely the pumpkin scone.

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Pumpkin scone served with a side of raspberry preserves and clotted cream

Probably the best scone I’ve had in my entire life, and I’ve had a lot of scones.  The raspberry preserves they served with it were a very nice add on that I didn’t think I would like, but ended up loving the combination!

After having a lovely lunch, we walked up to Ladurée for some macarons.  This was probably the only time I’ve ever walked into Ladurée and not walked out of the store with a million macarons, candles, and other adorable trinkets lol.  This time I settled for a sensible set of macarons, and nothing else.  The candle for this season wasn’t really doing it for me.  My macaron flavors included:  Pistachio, Lemon, Raspberry, Chocolate, and Yuzu.

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Joani had never been to Central Park, and since it was gorgeous out (although quite hot), we decided to go eat our macarons in Central Park and enjoy the pretty day : ).  Here’s a big picture spam lol.

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After a lovely afternoon we made our way back to Times Square in hopes of checking out the Broadway ticket lottery for Wicked which started at 5:30.  Unfortunately for me, while walking around the UES, I had to go and fall down!  Yep, I fell straight up on both knees, had no time to even brace myself lol.  My knees were absolutely destroyed lol!  I think Joani was more concerned with it than I was, I quickly got up out of either adrenaline or embarrassment, I’m not quite sure lol.  So yea, I really busted up my knees, and my god were they in pain as we made our way back to TS!  I had to stop somewhere and get some tissues just to wipe away the stinging!  I took pictures, but I’ll spare you.  Anyways, being the trooper that I am, I told Joani that we could go check out the lottery and after that I’d go and patch myself up.  We didn’t win the lottery that night, but that was ok!  Instead, after patching myself up and resting up in the hotel for a little while, we made our way to Ippudo, a ramen house in midtown for dinner : ).

The pain in my knees was a lot worse than I had anticipated it being, but it’s nothing that good food couldn’t take care of.  I feel it’s not a proper trip to NYC unless someone injures themselves or gets sick lol (I was already nursing a cold before I left for this trip x_x).

Ippudo was pretty neat, they don’t take reservations, just your name and your phone number, and they text you when you’re name is on top of the list.  We got sat at the bar on the second floor, which was quite nice since the bar on the first floor was very busy and loud in comparison.

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The Ramen was great, I ordered mine with pork belly, and Joani ordered hers with eggs.  Both were delicious : )!  The rest of the night was spent just wondering around Times Square : )

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We’re looking a bit shiny there, but then again we had been outside all day in almost 90 degree weather lol.

Saturday morning, I found myself in horrible soreness from my fall lol, but a bit of pain wasn’t about to stop us from continuing our adventures!  We started the day with checking out the lottery for Wicked again, and again we were unsuccessful, but we hadn’t lost hope!  We headed over to Mitsuwa Market Place right across the way in Jersey for lunch and some shopping.  Mitsuwa is a really awesome Japanese grocery store/plaza.  You might have seen me mention it before in my LA trip entry.  In the future, I think I would avoid this place on a Saturday, it was just beyond packed!  We ended up eating outside on some strange rock bench lol.   After some shopping, we grabbed some dessert.  Joani bought me some Kaki Gori (Japanese shaved ice), it was so cheap, that we hadn’t anticipated the size of it!  I don’t think we were even able to eat half of it before we had to head out : (!

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Once we unloaded our shopping bags at the hotel, we headed off to St. Patrick’s cathedral. Visiting the cathedral is always on my list of things to do when I visit Manhattan, I usually go at least a couple of times : ).  Afterwards, we decided to give the Wicked lottery a third try, and this time, we actually WON!  We were beyond ecstatic!  Not only did we win tickets, but our tickets were ridiculous!  We thought we had won 2nd row tickets, but upon entering the theater we realized that we had one front row, center tickets!  We could literally touch the stage, and we were definitely fangirling a little : x…

The show was of course, beyond amazing.

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Sunday morning we decided to hit up Chinatown.  We started the day with lunch at this great little hole in the wall called Tasty Dumpling, a place my other bff Laina and I had discovered on our last trip to Chinatown.

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This place has ridiculously cheap food. $1.25 for 5 dumplings.  I ordered the pork and scallion dumplings, Joani ordered shrimp ones, and we ordered some chicken and mushroom dumplings to share.  They were all very yummy :3!  We spent the rest of our time in Chinatown shopping around and then stopped for dessert and tea at Fay Da bakery, which is one of my faves.  We ordered a strawberry mousse cake, Opera cake, and apricot/lemon cake.  The Opera cake was my favorite : ).  Also, prices were very very cheap, like $1.50 for a slice of cake.

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After stuffing ourselves full, we walked up to the East Village to check out the Fragrance shop.  The Fragrance shop is this really neat little apothecary shop that custom blends perfumes along with other beauty products such as lotions and soaps!  Some of you may know that amongst my many hobbies, making fragrances is one of them!  I’m extremely picky about perfumes, and the perfume that I really liked was discontinued a few years ago (Fleur de Cerisier by L’Occitane), and since then I’ve been hoarding the bottles that I have left.  However, I finally found another scent that I love, and it’s the scent of the Ladurée Tokyo limited edition candle that was released earlier this Spring.  I brought in the candle and one of their scent artist was able to help come up with something that smelled very similar yet was unique on it’s own. I was floored that I finally found another fragrance to wear! I definitely recommend this to anyone who would like to try out making their own perfume, it’s reasonably priced, and a lot of fun!

Still full from our lunch/dessert, we headed back up to midtown to rest up for a bit.  Of course, you never know what you’re going to encounter in NYC, which is one of my favorite things about this great city.  As we walked out of the subway station, we walked straight into a huge Brazilian festival!  There was music, dancing, and of course food and drinks!  Even though we were unbelievably full, we felt that there was still room for a treat or two lol.  We bought a croquette and a beef skewer, both great.  We also got some drinks, Joani had a fruit salad, and I ordered an orange drink, which unfortunately I think was just over priced Tang lol.

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Check out two videos that Joani captured here and here.

After resting up for a little while, we went out to dinner at the Russian Tea room, my favorite restaurant in the world : )!  They had made a few changes to their menu since the last time I was there.  The beef Stroganoff in the past was made with some kind of Demi-glace, this time it was much creamier (thankfully not too creamy, since Joani can’t really have dairy).  We ordered our traditional tea service, we like the Anastasia tea the best (you can buy it from Kusmi, I have like 5 boxes of it lol), and we both ordered the Stroganoff.  We decided this time to actually order the dessert, because usually we’re too full.  We ordered the Czar’s gold and caviar.  Now, I’m not sure if we just misread the description, or we were just too tired to really understand what we ordered, but we sort of imagined it to be some kind of cake, probably with chocolate pearls as the “caviar” or some kind of molecular gastronomy type caviar, along with flakes of gold leaf.

Well… it was definitely not that.  What we received was this.

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Which my first reaction was … is that real caviar?  And why is our cake melting?  Well turns out it wasn’t cake, it was ice cream, and that was indeed real caviar. Now I felt really bad because I don’t eat sea food, and I highly dislike caviar, even Joani who loves sea food didn’t like caviar, so we felt awful that there was this beautiful spoonful of caviar that neither of us planned on eating.  Additionally, I felt even more bad for Joani, because she wouldn’t even be able to eat the ice cream!  I tried to as um… discreetly as possible to hide the caviar under the rest of the uneaten ice cream, but then the ice cream melted and revealed our shame lol…

1-photo 2(3)Not one of my finest moments in fine dining…

Other than that, the food was fabulous, and our experience was fantastic as usual : )

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We decided to call it a night fairly early that evening, because we planned on waking up around 3:30 AM to check out Good Morning America.  This is probably something that I normally wouldn’t care about, but a few days before our trip, one of our favorite bands (R5) announced that they’d be performing on GMA, and then doing a meet and greet at Planet Hollywood afterwards.  Of course Joani and mine’s inner teenager just had to go lol.

It was about 4:15 AM when we got in line for GMA, thankfully the line was only three streets down from us, so the walk wasn’t long.  We were definitely the oldest girls there being that we are in our twenties, and most of these girls were 14-17 years old, with their parents lol.  Oh well, sometimes I feel like Joani and I will be permanently 15 in someways hahaha : ).  I was the only stupid girl dumb enough to wear heels, so that got old pretty fast lol.  We also of course were behind some crazy man named Charles, who at one point was bothering us so much that I think I turned into a frat boy and told him to get his crap together because it was too damn early to deal with his crazyness lol (really, he was bothering everyone in line and even the cop nearby had to set him straight a couple of times).  The whole ordeal was rather insane.  It was pretty funny though, Joani and I have permanent babyfaces, so I think a lot of people thought that we were still in our late teens, so I think we sorta just fit in with everyone, but man some of these girls were craaaaaazy.  Like wow, I didn’t know if I should be scared or impressed by their crazyness and dedication haha. Although a majority of them were very cute and very sweet, and their parents were very nice too : ).  After GMA we headed over to Planet Hollywood for the meet and greet, which was pretty neat.  We waited in line for quite a while, so while waiting Joani went to the local Starbucks and grabbed us some snacks and we had an impromptu picnic lol.

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We always imagined our first NYC picnic would be in Central Park…

We made the cut fairly close, only about 20 people got in after us.  We met the band very briefly, but we snagged a photo, and they were all super nice, and really sweet! They were beyond nice to all their fans, and I think that makes them pretty awesome (other than their amazing music of course).  I can’t wait to go to their concert in November : ).

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Exhausted and starving, we made our way to a little Cuban place for lunch.  Unfortunately, Joani took a tumble on our way and messed up her knee : (…  We basically decided that every time we injured ourselves, something good ended up happening, so we decided to give our luck a go at the Newsies Broadway lottery lol.

Crazy thing was that we actually won!

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We went back to the hotel for a quick nap after the lottery, and then got ready for the show, which was also phenomenal : ).  After that, we grabbed dinner in Times Square and walked around for a while.  I think we went to bed around 1AM, I don’t even know how we had been up for that long lol.

Tuesday was our last day in the city, but we had a late flight, so we decided to make the most of our day.  We started the morning by having brunch at Takahachi bakery.  I got the curry pan (fried curry pocket), an almond croissant, and some Yuzu tea. Joani had a chocolate croissant, and a Japanese coffee.  I also bought their entire stock of melon pan for my friend Laina, since that was the only thing she had asked me to bring her lol.

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Afterwards we went back to the East Village to check out a Waffle place called Waffles and Dinges.  Pretty much the most amazing waffle place I’ve ever had.  I feel my life has changed since I’ve ate this waffle lol.  Do yourself a favor, if you find yourself in Manhattan, check this place out.  They also have a bunch of waffle trucks around the area, so you don’t have to go to the village if you want to check out their waffles : ).

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After our delicious waffle, we headed over to the Fragrance shop since I wanted to buy more of my perfume, it just smells SO good : )!  We had planned on having lunch at Momofuku, but we were still too full, so we headed back to midtown to hang out at Rockefeller center.  After some shopping, we decided to stop into La Maison du Chocolat, a chocolate and tea shop.

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This is definitely a chocolate lover’s paradise.  I ordered the Jasmine Mandarin tea, while Joani ordered some English Breakfast.  Each tea service comes with a paired up chocolate.  Mine was a delicious praline.  We also ordered a slice of cake to share : ).

Around 5PM we went back to the hotel and grabbed a cab to the airport, which of course is when we got hungry, and I immediately wished that we had ate at Momofuku lol. Oh well, next time ; )!

Overall this was probably one of the crazier trips I’ve had in NYC, we packed a lot of things into just a few days, + the injuries lol.  To add insult to injury when I came home after my flight and stripped off my clothes, there was a GIANT bug bite right on my poor knee. As if it weren’t bad enough that it’s all bruised and bloody, now there’s a bug bite lol.  Just another thing to add to my memories of this vacation lol.

Gosh this entry was long, but there you go, another lovely trip to NYC!  I was so exhausted it wasn’t until two days later that I finally unpacked my stuff, sorting the million souvenirs I brought back for people (I love buying people souvenirs lol).  And now I’m back to the grind of work and daily life, taking a break from working out till my knees fully heal lol.  I hope everyone out there is having a good end of the summer, and for those of you starting school, I hope everyone has a good semester : ). Till next time!

Happy baking and happy travels : )

– Nikki

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2 Responses to “NYC Summer Trip!”

  1. Manzanita Girl 09/08/2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Time to go again! 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New York, I just can’t quit you. | Science and Macarons - 10/19/2013

    […] place reminded me a lot of Ippudo, which I went too on my NYC trip last month.  Price wise, both restaurants were on par, with Momofuku having a bit more options on […]

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