Monday, 11 April 2016

Trip to NYC in March 2016.

This trip to NYC was my 4th to the city but I have not been for nearly 9 yeas now. I am expecting a few changes but I am confident I will be fine.

I am planning to visit a few new restaurants , like David Chang, Ssam bar, Noodle bar, Mario Batali's  new food emporium, Eatly , new face of Ground Zero so on.

This trip is my treat to see my elder sister and my niece who is a Korean diplomat in UN.

Flight is full , but luckily my next seat was a friendly young man who lives in NYC  we got to talk this and that, discovered he knows one good modern Korean restaurant in Broadway, called Barn Joo.
We loosely arranged to have lunch while I am in NY, as he knows its manager very well. I could not resist to find out .

Arriving in JFK was easy but I had to wait for nearly 2 hours to go through immigration. All the  stuff seemed unfriendly with stern faces.

Arriving in my niece's flat, just cross road from UN  building was such a surprise, what a address to have, well,  high flying Korean diplomat deserve this, I think.

Looking at Easter river and UN is on the right, truly a room with view ( rather a flat with view).

Sunday we all walking to the Greek Restaurant, Ethos 59, Food were familiar as we lived in near Athens for 5 years in middle of 1980s, stuffed vine , octopus , grilled fish, like a good home cooking with friendly service. But nothing special or stand out.

Monday, 21st, March, decided to buy my new compact camera at B&H in 9th Ave,13th Street, walking from 1st, 48th street was not going to be easy but I needed to do this, to getting familiar street of NYC. luckily it was sunny cold fresh day.

Arrived at B&H it was the  exactly I remembered 9 yeas ago, super organized and security minded mega shop.
Bought small compact my chosen camera and plenty of advice and show me all new things in the camera, they do take customer service to highest level.
Even my name was in their system after 9 years  since my last visit this shop.

Sunny Manhattan with cold breeze was quite pleasant for my adventurous day in NYC, bought jeans, local sim card for my phone, looking around and having coffee, talking to New Yorkers at Bus station so on.

Tuesday, my sister and I went to Metropolitan Museum. 
 Entrance fee was a kind Donation system, pay as you wish up to $25 per person, what a good idea!!  I could have paid only $1 but paid $10 for two of us. I can not help thinking  London Museums should use this for the visitors to generate much needed art fund , why not ??

Too big to see in a day, went 20C art rooms and even then too much, Most of all every room was donated by the Art loving rich American citizens their life long art collections to the Nation. How honourable way of thinking, Their name will live forever with art !!
 British rich should do the same, at least who loves art !

Sunny day again, walk down to the Central park and sat for while as New Yorkers do. Having a large park in the big city like New York or London is a saving grace for the people who live in the city.
 I love  Central Park for its style and accessibility and rocks.

East river view from flat


Noodle Bar

Noodle bar Kimchi

Noodle bar Ramyeun

Sculpture in UN

Sea Urchin Bibimbab at Barn Joo

Ground zero

freedom tower , Ground Zero

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Oyster Bar at Central Termina

Wednesday, my much expected David Chang's noodle bar 13th, 2nd Ave. lunch, having read about the queue for a bowl of noodle in this , we left early to be the first, arrived 11:40, one group even beat us, we were very respectful 2nd in the queue for 12;00 opening.
It is very narrow and small than I expected, very casual , soon room was full with noise, guessing most of them are tourist and possibly so called foodies.
We order Chang's signature Ramyeun, pork broth and for my sister Miso chicken Ramyeun and small bowl of kimchi.
My expectation is very high in these , for years I was reading  about his creations, made kimchi in the world food map after made his version of Bossam.
After all he has Korean parents but parents are actually Korean Japanese.
I think his love of Ramyeun  come from  his upbringing.

Ramyeun 's noodle was very nice , curly and slightly chewy but broth was too rich my liking and quite salty. belly pork on the top was nicely cooked and tender,
When Kimchi  was arrived , I was so surprised its casualness , just like put in without any thought. looks not appetizing nor nicely plated.
Taste was worst, so salty and chewy which I hate about these characteristic bad kimchi taste  ( due to brine too long or salt quantity was not right, too much salt, this brine process is most important and difficult)

I wonder this is one of bad patch ?  Even who does not know much about kimchi, this one can not be the taste they would like.

After kimchi, I have no desire eat anything else, left with huge disappointment in my  heart. I expected much much more.
London Rayeun is much better, even without kimchi.
On the way out  saw, Ssam Bar and Milk Bar. no queue at the Ssam Bar, tempted go in but I am to full with Ramyeun. perhaps, next day.

Afternoon, Visiting UN head quarter arranged by my high flying diplomat niece for UN, we could be able to see all corners of conference cntre, even main one.
I always thought, UN does not work for solving World problem due to their nation's interest rather than looking at a bigger picture, meant well  when they founded, Just very expensive A Talk Shop.
All head of country talk, never solve world problem it seemed. How can it be ?

Having talked to my niece, I have to agree to her point. UN is best for small and poor country , Best for these counties' voice can be heard, other wise these poor countries' opinion never mattered or helped by rich and powerful nations.

Thursday ,  J.  Weng whom I met in the flight informed me, he made a booking at Korean up market restaurant in Broadway, Barn Joo for Lunch.

Left home early to  have a look at Mario Batali's Food emporium Eatly near by.
Took the Bus with Metro card just like locals.
Wow what a shop. everything in one roof , even 4 restaurants, coffee , ice cream bar, kitchen ware, and nice fresh vegetables, cheese.
Enviable concept , I think it will work in London too , all Italian food lovers would flock in these mega shop much better than anything in London .

As usual I went kichen shops nearby, whenever I travel I never miss to discover some local kitchen gadgets that is my hobby. bought a few things for my sister.

Arriving Barn Joo,   has impressive entrance hall, more like Korean village house. Manager Park was expecting me with broad friendly smile. Good to see house is nearly full even it is not weekend., a good sign .

I like to see more their creative side of dishes than just typical Korean dish , after all I can do at home any day.
Start with bean paste and tofu soup, Kimchi jeon , and sea urchin Bibimbab. What a treat!!
Never had sea urchin Bibimbab, very  luxurious.Bibimbab indeed and taste goes very well .
Bibimbab is anything goes , if you can afford why not?
I really loved this topped with mountain veggies and chopped sesame leaves, they are a heavenly match and soy sauce seasoning rather than spicy gochujang based sauce.  very good choice by the chef.

Mega Brazian susi , was huge, more tuna fish than rice, I can see why New Yorkers would love this. Less rice, more fish means an ideal healthy diet  dish
It was lovely experience to dine here. I can see how Korean cuisine is getting more high end now, a few chefs try to create Western style of Korean food in New York it seemed right for the city. Why not?

Friday, my niece hired a guy to drive around NY. Our first stop was Ground Zero, new memorial building was superb, fitting site and names of victims were around all over water fall, moving sight.

On to the Brooklyn, a smart looking town with stylish houses, not like Manhattan, relaxed atmosphere with style,  our Italian pizza lunch was uneventful nor tasty , but  too salty clam pizza and rather mean undija pizza.

Next , Chelsea food market, very clean and  organised market and full of tourist, rather modern market that London Borough market, could not resist to oyster stall.  had 6 , but nothing special for me. I am simply an oyster fanatic.

Lastly brief visit High Line, garden created with abandoned old rail way, What a good idea, I know London is making Garden Bridge after this.

Our final visit was Korean Town in New Jersey,   Wow!! I never seen like this huge super market with mounts of Korean foods and fish , Vegetables, fruits, more than I have seen in Seoul. You can get any Korean ingredients and more.

Korean restaurant near by. so busy , famous for soft tofu stew . Just like in Korea, they brought 10 different free side dishes,  Banchan, with main,  I do miss this kind of dining out, efficient, generous portions and most of all tasty like in Korea. Well I do not think London , even New Malden.

Saturday. nephew, YJ invited us Lunch, Japanese grilled meat restaurant , U Gak in 51st. more like Korean bulgogi restaurant than Japanese. Had a wonderful selection of beef, grilled at the table.

Sunday was cold and miserable. as my niece's birthday , I made simple Tiramisu as her birthday cake.

Monday, my final day  as my flight is late evening I had plenty of time to do my last shopping and visit  my one of favourite place, Central Terminal oyster Bar.
Still cold breeze  , after my shopping at Sacks 5th, walk down with my sister Park lane to the grand building, Central Terminal, most impressive  train station building , I think.

I love this station ,high ceiling and beautiful painting ( stars )  narrow and long  impressive windows,  bustling with travellers , they all seemed eager to be somewhere .

One day I love to take train from this station, how romantic!!!
My favourite oyster bar is in this basement.
As soon as we went down, still empty seats are at the Bar, nothing seemed changed , it was 36years ago I came  here with my husband, it was our honeymoon, since then whenever I am in NYC, I have to be here.

Oyster and clam chowder are must have. Had  6 combined oyster by chef's choice, 2 New York, 2 Seattle, 2 Main.
My preference was Seattle, by size, Main by taste.

I am so glad I have done this, It was just like visiting an old friend. How could I leave not seeing my oldest friend!!

My one regret was not visiting Strawberry Hill in Central park to pay my respect to John Lennon, for his music and life .

Hope I will visit NYC soon. Then I can do more food and culture things.

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