May 11, 2013

40 Hours in NYC

A quick trip to NYC with work gave me less than 48 hours to continue my exploration of the city after my lil trip in March. That didn't stop me from crossing off things on my must eat list. I spent my first day with friends and the second day with the parents running around the city. 

Bagels: I'd always heard that NYC bagels were different and infinitely better than your average bagel. I didn't have too much time to wander from my hotel since I was waiting to be joined in the city by Mom and Dad Chung. Normally I would have followed the advice of numerous top bagel lists but instead grabbed my first NYC bagel at the nearby Pick-a-Bagel. According to the New York Times, a bagel that is "near perfection" is "crunchy, not too dense or sweet, and just chewy enough." Well I think it was a good amount of chewy and crunchy but nothing life changing. I'll have to try again next time I'm in the city. I was still happy with my breakfast that morning. 
Ramen: After my concert, Dad Chung was craving a second dinner so we took a quick walk to one of NYC's top ramen places: Totto Ramen.  I wasn't too hungry but decided to share a spicy vegetable ramen with Mom Chung. It was an intense amount of veggies, which also included salad greens and avocado. 
I preferred the flavor of my dad's spicy pork ramen but this was an interesting combination of veggies and ramen. Both were a lil heavy with sesame oil. The ambiance was very hole-in-the-wall and there seems to always be a line to get in the restaurant. Even at 11pm on a Wednesday night, people were still eagerly waiting to get their hands on a bowl of Ramen. Wasn't my favorite ramen ever but was an enjoyable time with the parents.

Soup Dumplings: Being in Midtown offered lots of options nearby. I decided to take my parents for some famous soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai. We tried two kinds: crab and pork. Pork was obviously the better of the two but both were fun to eat. This was my parents' first experience with these dumplings and they quickly became fans. The dumplings soothed us on a rainy afternoon. 
Cupcakes: Ok, I'm stating the obvious when I say I got cupcakes on my trip. I consulted several top cupcake lists for NYC and made a list of potential bakeries to visit. Sugar Sweet Sunshine (I went there in March) and Two Little Red Hens were on every top cupcake list I saw. That's saying something for a city with over 80 cupcake bakeries. Well, couldn't make it to Two Little Red Hens again but did go to two other bakeries. 

I spent my first day exploring the East Village and made sure to go to Butter Lane. They only had three types of cake available: vanilla, chocolate and banana, but there was a myriad of frosting options. I asked for a recommendation and ended up with a Maple Pecan Banana Cupcake. On their menu, they have flavor combo recommendations and each cupcake is $3.25.
located at: 123 East 7th Street, East Village, New York City
The maple syrup was very fragrant upon eating and the combination of the frosting and cake did indeed make it reminiscent of pancakes (as the employee told me). The cake was almost too moist that it was borderline gummy. Delicious nonetheless and it was gobbled up immediately. 

My second cupcake was from Amy's Bread, which appealed to me since it was only about a half mile from my hotel. The focus at the bakery is obviously bread but they did offer a few cupcakes: vanilla, chocolate and red velvet with a variety of frosting. I decided on a devil's food cupcake with chocolate frosting, which was $2.95.
located at: 672 Ninth Ave, Hells Kitchen, New York City
This cupcake hands down had the best frosting I've had in a long time. It was fudgy and thick and perfectly delicious. The cake was excellent too. It seemed polar opposite from the adventurous cupcake the day before but the simplicity of this cupcake allowed its quality to shine. 

NYC is 4-4 for cupcakes I've had in my two trips. I'm impressed and can't wait til my next visit to the Big Apple. 

My trip also included super tasty Korean at the hip Danji restaurant (which included bulgogi beef sliders), late night crepes at Viva La Crepe, thick cut fries with dipping sauces at Pomme Frites, an inspiring concert and a good day with the parents. 



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