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Here's my NYC Trip Report


Kim Shook
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This whole report needs to be prefaced by saying that we live in Richmond, VA. We have traveled a lot and enjoy ‘fine things’. We have had our culinary consciousness raised by our experiences, our travel, seeking out interesting restaurants and my extensive cooking. That said, we live in RICHMOND, VA. We are not hicks, but we just aren’t used to the quality of product that you can get in NY. If we seem less discriminating than you and satisfied with less than you would be, so be it. We are country mice, after all – and it is nice to be pleasantly surprised sometimes!

Monday, March 19, 2007

This was the day of the memorial. After paying homage to Mr. Kim’s one non-food request for our trip – a walk through of St. Patrick’s Cathedral -- we met up with some HS friends and went to lunch at Molyvos, a Greek restaurant on 7th Ave. I had the white bean hummus:

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and Country Greek Sausage – Lamb and Pork scented w/ fennel, orange and coriander:

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The sausage was really good – juicy and flavorful and not at all greasy. The hummus was – meh. OK, but a little bland – mine (Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe) is better :biggrin: .

We had some time to kill, so I sweet talked everyone into walking over to Bouchon Bakery at Columbus Circle:

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Got some shots of the case and saw someone in a Per Se jacket :laugh: :

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This was our haul; Meyer lemon macaron, mini chocolate cakes and a pistachio brioche:

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The macaron was ok. Honestly, I’ve never had one before, so I can’t say what it is supposed to taste like, but I found it a little dry and chewy and the lemon taste was very, very faint (the chocolate one from La Maison du Chocolat the next day was much more to my liking). I am a fool for brioche and really liked the pistachio – I ate it that night in the hotel room wishing for a little butter! The little chocolate cakes were swoony.

We also got to wander around Whole Foods (same building) and I was pretty impressed. I work for The Fresh Market in Richmond, VA and we are pretty dern good for Richmond, but we are getting a Whole Foods and I may just defect. I was very excited to see the dry aged beef. The bakery was lovely, too. (Remember, Country Mice – we don’t have much in the way of Gourmet Shops).

Tuesday, March 20 – Our Anniversary

We kissed our friends goodbye in NJ and went down the yellow brick road, stopping first in Glen Ridge at a diner for breakfast. I had one egg, over med., wonderful tender/crisp Yankee home fries and fried Taylor Ham (a first for me – pretty good, kinda like fried bologna). I love to eat at diners and delis when I am up North. As a Southerner, I am proud of my food heritage. I think that we do many things better than anyone. However, that would not include diners, delis or subs. This is what home fries should look like:

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We checked into our beautiful, lovely, fantastic, FREE (thank you AMEX points!) room at the Omni Berkshire. Mr. Kim was ready for a break, a nap, some luxury tub lolling, but I wouldn’t have any of that. We hit the streets for our only full day in the city. All I can say is, “Thank you, jebus, for Crocs!”

First we wandered around Chelsea including going through Chelsea Market. My friend whose memorial service we came up for lived in Chelsea, so I have spent a lot of time here. I really enjoyed showing it to Mr. Kim. I love Buon Italia and can’t imagine how wonderful it would be to have that kind of store to shop in on a regular basis. We had cupcakes at Eleni’s Cupcakes. Mr. Kim says mine are better:

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Lunch was at Pomme Frites. We had been steered away from here and I am glad that we ignored the warnings and went anyway. As I mentioned before, we simply aren’t used to the quality and variety that New Yorkers take for granted and so were thrilled with Pomme Frites. We had a small (!!!) order of Frites with 3 different sauces: Roasted Garlic Mayo, Mexican Ketchup and Wasabi Mayo. We also had Poutine. All delicious, all wonderful, possibly all spurious, yep – but we were happy:

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That day we also went to Fish’s Eddy and Little Italy and Chinatown. In Little Italy we stopped at Ferrara for a snack. We had a fruit tartlet, sfogliatella and cannoli:

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The fruit tartlet and cannoli were pretty good, but I was hampered with the sfogliatella as I was earlier with the macaron in that I hadn’t ever tasted it before. It was tougher than I expected it to be. Not really flaky like it looks. It was sure pretty, though!

We just really looked and didn’t eat in Chinatown – we were stuffed and anticipating dinner. I did have one interesting experience, though :blink: . My daughter requested a knock off designer purse as her souvenir of NYC. Well, the last time I wandered around Chinatown (admittedly, a while back) they were sitting out on tables on the sidewalks – like, out in the open??? Um, apparently, no more. Apparently, when the proprietor of a tiny little bag shop realizes that that is what you are after he calls a big, giant goomba with a suspicious lump under his jacket to stand in front of the shop while he opens a freakin’ secret door in the back wall (eeeeeeeeeeeek!) to show you the stuff :shock: . Anyway that’s what I hear. And Jessica loves her souvenir. :cool:

Dinner was at Degustation. We came in just in front of Matt Lauer and his guest – at about 7:20 for a 7:30 reservation. Guess who got seated first :hmmm: ? Well, they did comp us champagne and croquetas. These were very good – comforting and the most ‘regular’ food we had all night.

The food here was like nothing we have ever, ever experienced. I admit that we were so overwhelmed by the experience that we didn’t even take one picture. I could really kick myself :angry: . We both just sat and grinned and rolled our eyes at each other like big old rubes and ate and ate and ate. So if anyone has photos of any of the dishes we ate, would you please post them so that I can copy for our journal?

After the comped croquetas, our next dish was the Poached Egg, Jamon Serrano, Chorizo, Smoked Cheese and Rice Cracker Crusted Asparagus – truly luxurious – like Tupac says in his review of the restaurant on the Degustation thread, it becomes like a soup with the slow poached egg.

Next was the Grilled Spanish Mackerel, with a Trio of Apples and the Seared Scallops, Jamon Serrano Broth, Carrots and Artichokes – this was topped with deep fried baby artichokes. The mackerel was not oily and strong, the way I expected it to be, but very, very flavorful anyway (I didn’t find the apple additions terribly interesting). The scallops were fantastic – perfectly cooked and I could eat deep fried artichokes for months without getting tired of them :wub: . I’m going to learn how to do that.

Our last dishes were the Crispy Sweetbreads, Cucumber Dill Greek Yogurt w/ Thai Chilies and the Grilled Lamb Belly, with a Maitake Mushroom and Potato Hash brown, Beet Gastrique and a Slowly Poached Quail Egg. I admit that I was ‘ascared’ of the sweetbreads, but I was very brave and they were awesome. Really. I almost wished that I was my old big belly self so that I could eat more. Of course, they were crispy – deep fried. And I am a Southerner. So if you served me boiled ones <slight shudder>, all bets might be off :laugh: ! The grilled lamb belly was fabulous, too. Mr. Kim freaked a little until I told him it was like lamb bacon, then he dove in and got all happy and greasy. The little hash brown cake was adorable and tasty with its tiny quail egg cap! I smeared the soft yolk around like I was at some wee elf diner and wished for a tiny little biscuit to sop up the juices!

All in all, a fantastic and perfect anniversary celebration. We really felt like we were eating at a new level. It was interesting, beautiful and different food, without trying too hard or being weird for weirdness’ sake, if that makes sense. We talked about it for a few days like you do when you have read an important book. I think that we are now harder to please. So next time Mr. Kim intends to fight Matt Lauer for the seats :biggrin: .

It was turning very cold, so getting to the Pegu club was a relief. Mr. Kim was very suspicious of y’all when we were trying to find it. I think that he thought we were going to be shanghaied! But we opened the door and all that warm red and the jazzy music enveloped us and he was his old trusting self again. We climbed the steps and were instantly comfortable with that atmosphere! Unfortunately, there were no seats available at the bar (I like to watch :raz:), so we found a table and ordered drinks. I distinctly remember writing down what we had and can’t find the paper anywhere. Mr. Kim had something with ginger beer in it and mine had some brandy. Whatever, they were delicious. It was so delightful sitting there sipping a complex, delicious cocktail, listening to beautiful music in those sophisticated surroundings. And watching the lovely YOUNG people. Honestly, I have never felt so old and fat as I did this trip. Everywhere we went, we kept saying, “we are the oldest and fattest people here.” It was very odd. In Richmond, we are rather attractive and au courant. In NYC? Not so much.

We swung by Times Square, which Mr. Kim had never seen at night, went back to our hotel, got into the Omni robes and took pictures of each other in them, like the big, giant hicks that we are and snoozed like happy little piglets.

Wednesday, March 21

Since this was the day we leaving, we just focused on one area of town to go to. We were walking and I was so cold that when Mr. Kim told me we could stop and eat anywhere, I turned into the first place we passed. So, we had breakfast at Burger Heaven on Madison Ave. Again, I am sure this place was nothing special in NY. But for us, it was wonderful. Mr. Kim ate something, but his main aim was coffee. I had your basic egg, sausage, home fries and toast breakfast. The sausage was incredible and of a sort we just don’t get down here. It was very fat (thick) and really, really meaty tasting. Ours are about the size of my finger and bland. Also, the multi grain bread used to make the toast was remarkably good. I’d love to know what they get.

This morning was (by chance, not design) devoted to the viewing, photographing and obtaining of various sweet goodies. We stopped by and didn’t go in (it brought out our inner mices a little) Lady M:

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We did go in, and drooled over, and photographed and were treated in a very lovely manner by the folks at La Maison Du Chocolat:

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Some shots of the store:

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What we brought home:

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This stuff was truly above and beyond anything we had ever tasted before. We are so spoiled now. The chocolates were phenomenally creamy and rich and complex. That triangular thing was coconut inside. And the nougat was hard to share.

Then we went over to Payard were we drooled some more and took a pile of pictures before they fussed at us – “No pictures, no pictures!”:

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Idiotic rule. But we didn’t get ugly with them about it because we didn’t want them to spit on these:

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I don’t know what all these things we brought home were except I got two brioche things (because I am a fool for brioche) – one was almond and candied orange (mmmmm) and they were all delicious.

The last thing on my list of things to find in NYC, I managed to find at D’Agostino’s:

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:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I almost danced in the aisle when I saw these on the shelf. Drake’s coffee cakes and Yankee Doodles – the best, best, BEST ever snack cakes. And not to be found in Richmond in more than 5 years! I bought an entire box of each!

Funny thing about this trip was that I lost 3 lbs. and that I didn’t get ill once. Since having the gastric bypass, I get ill a lot if I eat rich stuff or just eat too much. But it didn’t happen at all. As you can see I was eating a lot of different things, but I think that I was getting so much exercise and activity that it helped keep me on an even keel. Nice. I’ll have to remember that and see if it helps at home.

So that’s our trip. We had an amazing and too-short visit. We want to come back soon. We have so many places that we want to go to. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice and answered my questions. I’m sorry that I didn’t get to meet any of you this time, but I felt your presence in every place I visited. I feel very glad that I found egullet a few years ago and also that I finally got up the nerve to sign up and begin posting. I think that I could go to any country in the world now and feel that same presence and welcome and comfort. Thank you all!

Kim

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I think someone liked the case at Payard, eh?

I am so glad you had a good Degustation experience - what was your favorite dish of the night?

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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nice report and glad that you had a good time in NYC.

however, i don't like either payard or Maison Du Chocolat, both pretentious and mediocre, with the former more pretentious and the latter more mediocre. I only go to payard to impress non-foodie visiters, and never buy chocolate from the latter.

Edited by kyeblue (log)
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Kim, what a wonderful trip report! Seeing you (in reflection) and Mr. Kim really makes it nice to put faces to your posts.

While it is fun to post as 'rubes', I think it is cute that you can have a good time at the diner type places and dance in the aisles over snack cakes. I sometimes (always?!) feel that pretension sets in and then you just can't enjoy the good things in life (like hotel bathrobes) :laugh:

I worked at Cafe Gray in the Time Warner Center and I'm more than happy with a bacon-egg-and-cheese-on-a-roll from the corner liquor store when I'm in NYC. Sometimes, you just have to have what makes you feel good all over :smile: .

Now you've got me missing NYC :sad:

Again, great trip and nice to 'meet' you.

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chaosuk - thank you. It really was an amazing trip and I was surprised by how much we managed to see and do!

Megan - I loved the case at Payard! I was just astounded at the variety. It was one of those times where I just wanted to be able to watch them do all those things. I can't even begin to imagine how they do the things that they do. I honestly think that my favorite thing at Degustation was the Sweetbreads, which I cannot even believe I just said :raz: !

Bryan - We'd love to come down to Durham sometime! My grandmother lives in Reidsville NC, so we might be able to combine trips!

kyeblue - well, as I said, we are country mice, so we enjoyed everything. And I guess its a good thing that there are people like us who don't recognize pretension or mediocrity when we see it - that insures the employees of places like Payard and Maison Du Chocolat continuing employment. And I guess that I must be a non-foodie, because I was certainly impressed with the beauty and artistry of the products of Payard. :hmmm:

alanamoana - thank you for your kind words, dear! I was cool when I was a kid. Now that I am old (47!), I am a geek who likes what I likes :laugh: . I don't really care about what is in style or whether I am 'supposed' to like something. If I enjoy it, I enthuse about it.

Kim

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Hi from beautiful downtown VCU!!

We are going to NYC unexpectedly for about 24 hours this weekend. I am a yankee transplant--originally from Queens and Princeton NJ, but down here for over 26 years. I loved your honest appreciation of the city. I am so torn by not living there, but having lived there...it is a strange thing.

I am going to start another thread for our itenerary and for suggestions for dinner, but I so motivated by your descriptions. I hope we have as full an experience as you did.

If you ever hear Chef Salad at Edo's (eating, not working!) that's me!!

Aloha,

cjs

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Kim -

Nice report - thanks so much for sharing that with us.

You said:

I think that I could go to any country in the world now and feel that same presence and welcome and comfort. Thank you all!

That is SO true. I was fortunate enough to finally get to Paris a couple years back and my GF was amazed that I had so many little culinary gems lined up in advance as the right places for us to eat - it was all thanks to eG.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

however, i don't like either payard or Maison Du Chocolat, both pretentious and mediocre, with the former more pretentious and the latter more mediocre. I only go to payard to impress non-foodie visiters, and never buy chocolate from the latter.

Kye - I'm curious - where do you buy chocolate in NYC?

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however, i don't like either payard or Maison Du Chocolat, both pretentious and mediocre, with the former more pretentious and the latter more mediocre. I only go to payard to impress non-foodie visiters, and never buy chocolate from the latter.

Kye - I'm curious - where do you buy chocolate in NYC?

I was curious as well when I read this response as I work with several chocolatiers (and know several as well) and although they can be pretty critical, none of them has much negative to say about Maison du Chocolat. Quite the contrary, most can find no fault with Maison du Chocolat.

Can't speak for others, however.

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Living in Richmond has its compensations ( I'm another Richmondite), and even some good food here and there, but it is a city that could use a real patisserie. Now I want to get on Jet Blue this weekend and have somebody else make me a Macaron!

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Wow looks like you guys had a whirlwind trip! Great photos.

John

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Thanks for your fine report, Kim. I must confess that I too have always had a "thing" for Drake's Cakes - especially Yankee Doodles and Devil Dogs! :smile: They are one of the few childhood dessert snack foods that I still (occasionally) enjoy.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Living in Richmond has its compensations ( I'm another Richmondite), and even some good food here and there, but it is a city that could use a real patisserie.  Now I want to get on Jet Blue this weekend and have somebody else make me a Macaron!

And I am here in Richmond for 3 months!!! I grew up here, and left back in the mid 70s.... It is fun exploring the city again, and seeing what is available now.

I have never been to NYC....one of my dreams....

Christine

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Hi Kim.:smile: Really loved living vicariously through you and Mr. Kim's foray through New York City. I'm a fellow rube from Virginia, just a bit north of you and would have been just as bug eyed happy as you obviously were. I like the fact that you jumped in with both feet without feeling much intimidation and so open to trying new things.

Thoroughly enjoyed your photos of all the gorgeous pastries at Bouchon and Payard--you must have been snapping away at warp speed to get so many lovely shots at Payard's--but as much as I love sweets in general, the money shot for me was that succulent looking Greek country sausage :wub: at Molyvos and your description of it. I could dive into a plate of that with some warm fresh pita bread and Greek side dishes/salads anytime. Right now would be good as a matter of fact.

New Yorkers are so fortunate to have all of those wonderful places at their fingertips. Don't forget to take us along on your next trip! :wink:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I lived in Richmond before I moved to NYC, and while we of course have a lot in NYC, Richmond has its own perks, like the unique Mamma Zu's and superior Vietnamese food, and Millie's breakfast food. I enjoyed reading your column, and am about to make a reverse trip to Richmond in a couple weeks to visit some friends!

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Thanks for the wonderful report Kim! I love seeing Mrs. Shook's pic reflected when she snapped a picture of the LadyM Cake Botique storefront. Oh, love your pic with that cone of fries, too! LOL It's nice to put a face behind the name here in our food forum.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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