Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NYC + A Blogging Break

This is my last post of the year because... I'm finally taking a vacation! In 36 hours, I'll be on my way to Japan, Taiwan, then finally the Philippines. I'll be without any means of communication, so I'll catch up with y'all once I'm back. If you have any must-sees/dos/eats, feel free to drop me a message.

In the meantime, here are some random thoughts and pictures from a last-minute weekend trip to NYC a few weeks ago. Good times, good food, and good company (not necessarily in that order). Can't ask for more than that :)

- I've been to NYC a handful of times in my life but this was my first time visiting Chinatown. Both Manhattan's and Flushing's are worlds apart from DC's, which is essentially a block around the Friendship Arch. I was surprised that pretty much every conversation I overheard was in Chinese, both among the young and the old. It was like being teleported back to Asia. I'll take that as a sign that I've been living in the suburbs too long.

- My two purchases of the trip were a plain Uniqlo heattech tee (saw an ad on the subway and thought it was cool) and a $2 New York & Company gray faux-wrap sweater. We saw a large crowd surrounding a street vendor and bf had to go see what the fuss was about. He pushed his way through, rummaged through the bin, and came out holding two sweaters packaged in clear plastic. We couldn't open the packaging so we had to guess at the style and sizing based on the folded sweater. I didn't want it initially, but was later convinced that I wasn't dressed warmly enough. Bf: "For $2, what have you got to lose?" Me: "A McDonald's Frappe, that's what!" In the end, I caved.

- Food is always near the top of my priorities when visiting NYC. A quick roundup of the places we tried:

1) Dim sum at Jing Fong was only alright. I'm not much of a dim sum eater, but I can say I've had better shrimp in rice noodle roll and crispy taro balls back home of all places (ie: Mark's Duck House). The tofu in ginger syrup was good though and the overall meal was cheap.

2) Dumplings at Prosperity Dumpling (thank you Jean for the rec!) was bf's favorite of the trip. Three of us shared 15 dumplings (5 fried, 10 steamed) shortly after dim sum. The fried ones tasted so much better (and are a better deal) than the steamed ones. After eating our snack and having walked back a block, bf suddenly decided he wanted more fried ones, so back we went, hahaha. I think for him, all the other meals went downhill from here.

3) Ice cream at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (thank you Sunshine for the rec!) and Sundaes & Cones were probably not the best food choices in 40 degree weather. Bf tried the egg custard and mango flavors at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Both were slightly disappointing with the egg custard being too sweet and the mango not up-to-par with Todai's. I ordered the green tea flavor at Sundaes & Cones and loved how it tasted very "green tea-ish."

4) I'm a huge fan of Japanese food but have a hard time finding them in NoVA. So when in NYC, I always try to get my fix. Totto Ramen was our first choice but it was out of our way so Minca it was. I tried the soybean miso with wavy noodles [below left] and I believe others tried the basic ramen (salt and garlic flavor) with thick noodles [below right]. Two of us who have been to Ippudo all agreed that Minca is better priced but Ippudo tasted better.

5) I've had Belgian fries at Pomme Frites a couple times before, so I've probably tried over half of their sauces. My favorite is still the sundried tomato in mayo (never disappoints) and the free Especial sauce, which is a mix of ketchup, mayo, and chopped onions. It uses simple ingredients but tastes like a meaty hamburger.

6) Duck buns (thank you Anonymous!) in Flushing was my favorite of the trip. I can't believe I forgot to take pictures to share and also because I don't remember what this hole in the wall was called! All I remember is that the location is on the street directly behind the J-Mart grocery store/New World Mall building and is manned by a lady slicing duck meat. The bun is just as good as Ippudo's pork buns but with different meat. So good. Peking duck lovers should enjoy this.

7) I love bubble tea but also do not drink it much due to NoVA's lack of options. I'm easy and prefer the basic milk tea with tapioca, but bf is pickier and wanted one with red beans. We had to walk around Flushing a bit, but finally found Chatime. It was all worth it because the milk tea was perfect. I half debated going back the next day to buy more but figured the subway ride wasn't worth getting lost in. Now I really can't wait to drink to my heart's content when I'm in Taiwan.

8) New Yorkers love their brunch, so I had high expectations at Sanford's. I thought the food was only alright. My crab cake benedict [below left] could use more crab meat and the hollandaise sauce could be runnier. The peach juice drink was very concentrated and quite good. The place was pretty and the decor was nice though.

Alright, so the food roundup was longer than I expected, but now my appetite's been whetted for my upcoming trip. Stay safe, eat lots, and have a happy holiday season, everyone -- see you in 2012!

35 comments:

  1. Mm, thanks for these NY recs - sound delish!

    Have a safe and enjoyable trip! Happy holidays, girl!

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  2. Yay for your vacation! So happy for you Cee! Food looks delish and can't wait to see more pics!

    See you when you get back! : )

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  3. Have fun on your vacation, I am so jealous! :)

    And your NYC trip looks excellent, everything looks delicious!

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  4. What a great way to give the year 2011 a farewell. Your trip to three countries sound really awesome. Have fun!

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  5. Have you ever been to Clinton Street Baking Company in NYC? The pancakes are to die for! I was in Chinatown in D.C. with my boyfriend last winter. We specifically went there for Nando's!

    www.sendingloveacross.blogspot.com

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  6. thanks for all the suggestions and reviews! YUMMY ;)

    have a great time--you're so lucky! "see" you when you get back!

    KG

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  7. Have a great time on your trip! My sister just got back from the Philippines a few weeks ago.

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  8. Love the photos. Have a safe trip :)

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  9. the peking duck stall i think you're talking about is part of a restaurant called corner 28 - http://www.yelp.com/biz/peking-duck-sandwich-stall-flushing

    i live in flushing - it's great to have all this amazing street food around! have fun on your vacation!

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  10. Hi! I live in Tyson's Corner. If you want decent ramen, go to Satsuma in Bethseda. For good boba, go to Jumbo Jumbo in Rockville (on Rockville Pike) or Tenren in College Park or Rockville (also on Rockville Pike)

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  11. Hi, NYC pics look great!

    I know something about Japan, so if you wanna know something, I'm willing to help you! You'll easily find more clothes in Japan than here for sure!

    I'll send you email soon

    SS

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  12. Great food photos! When you are in Japan - not sure if you will be in Osaka? But the food there is AWESOME! Try their Gyozas, ramen, okonomiyaki and takoyaki:) Kyoto is famous for their scenery and they have a lot of green tea places. Tokyo is so vibrant! Can't wait to see your pictures on your return :) Happy holidays

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  13. Yay! Can't wait to see your return photos! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

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  14. YAY Mark's Duck House! Really the only decent dim sum place in VA/DC (although my friends say China Garden is good too, I have yet to try it). And where the heck do u find BBT around here? I don't think I've ever seen a place that sells it. Have fun in Asia! Can't wait to see the photos when you get back!

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  15. I live in NYC and have never been to any of these places although I heard about Pommes Frites and Chinatown Ice Cream Factory...Take lots of pics to show us when you get back, I'm def going to miss reading your posts!

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  16. Woohoo! That sounds like an awesome, well-deserved vacation! Enjoy :)

    Alissa

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  17. Oh, btw, my rec for ramen around DC area is Ren's Ramen in Weaton (cash only).

    Have a great vacation!

    SS

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  18. @Lisa - respect the shoes - Next time I'm asking YOU for recs, especially to that random Chinese takeout for wings ;)

    @Elsie Jael - Nope, I haven't heard of either, but will be adding it to my future to-eats list!

    @Anonymous - YES! That's the place! Thank you for letting me know. I've updated the post now :)

    @Jenny - Hi Jenny! You live awfully close to me. Love Tysons, but hate it during rush hour and holiday season. Why is it that MD has all the good Asian eats?! I've been to Jumbo Jumbo and really like it. I'll definitley have to try out your other recs sometime.

    @katattack2000 - Ahh you're a mind reader ;) I'll be in both Osaka and Kyoto (I think) but not Tokyo. Now I absolutely can not wait to try out all the food you just mentioned -- especially green tea things. Thank you!

    @Cher - I've lived in the area pretty much my whole life and only tried dim sum at Mark's for the first time THIS YEAR, haha. I've been to China Garden and thought it was kind of pricey... probably worth a try but I personally prefer Mark's. Unfortunately all the good Chinese food is over in MD *sniff sniff* Jenny gave a few recs but I've only personally tried Jumbo Jumbo. Pretty good for American standards ;)

    @Jarucha - I bet all the places I ate at were for "tourists" and you probably know all the good places that locals frequent. If you've got any recs, feel free to share!

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  19. That sounds like an awesome time. And all that talk about food is making me drool! Jing Fong is such a classic restaurant, even though the food may be sub-par. I think my parents used to go there when they were younger.

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  20. Cee - Have a fabulous vacation! Can't wait to hear all about your travels when you return :)

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  21. Have a safe trip!! Can't wait to hear all about it : )

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  22. Happy travels! Hope you have a wonderful time! I've heard that the xiao long bao (juicy soup dumplings) are amazing at Din Tai Fung in Taiwan - yum!

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  23. What a fabulous trip! Safe travels and happy 2012!

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  24. Cee, have fun on vacation! I'm super jealous! Do take a lot of photos! If you ever go back to NYC, you must try the pork buns, it's amazing.

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  25. Cant believe that it was your first time in Chinatown! We always go there, mostly for the Dim Sum!

    I hope you have a good time on your vaca! I can't wait to see all your pictures when you come back. How long are you going for? be safe and see you next year!

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  26. Have an amazing holiday Cee! I'm so jealous that you get to travel, I hope you'll share some pictures when you're back :)

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  27. Food looks great! I miss NYC, so many things to do and see! Have a good break!

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  28. Oh you're so lucky Cee!!! Have a wonderful trip!!! :)

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  29. Have a safe trip, Cee. And happy holidays! Reading food post at this time of the day is a bad idea. My tummy is now rumbling.
    Looking forward for the big travel pictures.

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  30. Have a wonderful time Cee and Happy Christmas!

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  31. Hello! I just found your blog and I think it's AMAZING! The pics are great and I can see that You really like what you do here! I love people with great ideas, like you!
    Your blog is inspiring! I will follow you!
    xoxo

    http://nikandpic.blogspot.com/

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  33. Are you Filipino?? :) I wouldn't have guessed! Do you speak Tagalog?
    Can't wait to hear about your trip - post pictures!

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  34. @Jen (@CasualChicMom) - Haha nope, I'm Taiwanese.

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