Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 36: The Shopping

Photo of the Day: Shopping on SoHo

What a day! And I say that with both satisfaction and frustration. On one hand, today was jam-packed with marathon eating and activities that took us all around the city. We started our morning at the Union Square Greenmarket, a huge urban farmers' market in the heart of Manhattan, followed by a quick caffeine fix at Pret A Manger. Despite the few filling treats we picked up on the way, we raced immediately to Ippudo, a Japanese ramen house that comes highly recommended by pretty much everyone I've asked. I was also warned that the wait for a table is usually about an hour long, especially on the weekends, but thanks to our good fortune, we arrived right as the doors were opening and were seated immediately! I think my expectations were impossibly high due to the hype, so it wasn't as life-changing as I'd anticipated, but it's still probably the best ramen I've ever eaten. We washed our savory soups down with some sweets at the nearby Chikalicious Dessert Bar, where we gorged on amazing chocolate mousse and an ingenious chocolate eclair ice cream sandwich.

Our afternoon was spent shopping in SoHo, a mini mecca of mid- to high-end retail. My mom and sister hit up shops like Express, Bloomingdale's, H&M, White House | Black Market, Steve Madden, and CB2. Long stretches of shopping tend to exhaust me, but I think the ladies had an enjoyable time and found some good deals. Unfortunately, it was unseasonably warm, so everyone was was a little bit irritable by the time we concluded our spree. On top of that, I had the awful idea of taking my guests down to Manhattan's Chinatown for cheap Peking duck and dumplings at Vanessa's Dumpling House. The food was just fine, but the combination of an exhausting walk, dirty and smelly streets, hot weather, overwhelming crowds jammed into a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, and the lack of (and extreme need for) clean bathrooms turned this leg of the trip into a veritable disaster. We needed to get out quick, so we immediately headed for the more upscale pastures of Midtown.

This was the New York my guests were waiting to experience. I brought my mom and sister to my workplace in the Time Life Building, and I think they were impressed by my proximity to Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center. They really liked the swanky office building, and I illegally brought my sister up to the offices of Real Simple, one of her favorite magazines, where she got to geek out over empty cubicles. We also swung by the NBC Experience Store to look at souvenirs and spent time just chilling on the plaza. For dinner, we randomly chose a French cafe called La Bonne Soupe and were rewarded for our adventurousness. In addition to reasonable prices, our Quiche Lorraine, Crepe Canadienne, and French onion soup were exquisite.

Had the night ended there, things would have been fine. I unfortunately screwed things up by taking us to the wrong subway station, delaying our trip home. Then I made a series of errors and bad judgment calls that left me extremely frustrated, and it was my mom's and sister's poor, exhausted feet that paid the price. The low note at the end of the night definitely put a damper on the day's events, but one more day in New York to make it all better!

Baked goods at the Union Square Greenmarket.
Daisy takes a bite out of an underwhelming carrot-raisin cookie at the farmer's market.
Daisy and Mom in the middle of the Union Square Greenmarket.
Fresh, organic cherry tomatoes.
Organic red, green and yellow bell peppers.
A caffeine fix at Pret A Manger.
Standing in line waiting for Ippudo, the famous ramen restaurant, to open.
The bowls hung on the wall behind the bar at Ippudo.
Finally a taste of the renowned Ippudo ramen!
The Akamaru Modern ramen at Ippudo with pork belly, cabbage, kikurage, scallions, and miso paste and the special Oyster Tonkatsu ramen with smoked oyster sauce, monkfish liver, cabbage, onion, chives, and fried red pickled ginger.
On a quintessential New York street. It reminds me of Sesame Street or Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood.
Chocolate mousse from Chikalicious Dessert Bar.
A chocolate eclair vanilla ice cream sandwich from Chikalicious Dessert Bar.
A stretch of retail in the famed SoHo shopping district.
Daisy and Mom looking at shoes at Steve Madden.
Daisy and Mom entering Bloomingdale's.
Jewelry shopping at Bloomingdale's.
Mommy getting some much needed time off her feet at CB2.
Visiting my office in Midtown across for the Radio City Music Hall.
I illegally snuck Daisy into the offices of Real Simple, one of her favorite magazines.
Daisy geeking out about the Real Simple offices like a true groupie.
Daisy shopping for souvenirs at the NBC Experience Store at Rockefeller Center.
My mom and I at the NBC Experience Store.
Fountains at Rockefeller Center.
The Quiche Lorraine at La Bonne Soupe in Manhattan.
The French onion soup with Gruyere at La Bonne Soupe in Manhattan.
The Crepe Canadienne filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and scallions.


  1. food is making my mouth water. Looks like your mom and daisy had fun! don't worry about all the walking... that's what you're suppose to do in NYC! They got the full experience. :)

  2. Food is the best part of New York!

    Their feet were REALLY hurting by the end of the day...serious recuperation was needed. :( At least it was good exercise?

  3. hmm.. i hear a lot of people say good things about ippudo, too, but danny and phi weren't very impressed, either! we went to a place called Minca for ramen, and i thought it was awesome, but then i have very little by way of comparison.

    oooo.. should they ever come to visit again and want to go shopping, take them to century 21! it's a bargain shopper's haven!

    those cherry tomatoes... checkerboard on top of checkerboard!

    getting lost and off course when you're tired and footsore is really frustrating, but it's so easy to do in nyc! don't feel bad! those subways can be seriously confusing, especially since we don't have anything like that in the south.

  4. Minca...I will have to remember that and try it next time! I think the best places are the ones you discover on your own. The hype always seems to ruin it.

    Daisy said she's been to Century 21 and was not impressed. I have heard other people rave about it though.

    That's quite observant of you. I don't think I even noticed that when I was taking the picture, haha.

    Yeah, I know getting lost happens, especially in a big place like New York, but the frustration just seeped into our overall moods, and their feet REALLY were hurting. I think I should have just slowed down a little bit and spaced out the walking.

  5. don't be hard on yourself och; mom and i both had an awesome time! ok except for maybe the chinatown experience... but the peking duck sandwich totally made up for it imho!]

  6. Yes son, I had a good time and managed to loose weight inspite of all the good foods and dessert that we had. I guess the long walk help burning the calories.

  7. I'm glad it was a good time overall. Usually in retrospect, things are remembered better than they were anyway. =)