Tuesday, November 17, 2009

my NYC food notables


*Gramercy Tavern around Union Square
WD-50 on the Lower East Side
Spice Market in the Meatpacking District
The Modern (bar room and restaurant) in Midtown

Not quite as fancy:

Norma's in Midtown for brunch (in Le Parker Meridien hotel)
Grimaldi's pizza in DUMBO
*tapas at Tia Pol in Chelsea

Grandma's Original Pizzeria in Bay Ridge
Wondee Siam in Midtown

Dirt cheap:

#184 at Pho Viet Huong in Chinatown
lunch specials at 86 Noodle in Bay Ridge
street meat from the chicken and rice cart at 53rd and 7th in Midtown
Mahmoun's falafel at St Marks
Grey's Papaya everywhere
Hong Kong Station in Chinatown
Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches (in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side)
*Pho at Pho Hoai in Bay Ridge

interesting/unique and good:
202 in Chelsea Market
*Kyotofu in Hell's Kitchen
Chinatown ice cream parlor
Burger Joint (also in Le Parker Meridien) in Midtown
ChikaLicious in the East Village
F&B on 23rd st

Sentimental value:

huge pizza slices at Koronet by Columbia on the Upper West Side
late night slices at Pizza Wagon in Bay Ridge
*ktown (in general)
chinatown (in general)
St Marks japanese (in general)
Craft around Union Square
Mozart Cafe on the Upper West Side
Junior's in Brooklyn


Momofuku Noodle Bar (actually, I hate you, David Chang)
Aureole (sent the food back it was so bad)
Serendipity III (is it even worth going for the frozen hot chocolate? nope.)
Famiglia (epitome of gross nyc italian deli/fast food and pizza)
Tavern on the Green (yay, it's bankrupt)
*generic NYC delis on each street corner with old-looking food behind glass, a boring salad bar, stale donuts, and rude and angry workers serving it all to you in plastic containers and paper bags

Wish list:

*Per Se
Le Bernardin

Lucky Cheng's (ok...not really for the food, though...)

*top of each list. I'm sure I'm forgetting many...there definitely are tons of mediocre/middle of the street restaurants I've been to that aren't even worth mentioning...

MQ#2 revisited (again)

I already posted our plane tickets, so as you can probably tell, we've decided to fly to LA. Sadly, we're going to miss out on the cross-country road trip.

There's a few important reasons why we decided to fly. But they all come down to the same overall reason: money. We did not meet our savings goal for the move. And the cost of taking vacation days for a solid (at least) 10 days for the trip--that we could otherwise cash out--combined with hotels/food/other trip expenses made it almost impossible. The other option was to not do a leisure trip, and instead rent a big truck, pile our stuff into it and then drive the most efficient, nonstop way possible to California. That would still take a good 7 days, and the truck rental (without gas) would cost around $1,600. On top of that, I don't think I could handle driving a 16' truck, and I didn't want N to drive the entire way himself (even though he thinks he could).

Another factor is that plane tickets are so freakin' cheap now! We bought our one-way tickets from JFK to LAX for $100 each. That's why we decided to splurge and buy an extra seat for Stewie. I'm already very worried about how he'll handle being in a bag for 6 hours, so I'd rather not risk having someone in the middle seat between us and let him hang out on the seat instead of being stowed under our feet the whole time.

And by the way--Virgin America is awesome! I was a loyal JetBlue flyer before, but Virgin America has totally won me over. Their tickets are (at least for now) the cheapest around, and their planes are all tricked-out JetBlue style, but better. TV screens for each seat with cable tv access, and you can play video games on them with a remote control in the arm rest. The food on the flights (for purchase) is actually good! And service is great. Another bonus: Virgin America allows you to check up to 10 bags per passenger! Seriously. And each checked bag costs $20. So, between the three of our seats, we could *possibly* check 30 bags for this move. Pretty ludicrous, but we will definitely check extra boxes with that space.

T minus 64 days.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Another LA visit

N and I were in the bay area last week, so we drove the ~5 hours down to LA afterward to hang out a bit. We also took the opportunity to drive down my sister's '97 Civic and we stored it in our generous friend's-grandma's-garage so it will be waiting there for us when we arrive on January 21st. Exciting!

It was *hot* in LA. I was sweating--it had to be in the mid 80s at least in the sun. I'm not used to California weather, and especially California buildings. I think of them more like huts. Or perhaps 5 pieces of drywall stacked against each other. They have very little insulation and don't need to withstand any harsh elements, so they're always drafty and feel very hollow. But I still think it's a small sacrifice for having that fantastic outdoor weather year-round!

We looked at a few other cottages/bungalows and downtown loft spaces while we were there. We looked at one luxury loft that used to be an old bank. It was really cool looking--old elegant elevators, original marble floors, very solidly built--not cookie-cutter luxury high rise at all. The building had a fitness center and a kickass swimming pool and jacuzzi on the roof. And each unit had one of those cool combo washer/dryers in it...the kind that somehow dries your laundry in the same machine that it washes in. And the 1-bed there was cheaper than the 1-bed we live in in Brooklyn right now! That was an eye opener.

So far, N and I have looked at about 10 apartments in LA off of craigslist, and we haven't come across anything that was gross or unlivable yet. I guess that's the biggest difference between NYC and LA real estate. The worst LA has to offer doesn't come anywhere near the worst NYC has to offer.

Turkey day is coming up--that means dinner at N's uncle's place an hour or so north of the city. Our relatively frequent trips upstate will soon come to an end, which means each of the holiday visits this year will be more important than the last. Now instead of me flying cross-country to see my family in Cali, we'll soon be flying the other way to see N's family. Back and forth, back and forth...