Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nomadic Month of May, Part 1: NYC

I became a nomad for the month of May. My house sold and my new place in Springfield was not available until June 1. So what is a homeless Traveling Auntie to do? Visit different friends in different cities and see what new exciting things she can find. First stop: New York City....

Now, of course I've been to NYC a bunch. I love it so much. But I have a never-ending list of places that I want to try, though this time I did return to a few spots that I love. The first three days of my time in the city I stayed in Times Square with work colleagues for a summit that our organization was holding. I had free time to escape the craziness of Times Square to find less touristy places to enjoy, as is my custom.


The Treats Truck: [website]
A repeat visit. My co-worker Jasmine and I went for a wander and we found The Treats Truck. And I needed a sweet treat: a Rice Krispy treat. So delicious.

Carmine's: [website]
Our first evening was a dinner with board members and staff at Carmine's. One of those legendary restaurants on Times Square, and a place I would not normally go. What I did appreciate about Carmine's is that they have a separate vegan menu that they allowed me to order from.

The Hummus & Pita Company: [website]
The best pita sandwich that I've ever had. They make the pita bread fresh right there. I had the vegetarian pita, with tabuleh, cous cous, chickpea salad and hummus. And free baklava, because I followed them on Twitter and mentioned them; they gave me a passcode. A good lunch stop to remember for the future.

Cafe Grumpy: [website]
I was in the neighborhood (Chelsea) and felt like getting a coffee. I knew where to go -- one of my favorite places. Always good coffee.

Lula's Sweet Apothecary: [website]
I have had Lula's on the brain since I was there in December. And I had to have it at least once while I was in the city. This time I went with cookies & cream. I did not choose poorly.

Vic's Bagel Bar: [website]
I've had Vic's on my list. They used to have a truck. But no longer. So my co-worker and I found the storefront and boy, did the little walk pay off. I had the Mediterranean breakfast bagel and a LARGE Stumptown coffee. All the hype about this place was right.

Jaya Malaysian:
Lunch on Friday after the summit finished was down in Chinatown at a little place that one of my co-workers knew about. I went with the deep friend tofu with Thai sauce, and whatever veggie appetizers that my co-worker ordered for the table.

Artichoke Basille's Pizza: [website]
Rather than eat at Juniors in Times Square with a bunch of co-workers, my co-worker/hotel roommate went to get pizza. She wanted some pizza before leaving the city, and I knew where to take her: my favorite pizza place. We split a wedge of Artichoke pizza and then walked to our dessert spot....

Coolhaus Ice Cream Truck: [website]
Dessert was more ice cream but this time from one of my ice cream trucks, Coolhaus. I had the chocolate chocolate chip cookie with Guinness chip ice cream. Yeah, that was a winning combo.

Joe the Art of Coffee (at Grand Central Terminal): [website]
I spent my Saturday in the city before heading out to Brooklyn to stay with a friend for the rest of the weekend. I needed to start my day with some good coffee and the Yelp reviews led me to Joe. The closest one being in Grand Central. One coffee and one scone purchased, I paused in the main terminal and people watched while I fueled up.

The Green Bean Cafe: [website]
I wandered about Tudor City for a while, found a bench in the shade to finish my coffee and read, then wandered past the U.N. before heading up to the Upper East Side for some museum time. By the time, I reached UES, I was ready for lunch. A search for good veggie food led me to The Green Bean Cafe. I got a Organic Tempeh Bacon BLT sandwich to go. Amazing. So delicious. I will go back to try another sandwich.

The Jewish Museum of New York: [website]
I have not spent much time on Museum Mile. So this trip I decided to check out a few museums while in the city this time. On Saturday the Jewish Museum is free (since it's Sabbath). The store and cafe are not open but you can go to the exhibits for free. I really enjoyed this museum with a good mix of history and modern art.

Juliette: [website]
I made my way out to my friend's in Brooklyn area. He suggested that we try his favorite place for dinner in Williamsburg. Juliette is supposedly a Parisian restaurant in W'burg. I had the vegetarian sandwich on focaccia with Japanese eggplant which was delicious. But our service was awful. I'd go back as long as we didn't have the same waiter.

Spuyten Duyvil: [website]
We walked a few blocks for a post-dinner drink. I did not like my choice.

The Mud Truck: [website]
I headed back into the city for another museum and on my way, I needed coffee. I had a couple places in East Village on my list but they were not open. So I went to the nearby Mud Truck and got myself an iced coffee and croissant. It's nice to know that I can always find the Mud Truck at Astor Place.

Museum of the City of New York: [website]
After stopping by my favorite used bookstore just up from the Mud Truck, Alabaster (where I found a cheap biography on Albert Einstein to add to my reading list for 2012), I jumped on the subway and headed back up to the UES for the Museum of the City of New York.

For $10 admission, I saw a video art installment along with the permanent exhibits. But the best part was The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan. According to the website, it's been extended to July 15. Totally worth the price of admission to have a guided tour through the exhibit and then any additional time you need to go through and look at all the pictures of Manhattan from farmland to present day. Loved it.

Central Park:
I had gotten a late start and didn't have sufficient time for the Guggenheim or the Met. I'll have to do those next time. So I wandered back south through Central Park. It was a Sunday afternoon so the park was bustling with great people watching. Real fun.

S'Mac: [website]
Dinner was vegan mac-n-cheese in the East Village. It was good vegan mac-n-cheese but still not as good as what I had at Kate's Joint nearby in December.

Jane's Sweet Buns: [website]
I read about Jane's in Imbibe magazine that featured the top spots in NYC. This place was included in the list because it makes sweet buns that include adult libations. I got The Old Fashioned and The Rum Runner to share with my friend.

Effy's Cafe: [website]
I met my friend Dawn for lunch up by her work on UES. This was after I became stranded on the subway with my luggage. Ugh. Thank God for cabs. Anyway, she took me around the corner to Effy's.  I had the Hummus Sandwich, which included Spanish eggplant, boiled egg and Israeli salad on 7-grain bread. Best eggplant sandwich I've ever had. I was in heaven. And then there was the cupcake that Dawn got me for dessert: Oreo Cupcake. Yes. And I even had leftovers to take on the train with me to D.C.

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