Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tisha Eats New York: Just Desserts

What better way to end my New York series of posts than with glorious dessert?

Cupcake Cafe
*18 West 18th St. (between 5th and 6th Aves.), NYC
*545 9th Ave. (between 40th and 41st Sts.), NYC

I was hankering for a cupcake, and figured New York had to have some pretty good cupcake places. (An In Style article said a pre-Tom Cruise Katie Holmes christened one in her neighborhood her favorite. Couldn't figure out where it was though.) There was Magnolia Bakery, of course, of Sex and the City fame. (It, in fact, had a long line snaking outside the store when I swung by with friends days later.) But I guess I wanted something a little more low key.

King used his kick-ass Google phone to find a nearby cupcake place, and we found ourselves in cozy little Cupcake Cafe. In the display cases were showcased cupcakes bedecked with flowers. We chose a trio of flavors: vanilla icing on vanilla, chocolate icing on chocolate, and maple icing on walnut. Each small cupcake was $2.50. King was particularly taken with the maple on walnut one. I--well, I'm a chocolate girl.

The Bread Factory Cafe

470 7th Ave. (35th St.), NYC

My relatives and I popped in one night as we were walking to the train. It was pretty chilly and we needed a place to warm up. The bright lights and the yummy-looking goodies set out were enticing, so we walked in. We ordered a chocolate cake and a huge cookie, and hot chocolate to heat up our near-frozen tropical blood.

Serendipity 3
225 East 60th St. (between 2nd and 3rd Aves.), NYC

Anyone familiar with the John Cusack starrer would certainly be familiar with this cafe. (Hmm...I didn't even know it had a "3" at the end of it.) Motts and I were lucky enough to get a table without waiting as we walked in on a weekday afternoon. My friends and I swung by early one evening and found a line with a three- or four-hour wait! Insane!

The place is probably what Madame Auring's house would look like, made kitschier by the added Christmas decor. Since this post is devoted to dessert, I'll skip talking about the Hot Springs Wings I ordered, and go straight to the, er, sweet of the matter.

Motts ordered--get this--Celestial Carrot Cake ($8), pictured above. And to this, I said, "We're in Serendipity, and you ordered...carrot cake?" In all fairness, it was pretty awesome carrot cake.

I got the must-order, which is Frrrrozen Hot Chocolate. In terms of size, there is plenty to go around. But in terms of flavor...I guess I expected more. I didn't really get much of the "frozen" or the" hot." It was actually a lot like Milo, except that it was $8.50.

Talk about supersize!

Roxy Delicatessen
1565 Broadway (between 46th and 47th Sts.), NYC

It's supposedly a legendary cheesecake place on Broadway. When Amar and I went, there weren't a lot of people, possibly because everyone was still in the theaters. I imagine tourists flock to the place after catching a show.

There's a whole bunch of cheesecakes on offer. If I remember right, the waiter commended me on my choice:

Raspberry Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk! It was probably one of the most evil things on the menu. Just looking at it is enough to make you gain a couple of pounds. It was incredibly sweet, and at $9.95, something I probably won't try again. But hey, thanks Amar!

I tried looking for a gelato place that a friend referred, but I think gelato and ice cream places are on hiatus when winter rolls around! It's alright, though, as my next planned trip back would take place in the warmer months. It's a major hassle packing cold-weather clothes!

And so ends my New York food sojourn. My stay was way too short, my budget way too small for this city filled with great eats. But it's one of the reasons--aside from friends and family--that made me declare that, indeed, I shall return.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tisha Eats New York: Fancy Shmancy

I didn't really eat at super fancy restos, but a couple of friends treated me to some pretty great places that would have been beyond my budget. It's been a while so the memory's a bit hazy...

Turkish Kitchen
386 3rd Ave., New York City

I met up with my "brother" Amar on a street corner near his office. One cool thing that happened while I was waiting was that someone asked me for directions, and I knew exactly where to point! It was cool because 1) I was beginning to get the whole Manhattan grid thing, and 2) I looked like a New Yorker. Haha.

If I remember right, these were the zucchini pancakes

Some things we ate, although I can't really remember what these are anymore, except for the appetizer above...

I was told later on that Amar was disappointed in my appetite, and frankly, so was I! I just didn't have my game stomach on the whole trip since I didn't have any physical activity (aside from walking block upon block).

Bryant Park Grill
Bryant Park
Between 40th and 42nd Sts.,
New York City

The interiors. It was too cold for outdoor dining, but we did get a nice, cozy booth

One of the highlights of my trip: meeting up with one of my fabulous friends, Mutya. Aside from going to dance class with me, she also sweetly made reservations at Bryant Park Grill, where we encountered Tim Gunn...or at least, someone who looked like him: our waiter Raymond!

You should see him with glasses. And hear him talk! So Tim!

Here, we had seafood as Motts isn't a carnivore (and I figured I needed to get something other than beef for a change). :

What looks like calamari salad (again, my memory fails me!)

Pan-roasted salmon fillet with spaghetti squash, roasted potatoes, and burgundy butter sauce ($25.75)

Grilled mahi-mahi served with spinach, potato croquettes, and puttanesca ($27)

For dessert: Bananas for bananas--banana slices with brioche, salty peanut ice cream--which, interestingly, tasted a lot like Chocnut! Yum!--and fudge (naturally!)

Sure, the food was great, but the best thing about these meals? The company.

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