My fifth visitor to New York City this month made some time to hang out with me tonight for an evening of fantastic food and fun. I have been friends with Melissa since the ninth grade, when I sat behind her in English and dropped a quarter down her pants in the middle of class. Now she is now a Ph. D. candidate in biochemistry at the University of California-San Diego, but to me she'll always be that lovable girl from from the desk next door.
As I waited for Melissa and her boyfriend, Dan, to arrive for dinner, I wandered Chelsea Market and drooled over the food. I finally caved at People's Pops, which makes organic frozen treats from seasonal fruit purchased from local farmers. I bought an apricot and salted caramel bar, possibly the best popsicle I've ever had in my life. I could actually taste the fruit chunks, and the smooth and salty sweetness was the perfect complement. Chelsea Market is quickly ascending as one of my must-visit places in the city.
Melissa and Dan, being hard-core sushi lovers, chose to dine at the trendy and world-famous Morimoto, the restaurant owned and operated by the eponymous Iron Chef himself. The prices reflected its prestigious reputation with appetizers alone costing upwards of $30. I managed to skimp (relatively speaking) by ordering only a shrimp tempura maki roll and two types of sashimi, the tuna and barbecue eel. It was oh-so-fresh and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, but I'm definitely not enough of a connoisseur to truly appreciate how the nuanced excellence of the food could justify the exorbitant bill.
After dinner, we headed to Momofuku Milk Bar in Midtown for desserts. I finally got to try their famous crack pie, appropriately named for its addictiveness, as well as sample their amazing soft-serve ice cream, with unique flavors like cereal milk and salted pistachio caramel. Since there's no seating area, we hung out on the mezzanine of the trendy Chambers Hotel and enjoyed some casual conversation and catch up. Even though I may or may not have gotten us lost while looking for the subway station in the rain, it was still a fun night with an old friend and high-quality cuisine.
|A apricot and salted caramel popsicle from People's Pops in Chelsea Market. Quite possibly the most amazing frozen treat I've ever eaten.|
|A mouthwatering array of cheeses, meats, fresh pasta, and other imported fine foods at Buon Italia in Chelsea Market.|
|A very colorful floral arrangement at Gramercy Park Flower Shop in Chelsea Market.|
|A sushi chef at work at Morimoto.|
|A sushi chef works with a lineup of tantalizingly fresh fish at Morimoto.|
|My friends ordered the world-renowned Toro Tartare as an appetizer. It's blue fin tuna and caviar with six dipping sauces, including creme fraiche, wasabi, avocado, rice crisps, chives and dried seaweed cooked in soy sauce to make a sweet paste.|
|Melissa and Dan dig in to the Toro Tartare.|
|A waitress prepares an elaborate dish at the table in a hot stone bowl.|
|My order: shrimp tempura maki, maguro sashimi (tuna), and unagi sashimi (barbecued eel).|
|Our fellow patrons sitting at the Morimoto sushi bar.|
|The restaurant was complexly configured with glass walls and colored lighting.|
|The entrance to Morimoto greets visitors with a two-story wall of blue-lit crystal and sleek angles of glass and concrete.|
|The centerpiece to the foyer is the wall of glass lit by blue lights.|
|Dan utilizes Melissa as a coat rack as he adds another layer of clothing to keep warm in the rainy New York evening. What a practical use for a girlfriend!|
|At the Chambers Hotel mezzanine noshing on Momofuku Milk Bar desserts.|
|Making some last-minute phone calls from the Chambers Hotel before heading home for the night.|
|The beautiful sculptural wall-hanging that serves as the artistic centerpiece for the Chambers Hotel mezzanine.|
|A very strange but interesting lighted art installation at the mezzanine of the Chambers Hotel.|
|Dan and Melissa moments before hopping on a subway back to the East Village.|
|Scenes from Queens: More creepy stalking of the neighbor's yard to get pretty flower pictures.|
|Scenes from Queens: Daisies!|