Sunday, October 31, 2010

Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Brooklyn Bridge at Night

With hubby's co workers, we made our way to the Liberty Island. The ferry dock is just around the corner from our apartment. We came in very early to avoid the lines. Security is very tight there so bring only the absolute necessities, if you can.

Our first stop was Lady Liberty, the symbol of America's freedom. I was so excited to go since I had only seen the statue from the dining room of our apartment. We really do have fantastic views in our apartment. Anyway, it's my chance to see her up close. A visit to New York is never complete without saying hello to Lady Liberty.

The statue is smaller than I thought. However, after touring the museum inside the monument and seeing how each piece of the magnificent statue was made, it made me appreciate it more. The craftmanship and techniques used for molding each copper piece requires patience and exact skill. My mouth stayed open just watching the video.

The island itself is small, very charming and I think an excellent location to welcome traders and guests coming in by boat (back in the olden days) to America. Now, lady Liberty welcomes tourists from all over the world, to come see the beauty of New York.

Our next stop was Ellis Island. It's a small Island where pioneers and immigrants from all over the world, dock and register so that they can start a new life in America. The museum is filled with memorabilia, photos and artifacts during those times.

After our tour, we rested up a bit. The Lady Liberty's stairs were too much for two middle-aged couple who's done almose zero exercise. Hubby was too tired and too cranky to walk and explore the city. He slept in the apartment shortly after, me, I still went out and did a bit of shopping. Because it was freezing, I had to buy a new jacket (which turned out to be the only jacket that I have that's warm enough to wear. So all of my pictures, will have me wearing that, ha ha ha).

Come evening, hubby and I made our way to the Brooklyn Bridge. It's best to see it at night, so that you can see the Manhattan Skyline. Pretty nice to look at. Very cold, as you can see, we were so bundled up. I had three layers on, gloves and my recently purchased fluffy jacket.

My fingers almost turned into popsicles. But seeing Manhattan via Brooklyn Bridge at night was priceless!

Mamma Mia on Broadway

A New York experience is never complete without watching a Broadway show. Prior to leaving Manila, everyone that I spoke to said that I MUST (MUST is the word, I tell you) to watch a Broadway show. So many great shows were suggested to me.

We got a lovely treat from my cousin Ate Bambi, not only did she treat us to a sumptuous Thai dinner at Pongsri with a huge spread:

She graciously treated us to Mamma Mia too!

I've watched Mamma Mia on the big screen of course. Hubby is such a fan of Abba and he was jumping for joy when he found out that we would be watching Mamma Mia. The songs there are quite iconic and are widely popular.

Mamma Mia truly delivered! No dull moments and the cast were fantastic. I often find myself singing with the songs (Yes, I am THAT old) He he he.

I'm so glad that we watched this broadway show. Thank you Ate Bambi for an unforgettable experience! :-)

I am currently humming "Mamma Mia, Here I go again! My, my! How can I resist you!" over and over again. Talk about LSS! :-)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saigon Grill Vietnamese Cooking and Ferrara Gelato

Union square is popular among locals and tourists alike. Located near NYU, the whole area has a wide variety of "attractions", food kiosks, an open market that sells fresh produce, craft, plants and a whole assortment of goodies.

After hubby's work, Hubby and I decided to go to Union Square to do a bit of browsing and shopping. We checked out some of the stores. We browsed at Whole Foods, an organic supermarket that has fresh produce, breads, pastries, meat and cooked foods is also located at Union Square. The lines are always long though.

Anyway, we had dinner in a nearby restaurant, Saigon Grill Vietnamese Cooking which had a Zagat rating for Excellence. When we are left to our own devices, we like to check out restaurants that has been Zagat rated. Peso to dollar ratio can be quite high so we would like to make sure that we are getting good food with our money.

Saigon Grill is one of the better restaurants that we've eaten at. They provide huge servings and the food were quite good. Every thing that we ordered were good in terms of taste and presentation. We had plenty of leftovers, which I had for lunch the following day :-)

These Chicken Skewers were particularly tender, smoky and over all delicious. The sauce that went with it was great too.

The ambiance was a little hipper than your usual Vietnamese resto, this is probably due to the fact that the restaurant is located at Union Square where students and yuppies (and the young at heart) usually frequent. As such, most dishes are quite affordable.

As you can probably tell, this is a super late post. I would normally write a draft or a short summary after our little "outings" and just fill in the rest of the details when I have more time or when I have reviewed the photos to refresh my memory. Looking back at my posts (while uploading photos), I probably switched the dates on the previous posts, buy hey, I blame jet lag and exhaustion :-) Just a little backgrounder on why sometimes my posts seems jumbled up and make no sense at all. Ha ha ha.

Anyhoo, after Saigon Grill, I dragged hubby to the subway again and took him to Ferrara. Ferrara is a famous dessert and gelato place in Little Italy. The Ice Cream Monster usually demands some gelato or ice cream after dinner and as his "reward" for walking and commuting (oh how he loves to drive everywhere). Hubby and walking usually don't mix and the former usually gets grumpier the longer he walks. To appease him, we buy gelato and some pastries all is well in the world :-)

Yes, the gelato was served this way ;-)

Ferrara Pasticceria Cafe Italiano - LIttle Italy

Since I am left at my own devices during the day since hubby is off working, I get to explore New York City on my own. One of my food discoveries is Ferrara Pasticceria in Little Italy.

Yummy display! The mini pastries looked so good, I bought two different kinds and ate them outside while watching people go by :-)

Joe's Ginger in China Town

As I was exploring Downtown on foot, I became a little bit hungry. I had no idea where to dine since I had no particular plan on exactly where to go ro what to do. I just walked on a whim. Eventually I got hungry. My stomach growled while I was exploring Chinatown. Maybe the smells of the noodles cooking made me hungry. Since I had no idea where to dine, I looked for restaurants with the Zagat rating. Zagat rating is the web's most trusted restaurant reviews (next to this site of course, he he he).

I stumbled upon Joe's Ginger and they had an excellent rating. It was a bit early when I arrived and the lunch crowd hasn't made their way yet.

I always loved Kung Pao Chicken and decided to order some for me and my lonesome.

Well, the look of the dish did not impress me one bit. The taste was disappointing too. Manila has really really good Chinese food and Joe's Ginger did not meet my expectation at all. The taste wasn't all that bad but restaurants in Manila can do it way better.

Just sayin'.

Anyway, the place was packed by the time I left. Apparently, people of NYC love going there.

Walking Brooklyn Bridge, Broadway, Soho, Little Italy and Chinatown

I've been exploring New York City on my own, and I had the bright idea of walking the length of Broadway Avenue from Downtown, where our apartment is located.

City Hall:

It was such a hot day but I managed to cover a lot on foot.

I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to and from Downtown. I even saw Sarah Jessica Parker walking there, probably getting some exercise. I didn't have time to get a picture though so you have to take my word for it, he he he.

I happily got lost wandering around the streets, probably because I did not consult a map while as was walking, I went where my feet took me. Each area is different and unique from the next. I love that about New York City.

Republic and Melissa's Cupcakes at Union Square

Another night of food and drinks. This time we went to the area of Union Square, where some of the hippest eats can be found. Most restaurants in Union Square cater to younger crowds since that area is very near NYU.

Butchie took us to Republic, an Asian fusion restaurant located at the heart of Union Square. Republic usually gets full during dinnertime and often has a long line if you come in around 8pm. We were lucky enough to beat the line and got a table just before most of the dinner crowd arrived.

The interiors is very young and hip. The music was too loud though, it's hard to have a decent conversation there. Not suitable for romantic evenings.

To start the evening, we had a round of drinks of beer, White Wine Sangria and Pomegranate Margarita. I had the Pomegranate Margarita which was good but has quite a kick to it.

For dinner, we had the Steamed Seafood Dumplings, with shrimps, squid, scallops, onions and carrots in a peanut sauce. The dumplings were really good, it would have been the bomb if they were steamed a little bit more, to make the wrappers softer. I love the peanut sauce that went with it.

We also had the Grilled Japanese Eggplant. I love this dish, it was smoky and sweet with just the perfect seasoning.

Hubby ordered the Watercress Salad which had bean sprouts and dressed in a sesame ginger dressing. We didn't like this too much. The ginger flavor was quite overwhelming. I think this dish would go very well using a sesame soy dressing instead or that peanut sauce that I loooove so much.

For main course, I had Chicken Lime Soup. Which was so plain. I ended up dunking the noodles in the peanut sauce.

Hubby had the regular Chicken Soup, which was good but not extra ordinary.

Butchie had the Beef Tomato Noodle Soup which turned out a bit salty.

The soups were duds but, I would go back to Republic for the exceptional peanut sauce and the grilled eggplant.

For dessert, we headed off to Melissa's Cupcakes. Melissa's cupcakes are baked small, like bite-sized pieces. Quite pricey but very moist.

I particularly liked the pumpkin, super moist and not too sweet. Love eeeet!