Crazy NYC Nights + Days: Part II

Currently in Jersey for the weekend to get some work done (study for GRE/research for BA).

Saturday, June 19th

So after going to bed pretty drunk, I got up (at a normal hour) and was ready to start the day with Dim Sum. We went to this place in Chinatown called Jing Fong. It was decent; they had carts. However, what caught my attention about the place was the queuing for a seat, and then where they actually sat us.

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As you can probably see, it was fairly crowded. So to get a seat in this crowded dim sum house, you walk in and the hostess gives you a queue number. They call your number and you go up the escalators to the actual seating area of the restaurant. The inside of the restaurant reminds me something of a large scale banquet hall and a communist party meeting. There were so many people. In fact, we didn’t even get our own table. We were seated across from some other two twenty-somethings who had also decided on dim sum. Later, a pregnant couple joined our table. It was a little awkward. In addition, some carts kept passing us because they’d ask another couple at the table if they wanted anything from their cart, and they’d say “no,” and that was assumed for the entire table. (I didn’t get my egg tarts! Hmpf!)

It was, to say the least, an interesting eating experience.
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However, at the end, we were both fed for pretty cheap. I was happy. Jina was happy. We were good.

Later, Jina took me shopping at Union Square. I got a couple of things for the office, and then we headed over to Chelsea. We took a walk on the high line, which is a former freight line that’s been converted into a park. It’s a pretty park that seems to have this urban renewal feeling to it, something new out of the old. We took a nice little walk around it. It’s a really scenic date spot. Being there made me feel all folksy.
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As you can see, there were a lot of people there that day. In fact, there was even a couple taking their wedding pictures on the high line, (possibly another couple, but we weren’t sure).

A couple of views from the high line.
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Like I said earlier, it has the renewal sort of feeling, because when you look to any side of the park, you can see tall building sort of surround it; however, in the immediate area of the part, it’s all green, and flowery, which gives this sense of being in a green oasis in the middle of the desert of a city.
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Along the path, there were these really cool looking bird feeders:
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Here’s the couple that we were guessing about:
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Are they models? Or are they just a normal couple getting their wedding pictures done?

More walking along the high line:
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After walking on the high line, we went to Chelsea market in search of good espresso at Ninth Street Espresso. Along the way we passed by a couple of really pretty cookie shops/patisseries/bakeries

Eleni’s
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Everything inside looked so cute. (I am a sucker for clever packaging/marketing.) I didn’t eat there, but maybe I’ll come back.

Ruthy’s Bakery
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They had a lot of cake. They had a lot of sculptural cakes.
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It looks like a hamburger!

They also had macarons.
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We finally got our coffee。 This is Ninth Street Espresso, serious business. I honestly don’t think I’ve had coffee this good in a very long time. There was no added sugar in this drink, only coffee and milk, the way it should be. Yet, the coffee had this slight sweetness only enhanced by the full body of the bean. You can see they even did latte art for us. I’ve found a couple other coffee haunts that are supposedly just as good, but I will definitely be coming back here before I leave the area.
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It’s so pretty. I love the latte art.

We also got some pops while we were there from People’s Pops
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I believe the flavors were Rhubarb + Chamomile and Rhubarb + Ginger. Both of them were pretty tasty, but I think if I were to get the same flavors again, I’d get the Rhubarb + Ginger. The ginger really gives you a kick.

So then we leave Chelsea market, and we’re just walking along when we pass by this beautiful bakery, Three Tarts. It was so pretty inside, and then the baked goods were also quite good.
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Of course I couldn’t resist and went inside. I ordered a couple of tarts and some panna cotta.
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From the left: Kumquat frangipane adorned with glazed kumquat slices, Lemon Curd with baked meringue cookie, Pine Nut with wildflower honey caramel.

The pinenut was really good, but I am such a sucker for lemon, such that I would say lemon curd tart was my favorite.

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Lavender gelée and lemon panna cotta

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Hibiscus gelée and coconut panna cotta

The lavender and lemon was a really nice combination. I would definitely go to this shop again. They also have really good marshmallows.

For dinner, we went to ktown, but since we wanted something light, we went to this place, kunjip, which had a couple summer dishes. Did I mention it was super packed and we waited an hour for our table?
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so the thing that I really like about eating at Korean places is that they give you all these cold kimchi small plates.
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We got samgyetang, which is apparently chicken ginseng soup with dates and sticky sweet rice. It tasted kind of Chinese, but I think that’s just because my conception of Korean food is spicy, salty and sweet. This was a mild dish with a clear broth, that reminded me of Chinese soups.
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The steam if coming off the soup here. Apparently its supposed to be eaten piping hot. (Just the way I like it.)

Then we got kongguksu, which is a ground soybean soup with noodles. Both were really refreshing summer dishes.
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The ground soybean makes it feel like you’re eating noodles soaked in soybean milk. It’s a little bit weird at first, but really good once you get past that.

Later, we went bar hopping again. Once again, the night started off with soju shots. xD

Sunday, June 19th

We didn’t get back from bar hopping until about 5 a.m., but I only slept in until around ten or eleven. Because I had to go back to Jersey, we couldn’t do anything too involved, so we went to Cha-an for some afternoon tea. On our way there we passed by a couple of fruit stalls (well, we were in chinatown).
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In many respects, NYC reminds me a lot of Beijing. I think part of it has to do w/ the food trucks, and the fruit and vegetable stalls. Did I mention that Beijing also doesn’t really sleep?

The colors were so vibrant.
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Anyways, Cha-an is this Japanese teahouse in St. Mark’s. I have to admit, I thought it was this beautiful little place, but I wasn’t as impressed with the food.
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See the tea jars on the shelf?

Cha-an apparently specializes in japanese teas. I was quite impressed with their variety, not so much with their service. I don’t remember exactly what teas we ordered. I just know I ordered a shade-grown sencha. However, the first soak for Jina’s tea was oversteeped. If you’ve ever had oversteeped green tea, you’ll know its bitter and not pleasant to drink.

We ordered the dessert sampler with the tea, which felt very ordinary. Although, the mango pudding was fun to eat.
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Vanilla Icecream. It was a bit of a let down that they just served plain vanilla icecream.

mango + chocolate mochi
Mango pudding and chocolate mochi

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Chocolate biscuit and matcha macaron. The biscuit was a little bland and the macaron was overly sweet. Was so-so overall. But, I am willing to give it another try. I’ve heard that their red bean butter toast is very tasty.

After we left Cha-an, we stopped by a book store because I was looking for stationery. Didn’t find any, but on my way home I did pass by this building:
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I didn’t realize it was so close to times square. I wonder if I’ll see Anna Wintour around.

Saturday: Three Tarts, Ninth Street Espresso, Jing Fong, Chelsea High Line, Kunjip,
Sunday: Cha-an

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