8.31.2011

how to blog on an ipad

the ipad and blogging on the ipad saved me while traveling in asia this summer. blah blah i traveled in asia this summer... but this about blogging. on an ipad.

first - buy an ipad (starting at $499). ben and i have the white, 16g, wi-fi ipad with an apple polyurethane magnetic case, in green. i recommend it :)

second - buy the sd memory card/camera cord adapter from apple for $29.99 (ipad camera connection kit). this makes it super easy to upload photos from your camera to the ipad.

third - buy the blog press app for $4.99.

fourth - blog. compose online or offline- this is my favorite thing. you can compose offline and save for later. i blogged on our trip when we were on planes, trains and buses. it worked really well for me.

and then schedule posts for whenever you like. i love this about blogger. schedule posts in the future. genius.

buy photo wall for $2.99, for photo collages
get adobe photoshop express for $? (it might be free) for cropping, rotating, adjusting exposure, et cetera.

and finally for the nit-picky blogger - i save my posts in the blogpress app as an online draft and then open the post in the internet browser to fix the spacing between the photos in html. because for some reason, the app has a weird spacing issue.
one cannot blog successfully in the internet browser, so that's why i don't use only that.

while i prefer to blog on a computer, blogging on an ipad is pretty great and convenient while you're on the go.

happy blogging!

8.30.2011

visiting lady liberty

downtown manhattan
view of the verrazano bridge
ladies with lady liberty
happy/sad face, sad/happy face

while linny, randy and donovan were here, i was able to go visit liberty island with them.
i went to liberty island when i first visited nyc, in 2004 when i was almost 18 years old (you do the math). BUT because of 9/11, i was unable to go inside the statue.
but this time i got to go inside. and it was fun and lovely and very touristy and patriotic.

---such a nice bluishgreen statue that lady is.


i loved having linrandyvan here so i could play tourist and also eat such great food.

linny, you guys are coming back to visit in about a month right? we'll be ready for you.

8.29.2011

how mr ben and i spent the hurricane weekend

adding pins to our map (asia)
eating lemon-ricotta pancakes (amazing. incredible. will repeat.)
studying (my cute law student so diligent in his reading)

the prep for the hurricane was really exciting for me--- like going to get ben's haircut (and maybe a quick stop at the doughnut plant) and then standing in line at the trader joe's in chelsea--- just to get into the store.
we got a few more things from tj's to hold us over and ingredients for the above lemon-ricotta pancakes. so worth it. i highly recommend them- considering i don't usually love pancakes because they can be dry and hard to swallow... but these. so. good. i will make them again and again (i hope).

the prep was also exciting for me because it reminded me of dc snowpocalypse... staying in all weekend with ben. my favorite.
but the hurricane was a little weak-sauce... at least here in nyc. well uptown manhattan. downtown got hit a bit harder. (sorry folks!)

the rest of the weekend was spent organizing our new apartment more, having friends over for dinner, adding pins to our map and ben studying for law school, while i applied for jobs (and blogged).

i'd say we're pretty legit now having survived a hurricane and earthquake in our first few weeks of nyc living.

8.26.2011

we flew around the world

india
bali
malaysia
cambodia
thailand
hong kongchina
south koreajapan

we flew from dc to paris to mumbai
then delhi then bagdogra (en route to darjeeling) then kolkata then kuala lumpur then bali then kuala lumpur then cambodia (siem reap) then taxi to thai border then bus to bangkok then bus to krabi then boat to phi phi island then boat and van to phuket airport then flew to hong kong then beijing then seoul then tokyo
and then at the end of our trip we flew from tokyo to dc. so yes, around the world. check.

it's still surreal to me that we traveled asia for five weeks. five weeks.

my five outfits got old really fast.
and also my chacos but i kind of hate my chacos anyway. ha. (they are comfortable and sensible but i hate the way they look on me, among other things.)

trip prep - takes months to plan. in our case, we had been planning for over a year. there are so many small details. all the hotels, transit, where to go once you arrive somewhere, where to eat.... luckily almost every hotel (all but one, i think) had internets so we were able to plan as we went on some of the details.
being in dc was really nice at the time because i was able to drop off and pick up our passports to get the needed visas. we only had to get cambodia, china and india beforehand (some other visas were on arrival). china and india visas are way expensive (china $140 per person, india $72 per person).
immunizations. between the two of us, we got the polio, tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis a shots. better safe than sorry.
do a trial run with packing. we had extra room in our backpacks so we could bring things home. my bag was pretty much bursting once the five weeks was over.

what we brought - a manageable, carry-on size backpack for each of us. a small day pack just big enough to carry our dslr camera, diana mini film camera, snacks and hand sanitizer.
about 5 outfits each and sheet sleeping bags in space to-go bags that compress the air out of the bag. chacos and flip flops. swimsuits. rei quick dry towels: they are super thin and dry fast. medicine (like pepto bismol, tums, malaria meds, diarrhea antibiotic, anti-itch cream, etc). a tiny sewing kit (really came in handy). all travel size toiletries we could bring (deodorant isn't common in asia and sunscreen is WAY expensive). mosquito net, which we didn't use because the hotels we stayed in all had a/c which keeps mosquitos away. headlamps (which we didn't need much either but some places turn the electricity off at night).
note: the clothes we brought we either got at goodwill for the trip or we knew we wanted to take them to goodwill eventually. i left two of my clothing items behind because i was so done with them. and the rest i am taking to goodwill soon. or burning them.

the trip was laborious like - always drinking bottled water (including brushing our teeth with bottled water), always wearing bug spray (most days sunscreen too), using hand sanitizer lots, making sure we were hydrated (hard to do), being very careful about what we ate, wearing flip flops in the shower, sleeping in homemade sheet sleeping bags (we only did this in india), mosquito net (ok, we actually didn't use ours once), taking malaria medication... et cetera.

budget - we did a good job of keeping our daily budget. the trick is, don't use credit cards, just cash and only take your daily budget with you each day :)

diet - the diet was really hard on me. ...because eating non-cooked fruits and vegetables and/or vegis and fruits without peels is not really a safe option. because of the water the produce is washed with isn't always good and the knives used to cut the produce... you get the idea.
my digestion was all messed up and we both got sick but not horribly.
my biggest fear of the trip was that one or both of us would get deathly ill. hence the reason we were super cautious.

share meals! portions are huge - really though. about three days into the trip we started sharing meals. most every meal in every country was huge. no joke.

bargaining/bartering (barter low) - do it. everywhere for basically everything. start low. but decide on your ceiling price before you start to bargain. i don't think we have any buyer's remorse.
be nice - and people will be nice back.
cabs are almost always cheaper with a meter. much cheaper.

don't always believe people - a good example is bangkok... when we were on our way to wat pho (with the reclining buddha), someone told us it was closed until the afternoon, that we needed to wear pants to go in and that he could be our guide. all lies. don't believe it for a second. we got swindled a lot in india too.

do what you can handle (rest appropriately) - when we had a really taxing day, the next day we tried to sleep in and take it slow. we still ended up being exhausted all the time, but that helped us sleep at night.

8.25.2011

you are here

bali, malaysia
cambodia, thailand
hong kong, beijing
seoul, tokyo
muji in tokyo, times square in nyc

while we were on our trip in asia... i did screen shots on my phone of each country we visited (except india, sorry india).

i kind of love that little blue dot, telling me where i am.
now i can look back and remember when and where i was when i took the screen shot... and think, i was really there!

sounds totally cheesy, but i like it.

8.24.2011

friendly faces and food

with baby donovan
scoping out the menu
wicked lottery (we didn't win, twice)
walking the brooklyn bridge at night (and after torrential rain)
brooklyn ice cream factory (divine), grimaldi's pizza
subway
we love four seats in a row
funny faces
suzie, linny, me (probably all hopped up on sugar)
waiting for taco truck tacos

during korean bbq (at ny komtang in koreatown) on lindsay, randy and donovan's last night, we asked them---
when people ask what the highlight of their nyc trip was, what would they say?

the food.

in addition to korean bbq, we had:
shake shack
grimaldi's
brooklyn ice cream factory
pomodoro (in soho)
pepe rosso
levain bakery
brother jimmy's bbq
doughnut plant
chop't
the taco truck
jacques torres chocolates
eleni's bakery

not to mention, homemade gelato (raspberry and peachlime)

some of those places... we may have eaten at more than once. but i am not at liberty to disclose which places and how many times. wink.

now it's back to eating-in for like ever. spinach and fruit smoothies for every meal. mmm.

but if you're interested in a food tour of nyc, i am a really good tour guide.

8.23.2011

saturday in central park

harlem meer
jackie k. o. reservoir
i'm slowly realizing that central park (and all the hundreds of quaint parks in new york city) are what keep the city and its people sane.

green space, or just a place to sit on a bench near a tree is sort of essential for survival, in my opinion.

central park was especially nice on saturday. when all the people were out--- walking, biking, talking, skateboarding, telling jokes, playing songs on guitars, having unusually long picnics.

we (me, ben, linny, randy, donovan) walked from the harlem meer at about 106th street down to 72nd where some friends were having an extended picnic with some other friends. along the way we were distracted by hot dog and ice cream stands, the metropolitan museum of art, protesters and lots and lots of people.

the nearly-end-of-summer in this city is turning out to be pretty darn great.

8.22.2011

settling in

we are still settling into our new apartment.

i love it. ben loves it. we love it. the more we discover in the neighborhood and even right here in our apartment, we are in love love love.
(things like watching the birds fly in formation across the street, our new a/c unit and wild olive market have been highlights so far.)
so that helps a lot.

we were dreading that we'd find an "ok" place and then sort of hate it and hope we lived somewhere else.
nope. not this place.
and every time i make it to the top of the 5 flights o' stairs... i think, my legs are going to look awesome in a few months.
---right? right?

the day after we moved in, our great great friends, lindsay, randy and donovan arrived to visit us.
it was really great motivation to get a lot of things unpacked and set up.
and we are so glad they are here. they are here only a few more days and i feel sad at the thought that they will actually leave.
it's good having visitors that you want to have stick around. it's a good sign that you actually like each other :)

so yes. we are in a new apartment. and we love it.
and we are in a new city. and we love it.

8.17.2011

lately...

tim gunn
union square market
max brenner's chocolate bar
moving...

we saw tim gunn at a store in soho, speaking on behalf of love is not abuse coalition. such a nice man.

we visited union square market where we bought some red jacket juice (from geneva, ny) and looked at all the lovely produce and things for sale. i will say i was disappointed in the sparse amount of organic stands. and there were no organic peaches. do i sound snobby?
peaches are the worst for pesticides and gunk. you want to buy peaches organic whenever you can.

we had dessert for dinner at max brenner's chocolate bar. we got the s'mores concoction. super awesome. and it may look small to share--- but it's not. you definitely want to share!

we also stopped by strand books and brooklyn industries. did you know my oldest niece is named after the nyc borough of brooklyn? i really feel like i should buy her wardrobe at brooklyn industries.

we were subletting for a few days, then moving. i am so ready to live out of a closet and dresser and my own kitchen--- instead of a hotel, a backpack, a sublet.

other celeb sightings: al pacino in the theater district. he was leaving a broadway show with a young lady on his arm. he also looked a little homeless and gaunt, sporting a ponytail.

8.15.2011

we live in new york city.

jet lag is like really hard to get over. at 3pm everyday, my eyes are slamming shut. and we can't sleep in passed 5am. bad news.


we booked our flight home from tokyo to the u.s. about a year ago, so we booked it back to dc (since we weren't sure where we'd be living). so... after flying for 12.5 hours + other travel time, we landed in dc, then drove straight to nyc.

we are subletting a place. trying to find a permanent place.

we may have found a great apartment... but finding an apartment is such a gamble and a game.
first you have to find the place, online or through word of mouth.
second you have to schedule a showing and go.
third you have to actually like the place. your husband has to like it too.
fourth you have to fill out an application. complete with pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, first born child.
and then hope for the best. (not to mention, there is a credit check fee every time.)
fifth you have to pester the owner/broker/landlady/landlord to be sure they are processing the application.
sixth wait.
seventh move in. most likely we are living in a walk up. meaning no elevator. meaning, you have to walk up four/five floors when moving into an apartment.
eighth hope your decision was a good one.

our first day here, we went to muji and bought this new york city in a bag. i've been wanting to get it for so long... but it didn't seem right until now. love it.

8.14.2011

where to eat in new york city {by neighborhood}

manhattan eats (where we live and eat) ::

chelsea/meatpacking district
lobster place
lobster rolls, clam chowder, maine root soda. all to die for. lobster rolls are usually a toasted bun with lobster meat in a sort of sauce. mmmm. saves you the trouble of shelling the lobster yourself. $25 for lunch for two. in chelsea market.
15th and 9th ave

jacques torres
chocolate. the wicked hot chocolate: more than enough reason to go there. it has chili powder in it or something crazy. and their tiny overpriced chocolates are also some of my faves.
multiple locations (all around the city). hot chocolate about $3.
15th and 9th ave

co. (company)
pizza, fancy pizza. really good pizza and salads. salad for appetizer, pizza for main. it all makes sense and it's not super spendy. although, get there early. fills up fast! get the artichoke salad and flambe pie.
24th and 9th ave

cafeteria
this one is famous so good luck on getting a table. well at least on the weekends for brunch. their mac 'n' cheese is to die for (get the mac attack) and they also have amazing desserts. including one that is like a giant reese's peanut butter cup, in luxury form. plates are $12-$18.
17th and 7th ave

spice market
this is one of my favorite nicer places in the city. the food is inspired by southeast asian street food. if you're looking for the coolest ambiance you've ever seen and a complete flavor journey --- go here. i heart this place. it's a bit spendy. but worth it. and i love where it's located - the cobblestone streets of the meatpacking district.
13th and 9th ave

the green table
inside chelsea market. it's a farm to table place with an everyday affordable menu and a few items they are extra special. their potpies are their specialties. there are tiny tables inside the tiny space or a communal table just outside the restaurant in the market area near the fountain. expect a wait! you can make reservations for larger parties.
15th and 9th ave

the doughnut plant
the doughnut plant has two locations (lower east side and chelsea). if you want the most authentic experience, take the trek to the lower east side. or for the fancypants experience, try chelsea. same doughnuts are sold at both. what we get: carrot cake (with creme cheese filling), coconut glaze (with coconut cream filling), pistachio--- all about $3 each.
23rd street (7th and 8th aves)

the grey dog
where i fell in love with nyc when i was 18. very chill. sandwiches, easy, relatively cheap.
16th street (7th and 8th aves)


chinatown
chinatown ice cream factory
really, really rad with flavors like red bean, black sesame, lychee and toppings like mochi. the perfect after-chinese-food treat.
65 bayard street (mott and elizabeth)

prosperity dumpling
5 dumplings for $1. sesame pancake (about the size of a piece of pizza) for $1. basically we can eat here for 2, for less than $5 and be TOTALLY happy. in chinatown/lower east side. i want to go here everyday just because it's the ultimate hole-in-the-wall. it's tiny, tiny, so cheap, so good.
46 eldridge street (canal and hester)

nom wah tea parlor
the first dim sum place in nyc. since 1920. on a saturday, we arrived just as they opened in order to get a table. lots of dumplings and scallion pancakes and yummies. tea too. a pot of tea is cheap and delicious.
doyers street (near mott and pell) also near chinatown ice cream factory, yumm.


east harlem
aqua fresca
cuban/mexican. los tacos. and the churros with dulce de leche are good enough by themselves.
free delivery! east harlem.

harley's smokeshack
a new harlem bbq joint. there are plenty of options for everyone, even someone like me who doesn't love bbq. and it's a clean, new, cute little haven in east harlem. $15-$25 pp.

patsy's pizza
patsy's is better than grimaldi's and lombardi's. lombardi's was first, one of lombardi's employees left and started patsy's and then patsy's kid started grimaldi's. phew. anyway. patsy's is best. and in east harlem - which used to be very italian. $15-$20 for lots of pizza.
1st ave (117th and 118th)

el aguila 
100% mexican. really though. their tacos are completely legit - with double corn tortilla, chopped cilantro and onion and deliciousness. if you're nice to the cashier she'll even put a little cotija cheese on your tacos. we had a feast of 2 tacos for emily, 3 tacos for ben, beans and rice and mexican sodas for about $22. 
116th and lexington
also, lexington (103 and 104)  

el paso taqueria 
more of your run of the mill mexican place with tacos, fajitas and fancy things like that (more like a restaurant, less like a taco stand). and they have happy hour food and drink specials!
116th (3rd ave and 2nd ave) 


east village
big gay ice cream shop
the shop isn't all that big per se, but the ice cream treats are! i kept seeing people walking out of the store with what looked to be a boring old chocolate dipped-cone, but it wasn't boring at all. it's called, salty pimp. it's vanilla ice cream in a cone, ice cream injected with caramel (dulce de leche), then salted with sea salt and dipped in chocolate. we recommend getting the salty pimp with a cup because it's really messy to eat. so so delicious. also, the monday sundae - a waffle cone lined with nutella, with whipped creme and dulce de leche. and the bea arthur... vanilla ice cream injected with dulce de leche, with nilla waffers on the outside for a good crunch.
it's about $11 for two ice creams (ouch)... but pretty darn worth it.
7th (1st ave and avenue a) - and now a location in the west village

momofuku noodle bar
i got these ginger scallion noodles with pickled shitake mushrooms. i would march on down to the east village right now and get more. we also got pork buns to start. mmm buns. this place can get pretty busy since it's part of the famous momofuku brand. about $10-$15 for noodles.
1st ave (10th and 11th)

momofuku milk bar
momofuku - dessert style.  crack pie. compost cookie. blueberry and cream cookie. original in east village - other locations throughout the city.
2nd ave and 13th

pommes frites
they specialize in belgian style fries. even the small size is a meal in itself. the mango chutney dipping sauce is incredible. $5-$10.
2nd ave (7th and 8th/st marks place)

caracas
arepas bar! yumm venezuelan place. arepas are these little corn gordita type things - stuffed with different food like cheeses and veggies and meats. so many different choices. good prices. $8-$15 pp.
7th (1st ave and avenue a)

luke's lobster
east village gem for lobster rolls. $17 for lobster roll combo and it will fill you up!
7th (1st ave and avenue a) 

sundaes and cones
toasted coconut ice cream. lavender ice cream. that says it all, i'm pretty sure. so creamy. so great. so want to go back right nooooow.
10th (3rd ave and 4th ave)

van leeuwen
for an ice cream treat. creamy. flavors like pistachio and lavender. probably my favorite ice cream in the city. thank you.
7th and 2nd avenue


gramercy/flatiron/union square
gramercy tavern 
one of my coworkers once described gramercy tavern as quintessential new york. yes, i think in a lot of ways, i agree with her. it's in an unassuming area in a quiet restaurant, tucked away a bit. the food combinations are adventurous and there is something for everyone. it's definitely a special occasion type place but it's worth every penny. the service is exceptional as well. 
20th (park ave and broadway)

eataly
first of all, i love that it's called eataly. clever name or cleverest name?
eataly is a huge italian market/restaurant/amazingness in the flat iron district. when ben and i first went, we bought some bread thinger, then a panino and also a pizza. and then some gelato. we had to try it all. get a pizza to go (around the corner from the main entrance). get gelato to go. buy some italian goodies. buy $500 prosciutto ham. do whatever.
the prices are reasonable (except for maybe the ham?).

union square cafe
danny meyer's place. he's the guy that started shake shack. a blend of italian/french/new american. a little spendier than usual but a really great place for a fancy celebration dinner. reservations must be made EARLY. pomegranate hibiscus soda, fois gras mushroom ravioli, apple salad, banana tarte. spendy but worth it.
16th (union sq west/broadway/university place and 5th ave)

city bakery
the hot chocolate. oh the hot chocolate. and it's worth it to buy the house-made marshmallow for an extra dollar. pastries- the bacon maple scone, the bakery pull-apart. if you have a thing for pretzels, get the pretzel croissant. $12-$15, two people.
18th (5th ave and 6th ave)

craft
gourmet dining but family style - new american type dishes. the great thing about family style gourmet is it's very interactive and social. mmm and get the sugar and spice donuts for dessert if they have them. spendy :)
19th (park ave and broadway)

eleven madison park
another danny meyer homerun. eleven lets the guest experience with flavors and foods by choice from a list of items. eleven has been said to be one of the more experimental and innovative restaurants. period. and it has 3 michelin stars (a big deal) and it's a 28/30 rating in the zagat dining guide. also a big deal.
24th and madison ave

blue smoke
bbq. bbq. bbq. from the same genius of shake shack, union sq cafe, eleven madison park, gramercy tavern et cetera et cetera. so basically it's amazing and then you have the purple cow for dessert. a float with grape soda.
27th (lexington and park)


harlem

red rooster
is one of the hottest restaurants in manhattan right now and it's in our neighborhood! it's super close to us so that's rad. rad rad rad. chef marcus samuelsson is very talented, down to earth and was born to cook. the food is soul with a little swedish flare (chef grew up in sweden). it's hard to get a table there - so check your open table reservation app diligently. we've been a few times - dinner is fantastic and brunch pretty great too.
things we've had: french toast with whipped nutella. corn bread. duck salad with liver mousse. smoked salmon. fried chicken. mac 'n' cheese and collard greens. sweet potato doughnuts. apple caramel sundae.
it's a nicer occasion place so for two, it can be anywhere from $60-$150.
125th and lenox ave/6th ave

+ ginny's supper club (in the basement of red rooster - it's a jazz club!)

jin ramen
a ramen place in harlem? fantastic. at 125th and broadway on the west side of the street, blocked by the stairway coming down from the elevated subway station at 125th. jin ramen is small and hip and full of columbia students. best to get there early so you don't have to wait as long (we still had to wait at 6:30pm on a tuesday). the pork buns with spicy mayo hit the spot... and the tonkotsu ramen and miso ramen are the most flavorful and highly recommended. the bowls of ramen are HUGE (i didn't finish mine - to go!) so you can even share. which makes for a cheap meal! ramen is $10-$12. appetizers $4-$8.
125th and broadway (west side of street)

lido
italian goodness comes to harlem. the gnocchi with truffle butter. that's all i have to say.
117th and frederick douglass/8th ave

il forno
pizza. from a wood burning stove. in harlem. we haven't actually eaten at the restaurant (only walked by) but we order delivery from them, often. really cheap. $11 for a cheesey large pizza.
116th (acp and lenox which is 7th ave and 6th ave)

jado sushi
probably some of the very best sushi i've had. and i'm not joking. it's so fresh and the sushi chefs just make all right there on the spot. mango tuna roll, hidden tiger roll, udon noodles, everything!
frederick douglass/8th ave (114th and 115th)

lenox coffee
one of my favorite little weekend treats. coffee, tea, pastries, bagels (and recently beer and wine). now that lenox is super popular, it's hard to find a seat among the people working furiously away on their apple laptops. but still, you may bump into marcus samuelsson (of red rooster) here. like i did.
129th and lenox

chez lucienne
i had to check and make sure we weren't in france (a couple times) while we were eating here. not only is the french food authentic and delicious, but there were at least two tables full of french-speaking people. and really, i was surprised we were in harlem, let alone new york city.
what we got: french onion soup. and we went on monday and ordered off the promotional menu. we got steaks with the bearnaise sauce and pomme frites. not to mention, sauteed mushrooms that were to die for. bonus: it's right here in harlem.
second bonus: monday night steak night (steaks are $12.95 each). thursday night seafood night.
125th and lenox ave/6th ave

floridita
wheat puffs milkshake (batido) and pork and mofungo.
125th street and riverside drive

mountain bird
japanese-french birds. relocating at the moment. 

absolute bagel
best bagel. expect a line. 
107th and broadway


hells kitchen/clinton/theater district
tehuitzingo
los tacos. the taco stand is the in the back of this latino market. it is the ultimate hole-in-the-wall. tacos, tortas (sandwiches), et cetera. all great. clinton/hell’s kitchen- $10 for two.
10th ave (47th and 48th)

totto ramen
this place is teeny and will have a line and a wait - but such amazing ramen. i mean, it's fancy ramen. so you have to like ramen to eat here. i think it's worth the wait. $10ish pp.
52nd st (8th and 9th ave)

pure thai cookhouse 
really good thai. this will have a wait. but the noodle dishes and the wok dishes are so fresh and flavorful. something for the whole family on this menu :) $12-$15 pp.
9th ave (51st and 52nd)

shake shack
shake shack has many locations. in new york city and now miami, dc, dubai, etc. ha. my favorite nyc locations are 8th ave and 44th and the original, in madison square park (in between 5th ave and madison ave on 23rd). the shack in madison square park almost always has a long line. the 8th ave location doesn't have a super long line, but it's smart to split up your party and have one person hover for a table.
what we get: ben- the shack stack (a burger with a fried portabello mushroom on it) $8.50. me- cheeseburger, single patty (really good) $4. french fries to share $2.65 concretes: at 8th ave, great white way(!!!) or jelly's last donut. at madison square park, hopscotch or concrete jungle (all $6ish).
one nice thing about shake shack is if you're just going for a concrete or ice cream, there is a separate, much shorter, line for that.
8th ave and 44th st

room service thai
delicious thai food that is very reasonably priced ($10 for a big plate of curry). try the panang or massaman. also get the coconut calamari to share for a starter. and cheesecake with lychee to share for dessert. not to mention, the decor is super rad - all hotel themed and glitzy. a romantic spot :)
9th ave (47th + 48th)

ippudo ramen
get the classic ramen. 
51st street (8th and 9th aves)


koreatown
ny komtang
for me, korean bbq is a koreatown, nyc must. ny komtang has proven to be a favorite (32 w 32nd street). you get a facial while the meat cooks because it cooks right in front of you. it's all part of the experience. what we get: for two, only get the bulgogi (korean beef). then you get a bunch of side dishes, like little salads and kimchi and unidentifiable foods. and it's only about $25-$30 for two.
32nd (broadway and 5th ave)

kang suh
another korean bbq gem. there is a minimum of two bbq orders per table. so the two of us, ate a lot. and never feel like you have order much more than bulgogi and another bbq item because all the little extras that come to the table (kimchi, egg, pickled veggies). and also, just being in koreatown is a cultural experience all on its own. i want to go back.
also 32nd (broadway and 5th ave) - address is 1250 broadway


lower east side (les)
the doughnut plant
the doughnut plant has two locations (lower east side and chelsea). if you want the most authentic experience, take the trek to the lower east side. or for the fancypants experience, try chelsea. same doughnuts are sold at both. what we get: carrot cake (with creme cheese filling), coconut glaze (with coconut cream filling), pistachio--- all about $3 each.
grand st (essex and norfolk)

katz's deli
katz's has been around for quite sometime, is the famous deli from when harry met sally and is much better than the famous carnegie deli. what we got: the rueben. it is $16.55 but enough for two people- which comes with sauerkraut and cheese... i like cheese. you also get pickles with it. mmm, pickles. and i recommend getting some dr. brown's soda (black cherry or cream soda).
houston st and ludlow st

roni-sue's
at essex street market on the lower east side. what to get: milk chocolate covered bacon "pig candy" for a few dollars. everyone has to try it once.
essex st (delancy and rivington)  

morgenstern's ice cream
new york city's best ice cream? possibly. i wish i lived around the corner. 
2 rivington st (bowery and chrystie)


midtown
burger joint at le parker meridien (it's secret)
supposedly the best burger in the city. i think it's because it's very "authentic" and very "4th of julyish" it's mostly fun to eat at a secret place.
56th (6th ave and 7th ave)

bouchon bakery
at columbus circle. has the best macaroons that are large enough to share. just get the caramel. trust me.
10 columbus circle (59th and 8th ave)

the modern
at the MoMA (museum of modern art). the dining room has a prix fixe menu - four courses for dinner. every single thing on the menu looked good. and everything we ordered was a party in our mouths. it's a special occasion place and you'll want to get a reservation ahead of time... but there is nothing like strolling through the museum and then eating an incredible meal that overlooks the sculpture garden. and all the little extras the kitchen bring out - including a rosemary lemon sorbet thing in a little handmade cone at the end.
53rd st (5th ave and 6th ave)


midtown east (grand central)
macchiato
their chocolate chunk cookies are so divine. they are sort of crispy on the outside but gooey on the inside. how do they do it? $1.50 for a cookie. salads and sandwiches are also fresh and delicious. tuna salad or even the ceasar. love them both. $8ish
44th st (lexington ave and 3rd ave)

‘wichcraft
sandwiches, get it? pole caught tuna sandwich, goat cheese sandwich, ham and cheese and their pbj. they also sell ice cream sandwiches.
many locations in manhattan. about $7-$9 for a sandwich.
5th ave (45th and 46th)

ess-a-bagel 
they have these huge doughy bagels that made me realize... bagels are really good! like really good! thanks nyc for helping me realize this.
3rd ave and 51st

the smith
other locations are in east village and near lincoln center. a great catch-all sort of place from pasta dishes, meat dishes and even a take on some asian dishes. the midtown east location is huge! and is somewhat easy to walk in a get a table. great service as well.
51st and 2nd ave


soho/nolita/noho
pomodoro pizza
pomodoro in soho is one of the very best slices in town. all over nyc you can get a slice of pizza for $4 or less. it's best to do it right. so if you've been shopping all day in soho and need to rest your feet and refuel--- stop at pomodoro.
what we get: the vodka slice, white slice (cheese) and bbq chicken slice are all exceptional. and all $3.50 and under. note that nyc pizza slices are really big. so they fill you up.
spring st and mulberry

pepe rosso
an amazing, tiny italian joint just barely in soho. must have the penne vodka with pancetta (italian bacon). the restaurant itself is teeny tiny and popular, so you may consider getting your food to-go.
what we get: ben and i get the penne vodka with pancetta ($8.95) and then a salad or panino and share. the mixed organic greens with fresh tomato is great, $4.95. and pretty much any panino is to die for ($6.96-$8.95).
sullivan st (houston and prince)

lombardi's
lombardi's is on the soho/nolita/little italy border. it's one of my favorite areas of the city, mostly because i see a lot of vespas and celebrities (the vespas and celebs are not always found together). lombardi's is the oldest pizzeria in the u.s.a. (or at least claim to be).
what to get: a large pizza is about $20.
and to be honest, i like lombardi's more than grimaldi's. and the wait isn't nearly as long.
spring st and mott

café habana
cuban food. the corn on the cob! it’s traditionally mexican but it is done perfectly- the cheese, lime, chili powder, mayo. get a cuban or anything with pork since cuba is famous for its pork. i got the tacos al pastor, ben got the roasted pork. so very delicious. (consider getting it from their ‘to go’ since the restaurant is teeny tiny.) $25-$40 for two people
prince st and elizabeth st

hampton chutney co.
southern indian cuisine. which is really great+rare because not many places in the u.s. that i have found do northern indian. we both got dosas which are like really large crepes with your choice of fillings, like curried chicken or portabello mushrooms + goat cheese. plus a choice of chutney. we each got mango that was not so sweet, but savory and a really perfect pairing.
upper west side location too. $8-$15.
prince st (crosby and lafayette)

the mercer kitchen
we visited this place for restaurant week. their prix-fixe included delicious offerings like butternut squash soup and butterscotch pudding. a fancier spot for dinner.
prince and mercer

public
really. great. brunch.  coconut pancakes. smoked salmon with yuzu. anything with yuzu, i order. just the coolest nyc restaurant. if you want that experience, go here. you can't make a res for brunch but you can for dinner! best of luck getting in.
elizabeth (prince and spring)

five points
brunch. 
3rd st (bowery and lafayette)


the village [greenwich village]

gotham bar + grill
we once ate here during restaurant week on one of our nyc visits. i was very impressed with it, but ben was even more impressed. so we went back to celebrate our may 10th anniversary but more so to celebrate ben on his 1st year of law school. such a huge accomplishment that totally deserves amazing, amazing food! food is new american/fancy. things like creamy risotto and mango souffles. can't get much better than that. make a reservation and enjoy the excellent service.
about $100 pp depending on how much food you get. a fancier night out if you will. at 12 west 12th street.
12 st (university place and 5th ave)

dos toros
the same set up as chipotle but WAY better. ben gets the steak burrito with guac and i get a taco and chips and salsa. and it's just a delicious mexican food fix.
one on upper east side, union square/village, west village. $8-$10 pp.
4th ave and 13th st

bareburger
all different kinds of burgers - bison, beef, turkey, veggie - all organic/grass fed/free range crap. and their milkshakes?! oh their milkshakes. soooo good.
a few throughout the city. $15-$25 pp.
laguardia place (3rd st and bleecker st)

num pang
cambodian sandwiches. much like vietnamese banh mi. except better? really great sandwiches on baguette-ish bread with cilantro and meats and et cetera. yumm. another near grand central. $8-$12.
12th st (university pl and 5th ave)

sno balls
shave ice in the city? i am happiest lady ever now that i know where to find it. it's on macdougal in the long row of great eats. so have it before or after dinner!
macdougal (3rd st and bleecker st)


lupa
probably some of the better italian food in the city. and it's not crazy expensive. try some of the housemade pastas. and dessert. and the veal.
thompson (houston and bleecker)

otto
mario batali's institution because this place is always packed. it's good. it's great. and huge. we usually share a pizza and each get a pasta. and maybe dessert. the fresh handmade pastas are my favorite. great service. make a reservation!
5th avenue and 8th street (i think address is 1 5th Avenue :)


tribeca/downtown
tamarind
really fancy and delicious indian food. the truffle and mushroom naan is a must order. basically any curry or main dish you order is going to be flavorful and filling and worth it. not to mention the traditional gulab jamun dessert and their goat cheese crème brûlée. oh yes.
hudson st and franklin st

north end grill
every year on my birthday - i think i need to celebrate with danny meyer (the chef). we went here for brunch, got  oatmeal pancakes with lemon butter sugar sauce and eggs benedict with a sort of cornmeal english muffin type thing (johnny cakes). we also got our own desserts, bread pudding and pot de creme - both to die for, both put us in food comas. not to mention, the service was totally amazing. everyone was especially nice even though we arrived 20 minutes late for our reservation. now that's my kind of place!
north end avenue and murray st


upper east side (ues)
kaia
this is one those places that makes me feel at home and happy because it's cozy with the exposed brick and mason jars for water glasses. kaia means "hut" in south africa: this place is south african with incredible meats and cheeses, very high quality and delicious.
3rd ave (90th and 91st)

william greenberg desserts
wgd is an ideal place to visit when you are wandering on the uppereastside--- which usually means you are wandering through the metropolitan museum of art or the guggenheim or any of the other many many museums on museum mile (5th ave). there isn't any seating (except for a chair or two outside), but there are plenty of treats to choose from. i've only gotten the big black and white cookie and haven't felt the need to stray from that $3 cookie of wonder. it's more like eating the top of a moist cupcake (the best part) with the glaze-like black and white icing.
madison ave (82nd and 83rd)

16 handles
16 flavors of self-serve frozen yogurt. what could be better? just give me a little birthday cake flavor + mini peanut butter cups and i am HAPPY. various locations throughout nyc. about $5 pp.
2nd ave (81st and 82nd)

daniel
this is the sort of place that is only for die-hard foodies because it's really spendy :) the whole thing is an event! for our 5-year wedding anniversary we went here. it was more than worth it for us. we each got the tasting menu, which has two options per course so we got to try it all. the courses are small of course but for a fancy place they are always bringing out extra stuff and so by the end of the night you can't move! we realized soon enough our early reservation was a smart move because dinner takes a long time - an event!
65th (park and madison)

alice's tea cup
this is one of the few places that is young-child friendly that i've been to in the city. the scones are amazing. we did brunch here (super long wait, but you can make a reservation for bigger parties). scones. tea. smoked salmon. i think the tea did it for me. there is a HUGE tea menu. i really enjoyed this place.
64th and lexington


upper west side (uws)
levain bakery
the best cookies in the world. the original is on the upper west side at 74th and amsterdam. there is also a location in harlem. the cookies are HUGE.
what we get: all the cookies are amazing, really (four options, all about $4). but i really only get the dark chocolate peanut butter chip. also, in the morning, there are baguettes with butter and jam sold. so delicious, do try one. another location is harlem.
74th st (amsterdam ave and columbus ave)

ocean grill
seafood. i had this mahi mahi for my main dish and it has this fruity and then creamy sauce thing- i don't even know what it was but it blew my mind. the sushi was exceptional too. not to mention they make their own nutella ice cream that was just the right amount of nutella. not too crazy. just right.
columbus ave (78th and 79th)

fratelli la bufala 
the pizza is so good... the pizza i got was cheese cheese with some more cheese and ben got the margherita. we also got a couple other things to share, including a ricotta cheesecake with a digestive biscuit crust. such a great idea and so very delicious. my next homemade cheesecake needs to be made with ricotta.
broadway and 76th

swagat
really delicious indian food. and very full, which means it's enjoyed by all! lamb korma. butter chicken. great place for the uws. $15pp.
amsterdam ave (79th and 80th)

super tacos
great tacos. amazing tostadas. super tacos is a (very authentic) mexican food truck on the corner of 96th and broadway (south west corner). it's there most days. and it's cheap.

land thai
this is the sister to pure thai cookhouse which is our favorite. even the pad thai is unique which you don't get from most places. and it really won't break the bank. we were able to get right in on a sunday evening.
82nd and amsterdam

mermaid inn
another location in east village. go for happy hour, go nuts. get the teeny fishy tacos. as you can guess this had a ton of sea food and i love it. it's all fresh. 
amsterdam (87th, 88th)


west village
hudson clearwater
is a secret little restaurant in the west village. i love the west village. and i now i love hudson clearwater. even once you find the second green door, there is a small back garden that leads to the tiniest of restaurants -you can see we sat at the bar where the kitchen was. the kitchen!- and it is crowded as all get out because that word of mouth is spreading fast. make a reservation.
we sat in the only secluded corner in the restaurant, thankfully. so we just chatted, shared our food and stared as the chefs made the food like it was no big deal (it is).
the food is fancy (like butter clams and gnocchi or crispy duck or apple tarte tatin but is not so expensive you gasp. in fact, it's very impressively priced (our entrees we around $20).
i loved everything about the place, even the tiny bathrooms (where you have to hold your breath to get through the door).
hudson st and morton st

westville
i have a special place in my heart for westville. the most authentic experience is braving the wait in the west village at the original tiny, tiny westville. westville has a lot of "vegetables." i think they like to brag about this. but i for one favor the mac 'n' cheese. and i love the quaint and homey feel of westville. it just feels familiar. (locations are in the west village, chelsea and the east village).
what i get: the mac 'n' cheese appetizer with bacon. it's baked mac 'n' cheese and amazing. ($8)
it's all about the sides. you can get 4 sides for $14. and the sides are big. so you can get brussel sprouts with dijon (i usually don't like brussel sprouts but these are rad). garlic mashed potatoes. grilled zucchini, tomatoes and basil with mozzarella, sweet potato fries, corn on the cob, bok choy, mushrooms, beats with goat cheese.
all kinds of things.
i've only ever gotten the mac 'n' cheese and then the 4 sides to share. it's plenty. and delicious.
10th st and bleecker

magnolia bakery
here's all i'll say.
1/ do your best to visit the original west village location of magnolia. it's a super cute, tucked away, fun area. you'll love it. and it's right across the street from book marc (marc jacobs' book store).
2/ the cupcakes are really not that good. they just aren't.
3/ get the banana pudding. that's it. that's all. it will be amazing. (about $5)
bleecker st and 11th st

john's pizza
john's of bleecker (not joe's, it's john's). i think it's better than lombardi's. and grimaldi's. more flavor, less wait in line. best pie in the city? $18 for large pie.
bleecker st at jones st

victory garden ice cream
goat's. milk. soft. serve. $5.
carmine st (bedford and bleecker st)

frankies spuntino
this is legit, slightly pricey, italian. we were able to get into an already crowded restaurant on a friday just fine (maybe it was a fluke). there are quite a few housemade pastas. i think i got the gnocchi because it's the best. love the ambiance.
hudson st and 11th

barbuto
get the italian pancakes. 
washington st (jane and 12th st)

murray's cheese bar
speaks for itself. cheese - in all the dishes.
bleecker st (morton and cornelia)



brooklyn
brooklyn ice cream factory
just under the brooklyn bridge, near the promenade. try any flavor (all simple flavors) - it's ice cream, it will be good. and there might be a line to get ice cream :)

fragole
really amazing italian food. the special spinach ricotta ravioli (it's a secret) is perfectly done. pastapastapasta. carroll gardens. $15 for pasta.

traif
hip little williamsburg spot just under the williamsburg bridge. a lot of pork and small plates at this place. don't be fooled because things like short rib sliders and their salads full of berries and cheeses are incredible and filling. tasting menu, $40pp available for parties of 4 or more.

williamsburg pizza
gourmet pizza at its best. pies with pear and gorgonzola, the bianca and the pancetta - all very delicious.
williamsburg. $15-$28 for a pie (they are big).

best pizza
really is best pizza slice. i think i had a bianca slice with a sesame crust and it was incredible.
williamsburg. $4 a slice?

juliette
a really pleasantly surprisingly beautiful french restaurant in williamsburg. the only reason i know any places in williamsburg is because i go there to letterpress. ben got scallops (freshy fresh) and i got gnocchi with speck and peas. speck is a kind of pork product kind of like pancetta. so well put together and the perfect date night after pressing.  
north 5th and bedford ave

8.12.2011

domo, tokyo [our last stop in asia]

tokyo, japan, august 8
sensoji temple
woah. that's a big lantern (and japanese dr pepper)
tokyo tower and more sensoji temple
i love japanese gardens
so peaceful
hello! i ordered the large shaved ice (i didn't actually order that).
legit dinner (no shoes and sitting on the floor and all)
tempura. sushi. amazing.
lanterns.
muji tokyo
shibuya
shibuya. see ben?
posing like the locals
domo, tokyo! (thanks, tokyo!)

tokyo is a city's city. so happening, so crowded, so east it's west. and the things the kids are wearing these days- so stylin'!

sensoji temple was really beautiful, the shops, the huge lanterns, the temple itself (tokyo's oldest) and of course the gardens. someday when i have my millions and an actual garden... i want it to be japanese style complete with waterfall, koi and bridge.
near the temple, ben got really excited about japanese dr pepper and i got excited to see the "japanese haved ice" being made.

and since our time was so short in tokyo, we only got to spend the rest of our time in the shibuya area where all the young hipsters hang out and eat. it also has the busiest intersection in the world. supposedly.
sushi. sushi is what we wanted. but for some reason it was difficult to find. so maybe it's just not as popular as america japanese food is made out to be.
but we finally found some. and it was great. and the tempura probably greater.

and we got to visit a muji store in tokyo. muji is a japanese home store... that ben and i discovered and fell in love with in milano on our honeymoon. and lucky for me, the only usa muji stores are in nyc. i would buy everything in the store if i could afford it, but for now i may need a few house warming gifts for ben and i.
what i am saying is, i have a thing for muji.

i would definitely go back to tokyo.

things to remember:
it takes a really long time to get from both tokyo and seoul airports to said cities. boo.
the minimum you can take out at the atm is 10,000 yen...which is like $125 usd. kind of frustrating.
i want to turn japanese? or korean? i think the people are especially beautiful in japan and korea. just my opinion.
people were so helpful and polite.
late at night we had the pleasure of watching a japanese book-review type show. between that and the commercials we were laughing our heads off because we're culturally insensitive like that.
we ate our weight in hi-chews. hi-chews are my favorite candy in the whole wide world (they are originally from japan).