Monday, September 21, 2009

The Epic NY Trip Day 3

The day has finally arrived. Time to go home. I sleepily awake at 8:30, get ready, pack my bags and leave the house with Robyn to head to the Serious Eats office. I leave my stuff there and head out to roam the city one last time. On the menu for the day was, a slice of famous NY pizza. Other than that, I planned to eat whatever I was in the mood for.

First thing on today's menu. Chicken on a stick. It was delicous. What a great way to start the day.

Chicken Kebab

First stop, the B&H Superstore. The wonderland for photo and video equipment. That place is insane. There is so much gear everywhere. I simply followed to signs to the photography section and got in the SLR camera line. There is an LCD screen in the line that tells you what counter to go to when you get to the front of the line. You basically tell him what you want and he brings it to you so you can test it out on your camera. Awesome! I tried a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 and was rather impressed with the image quality, but the construction felt terrible. Zoom ring was .... janky. It was cheap though. 399.


I'm in!

SLR Heaven...

They also have a used section and I looked around for some lenses there, but he didn't really have anything that I wanted. So I left B&H, but bought a pair of earbuds on the way out, just to see what the buying process was like. It's rather interesting. You tell the guy what you want. He generates a purchase ticket for you, and puts what you bought on a conveyor belt and it gets carried to the pickup section of the store. You pay at the cashier with your purchase ticket, and you get a pickup ticket so collect your stuff later. Kinda kewl.

I roamed the streets for a while after, Juice was not able to meet me for lunch today. So I went to NY Pizza Suprema as per Robyn's recommendation to get a slice. And oh what a slice it was. Crispy crust, mildly chewy, fresh mozarella and basil. Lightly sauced, just enough to keep it moist and give it flavor but not overpowering anything else.

Mozarella & Basil Pizza NY Suprema

NY Suprema

After pizza, there was again nothing to do but walk around for a while longer and do some street photography.

He kinda looks like a hollow...

Of course he plays a Gibson...

Big Brother is watching.

Stealth Shot!

I wonder if she has different headphones for different outfits...

I was kinda full, but chose to eat one last time because it was going to be along flight and I wouldn't get to eat again until 10 pm Pacific time. So... Kim Chee Fried Rice from Kofoo was the next thing on the menu. It tasted like. Kim Chee Fried Rice.... 'nuff said.

Koofoo Kim Chee Fried Rice

Now it was time to go home. I said my goodbyes to all my NY friends, and it was time to get back to Los Angeles.

The A Train going home...

Getting into the Evo never felt better.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Epic NY Trip Day 2

After day 1's midnight adventures, I awoke the next morning at 9:30 am after only having gotten 4.5 hours of sleep. I wasn't going to let that faze me. It was a shower and out the door within an hour and Robyn and I were on our way to the New Amsterdam Market by the South Street Seaport.

South Street Seaport

When we got there, I was already pretty hungry, and even though we were going to the Shake Shack later. I knew I needed something to tide me over. Insanely enough, I decided that the first thing I should eat in the morning was oysters. Bad choice? I think not! My only complaint was that they didnt have any tabasco around. I could have used a stronger pick me up in the morning.


Breakfast day 2

I then proceeded to sample almost everything I could think of at the Market, in the process scaring poor Robyn with my amazing powers of ingestion... On the menu was, a brisket sandwich, a watermelon mint verbana popsicle, sausage, hard cider, some chocolate... and errr.. part of a plum scone from Saltie. With the New Amsterdam Market conquered it was time to make the trek to Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.

Brisket Sandwich from Marlow and Sons

Mmmm popsicles

Watermelon Mint Posicle

Juice was already in line by the time we got there. I was sooo ready for a Shack Stack... the line was long, but it was a beautiful day and it gave me a little extra time to digest my previous meal. However, soon the moment arrived that I would taste the awesomeness that is the Shack Stack. A cheeseburger and mushroom burger in one. It is.... absolutely fantastic. Soft potato roll, crispy mushroom patty, cheesy, At one point I swear I lost the ability to process language and was enjoying that burger so much that when Juice said something to me, I told him, "I can't understand a word you're saying right now. All I hear is angels singing in my head." Some other notable taste sensations from Shake Shack was Juice's peanut butter and chocolate milkshake, and the purple cow. A grape soda and vanilla custard float.

The Shack Stack

Tooo much cheese!

Purple Cow

With out hunger sated, it was time to hit up the Top of The Rock! The view up there was beautiful, but the three of us agreed that it would probably be better at night.

Getting ready to go to the Top of the Rock

This is actually the ceiling of the elevator going to the observation deck. The lights go off when you're going up and you;'re treated to a pretty light show.

Goooing up!

The View From The Top

Juice is sooo happy!

The other side of the top

Oh, and while we were there, the NYPD chopper buzzed both the Rockefeller Center and the Empire State building. He hovered there for a while so we could take pictures of him.

The Chopper pilot who was nice enough to buzz us..

After the Rockefeller Center, we had some time to waste before meeting Dinh again at Grand Sichuan. So we stopped by Books Kinokuniya. Where I found two rather interesting books.

What's your poo telling you...

Poo log

Buying both together would probably be the best. So you can read one, and that gives you the vocabulary to fill in the other one. After filling out the log, then you could use the other as reference to tell you what is actually going on in your bowels.... books of poo = WIN!

It was finally time to go to Grand Sichuan... it was an enjoyable meal. The Sichuan side really shows in their dishes. It's tasty, not subtle at all, and the inclusion of sichuan peppercorns in fried vegetables gave it a rather awesome taste. I quite fancied it. The star dish was the cold cucumber. Cold cucumbers, salt, sesame oil, garlic and scallion juice. Refreshingly light, yet has enough substance from the sesame oil. Fantastic.

Grand Sichuan : Cold Cucumber

Grand Sichuan : Wontons

Grand Sichuan : Xiao Long Bao

After dinner, it was time for everyone to go their separate ways, except Juice and I decided to go to the Highline. The High Line is a public park built on a 1.45-mile-long elevated rail structure running from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street on Manhattan's West Side. I don't know what to say about it, other than. If you're there. GO.

High Line :

High Line : Bleachers

High Line : 8 Legged Resident

On our way out of the park, there happened to be fireworks coming from the Jersey shore. We couldn't figure out what is was for, but I took pictures anyway.



After the park closed, Juice and I walked around for a bit down by the piers and saw these 2 seating art pieces. Rather kewl.

Weird sclupture seats

Weird sclupture seats 2

There wasn't much to do by now, and I was tired from the previous 2 days of adventure. Time to go home....

Continued on... Day 3

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The epic NY trip. Day 1.

I guess this should really begin the Friday night that I left work. Got to Burbank with about an hour to spare. Went through the TSA checkpoint with no problems. The Spire Meta that I use allows you to quickly take your laptop out of the bag but still leave the sleeve attached to the bag so you don't have to take it out and put it in one of those plastic bins. Yay! This bag is NOT for the faint of heart. Fully packed with 3 days worth of clothes, my HP 8510p and my Nikon D300 with battery grip. It's GIGANTIC, and it leaves almost no space for you to carry anything back from your trip.

So anyway... at the airport I drank a beer, a shot of whisky and swallowed a benadryl. By the time the plane was off the ground I was fast asleep. I woke up a couple of times. For no other reason than my dumbass fell asleep before the plane took off and I couldn't recline it before take off. Doh!

I arrived at 5:20 in the morning at JFK. Pretty much didn't have anything to do since everything was closed. I was going to waste some time before going to Robyn's but I found myself saying. Oh well, I'll find something interesting along the way and stop there. So that I don't wake them up. I just kept following the signs and next thing I know. I'm at their stop. Crap... Oh well. I woke her up from her slumber WAY eariler than I expected, and then went back to sleep for another couple of hours until everyone else woke up. Then it was.... SHOPSINS!!!!!

Shopsins apparently is known for having a ridiculous amount of things on their menu, and for pricing the dish not based on the cost, but based on how much of a pain in the ass it is to make. The menu this morning was.....Sliders.... OMFG. I promised Ian that the first thing I would eat when I got there was sliders, and true to my word. I ate sliders.... and oh how glorious these sliders were...

Shopsin Sliders

They were meaty, oniony, cheesy goodness on a soft potato roll. Absolutely delicious. Also on the menu was a Guinness Malted Milkshake.

Guinness Malted Milkshake

This, at first taste was... off putting because you didn't expect that much Guinness flavor in a milkshake. Even if it did say Guinness Malted Milkshake. It was sweet with a hint of bitterness at the end, and OH SO CREAMY.... CREAMY CREAMY CREAMY.... it went really well with the sliders for breakfast. :)

Robyn's dish was... the SOS. I think that this is probably the most aptly named dish in the world. It consists of eggs, creamed corned beef, grits, and hot sandwich. Sounds fantastic doesn't it? Until it comes to your table....


Did I just hear a wtf come out of you brainz?!?! I think I did.... However, when you start putting this concoction into your mouth and the first hints of it's savory goodness start to wash over your tastebuds, wtf is VERY soon replaced with WTF?!?!?!?!?!! It's like.... every savory white people comfort food flavor collectively hitting you at the same time. Word of caution, SHARE this dish. You could not possibly finish it alone. When you finish your food at Shopsin's you're greeted with a pretty nice design on the bottom of his plates. Is it reason enough to finish everything? Not really.... but it's a nice plate nonetheless!

Shopsin Plate

After breakfast was done.... we went to a hat shop on the lower east side. Thus began my day of NYC walking... I like walking, don't get me wrong. LOVE walking. When I WANT to. Not cause I HAVE to. In this case, I could say, I went to NYC knowing that I would have to walk. So I WANTED to HAVE TO walk. So this makes it ACCEPTABLE. The hat shop was cute and quaint and Boppy even bought a hat.

Hat store

Where hats are born...

What kinda amused me was this hair salon called Crops For Girls... specializing in women's short haircuts. Partly because I don't think I've ever met a girl who had a bad short haircut. The ones that are even interested in something that short are already boyish anyway and when you just cut it that short. It's like adding instant hotness.

Crops for girls

Next stop.... Economy Candy!!! Ahh Economy Candy.... I didn't get anything here. :( I don't really have a sweet tooth for candy. Which makes me totally lucky since it's one less thing that contributes to my ever expanding waist line. I swore I wouldn't buy new pants this year. So far, I haven't had to buy new pants! Yay!

Economy Candy Store front.

Cool sign..

Wall to wall goodness


Then.... one of the highlights of the trip. Doughnut Plant. Oh man.... the guy was totally weird about me taking pictures of the store. Like I can find anything about his SECRET doughnut making techniques by taking pictures of your food. I bought a damn doughnut man... Oh yes the dough... OK EFFF this. I'm going to type DONUT from now on just cause it's shorter. I don't care what the name of the store is. The Creme Brulee DONUT was deliciously awesome. A little chewy with a crispy shell on the outside, and cremy goodness that is not overly sweet. Also tried a little of the carrot cake DONUT which was a little too sweet, but totally tasted like portable carrot cake! Yay!

Creme' Brulee Doughnut

Creme Brulee Donut inside

Carrot cake donut

After sucessfully filling ourselves to the brim.... well actually the girls were full but I still had space... which I totally took care of later.... we walked to SoHo. This is where we all split up since the girls wanted to shop. Me... shop? I do that shit online! Although, anything more than a T shirt I still go to the store.. but I wasn't looking to shop at all today! Fortunately, Dinh was in town.

Dinh in NYC

So I met up with him, and I totally had some lamb over rice and grape soda. We walked around Soho a little bit, and went to the Victorinox store and Camper. Then it was off to Toy Tokyo!

Lamb Over Rice yeah...

Dinh at the victorinox store

The bike at Camper

Camper rocket nozzle lights...


I like that shoe horn...

On the way, we walked by Little Italy and there was some kind of street fair going on. I got a chocolate cannoli. It was good. Not great. I don't really know what a great cannoli tastes like cause no one has ever pointed it out to me. Maybe I don't like cannoli's?


Anyway, we got to Toy Tokyo, and Dinh said I would freak out. I did. I love that place. If I had space in my bag, I would be like a few hundred dollars poorer. After Toy Tokyo, we stopped by a mini mart, that had more belgian beers than Bevmo, I kid you not. It was intense.

Donald in Carbonite

Totally crazy looking figure


We stopped at Starbucks cause well.... we were tired of walking, I saw this rather cool building along the way.

The Cooper Union

Then it was off to Otto! For some Italian food and gelato.. Otto is EPIC EFFIN FAIL. We got there at... 6:30. They told us the wait was an hour. Which was ... understandable. So we left to get a drink somewhere else so Dinh could charge his phone.

Stopped here for a drink

I like the furniture

We came back in a half hour, and I think they had given our table away? Or something to that effect, and we had to wait till 7:45 for a table. Then we sat down, and we asked for olive oil for our bread, 3 separate times from 3 separate waiters. The food was slow to come out, and they seemed to adjust the music so that everyone had to speak really loud to hear yourselves OVER the music.

The food was good, but I would probably never go back there to eat again. Except for the gelato... which was phenomenal. It was too dark for me to really take any good photos of it, because of my slow lens. Salty Caramel, Olive Oil, and err.. whatever they call chocolate chip.

After Otto, we went back to Brooklyn, until of course Dinh texts me and says, "Going to Chinatown, bringing camera" so... I leave the apartment at 12:30 in the morning and meet Dinh. I went the wrong way once, and finally when I meet up with him. Chinatown is dead. So.... off we go in a cab to Times Square! That place is like eye candy at night. So much to see...

I was here!

She's fresh....

Dinh having a religious experience...


Streets at night

After Times Square, we walked over to the 53rd and 6th Chicken over Rice / Lamb over Rice vendor. This place was insane.... it had a line that was probably 100 people long and from the time we were there, till the time we left, the line never grew any shorter. The food itself was delicious, a bit underspiced, but his rice is better than everyone elses I've had. However, the hot sauce, is where the magic is. That stuff is potent, and oh so tasty. Dangerously hot, like Wing Stop Atomic hot. With a very good flavor, kinda peppery, a little dusty. Kinda like El Taco Llama's salsa roja, but WAY hotter.

Rice Cart Ghetto Pano....

Chicken and rice! 53rd and 6th

After this, I took the subway back to Brooklyn, got there at about 5 in the morning, and passed out very soon after. So much for my first day in NYC!

Quiet at night...

Continued on ... Day 2.