New York State of Mind: Days 2 + 3

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our first day in New York was pretty much filled with getting our bearings and eating some yummy food. A pretty great way to start the trip, if you ask me. But, of course, we were traveling for Steve Koo Photography, so there was plenty of work to be done (Steve's work consisted of lots and lots and lots of shooting; mine consisted of following him around carrying coats, purses and lenses).

Friday - Day 2

To start off our first day of shoots, we headed down to Brooklyn bright and early to meet with a super fun couple. We shot near their home and by the Brooklyn Bridge (what the locals call "DUMBO").

Love, love, love Brooklyn! The couple also treated us to an incredibly tasty lunch after the shoot; I can't remember where we went, but the restaurant smelled like warm rosemary goodness.

We headed over to the Meatpacking district after Brooklyn for another fun shoot. I (sadly) have no pictures from this shoot, but we did shoot a little on The High Line, this awesome elevated park. The view was fantastic.

And no, you're not having a bout of deja vu! We headed back to the Cupcake Cafe so that Steve could meet with prospective clients. I sampled another cupcake, and my impression from the day before held true - the cupcakes are super pretty, but not so super tasting (not bad, just not knock me off my chair good).

What else to do after a long day? Grab a slice, of course. I love this somewhat shady experience of standing at a little counter, folding the slice in half and shoveling it in. And, for 2 bucks, it wasn't so shabby.

After a quick stop at the hotel, we headed on out for dinner. Did I mention this was a "stuff your face as much as humanly possible trip"? We passed Radio City Music Hall, all done up for Christmas, on our way to...

...The Halal Guys! Their cart is on the corner of 53rd & 6th and they're known by the yellow shirts they wear and the yellow bags they put your food in. We had this cart reccomended to us and we were SO excited - we don't have street food in Chicago.

Apparently a lot of other people were excited, too! Check out this line.

After about a 20 minute wait, we grabbed an order of chicken and rice (for me) and lamb, chicken and rice (for Steve). We piled on some red and white sauce, and it was just as good as we had hoped!

With bellies full of pizza and chicken, lamb and rice, we called it a night.

Saturday - Day 3

Up bright and early yet again, we headed over to Central Park for our first shoot of the day. Steve again, hard at work...and can you believe just how gorgeous the park was?!

After our shoot, we headed on over to David Burk Townhouse for brunch. Who were we meeting, you ask? Some lovely Weddingbee bloggers! I was so excited to meet Kelly (Miss Hippo) and Becky (Mrs. Thimble) for the first time and to see Serena (Mrs. Hamster) again!

The brunch menu at David Burke wasn't messing around! Super fancy schmancy. After much, much debate we all ended up doing the 3 course option, which basically meant an overload of food for $39. Like, I seriously think I waddled out of this place!

Oh yah, and on top of the three course already ordered, they start you off with this intense popover. Yum.

For my first course, I got the crab cake. They describe it as a "pretzel crusted crab cake with tomato orange chutney and poppy seed honey." It was that and SO MUCH MORE. The crab cake was hidden in a house of pretzel sticks making this beautiful little package. It was divine.

For my second, I ordered the "lobster scramble with tomato fondant and creme fraiche." At first I was a little put off by all of the liquid at the bottom of the bowl...until I realized it was butter. Mmmm. Hence the reason for the aforementioned waddle.

Steve's main was "acorn squash risotto with grilled head on prawn and parmesan." Accordingly to Steve it was both rich and tasty. I couldn't get over the prawns that were sitting there staring at me.

And dessert (yes, dessert at brunch. In Chicago, brunch basically is dessert. But not so in fancy pants NYC). I ordered the "hot strawberry shortcake sunday with spiced pound cake, honey roasted almonds and torrone ice cream." What is torrone you ask? A little scoop of heaven (or, umm, an Italian nougat if you want to get technical). At this point in the meal, I could barely gobble half of this. If you look at the picture of the Bee's above, Serena finished hers. She is my eating idol!

Steve had the "warm and crisp apple tart with cider caramel and creme fraiche ice cream." Enough said.

Sadly, we had to dine and dash - it was time for our next shoot in Queens! I was super excited about this one, as it was with another Weddingbee! I guess you'll just have to check out Steve's blog until he posts pictures to see who we were with!

Loved the big Pepsi sign along the water front!

After Queens it was another trip to Central Park for our LAST SHOOT of the trip! Five shoots in two days is a heck of a lot of shooting.

Fortunately, every single coffee shop in New York seemed to have fresh squeezed orange juice. It was like crack, I tell you. I drank as much of it as humanly possible.

Oh no, my friends, the day is not over yet! After all of that eating, we still had MORE to do...Saturday was definitely our fancy schmancy food day, and the fanciest part of the day (or, err, the fanciest food experience of my life!) is up next!

New York State of Mind: Day 1

Monday, November 15, 2010

Steve and I are back in Chicago today after a FABULOUS trip! I *loved* New York a little too much...if it weren't for the high price of living, I think Steve and I would move there in a heartbeat.

Thursday - Day 1

We got into the city last Thursday afternoon and hopped a cab to our hotel, the Royalton. (Oh and please excuse the hotel pictures - I forgot to take them on check in, so our room was VERY messy by the time I snapped these.)

The bed was big, comfy and had a flat screen tv on the adjacent wall for your viewing pleasure.

While the space wasn't huge, we had a fabulous lounge area that was basically covered with all of our crap throughout the trip.

The room didn't have free WiFi, but it did come with an iPad that we could use to order room service, check other hotel amenities, and surf the Web. While nice, free WiFi would have been even better as we already had our own iPad with us.

I didn't get a shot of the bathroom, but it was cool, modern, and had a phenomenal rain shower. Heaven!

After dropping off our bags, we left the hotel and explored the surrounding area (we were in Midtown near Bryant Park), and then hopped on the Subway to Union Square.

We checked out the Cupcake Cafe, where Steve was going to have a meeting the following night. Since I was positively starving, we shared a cupcake. Pretty, right? Unfortunately, the taste didn't live up the the looks. It was fine, but I've had better.

Later that evening, we met up with Serena from Big Apple Nosh (aka Weddingbee blogger Mrs. Hamster) for dinner. Serena definitely lives up to her foodie status! On her suggestion, we decided to restaurant hop around East Village.

First, we stopped off at Yakitori Taisho for a few bites. We don't have (or at least I've never seen them) hole in the wall Japanese joints like this in Chicago, and I loved it!

Serena ordered us up all kinds of meats on sticks (yum!) and some fabulous shrimp. These were perfect sharable bites.

After listing off a few different options for our next stop, we walked over to Veselka, a nearby Ukrainian restaurant.

While Serena showed restraint by just ordering a potato pancake, Steve and I opted to order every single type of pierogi they offered. I'd never had pierogis before, and they were amazing. Even better, there was a complete element of surprise, as we had no clue what we were biting into!

We sampled: potato; cheese; meat; broccoli & cheddar; sauerkraut & mushroom; sweet potato; arugula & goat cheese. I can't wait to try and make some pierogis of my own!

Deciding we had sampled enough for the evening , we headed back to the subway. Only, of course, to cross paths with a belgian waffle food truck. Yes, please! Check out the Wafels & Dinges web site the next time you're in NYC to track them down. You'll be very happy you did, especially if you've never had a traditional Belgian waffle.

The wait was just long enough for Steve and I to agree on what waffle to share.

We opted for the Throwdown, which was featured on a Bobby Flay episode. It features speculoos spread - speculous is a delicious Dutch ginger cookie, and the combination with the waffle was amazing. Obviously Steve was enjoying himself!

After we parted ways with Serena, we walked through Times Square on our way back to our hotel, and I made Steve take an obligatory tourist picture of me. Love being on vacation!

While not a full day in New York, it definitely was a tasty one! I can't wait to share the rest of our trip (including photo shoots, street food, and my major "oops" at the best restaurant in the country!)...stay tuned!

Fancy NYC Dinner - What to Wear?!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Steve and I are heading to the 'Big Apple' on Thursday - weee! Remember the swank hotel we got through Jetsetter?!

I'm so very excited for my first trip to NYC, so I've been catching up on old Sex & the City episodes to ensure I'm fully prepared. However, since the fashions in SATC are circa 2004 or earlier and they shop at Gucci and Prada while I frequent the Gap, I'm struggling on what to wear when Steve and I go to our fancy schmancy dinner at Daniel on Saturday night (I'll wait right here while you click on over to Daniel's web site and drool over the amazing cuisine).

Now that you've gotten your fill of food p*rn, we can move on.

So I bought this Rachel Roy dress last spring and it has been my go to dress for the summer when Steve and I get dressed up for dinner or we go to an event (which is rare since we're usually working separate weddings!). The material is a little lightweight, but the weather for NYC isn't looking super cold, and I was planning on pairing it with black tights (if needed) and nude pumps.


Thoughts? Is this good enough for a big date night out in NYC? Well, really, it kind of has to since I don't have a lot of other options sitting in my closet right now (far more work dresses than fun dresses at the moment), but I still welcome any and all comments!

I can't believe we'll be there in just 2 days! After all of Steve's photo shoots are done (the main reason for the trip), we'll have just one full day to really see the sights. Any "must see's" we should add to our list?