Wednesday, August 27, 2008

NYC's Legendary Ale House

Open since 1854, McSorley's Old Ale House (on 15 E 7th St) is the oldest bar in New York and an important destination among pub crawlers. American icons like Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and John Lennon have tried McSorley's Ales. Some of the Old Ale House's mottos include, "Be Good or Be Gone" and "We were here before you were born." Prior to 1970, their motto was "Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies." Women were only allowed into this bar (that began as an Irish working man's saloon) in 1970 after a court order stemming from a lawsuit the year prior.

Before you go to this bar, the main thing you have to understand is that McSorley's serves only two beers - a light ale and a dark ale. That's it, just one type of light beer, one type of dark beer, no other brand beers, no mixed drinks, no wines. You also have to get two beers at a time per person (each glass is a half pint). If they ask you, "what'll you have?" and you say "a light beer," they'll bring you two. Don't question it, just drink it and enjoy. It's a bargain at $4.50 for two good quality beers. The beer is delicious, easy to drink, with a gentle aftertaste. If you're a Guinness drinker like us, don't be scared by the light beer - it's closer to a Boddington type of light rather than a watered down Bud light kind of light. And the dark was just a tad heavier and sweeter than the light ale.

There are no menus here. Just like the two beer selection, there is only a two food selection - either a hamburger (with or without cheese) served with fries or their famous white cheese platter with saltine crackers, still in its store bought wrapper, with or without raw onions. Apparently they used to serve this type of cheese platter with raw onions from its birth, when beers cost just pennies. The burger was average - the meat was pretty good but the bun was a bit stale and kept falling apart. But it served its purpose as a good companion to the beer. For eight beers and two burgers with cheese, your tab will be $32. How's that for a bar smack dab in the middle of expensive Manhattan bars?

Historical paraphernalia (like Houdini's handcuffs), old photos (including several of John F. and Bobby Kennedy), and newspaper articles on the walls, sawdust on the floors, and the Irish waiters wearing old world gray overcoat jackets give McSorley's that nostalgic "once upon a time" watering hole feel.

This old chandelier above the bar has turkey wishbones supposedly dating back to World War I. The legend is that a turkey dinner was thrown for departing soldiers and the wishbones were hung up there by the men going off to war and when they returned, they would remove them. So the wishbones that are left are from the men that never returned from the war.

McSorley's Old Ale House is a quaint slice of "old New York" with no frills: no overpriced fruity-tinis, no mango salsa ahi tar tar, no sports game on a flat screen t.v., no music, just two beers, two food choices, good loud conservation, and furniture reeking of 100-year-old brew. But hey, they can run it any way they want; after all, they are the oldest swill beer joint in the city and we love them for it!!! The atmosphere and friendly staff have more character than any $17 per Cosmo lounge in Manhattan - believe it. The crowd was loud and boisterous, and a mix of "Wall Street suits," European tourists, and blue-collar workers. Get there by 5:30 pm though if you want a chance at sitting down.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Finally, Keys to our New Apartment

It took us 25 days to find something, but we finally have the keys to our new quintessentially tiny New York City brownstone with views of the lovely brick walls and we are ecstatic! We'll officially move in on the 28th.

And no, this is not either of the two Chelsea co-op apartments we thought we were going to move into. One of the ritzy Chelsea co-op apartments, which would have been rented to us "under the table" to avoid the co-op process hassle won't be ready until late September. The other Chelsea co-op apartment which we applied for on August 4th has still yet to be reviewed by the co-op board. Nothing is moving forward with that, despite the owner's frequent requests.

In both cases, we were not willing to wait yet another month and go into a third sublet situation. No freakin way. So yesterday, we reached desperation and scramble mode and hit Craigslist AGAIN. There wasn't much new postings but we took a look at one Chelsea apartment on the street we wanted to move into in the first place. The building also happens to be adjacent to my friend's former apartment.

It's been almost one month of living out of one black suitcase, living in someone else's home, and swallowing cat hair. In another post, we will share the long hard lessons we learned on this stressful New York City apartment hunting journey. Hopefully those lessons will be helpful to those getting ready to move here.

One Dollar Sushi

Women are discouraged to eat most forms of fish while they're pregnant. But my mom apparently ate a lot of Mirugai sushi while pregnant with me, which may explain my obsession with the giant clam specifically, and all kinds of sushi in general. Sushi is by far our favorite type of food. If we were millionaires, we'd probably be at the sushi bar four nights out of the week, but we're far from that and we can only do sushi nights here and there. When we're having one of those "woe is me, the world is against me, boo hoo days," nothing cheers us up like good quality sushi. So we were having one of those days yesterday considering what became of our rental situation (rental rant in separate post) and decided to treat ourselves at May's Place Sushi on 2nd Ave (btwn 7th & 8th).

We weren't really expecting much when we walked into this standard looking place. We just thought it looked a lot more budget friendly than some of the other Japanese restaurants we walked by. And man were we ever right! We immediately zoomed in on the page with a list of $1 items, which included sushi. We were skeptical for the price. We assumed we'd get mostly rice with a thin Listerine strip size fish.

When we received our order, we could not believe how thick our fish was and how compact our rice was. And everything was fresh, most likely thanks to the restaurant's high volume and turnover. For those in our hometown reading this, the sushi was comparable to a Yanagi sushi quality for under Kozo/Genki sushi price.

The $1 sushi special is available every night, except Fridays and Saturdays. They also have 50% off specials on several dishes most nights of the week. This, like many Asian restaurants in NYC, had other Asian dishes incorporated into the menu (many Thai restaurants here sell sushi), which included Kimchee and other Korean dishes.

May's was such a contrast to Mizu (shown here), where we had substandard sushi at fancy prices.

On another note, it's been endearing the last couple days to see the NYU freshmen students and their parents on the streets with boxes, suitcases and housing items getting ready to start their grown-up life. It's absurd how much a lot of these students are paying for housing for the tiniest spaces - $2,000 and up. With NYU dispersed throughout the city in the heart of nightlife, it would seem the students would get easily distracted. On the other hand, I can't think of many other cities that has the kind of job and internship opportunities for these students on the scale of NYC.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Little India

We happily ventured away from "Little Tokyo" on St. Mark's - a tourist wasteland reeking of piss, booze, and vomit- and stumbled upon what seemed like Little India. On 6th St, between 1st and 2nd Ave, there must have been a dozen Indian restaurants, one after another. The restaurants looked similar and had similar menus; how would we choose among the mass of Tandoori servers? Our answer was given to us by a waiter standing by a $5.95 lunch special sign outside Raj Mahal, who stopped us, pointed to the cheap price, and ushered us in to the restaurant. Yes, we're easy when we're hungry and the price is right.

For $5.95, you get two soups, one beverage, nan, a choice of one appetizer (we tried the vegetable samosa and vegetable pakora), a choice of one entree with rice (we ordered chicken curry and vegetable curry), and dessert (a bright orange colored custard). Everything tasted good (their tomato-like soup was superb) and the portions were just right. The price for everything we had seemed crazy but when they're competing against so many similar restaurants on just one street, they have find a way to get the customers in.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not Your Average Seoul Food

We knew we weren't in a traditional Korean restaurant when we walked into this East Village food critics' pick when we observed a majority of the customers sipping Martinis with their Bulgoki.

Dok Suni (119 1st Ave, between 7th St. & St. Marks Place) looked like many other East Village stylized chic restaurants. It's a quaint little space with exposed brick, small tables, and dim lighting very reminiscent of a modern bistro.

There's some Korean touches here and there. One side of the wall is plastered with Korean script that reminds you that you're at a Korean restaurant.

They started off the night loudly playing Stevie Wonder (which we were overjoyed with), proceeded to play some R&B, and were playing rock by the time we left. What I love about New York city is that customers have these options - to get Korean food at hip restaurants catering to the 20- and 30-something-year-olds like Dok Suni, or at Korea Town where the standard setting is more appealing to the frequent Korean cuisine eater and an older crowd. We first learned of Dok Suni from our friend who highly recommended this place. He said it was the best Korean food he had tasted and said the place was fun.

We were delighted when they brought out Mook, our first (free) Banchan. Mook is a jelly dish (looks like clear tofu) drizzled with sauce and green onions. The sauce on the Mook was flavorful and somewhat sweet, although we were disappointed at how small the portion was. Also the sauce on the Mook is usually somewhat spicy.

We ordered Kimchee Bindaeddeok (Korean style pancake) as our only appetizer. We love Bindaeddeok! I've tried what seems like hundreds of Bindaeddeok and they all taste so different. Some are crispy, some chewy, some spicy, some with meat, some with only vegetables. There are so many twists and turns you can make on this dish. Dok Suni's Bindaeddeok (crispy and flavorful) is delicious and a dinner bargain at $5. The only weird thing about this dish was that you couldn't taste any Kimchee and it wasn't spicy like most Kimchee Bindaeddeoks are characterized by.

One of our entrees was Deji Bulgoki (thinly sliced barbecued pork). This was a bit expensive, but the portion was not bad for the price. Most Korean restaurants hike up their entree prices at dinner time so the price was fairly standard. When I took my first bite, my taste buds were in flavor overload. As I ate my first few bites, I thought this entree was delicious and thought to myself, "I wonder why all the Korean reviewers were giving such negative reviews about this establishment?" And then I realized halfway through my meal that there was too much going on with the Deji Bulboki sauce. It was sweet, it had a lot of flavor, but the sauce was much too overpowering - it was hiding the meat itself. I had to drink a ton of water (not because there was any spice to this) to cleanse my palate of the over abundance of sauce.

Our other entree was their Bulgoki (barbecued beef), which tasted okay, but we definitely have tasted way better for much cheaper. Note the tiny horizontal plate above the Bulgoki plate in this photo. This tiny plate of five tiny food assortment is their interpretation of Banchan (side dishes). Banchan is a staple in Korean dining - whether at home or restaurant. Traditional Korean cuisine is marked by their side dishes that come served in separate small plates and bowls. Dok Suni's Banchan was not only extremely small in portion, but there was not one spicy dish. Even the Kimchee wasn't spicy. Also, Banchan is normally "refilled" for you at no cost per your request. This didn't seem like the kind of Korean restaurant where you asked for "refill."

In Korean dining, the meats are sometimes place in lettuce, along with Deonjang (bean paste) and rice (and whatever else you want in it, like Kimchee or garlic). Then you wrap the lettuce around everything, then stuff the huge mass in your mouth until you look like a blowfish. It's healthy, it's messy, it's delicious. But Dok Suni's Deonjang was pretty inedible. Deonjang is another Korean staple. They use this as simply dipping paste or spread, as seen below, or in soups like Deonajng Chigae (hot soup). But I've never tasted salty Deonjang like the one served at Dok Suni's, so salty to the point where I could no longer spread it on the lettuce.

Korean food utilizes a lot of spicy chili and garlic. At Dok Suni's, the chili peppers were more sweet than spicy. Actually there was not one spice in our whole meal. There wasn't much garlic flavor anywhere either. Dok Suni's dishes would definitely not be spicy enough for Korean palates. It seems their flavor is tailored to accommodate patrons that don't normally eat Korean food. The atmosphere along with the hybrid seasonings are a definite east meets west.

Many Korean restaurants give customers a free, small dessert sweet drink (sweet rice drink, persimmon/cinnamon drink, or honeyed water) at the end of a dinner meal to settle the palate. We were given the sweet drink in a shot glass consisting of probably water, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. I think the ones with more of that cinnamon kick is tastier. Dok Suni's tasted a bit too watered down (odd, considering how much extra flavor they tried to put in everything else).

By the time we finished our meal, there was not one free table in this popular restaurant and we had to wait almost 15 minutes to get our check. By the way, this place is cash-only.

Okay, so the food was all over the map from good to unimpressive. But one great thing about Dok Suni is that you don't leave here smelling like bbq meat like many other Korean restaurants since there are no grills on this table. For nights when you want to start the night with some sort of Korean food and then venture off to other places, then Dok Suni would be a good option.

If we do come here again, I think we'll probably just sit at the bar, request some Stevie Wonder, and only order their tasty Kimchee Bindaeddeok again and perhaps try their Dduk Boki (spicy rice cake), although I'm sure it won't be spicy.

Now I just need to find a place that makes good Korean street vendor style Sundae (Korean sausage) and Ja Jang Myun, which we'll probably have to head to Flushing or Korea Town on 32nd (near the Empire State Building) to get our fix. We hope to find good Korean food in New York City to match the superb Korean meals I've had in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sayonara Brooklyn

Today was our last day at our temporary housing in Brooklyn. In addition to receiving free housing, we had the pleasure of cat-sitting the quirky and charming Mr. Spatz. As soon as we saw his preference for drinking water out of a Guinness cup, we knew we'd get along with him.

We loved how he'd hide for hours, then at night while we were asleep, he'd make himself known by jumping on the bed, climbing all over us, and head-butting us. He would not let us sleep. We had always been dog people, but we grew quite fond (no, attached) of the Spatz Catz.

We need to find one of these in whatever area we finally move to: Joe's Busy Corner Gourmet Deli (552 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY) is one of those staple go-to place when you want simple comfort home-style food, nothing fancy, at a reasonable price, with friendly service. You can't go wrong with their Paninis. Try the "Anthony's Delight" toasted panini, which comes with eggplant, mozzarella, roasted peppers, and herbs and spices. If you like flavor, this is the one for you. They also have daily breakfast sandwiches for $3.50, many gourmet sandwich options, pastas and pasta salads, and other daily specials. Everything you need is here - cheap coffee, muffins, soda, beer, cookies, and oversized donuts with extra sprinkles.

Another great thing about Joe's Busy Corner is they sell this Manhattan Special Espresso Coffee Soda. This is probably not the healthiest liquid to put in your body, but when you want an occasional, sweet perk-me-up, this gets the job done.

This is a cheap coffee we've been drinking in the mornings before heading out. We've developed a love and hate relationship with this coffee - it tastes good when it's piping hot then tastes like dirty sweat-soaked socks when you've let the coffee sit and cool down. So if you drink this, drink it fast (even if the hot water is burning your throat). This is not for the faint mocha lattte frappa venti yadda yadda drinkers - this coffee is "put hairs on your chest" strong. Drink with discretion.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly . . . Brooklyn Mexican Food

We begin this posting with good Mexican food down to the worst Mexican food we have ever tried in our lives (and we have tried our share):

Word-of-mouth praises and great reviews about an obscure food joint didn't catch our attention since the infamous Midnight Cuban Sandwich at Paseo's in Seattle. Then there was Mexico 2000. We've been wanting to try Mexico 2000 (on 367 Broadway between Hooper & Keap St) since we got to NYC since it was highly recommended by our friend Tony. It was even more intriguing when he said "don't tell anyone about it, I don't want the hipsters to find out about this place." Like him, we selfishly love eating at small hole-in-the-wall places that the mass crowd doesn't know about. Sorry Tony, it was too good to not share with our family and friends.

Mexico 2000 is a Mexican bodega filled with with Mexican snacks, beer and juices, hot sauces, jars of chiles, corn tortillas, some produce and pastries, Guadalupe candles, and other Mexican variety you won't be finding at a Safeway near you. You walk past the jarred goods and two cramped tables all the way back to the food counter and there you look at the menu taped to the refrigerator and order from a variety of tortas, chimichangas, burritos, and tons of shrimp dishes (unfortunately no shrimp today). You watch as two ladies diligently do their best to quickly prepare the dishes in front of you. It gets crowded since it's such a tiny space and we had to wait about 20 minutes. Do yourself and the workers a favor by waiting outside. We were drooling as we watched them finally prepare ours in take-out containers. We knew we were getting the real deal when we were the only ones in the joint speaking English.

Their nacho and FRESH guacamole platter is delicious! Recommended!

Their chicken taco topped off with mounds of cheese is a good deal. You'll be full after these.

Their carne asada platter was just average, but their rice and beans were just right.

Mexico 2000 treated us to a lot of food and reminded us why we love Mexican food so much. Our dinner totaled only $25, which also included two beers and two breakfast pastries.......... nice.

Taco Chulo at 318 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY was on the slightly pricier side but they delivered for free and for one of those "we feel lazy but we want some Mexican food in our system" nights, it was perfect for us. The photo to follow is their "Mission" taco ($4.50), consisting of cheese, rice, guacamole, lettuce, pico de gallo, salsa verde, crema. It was delicious, esp after you've loaded it up with their somewhat mild salsa. Their Carne Asada burrito was a bit funky tasting with the bbq flavor and potatoes. The flan was nothing special, not worth $5.

Taco Chulo's menu has some interesting items that might be worth trying for the curious souls like their Nopalitos taco/burrito, which comes with chilled marinated baby cactus. We're not sure how we feel about their Vegan options but it's at least there for meatless lovers - their Santa Cruz comes on a whole wheat tortilla filled with spinach, black beans, avocado, lettue, pico de gallo, tofu sour cream. Um, I think we'll pass on that. If we do ever come back here, we'd try their sweet stuff: Te-Qui Lime Pie (with tequila-infused syrup) or their Tamales de Chocolate (
warm chocolate-coconut tamales steamed to order in corn husks, filled with dried cherries and apricots, and served with a chocolate-chile dipping sauce). Not your traditional taqueria but they offer a great twist on one of our favorite cuisines.

We were passing this Endless Summer truck almost every day and finally tried their food. Tacos served out of this truck seemed appealing, almost nostalgic, during these summer days, like those ice cream trucks. Their menu with cheap prices looked even better. We always saw people standing in a long line and folks sitting on the street around the truck stuffing their faces with their tacos. So we had pretty high hopes for this place, which is why when we tasted the food, we were doubly disappointed at the small portions of unflavorful, dry, banal food. What do you expect when your tacos are made by three non-Chicanos..... a waste of $$$$$. You're not supposed to be hungry after you eat Mexican food. But we were. And how the hell can you mess up rice and beans ?!?!? Endless Bummer.

And the drum roll please . . . . . The worst Mexican food we have ever tried goes to LA Burrito. The irony in the name is that most of the best Mexican food I have encountered was in LA. They don't deserve a picture in this blog. Don't go there unless you want to be peeing crappy Mexican food out of your butt all night. Who knows, maybe we caught them on a bad night but we're not taking a second chance on them. I believe two-day old Taco Bell would be a better choice (and we disdain Taco Bell). My deconstructed burrito looked and tasted like bland Gerber Baby mush. Their nachos were horrible, like they were dried up leftovers from the day before.

Well, take or leave our advice on Mexican food, the one thing that remains constant for us - we will always be on the hunt for the perfect taco.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Brooklyn Brewery Tour

We didn't have to wait until next weekend for the Brooklyn Brewery tour after all (see our post of yesterday). They now give tours on Sundays too. Upon entering the brewery we were greeted with our old friend - cold beer!!!!

Here are a few pics of the two brewing rooms. Within these rooms, 25% of the company's beer is produced. This equals to 25,00 - 40,00 kegs. The rest of the stock is produced upstate. ******Word to the wise via the brewery guide: drink unfiltered or hefeweisen beer to avoid hangovers due to the abundance of vitamin B.............. go figure.

Our guide talked of the early days when Williamsburg in the late 1980s was not an ideal location. Obviously not the Williamsburg we know today. In the early days, the brewery was hijacked for 30k at gunpoint (when they had no money as is). Their forklift was also stolen and the owners drove around the neighborhood looking for the forklift and stole it back. Here's the magical beer keg machine:

After an informal two-room tour of how the beers are made, we were released to the tasting bar. Ohhhh yessss. The tasting area is no frills with fold-up chairs and picnic tables plastered with pizza delivery menus from either Vinnie's or Baldo's. You (not the Brewery staff) calls the pizza delivery folks and they bring you the box of hot pizza to your table.

We sampled six beers; unfortunately most were marginal, but the Lager will remain the staple. The Brooklyner Weisse was just awful. But we look forward to trying their Post Road Pumpkin Ale and especially their Black Chocolate Stout (with an ABV of 10.6%). The tasting bar was packed and it was getting rowdy with boozers and pizza munchers by the time we left.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Closet Fulla Cheap and New York City Sublets

How many pieces of clothes can you get in New York City for under $100? Normally, not much. But at Beacon's Closet, for $99 we bought a knee-length Theory wool blend coat, two one-of-a-kind jackets, and one wearable-in-all-seasons dress. All in mint condition. The coat in a Theory store would easily have cost couple hundred. Shopping in New York City can get very expensive. The options and prices are endless. I know girls who have opted to starve themselves in order to have enough money to shop. Stupid. Thankfully, for people who love food and their health more than clothes, there's shopping options like Beacon's Closet.

Yes, it's used clothing but if you're a saavy shopper, you can find a few good stuff at Beacon's for cheap. They carry both men's and women's clothes, a wide range of shirts, dresses, boots, scarves. Their bag and jewelry selection is minimal. They buy, sell, trade, and donate some proceeds to various charities. Most of their clothes are organized by color. But this store is huge, so you really need to take the time to dig in or else you might miss that needle. I almost missed the Theory coat had I not dug into the crevices. This photos only shows a small section of their store.

The Brooklyn Brewery is directly across from Beacon's Closet. You can literally jump, hop, or skip over. We planned to go here today for their brewery tour, which is every Saturday 1, 2, 3, and 4 pm but had to take a look at a temporary sublet instead until our Chelsea apartment is ready to go.

We'll be back here next Saturday for the tour. We definitely want to see the brewery at this original location since they'll be moving in the near future, and of course sample some of their summer ales. They also have happy hour at the brewery every Friday from 6 to 11 pm.

Just a random mural that caught our attention:

Back to our sublet situation. If you're not familiar with sublets in New York City, this is very common here. People sublet their apartments anywhere from just one weekend to one week while their on vacation to one year. It's a bit insane. We're not sure if we'd be willing to hand over our house keys to strangers we just met that day but it's done here everyday. A lot of people who just most to NYC go the sublet route while they find permanent housing or between housing issues (like us). Some people hop from one sublet to another to another.

We found a 13-day sublet in the heart of the East Village in a gorgeous apartment for $700. Cat-sitting is included with this cheap price tag, which we'll gladly do since most cheapo sublets usually run $150 to $200 per night. The owner posted it on Craigslist today and we got the keys to her apartment an hour after meeting her on the same day. Her sublet date range was near perfect to the dates we needed housing so it worked out perfectly. There's scams on Craigslist so both parties have to be careful, ask a lot of questions, trust their instincts. Reference letters are important. Luckily, we had our reference letters on hand from our Chelsea Co-op monster application, so the owner was pleased with us. Thanks to all of you who took the time to do those ref letters for us!

The street her apartment is on is unfortunately the Times Square of the East Village and the owner also called it "Little Tokyo" due to all of the sushi and Japanese restaurants in the area (next week we will share those restaurants reviews with you!).

Man, we cannot wait to unpack our suitcases hopefully in September. We've reached the point of just wearing clothes at the top of the suitcase. The Nomadic lifestyle is taxing us. But this is an adventure and we're eagerly living and learning in the school of New York City!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Bagel Store

WE LOVE FRENCH TOAST BAGEL!!!!! Well, we love French Toast in general, but man oh man, The Bagel Store's French Toast Bagel is superfragilisticexpialidocious! It has that classic French toast flavor, comes with powdered sugar on top, and is loaded up in the middle with whatever spread your heart desires. This stuff is popular because we had to wait quite a bit for a new batch of the goods to come out.

So The Bagel Store that sells the wonderful French Toast Bagel pictured above sells fresh large bagels with an encyclopedia of bagel spreads. This is just a part of their gigantuous bagel spread selection: apple & cinnamon cream cheese, olive pimento cream cheese, strawberry cream cheese, tofu vegetable, tofu jalapeno, roasted garlic and rosemary cream cheese, walnut raisin cream cheese, low fat vegetable cream cheese, peanut butter & jelly, honey, nova scotia lox, blueberry cheese cake cream cheese, bacon and cheddar cream cheese, and on and on and on. You get the idea.

When we first tried The Bagel Store a few days ago, we started off with just the toasted plain bagle with plain cream cheese because we figured, if they can't get the plain and simple stuff right, then there was no point to try the other variety. But the plain bagel was superb! Their cream cheese, even their low-fat version, tastes great.

And if you want a sandwich, you can't go wrong with their homemade egg salad sandwich. Just like how they load up on the cream cheese for you, they really load up the sandwich with the egg salad. It's not too creamy, not too much mayonnaise, just the right amount of yellow and white.

Their egg white omelet is delicious! Seriously, all you need is ketchup. We've had egg white omelets from other places that served us soggy, lumpy barely-there eggs. This egg white omelet was satisfying. Well worth $7.30, except the hash browns that come with it; these were unfortunately soggy.

Their three-egg white omelet with cheese bagel sandwich on onion bagel is highly recommended! They also have a large selection of cheese, cold cuts, and sandwiches. They have French toast, oatmeal, salads, soup, pastries, hot chocolate, espresso, cookies. They can get crowded here, so there could be a long wait for your food. But today, for our French Toast Bagel with cream cheese, egg salad sandwich, plain bagel with cream cheese, egg white omelet with hash browns, one cup of their house blend coffee (which was also good), and one bottled water, our tab came out to only $15.30. The price, quality, and quantity were all good. It was so much food, we couldn't finish it all. And if you know us, you know that we are piggies. Oink Oink!

The Bagel Store is open seven days a week, from 6 am to 10 pm at their 247 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY location. The best part is they serve breakfast all day. WE LOVE PLACES THAT SERVE BREAKFAST ALL DAY. They also provide local delivery, except when they're short staffed.

Digressing a bit here. We appreciate that so many restaurants in New York City deliver for free, usually with a $10 minimum. The last two nights we had Mexican and Thai food deliveries. We're gonna get spoiled here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Monumental Day

Our day's journey consisted of visiting three monumental landmarks in NYC. The first, The Empire State Building, located on what seemed the heart of the city skyline (it is the tallest building now since the destruction of the World Trade Centers). This building retains the charm of old world craftsmanship. Upon entering the building you are greeted by doormen dressed in bell boy uniforms of the 1930s. The interior has been partially upgraded with modern stores and businesses, but the art deco architecture is still very dominant. The anticipation of the greatest view of the city was dampened with winding lines of tourists waiting patiently to get on the two elevators to the 86th floor viewing deck. The sweeping bird's eye view of New York is worth the wait. From the south side of the deck you can even see the Statue of Liberty (on our to see soon list). To grasp the grand scale of NYC, you need to see for yourself all the breathtaking views the Empire State has to offer.

From this north view, you can see Central Park in the background of this picture:

View of the Chrysler Building (right side of this picture):

A few train stops into downtown, we visited the site of the former World Trade Center. From a few blocks away you can see the cloud of dust and noise erupting from the construction site. The sadness overtook me once I got to see the gigantic scale of what was once the iconic World Trade Center. Visuals of that horrible day were hard to shake off. God Bless.

A few blocks away was our next journey, the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge was opened for use in 1883, after taking 13 years to construct. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the U.S. and is now one of the major arteries into Brooklyn. We were fortunate enough to walk the bridge under sunny skies in less than 30 minutes. The bridge itself holds one of the greatest views of the Manhattan skyline. The construction has a strong maritime influence with its wooden planks and sail-like hanging suspension. A spectacular walk with monumental views. A word to the wise: bring a bottle water and stay out of the bike lane.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Heart NY for Baby Robinson

We got this too cute baby gear with the classic I Love NY logo for our great friends Jamie and Robby who are expecting their first child, a son. Hey, if you guys are reading this, we've heard the postal service here can be "special" so you might receive this when baby Robinson is too big to wear this. We also got them a baby gear that Robby will definitely get a kick out of.

The Flatiron Building, at 175 Fifth Avenue, is one of NYC's most recognizable buildings. Our photo doesn't do this building justice; we took this photo on a cloudy and rainy day. This site has some great current and historical images of this architecturally quirky and amazing building.