Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Crumbs - NYC

Grand Central Station!

I decided to grab breakfast on my way to my favourite store - Uniqlo
Another day, another cupcake shop! 
I get the New York fascination with cupcakes now and I can't wait to try another one.

O.M.G. cupcakes galore and in so many varieties!

I decided on a tropical green iced tea and a key lime cupcake. The lady behind the counter gave me the option for an iced tea or a hot tea which I thought was kinda nice. The tea was ok...but I was really in it for the cupcake:

This was a vanilla cake frosted with a key lime cream cheese and decorated with white sprinkles. Huge!
The icing was nice, not as tangy as I expected in a key lime cupcake. 
The cake inside was super crumbly (evident of a cupcake sitting too long on the shelf). I was rather disappointed about how this turned out. I didn't really like the extra injection of vanilla cream in the middle either. 

Overall: They have a lot of different varieties available at all times and their cupcakes are big! However, I think this was probably my least favourite cupcake shop out of all the ones I tried in New York City. 

Website: http://www.crumbs.com/
Crumbs Bake Shop (W42nd/5th Ave) on Urbanspoon

New York Thai Grill & Sushi Bar - NYC

Late night ordering from Seamless.com. 
New York Thai Grill & Sushi Bar was the only place still delivering Asian food at 11:45pm. We figured it would be worth a try (even though it only had 2 stars on the site).

We called them twice, but it ended up taking 1.5 hours to deliver the food.

Pad See Yu (Pad Siew)
The food was still warm for the most part (which was good), unfortunately it wasn't very appetizing though. The noodles were soaked in soy sauce and very salty. The chicken and broccoli were okay though.

The noodles were all clumped together and they snapped into tiny shreds when we tried to separate the noodles. In addition, the meat was too well done, but the broth was okay. Overall, the pho tasted very bland and it was a bit of a disaster.

Panang Curry
I thought this was okay at first - the curry was creamy and there was a lot of flavour. As I kept eating, it got spicier until I couldn't take the heat; then I tried the beef and it was very tough and chewy. 

Overall: I wouldn't recommend this place at all - 1.5 hour wait for mediocre food to be delivered? Awful.

New York Thai Grill & Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, 21 May 2012

Magnolia Bakery - NYC

In a little corner in Greenwich village, there is a cute and famous cupcake shop called Magnolia Bakery:

It's so quaint here!

Self-serve cupcakes! I spent a good 5 minutes staring them all down before deciding on two:

Red Velvet and Chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream
Red velvet cupcake - a classic mistake with red velvet is that sometimes people make it way too sweet. Magnolia definitely doesn't make that mistake because it was the perfect balance of sweetness and richness from the vanilla icing and the soft and slightly acidic taste of the red velvet cake. AMAZING!
The chocolate cupcake was great as well - they really make a fantastic icing here! MMMM...

Overall: Magnolia's cupcakes are melt-in-your-mouth amazing! They were moist and tasty *sigh*. They were soooooo good! 

Magnolia Bakery on Urbanspoon

PDT (Please Don't Tell) - NYC

Please Don't Tell is an informal speakeasy located in a "secret location" in East Village. 
Speakeasies came about in the 1920s during U.S. Prohibition, a period where the production, transportation and consumption were all banned. They were hidden bars and clubs which illegally sold alcohol. The appeal of them was the secrecy and exclusivity to get into a speakeasy. 
To get into PDT, we had to start calling at 3pm to make a reservation since they only take same day reservations. 
Inside Crif Dogs, there's a telephone booth were you dial "1" to call in with your reservation to get to the bar  behind the telephone booth. 

I forgot the name of my friend's drink on the far left (it's lemony and it was ok - very strong though).
My drink in the middle is the Shark and the drink on the right is a customized non-alcoholic passionfruit drink (which was $5!!) for my friend. 
The Shark was really tasty and smooth - it was also really potent. I felt like this was the ideal drink for a hot day on the beach (but alas, I was sitting in a hidden and dim bar on a rainy night in New York City)

Overall: The atmosphere inside is cozy and intimate - a great place to converse with friends and enjoy the cocktails and hot dogs. I really enjoyed the whole experience. 

Website: http://pdtnyc.com/
PDT (Please Don't Tell) on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Lombardi's Pizza - NYC

At the corner of Spring and Mott Street, stands the renown Lombardi's pizza: the first Pizzeria in America (since 1905)
The narrow walkway to the Takeout counter...where there were two people frantically handling all the phone calls for pizza delivery orders. 

We decided to grab a small classic pizza pie with pepperoni and see what the fuss was all about. 
It came up to $21.20 (incl. tax) for a small with one topping (yikes!)

The pizza smelled delicious on our subway ride back home (good thing we had some Pinkberry to tide us over so we didn't gobble it all up on our way back).

The pizza had a nice thin crust baked in a coal oven which added a smoky taste to the pizza. Then it was topped with a really delicious tomato sauce with basil and huge sections of fresh mozzarella cheese (which was crazy good) and then the pepperoni. 

Overall: My friends and I weren't fans of the smoky taste of the coal oven pizza crust and so we weren't blown away with the pizza as a whole. I thought the components were delicious individually (the sauce and fresh cheese were the highlights). It was also quite expensive for a pizza with one topping. It might not have been the best pizza I've ever had, but it was still pretty good.

Lombardi's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Pinkberry @ Nolita - NYC

Before we even left for New York, I got a whole bunch of recommendations from friends about where to eat in NYC. One of the "Must-Eat Dessert places" that everyone agreed on was Pinkberry for Frozen Yogurt.
Luckily, on our way to Lombardi's pizza to pick up dinner, we passed by one of the stores (Yay!)
The blurry menu
I sampled most of the flavours: lychee was fragrant and light, salted caramel was so good I probably could have ate it by itself but I wanted to get some toppings - so I chose peach.
I love their business concept: one price for the frozen yogurt and all the toppings you can fit on top of the cup. You know I'm going to go crazy with this hahaha! In Toronto, I have to pay by weight for all the toppings I can put on top of my frozen yogurt (which means you could have a $15 dessert at the end of it).

A small Peach frozen yogurt with oreo cookie crumbs, a flaky waffle cookie, mango pieces, raspberries and chocolate sauce drizzled on top - YUM!
The frozen yogurt was smooth and creamy and with all the toppings - it was really good! I think my favourite here was the waffle cookie: it was dainty and cute and when you bit into it, it was tasty and crispy.

Overall: Definitely one of the best frozen yogurt places I've tried and the prices are so reasonable!!! The service is pretty fast and I like that they mix up their menu every once in a while to keep things exciting. 

Pinkberry (Mott/Spring St) on Urbanspoon

Georgetown Cupcake - NYC

After watching a few episodes of DC Cupcakes on TLC, I was really excited when I heard that they were opening a new location in New York back in March because that meant that I'd be able to try them on my trip in May. 

The Cupcakes....

New Yorkers really love their cupcakes...they're everywhere!

$15 for a half dozen and $29 for a dozen

Clockwise from top left: Red Velvet, Lava Fudge, Chocolate³, Hummingbird, Vanilla² and German Chocolate. 

The Georgetown cupcakes were more cake heavy and dense than some of the other cupcakes I've had before. I really liked their cupcakes because they weren't too sweet. I am a HUGE fan of the Hummingbird cupcake which is a pineapple, banana and pecan cupcake topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting, chopped pecans and a blue fondant hummingbird on top. It was absolutely amazing! They should add it to their year-round menu. 

Overall: I really like the cupcakes at Georgetown (especially the Hummingbird - too bad it's only available in May). I can't wait to try all the other flavours in the monthly calendar! Yum! (They really need to open a store in Toronto - We love cupcakes too!)

Georgetown Cupcake on Urbanspoon

Calle Ocho - NYC

Manhattan Island from the Staten Island Ferry!

Statue of Liberty from the Ferry (N.K.)

Boozy Brunch time at Calle Ocho

Very Spanish! They really know how to set a theme here with the Latin music and bright colours. 

They even gave me a crash course on how to enjoy your boozy brunch.
Unlimited sangria and eight different varieties to choose from! As I lightweight, I couldn't really appreciate the complementary sangria seeing as I could barely handle one (they were 20 oz. each and very strong). I was kinda disappointed since I wanted to try more of the different types - oh well. 
Fresas and Mojito

This was the best bread basket ever! 
Chocolate chip bread, moist and soft mini muffins, fresh from the oven warm pandebono: mmm bread bliss! The strawberry butter was a little strange though... 

I loved the menu! I almost had difficulty choosing what to eat because everything sounded so interesting.

Tortilla Española 
Spanish Frittata with asparagus, potatoes, piquillo peppers and wild mushrooms over crab enchilado
I thought this dish was great! There was a hint of heat in the sauce that made it appetizing (near the end though, the dish got too hot for me). I enjoyed the frittata, which was a relatively big portion of food, in combination with the crab enchilado - each mouthful was a fiesta!

Cachapa de Salmon
Venezuelan sweet corn crepes, smoked salmon scrambled eggs, caper red onion and crema nata
I really liked this dish too! The salmon flavour was present in the scrambled eggs in the crepe (even if we barely saw the salmon) and it was cooked very well. The crepes had a light, sweet and delicate taste in comparison to the tortilla, but I thought it was fantastic with the sauce. 

Overall: I enjoyed my experience here (almost completely sober). The food is great, service is good too (the table next to us finished their drinks super fast and were served more drinks just as fast), and the decor and ambiance are all suited to the theme. It's a great boozy brunch place because the prices are reasonable and the drinks are free (so if you can drink your weight in alcohol without making a ruckus - then you'll love this place).

Calle Ocho on Urbanspoon