Sunday, 5 June 2011

Memorial Day Weekend in the Big Apple

With $250 round trip plane tickets and a free hotel stay on my Starwood points, spending Memorial Day long weekend in NYC was a no brainer this year.  And of course there are only a few things that you do when you go to NY: eating and shopping!

Shake Shack Theatre District
ShackBurger + wavy fries + strawberry frozen custard shake
The burger were small in size but you will realize that you'll realize that sharing one shake and even one order of fries between two people is probably enough.  Puts you in a happy but not bloated spot.  I liked the burger was made with wonder!
Osteria Lupa Romana
Wanted to try one of Maria Batali's restaurants.  Read some good reviews on this one just north of Houston and it was a good choice indeed.
Some focaccia and a Misticanza salad to start.  Nice and refreshing.

I got the pasta special of short rigatoni and pork jelly.  2hung got the braised oxtail with gnocchi alla Romana which was actually my choice.  The oxtail was so flavourful and tender, and the gnocchi was in a cake shape.
For dessert, we got the Zuppa Inglese, which is similar to an English trifle.

Lady M Confections
This is a really pretty cake shop on the Upper East Side, which probably explains why their cakes are like $8 a piece!  We were in the Museum Mile area, so I had to go give their cakes a try.  We tried their strawberry mille feuille and gateau aux marrons.  Absolutely to die for!
Totto Ramen
Beside Ippudo, this is one of the top rated ramen restaurants in NYC.  This is a unique ramen place in that their soup base is made with chicken and not the usual tonkotsu.  We had to wait for around 30min to get a seat even though we went at 3pm in the afternoon.  I ordered the miso ramen, but I didn't like the noodles as much as the straight homemade noodles.  I would recommend the paitan ramen or the spicy ramen instead.

Don's Bogam
My brother took us to Korean Way along W 32nd St.  I didn't know that there were so many Koreans in the area before.  This was my first time going there.  Don's Bogam is a slightly more upscale BBQ place and their meat tasted a lot better than what you can get in Toronto.  It is comparable to what I ate when I went to Seoul back in 2009.  We ordered the sea scallops, pork belly marinated in Cabernet Sauvignon and de-boned beef ribs.  Now that I think about it, I don't think I tasted any wine in the pork belly, but it still tasted great.
Katz's Delicatessan
Although I've been to NY many times, I'd yet to try the smoked meats at the famous Katz's Deli.  Don't be fooled by the line that spans along the side of the store.  It moves really fast and you'll be ushered into the crowd at a fairly quick pace.  We opted for a waited table and we ordered a pastami sandwich, a Frankfurter and steak fries.  The $16 sandwich beats the taste of Montreal's Schwartz's by taste but not by price.  The meat was more tender but less fatty.  Don't waste your money on the fries or the dogs.

DBGB Kitchen & Bar
Celebrity chef Daniel Boulud's new casual dining restaurant is a bit of a disappointment in terms of service, but at least the food was good.  Maybe it was because we sat in the bar area, so we did not get much attention from our waitress, or maybe she just didn't need the extra tip.
We shared the sausage duo of Espagnole and Beaujolaise, the lamb duo, the cod, and finished off with a Grand Marnier souffle.
Bouchon Bakery
I dined at Bouchon in Las Vegas, but I never tried their baked goods, so we made a stop at the Bouchon Bakery in Columbus Circle.  The retail section is a few dollars cheaper than what you would pay in the cafe, so definitely get your food from the retail side.  We ordered a grilled cheese with tomato soup, turkey sandwich, almond croissant and a huge caramel macaron.

This was my first time dining at a Michelin two-start restaurant and the food was truly delectable.  The restaurant combines seafood with Italian cooking, two of the most enjoyable foods in my opinion.  The place was buzzing with people even at 10pm in the evening.  We were first greeted with an amuse-bouche of pea soup and lemon foam
For appetizers, we ordered the sea urchin topped with lardo ($27 for 3 pieces).  If you don't know what lardo is, you might've guessed what it was by removing the "o" in the word "lardo", and you would've guessed right.  Yup, it's pork fat and it added even more richness to the taste of the sea urchin, which was rich in itself.
The oyster platter ($35 for a dozen) was super fresh and sweet as well, but it was hard to top the sea urchin with lardo.
For our mains, we ordered spaghetti with sea urchin and crab ($29), tagliatelle with lobster ($35) and a seafood risotto ($31).  The fresh pasta was al dente and cooked to perfection.  The dish that I had tasted like the it was cooked in lobster bisque and it was topped with lots of lobster meat!

I was expecting a lot more sales during the Memorial Day weekend, but was very disappointed when all we saw were 30% off regular priced items.  These are some of my purchases...

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