Every now and then I like to jump on Kayak.com and check the flights of some of our destinations that we keep in the back of our mind. Click through the listings, check out the layover cities, figure out cost, then lay in bed and plan the trips while we drift off to dream later that night. Sometimes, when the deal is too good to pass up....
We are going to New York City!
New York city was one of the travel destinations on our bucket list where we had picked the food before we had picked out place to stay. We had been planning this trip for ages, but there was never enough free time to get away. Eventually a pocket opened up in our schedule and without hesitation we ordered the tickets. It's New York City, so there isn't much to worry about it in the "what are we going to do" department. New York seems like a place you want to leave to spontaneous moments so we decided not to plan every single minute of the trip, just give ourselves a general direction to go in.
And we had PBS to thank for that. PBS doesn't just run children shows like sesame street, PBS runs a bunch of wonderful shows, but its hard to find them once they finished their run on TV. Luckily Netflix hosts "the mind of a chef" hosted by David Chang and Executive produced as well as narrated by Anthony Bourdin. It's a wonderful show that allows you to tour some of the behind the scenes things that go on in a chefs daily musings. Discovery, creativity and creation. The cool thing about David Chang is his desire to discover new things with food. They might not always be the perfect match, and some of them are a little crazy, but its neat to see the thought process that they go through.
After watching the first season, we found ourselves saying, we need to eat there, but that meant flying to New York, where David Chang has really set up an empire. We began by figuring out the best location for us to stay at. A location close to our preferred dining choices and near public transportation, as this would be the first time traveling where we would not be renting a car. The list of restaurants came out -
Momofuku Ko and Ssam Bar: http://momofuku.com/ - David Chang's restaurants in New York. David Chang hosted the first season of "Mind of a Chef" and his restaurant KO was awarded two Michelin stars.
Momofuku Milk Bar: http://milkbarstore.com/ - The bakery inspiried desert branch of David Chang's momofuku restaurant group with James Beard and Christina Tosi. We first saw Christina Tosi on "the Taste" tv show and again in "the Mind of a chef". The creations we saw seemed like nothing we have seen before. We have Tosi's Milk Bar recipe book, but not the time to create some of the masterpieces in it, so it will be a nice treat.
The two of us enjoy Sushi and always try to find a location that is a step above in the area we are visiting. We prefer edomae sushi as the core of edomae is always the same (sushi rice and raw fish), without any ingredients to overwhelm or cover the flavors. When dealing with edomae style, you can always taste the difference between restaurants. Our edomae sushi choice for this trip is:
Ichimura at Brushstroke: http://www.davidbouley.com/brushstroke-main/ - Ichimura at Brushstroke serves edomae with traditional aging and curing technique. From all of readings we have heard nothing but positive reviews of this location, some stating that the sushi produced by chef Ichimura are works of art.
wd-50: http://wd-50.com/ - we are a big fan of molecular gastronomy and this seems like the perfect place to indulge in it. The Chef, Wylie Dufresne was awarded the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef New York City in 2013. He had been previously nominated for the same award six times. Wylie also appeared on "the Mind of a Chef".
Pippali - http://www.pippalinyc.com/ - Where we live in the mojave desert at one time had many Indian restaurants to choose from. Sadly, all of them have closed down over the years. Whenever we get cravings we now create the dishes ourselves, but it will be a nice change to experience Indian food by a chef who specializes in it.
Katz's Deli: https://katzsdelicatessen.com/ - Most likely the most famous location we will be visiting, Katz deli has been serving pastrami and other sandwiches for 125 years. You can't go wrong with a good sammich!
Brooklyn Flea Market and Food Vendors: http://www.brooklynflea.com/ -we are hoping to hit up this location and check it out. Sounds like something exciting!
After going through the list of restaurants we decided that the best place to stay would be Manhattan. In Manhattan a place that is at least 3 out of 5 stars, you are going to be spending $250 to $800 per night. You could stay in Harlem for as low as $140 per night but then you will be a good 30 minute minute subway ride from our preferred dining area, and the rooms aren't much to look at. If you are looking for a place with a kitchen in a decent location you would be looking at a hefty bit more.
After our wonderful time with airbnb in Maui, Hawaii and Los Angeles, California, we decided that airbnb would be worth checking out instead of a hotel. The only issue was that New York has been taking a strong case against airbnb cracking down on landlords who are illegally subletting their spaces. What does that mean for us? To be a bit more diligent in the places and demanding of the reviews we find.
There are hundreds of options in Manhattan alone when it comes to airbnb, so we started by trying to figure out what was most important to us. For the first location, we wanted a location that was close to all the restaraunts we would be visiting and allow us to get home quickly and safely after a long night out. With that, we decided that a spot in SoHo/Nolita would be perfect. The loft we choose is described as huge and modern in the best location in the city, right in the middle of the famous SoHo / Nolita neighborhoods.
We make sure that the locations we choose have a lot of positive reviews before booking them, and this one had a ton of them. Reviewers described the apartment as bright, spacious and in a great location.
The second location we choose for our weekend exploring the New York flea market scene, we decided that Brooklyn would be the best bet as that would put us close to the famous Brooklyn Flea Food Market called "Smorgasburg". With that in mind, we also set out to find a location that would give us a nice view of the city. Since we would be staying here at the end of our trip, it would be nice to sit back, relax and enjoy a view, if we could find one.
Luckily for us, only 8 hours before we were set to get on a plane to New York, we found the perfect spot.
"This stunning apartment is located in one of the most desirable locations in NYC at McCarren Park facing the Williamsburg waterfront on the East River enjoying spectacular views of the city spanning from Lower Manhattan all the way up to the Queens Borough Bridge." The reviews indeed did confirm the amazing views this apartment has so we decided we wanted to see them for ourselves.
We are exited for this next adventure, and hope to have many photos to come soon!