All posts filed under: Best of New York

A Different Kind of Travel Story

This is a different kind of travel story. More indulgent, more personal. But I’ve written about my sojourns, thoughts of life and growth and beauty and love, of awe-inspired learnings and aspirations — and every so often, mentioned the people I share all these with. 2016 for me has been a year of connection. A milestone celebrated by my cousin brought our family together, now scattered all over the world, to share the joy of her wedding. A work opportunity for a friend earlier in the year brought renewed, treasured friendships. And in the last quarter of the year, a life changing proposal from my now fiancé, travel partner and soon to be life partner. The proposal came unexpectedly on the early celebration of my birthday. We had a reservation at Eleven Madison Park, number 2 on my restaurant bucket list and a surprise I ruined when I heard the alarm go off on my then non yet fiancé’s phone reminding him to make the reservation, and I did not quit until he told me …

My Mental Health Day at Pangea

The trend in the food world these days seems to be pop ups — places that set up at selected spots at a limited time, with a theme and specific menu. In recent years, established restaurants have also done pop ups, bringing their food closer to people other than those living in their own cities. This weekend my boyfriend and I had the opportunity to go to one of these pop ups — the Culinary Institute’s Pangea. We had learned that the director of Pangea was given limited resources to come up with a concept, turn one of the students’ former dining rooms (if you are not familiar with the Culinary Institute, it is where arguably, the best chefs are trained) into a restaurant, a menu befitting the CIA’s reputation and a specific deadline. What they have come up with is very impressive, an “earth-conscious” menu that takes into consideration the way we “produce and harvest” the food we eat, drawing into it many cultural and culinary techniques while remaining true to the ingredients. Aside …

For Those Doughnut Days in the City

One of my favorite specialty shops in Manhattan is The Doughnut Plant, located in West 23rd Street. Here, you would find unique flavors such as mango, pistachio, tres leches and apricot, but make sure you get there early — they run out of these flavors, as these are made fresh and in limited batches in the morning. They also have cream filled ones, such as peanut butter and banana cream, creme brulee filled and coconut cream. When I went there, it was unfortunately late in the afternoon (I went after work) so they have already run out of all the flavors I wanted to try. I had the cream-cheese filled carrot cake donut, which was definitely a step up from the average donut shop. Since it was cake and not dough, the texture was different. The cream cheese was a nice touch and provided great contrast to the carrot cake. I would definitely love to go back in the morning and taste the other flavors, specially the tres leches and creme brulee filled. The Doughnut …

Mapping Bourdain

As travel shows go, the many incarnations of Anthony Bourdain’s philosophical and very real take on food, yes, but more than that, culture, is definitely a must. Though Brasserie Le Halles, the now New York staple he used to helm (where my boyfriend was very sweet to have taken me), did not live up to expectations as far as steakhouses, we religiously watch old episodes of No Reservations shot in places we’re going so we can choose a few spots for our own map of places to check off our bucket list du jour. Turkey: Uphill and Soggy Buns Turkey, for example, was especially interesting. We decided our first night in Istanbul that we were going to walk to Durumzade, a small spot where Tony swears the Adana kebab was the best. It was quite an adventure as we did not know that we had to walk uphill to the restaurant. We walked until we finally gave up and hailed a cab a block from the place and got to our goal: Anthony Bourdain’s recommended kebab. …

My Top 5 New Restaurant Finds of 2014

As we’re getting ready to say goodbye to 2014, it’s time yet again for countdowns — our customary way of looking back on the year that was. So, I decided to write one of my own: my list of top new restaurant finds of the year. 1. Bocuse Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America(Hyde Park, NY) For Valentine’s Day this year, my boyfriend and I decided we were going to give each other a list of things we would like to do for the year in lieu of presents. On his list was the Culinary Institute for America, which I had written about here in a prior post. I had also mentioned how we had one of the best dishes — maybe in the top 5 of our lives — the Guinea Hen at Bocuse. Later in the year, we went back for their lunch service. They had a surprisingly reasonably priced prix fixe lunch menu option, which we took advantage of. For my appetizer, I had the poached lobster with avocado and sweet …

Travel Tips Thursday: New York City

There was a very good article a few days ago on Lonely Planet that mapped out how to have a perfect day in New York. I thought I’d supplement it here with a few additional tips of my own. Skip Times Square. If you do not absolutely have to, do not venture onto Times Square. It is extremely crowded and there isn’t much to see. Unfortunately, I have to pass by Times Square on my way to work, and to class as the midtown building of NYU is located at West 42nd. It is painful getting through and you could use the time exploring Central Park or one of New York’s many museums. Do not be afraid to try smaller restaurants. New York has a wealth of eclectic fare for diverse tastes. In midtown, for example, Sake Bar Hagi is a hidden gem of a yakitori restaurant. It is open from 5 pm – 2 am so if you find yourself trying to find food really late this is a place that is open. (I …

On Our Robatayaki Experience, and Spending Quality Time With Friends

During this day and age, time with some of our most treasured friends that we very seldom see come few and far between. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for work, family, significant others, errands and everything else that needs to get done — so when we get to spend time with these great people, it becomes even more special. One of those times that stand out in my mind was once upon a birthday. That November some years ago, not only did I get to meet up with two of my girlfriends that I don’t get to see very often, but it was unforgettable for its uniqueness. We went to Inakaya, a robatayaki in the New York Times building the city. It is a Japanese type of cooking that literally translates to “fireside cooking,” where food — mostly seafood and vegetables are slowly grilled over charcoal. I was excited to begin with as my favorite cuisine. But when my friends G and M told the staff that it was my birthday, they …