5.01.2013

New York Pt 3 - Manhattan and My Birthday

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New York is a wonderful place for a girl to spend her birthday. We started with some delicious breakkie at Morning Star Cafe over on 2nd Street. I ordered a tomato, basil, and mozzarella egg white omelet and it was pretty much caprese in an omelet. So delicious. 


God blessed us with an insanely beautiful day. Like, low 70s, sun shining, bright happy rays in sight. We hopped on the train and took it down to SoHo.


Right after getting off the train, we saw a C. Wonder shop. I've been lusting over their online store forever (and have made a few purchases, but mostly browsed), so I was surprised to see that they have a legitimate store. It was the perfect excuse to go inside.


Pretty much everything in this place blows my mind with beauty. It's like a modern twist on East Coast charm and I totally dig it. I snatched up a pair of white jeans and a super cute sweater while my fiance sat on the couch and flipped through this gem of a book...


After C. Wonder, we spent a while walking around SoHo and stopping into various shops. Mostly, I just want to take this whole neighborhood and put it in a snow globe. Except without the snow. Everything is just so pretty and happy. #MyCupOfTea


I knew that Chobani had a pop up restaurant in SoHo, so when we stumbled upon it, it wasn't much of a decision. We obviously had to visit. We got a blueberry and honey as well as a chocolate and pistachio and we were both quite impressed. They also let us take the glasses home, which is practical bribery in my book. You know... the good kind.


We also stopped at Silver Spurs to split a farmer's market salad. It was alright, but nothing to write home about. The beauty of the view over the intersection and park, however, was a different story.


After a bit more walking around, we arrived somewhere magical... for my fiance, who wears watches like it's none of his business. We had to do a little watch shopping and yes, he did make a purchase. Yes, we bought my fiance a watch on my birthday.


At this point, it's getting hard to remember the exact order in which we did things. We kept walking and headed over to Wall Street (did we walk there? maybe we took the train?). I was really surprised by just how dead that area was. Granted, it was a Sunday afternoon, so it's not like it was peak work hours. But, it still seemed pretty vacant.


We also headed over to Battery Park. They're doing construction there, so the park, itself, wasn't much of a sight, but the view over the water was pretty neat. My New York geography needs some work (I've mastered Chicago by now... New York is another story), but I did think the view out over Brooklyn was cool. Since we did the exact opposite (Brooklyn's view of Manhattan) the day before, it was a nice little flip flop.

The hilarious chalk writing outside Momofuku Milk Bar

As we were leaving Battery Park, we decided we were a bit hungry. We'd been walking all day and only split some Chobani and a salad since breakfast, so we thought we deserved a treat. Plus, I was the birthday girl, so really there was no need for excuses.

We were headed up toward Union Square anyway, so we decided to stop into Momofuku Milk Bar. It was hard to decide what to get. They have everything from Cookies (compost cookie, anyone?) to pie, milkshakes to soft serve. We ended up getting a slice of "Crack Pie" (with that name, how could you not?) and a cookie that had marshmallow in it (my fiance saw it at the counter and exclaimed "That one! We're getting that one!").


The cookie was definitely good, but what really blew my mind was the Crack Pie (how many search results hits am I going to get from crack pie references now? bring it on...). It's extremely buttery and reminds me of the butter cake I used to occasionally get in college. It was very thick and sticky and almost hard to cut with our plastic forks. So delicious. Please sir, can I have some more?


After checking out Union Square (pretty much just a big square filled with people and skateboarders... I was much more impressed by the milk bar, haha), we headed back uptown toward our hotel via Subway. But, instead of riding the train all the way up, we hopped out at Grand Central Station.


We've been to a few events at Union Station in Chicago (plus I used to ride in and out of that station when I first started working in Chicago), so I feel like I'm pretty used to grandiose train stations. Nonetheless, I was still quite impressed. The ceiling, in particular, is really cool. It's my favorite color of tealish turquoise (which one is it? can't tell), with golden mythical drawings on it, and tiny little white lights that occasionally peep through.


Finally, we headed back to the hotel. We dropped our bags and freshened up for my birthday dinner. We did some heavy Yelping and ended up deciding on The National. It had very mixed reviews on Yelp, which initially scared us despite the fact that we really liked the menu and the restaurant looked neat. After a bit more digging, we realized that the reason behind those mixed reviews was Geoffrey Zakarian, from shows like The Iron Chef and Chopped on The Food Network. He has a very strong TV personality, and most of the Yelpers were responding to how much they dislike him.

We, on the other hand, love strong personalities, so we were more than willing to give it a go. I got a bit fancier for the dinner, and snapped a pic in one of The National's co-ed bathrooms.


Naturally, I started out with a glass of champagne. What other way could I celebrate my birthday in New York?


We also ordered a charcuterie plate. I tell you, we're becoming charcuterie conisseurs, because my fiance insists on ordering it just about everywhere it's available. Occasionally, I can sway him to a cheese plate instead, but for the most part, we go for the meat. This time, we were not disappointed. The deli meat cuts in New York in general were delicious, but this took the cake. Generous portions and smoky flavors = yes.


For our meals, we got the steak frites (fiance) and the butternut squash risotto (me). The risotto is actually an appetizer, but it looked delicious so I asked if they could do it as a meal. It was totally satisfying.


Toward the end of the meal, my fiance mentioned that it was my birthday. They brought out champagne and a plate of whiskey chocolate mousse and mango sorbet to celebrate! I blew out the candle before taking this picture, but it's there. They also wrote Happy Birthday on the plate in chocolate. How cute!


After dinner, we were both quite full, so we decided we wanted to go on a walk. We had popped into Times Square on Friday, but only for a short visit, and we were there during the day. My fiance insisted that we visit at night (he lived in New York a while back, so he likes to play tour guide).


We headed over to Times Square and walked around. It seems to be even brighter at night time there, and I was amazed by how many people were there at 10pm on a Sunday night. Of course, all of the shops were open, too.


There you go, folks. Part 3 of our trip to New York.

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