NYC: Friday

Note:  I already have two non-trip-related blogs in the queue, and more to come (I’m sure) before I finish with our NYC adventure.  Not sure if I’m going to mix them in, or wait until I’ve finished regaling you with our trip–just tryin’ to keep you on your toes!

My eyes popped open at 7:13 Friday morning and when I saw Andrew still sound asleep, I decided to head to the workout room, despite his informing me the night before that ‘we were to be up at 7:15 and out the door by 8:30.’  I decided that we were on vacation and that a 7:15 wake-up time for him wasn’t even realistic, and off I went.  Imagine my shock, then, when I returned 30 minutes later to find a completely ready and awake Andrew, tapping his feet while I hurried to clean up.

In the meantime, however,  a reference to ‘fried chicken’ and the name ‘David Chang’ coming from the television caught my attention.  David Chang, as in the chef who owns Momofuku, as in the asian noodle bar that was on our itinerary for that very afternoon?  

Yes, yes it was.

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How awesome (and completely random and serendipitous, really) was it to catch that exact moment on that exact channel on that exact day?

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More on Momofuku later; it’s time for breakfast!

Andrew took me to Ess-A-Bagel, one of the city’s best bagel shops, hands-down.

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They’re known not only for their bagels and cream cheese, but also for their cold salads (think pastas and whitefish) and sandwiches.  The line wound around the length of the store twice, populated both by tourists and locals.

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Andrew got two dangerously coated everything bagels, plain, and in true me-fashion, I tried to find something I couldn’t get at home: a pumpernickel-raisin bagel with blueberry cream cheese on half and cheddar cream cheese on the other.  Excellent choice!  The bagel flavor was fantastic–it definitely had that ‘pumpernickel/rye’ flavor, punctuated with sweetness from the raisins.  The blueberry cream cheese was a perfect addition, and much better than the cheddar.

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We walked off all those carbs by heading uptown, past the Chrysler Building:

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And into Grand Central Station:

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After exploring Grand Central, including finding one of Magnolia Bakery’s outposts and popping into Banana Republic (for Andrew, surprisingly enough), we headed to the New York Public Library:

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Can you imagine going here as a kid to check out books?  I told Andrew it would ruin you for libraries the rest of your life if you ever moved.  It’s like a cathedral!  And I didn’t even get a photo of the outside; it’s even more beautiful and majestic.  There are two giant lion statues at the front, and a park at the rear.

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We saw some of the reading rooms and the Gutenberg Bible, which is the first book printed with movable type:

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We headed uptown on 5th Avenue (as in the one where Saks Fifth Avenue is located) and may have stopped into Tiffany’s:

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We might have even found something on the third floor (sterling silver) a.k.a. the only floor on which ‘real’ people can afford to shop!

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I chose a bracelet to match the necklace Andrew got me there TEN YEARS AGO while we were in the city with a friend.  I still remember him pulling that seafoam green box out in the middle of the restaurant…

We hopped on the subway and headed to the East Village again to grab a late lunch at Momofuku, thinking that by 3 p.m. it wouldn’t be quite so crowded.  Nope, it was packed.  To kill some of our 45-minute wait and quench Andrew’s thirst, we stopped by a 7-11 (so weird to walk into one, instead of drive).  I have a thing for Coke slurpees.

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Momofuku Noodle Bar is one of David Chang’s restaurants in the city and his most casual.  It’s famous for it’s pork buns and ramen noodle bowls.  I’ve read about this place multiple times over the past few years, and when I saw it listed under Food and Wine’s ‘go-to’ places in NYC, I thought it would make a perfect addition to our trip. The inside is pretty small.

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We were lucky enough to sit right at the counter and watch the busy food prep in the kitchen.

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We started with beers and super spicy, house-made potato chips, followed by an order of pork buns to share:

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The taste was divine, the pork belly fat less-so.  They’re served on these yeasty, sweet dough discs that were wonderful.  Next time, I’d get a different meat.

Andrew ordered the traditional ramen noodle bowl:

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Our bellies now overly full (and neither of us finished our meals), we headed back to the room to freshen up before getting in line for Friday night’s free admission to the Museum of Modern Art:

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Incidentally, I just found out our local art museum, the Albright Knox, has free admission on Friday’s, too.  While the viewing experience left something to be desired due to the number of people, it sure beat the $25-per-person entrance fee.  Check to see if your local art museum (if you have one) offers any breaks on the price of admission!

After such a late lunch and no dinner, Andrew thought it would be a good idea to swing by the Magnolia Bakery at Rockefeller Center (not the original location) for a treat.  
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I was initially dissuaded by the crowded atmosphere, but once we made a plan to sit and enjoy our goodies elsewhere, I went back and was blessed with a less-crowded store, as a large group had just left.

I chose March’s cupcake of the month, pistachio, as well as their banana pudding (divine, by the way).  Andrew opted for plain old vanilla, as well as a cream-filled lemon cupcake.

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Sitting there eating those treats made me want to pull out MY Magnolia Bakery cookbooks and bake something!

On our walk home through Times Square, we stopped to watch some street performers, who were everywhere throughout our visit.  Even on the subway!

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Up next: Saturday!

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