Friday, May 6, 2016

NYC Trip Report (Day 2): Levain Bakery, Central Park, Time Square, Ippudo NY, Bibble and Sip, & Cloud Social

We were up and out the door around 10 am. Across the street from the apartment was a small coffee shop. Gasoline Alley Coffee

Stopped by real quick to grab a cup of joe. No one knows the origin of why it's called a "cup of joe"


Off to the subway.



We were still learning how to use the subway. We needed to get to 42 St, thinking that all trains that said they stopped at a certain station were the same. We were wrong, even though we were on a train that was going to 42 St, we got on the wrong train, and it dropped us off at a different location on 42 St, so we had to get off and search for the correct train to get on.



We finally got on the right train.

We were heading to Central Park. It was a gorgeous day. We lucked out on the weather.





On our way to Central Park we stopped by Levain Bakery they're known for their cookies.

We lucked out and there was hardly a line. Cookies run you $4 a cookie.


We grabbed our cookies to go, in search of a nice spot to sit in Central Park so that we may enjoy them.






The chocolate chip cookies was amazing. A bit pricey, but very decadent. You can easily split a cookie between two people. Unless you have a sweet tooth, I'd share. I took about two bites and I had enough. Slightly crispy outside with a very gooey center.

Raspberry Bombolocini. I didn't try it, but Nicole said it was good. I don't always trust her judgement. The rice wine she suggested that was very strong... wasn't so.

Banana Walnut Bread. Everyone liked it, but I don't like bananas, so I didn't try it.



After our snack we walked around the park.


Our tour guide Nicole was giving us a history lesson on NYC.



Party Parker. Where ever he is, there's a party.


We stopped by Le Pain Quotidien in Central Park for a drink.






Nicole and I chased after these officers riding horses to snap a pic.

Nicole: "I like horses"



A photographer photographing a photographer photographing.

The umbrellas at the back patio of Le Pain, had solar panels on them and at the base there were usb outlets.

I got the Vodka Matcha Gimlet. It was amazing. Tasted great and was very refreshing. If you in the area I highly recommend you try it. $12. Service was terrible though. Took like 20 minutes to get our order and it was only drinks.

Gardener's Lemonade. Vodka, lemonade and muddle raspberries.

The Diane!

That's suppose to be Spongebob Square Pants.


Found out that there's a zoo in Central Park. So we followed the signs.


Balto statue






Got to the zoo and it didn't seem too impressive so we changed our minds and decided not to go. I think it was $12 a person.


Instead we headed off to lunch.



Peter loves jalapeno cheese pretzels.

He got one, but it was not good. His favorite one is from Disneyland.





Can you find the turtle?

Anh's a super trooper with one leg and knee scooter. I thought it would be funny to throw sticks in front of her scooter... the end result was funny, but not in a positive way... your results may vary.





More horses.


We walked thru NYC towards Ippudo NY for some ramen. It was about a 20 minutes walk from Central Park.








Ippudo NY


We lucked out again. No wait time. They had to split our group up, be we sat at booths next to each other.





Drum Heart Ramen was the special for the day.


Flash fried Shishito Peppers. These were bomb! I got lucky and got none of the hot ones. It's like playing Russian Roulette, but with peppers.

Yamitsuki Goma Kyuri: Japanese cucumber seasoned with sesame oil. This was really good too.

Nothing like a cold beer after all the walking we did.


If you order a glass of sake they pour it for you table.




Hirata Chicken Wings. Also amazing.

Hirate Buns, choice of Pork or Chicken. We got an order of each. Another great dish.


Spicy Ramen


Drum Heart Ramen, if you don't like cilantro don't order this. The Ramen was good, but still doesn't beat Tsujita in Los Angeles.

Added the poached egg.


After lunch we were on our way to the subway to head back to the apartment. We just happen to come across the Bibble and Sip. I have heard of this place from Nicole and Tammy. Even though we were stuffed, we didn't know if we were going to come across this place again. So we just ordered some items to go.



Anh chilling like a G while were in line.

I saw a video from the BusinessInsider about the matcha cream puff video link here. So Nicole got some for later. We didn't eat it until the next day and man do I regret not getting some. It was delicious. Even though we didn't eat it fresh, it was still crispy on the outside and tasted light and slightly sweet.



I thought I had the subway system down, but I lead everyone to the wrong station.

We had to go back to street level and jump to another station.

We eventually made it back to the apartment. Peter and I decided to keep on drinking. Green tea and vodka go well together.

Phat joined the party.

Are those sad tissues or happy tissues?

Some of the guys went shopping down the street. We've been doing a lot of walking for the day. Next to the apartment was Wu Lim Services went down to ask for prices and it was $20 for a 30 minute foot massage. For $8 dollars more you can make it 40 minutes. Why not? So we did. Peter and Phat found it very relaxing. Phat even fell asleep. I got this older lady with the strongest hands ever. I swear she could have ripped my toes off with her kung fu grip. She beat my feet to death. I guess I had a lot of knots. My feet felt fantastic after though.

We took a quick nap and then headed out to visit the National September 11 Memorial 

NYC traffic. The movies don't exaggerate it at all. Lots of honking and drivers don't really care and block everything.




The new World Trade Center Tower 1


Lots of construction still going on around the area.



WTC memorial. Quite impressive.


After our visit to the WTC we headed off for some drinks.


We tried to get a table at a sports bar next to Lace, but it was a very long wait. It's happy hour and it's Friday.

So we ended up going across the street to Playwright Celtic Pub. They had happy hour until 10 pm. $6 wells, beers, wine, and selected cocktails.




Margarita


Appletini $6

We were waiting for my cousin to get off of work to meet up with us. So we just ordered a few bar grub to snack on.


Coconut shrimp was also on happy hour.

Waffle fries.

By the time our cousin was off, it was dark out.

We went to go check out Time Square at night.





The lights remind me of Vegas.

We spent about 15 mins there. You can only stare at lights and ads for so long.


We were in search of a good dinner spot nearby and yelped Trattoria Trecolori.




I forgot what drink this was.

Moscow Mule


Squid Ink pasta. This was really good. The color kind of throws you off a bit.

I had the cheese and spinach raviolis. Delicious.




After dinner our cousin Thuy-Ann wanted to take us to a rooftop bar.






Empire State Building.




I forgot what this place was.


Our first attempt at a casual rooftop bar was Refinery Hotel. I'm not sure what Thuy-Ann thinks is casual, but we were well under dressed compared to everyone in line and they didn't allow shorts.

So our second attempt was Spyglass Rootop Bar.

They didn't mind our attire.

When we got to the rooftop the bar was at capacity so they led us to the section in the back. It looked more like a place people go to smoke.


So we decided to try another rooftop bar, but before leaving we stopped by the hotel lobby bar for a drink.

Drink prices were very high. $17 for a shot of Belvedere Vodka.

I think their prices even beat out Vegas.





So Thuy-Ann led us towards Korea Town.



Third times a charm. We ended up at Cloud Social Rooftop Bar

Drink prices here were more reasonable and it was a very casual spot.

Shots of Grey Goose were $9

It started to sprinkle that night.













Cell phones. What a time to be alive.



More shots!


Thuy Ann was eating all of Peter'S alcohol soaked lychee. She wasn't drinking much, but she was getting a buzz going.


Thuy-Ann's boyfriend Dominique flew in that night from... I think Missouri?


At around 1 am Cloud Social started closing, so Dom wanted to take us to 5 Bar Karaoke & Lounge just down the street from Cloud Social.

If you're not into Karaoke, you can hang out at the lounge, where there's a bar and DJ spinning top 40's.


We got a private room.


No one really wanted to sing at first


But then the drinks showed up and the rest is history.





One mic isn't enough for Nicole. She her own back up singer.


More snacks.


Some of Dom's friends showed up for the party.

I terrible with names, but he got more soju.

We ended up closing out the Karoke bar also.


It's around 4 am and we were hungry. It was pouring outside, but nothing's going to stop us from getting to The Halal Guys.



I've heard a lot of great things about The Halal Guys. Was finally going to get to see what all the hype was about. I really wanted to get the Sandwich, but when I asked Dom what to get, he told me everyone gets the platters. I watched the line and everyone was getting platters.


So I got the platter. Be careful with the red sauce. It doesn't look like much, but it's really hot. You can easily ruin you platter with too much sauce. The platter was good, but not great. At least I can say I tried it, but don't know what the hype is all about. I guess it good drunk food.

That ends our second day in NYC. Tomorrow we got "brunch culture". My cousin tells me it's a thing out here. Sounds like Sunday Funday to me but on a Saturday.

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