Tourist in My Own Town – Day 1

photo (9)There’s very little doubt as to what is my 12 year old’s favorite store in the entire world.  M&M’s World. Whenever we enter the store, her eyes bulge, and she’s not sure what area to hit first.  She’s like a kid in a candy store!  In a way, I felt similar symptoms when I found myself kidless for 9 days for the first time in 14 years.  There’s only one thing I love more than exploring NYC with my beautiful daughters.. exploring without them.  Although I normally feel free to eat wherever I want, this is a brand new level of culinary freedom, with endless wants and possibilities.  Instead of skipping town, Mrs Z and I decided to stay put and play tourists.  We wanted the real Australian tourist experience which includes staying in a trendy hotel, complaining about hotel A/C noise, and taking pictures of squirrels.  Day 1 out of 4…

*****Mostly iPhone pictures on day 1 as I wasn’t planning to do this post.  I don’t want you to think that I’m a terrible photographer.  I am, but I don’t want YOU to think that.

My weakened  eating adventure started the day before where I enjoyed a Don Antonio Diavolo pie and a shared this pizza Fritta, a giant fried calzone stuffed with mozzarella, tomatoes and salami.  Don Antonio to me is the closest to eating pizza in Italy due to the style, ingredient quality, and female employees speaking with Italian accents

Don Antonio Calzone

We started our day 1 around noon in Hell’s Kitchen, where we met Mr Hummus Whisperer and wifey for pre-matinee lunch at Ippudo. My goal for this weekend was to impress mrs Z with good food and get her dunk.  Good start so far.  The Akamaru Modern on point as usual.  Pork Buns so fine that will make you slap your mama.  Chicken wings, fried chicken (fried chicken won by a chicken skin hair), and some gelato and sorbet from Il Laboratorio del Gelato where the black sesame winning top marks.
Ippudo Pork Buns Ippudo Ice Cream
Book of Mormon. The show that upon purchase, made me tell my kids that they need to start being nice to their grandparents as they will need to rely on them for continued education from now on.  I believe its the most expensive broadway show in history.  And with all those inflated expectations, we still managed to enjoy it tremendously.  Like a bizarre, super clever Mel Brooks, Howard Stern collaboration that makes you want to “Baptize” someone in the next few days
photo (14)

I work in Hell’s Kitchen, and ‘Disiac lounge off 54th and 9th is the place my coworkers frequent the most.  I’ve seen the bar much more livelier than on this Saturday afternoon, but we did discover something important about us.  We don’t like CAIPIRINNA, the Brazilian national drink.  Getting mrs Z drunk – Failed!  We did enjoy however in this Israeli owned bar, a falafel platter, with hummus, babaganoush, grilled pitas, and fine red Yemeni S’chug.  My favorite Hummus in the area is still at Gazala’s however.

Hyatt Union SquareMy hotel of choice was the Hyatt Union Square, a stylish boutique with ultra modern rooms (the ones where you can see yourself shower), comfy bed and pillows, a magazine rack in the bathroom with magazine! (for those not willing to spend extra for wifi!), valet parking (if it costs $65 is that still considered an amenity), and perhaps my favorite amenity in any hotel.. A Flat Screen TV!  If there’s a flat screen TV in every single hotel in the world, is it still considered an amenity?  Why not list “Bed” as well?  But in all seriousness, this was a fine stay that would have been finer if they hadn’t put us next to the elevator.Hyatt Union Square Art

Washington Square ParkWe’ve been to Washington Square Park before many times, but never experienced it quite like this time.  A giant Star Wars flash mob cock fight.  It was quite a scene.  We didnt stay late enough but at some point we were told that they got divided into groups to fight each other to the death.  Or until their little Jedi swords broke, whichever came sooner.  There were also the usual park musicians and art like sand displays, and a fake birds eating fake pizza showing.

We capped off the night at Casa Mono, one of the premier tapas joints in town.  All 6 dishes including one dessert were quite good.  I especially liked the duck egg with potatoes, Mojama and some ultra perfumy summer black truffles.  The calamari like Razor clams were slightly overdone though still quite enjoyable.  Nice skirt steak with Romesco, reminiscent of the Gato scrambled egg.  Goat confit was expertly prepared with avocado purée.  I can’t get enough goat lately.  Perhaps my favorite dish however was the Fideo with chorizo and clams. I don’t understand why I so rarely see fideo on menus.  The one big issue I had was the frequency of the dishes coming out.  Started with two right away, and the next 3 came in at the same time pretty much.  In a place like this where sharing is key you would think they would get it by now

A nice walk back to the hotel included a visit to Union Square Park where I saw the the youngest street performer I’ve ever seen (5 maybe?) among a group of many other dancers.  Day 2 coming up!  Any comments?  Question? threats?

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4


Washington Square Park Star WarsCasa Mono Razor Clams Casa Mono Duck Egg

Categories: East Village, Gramercy, Flatiron, Midtown West, New York City, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

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34 thoughts on “Tourist in My Own Town – Day 1

  1. Love your blog Ziggy!

    Having visited NYC last year for the first time and falling in love, its blogs like these that make me feel connected so thank you!

    Also love the reference to “real Australian tourist experience” although we only did 2 out of 3 of those 🙂

  2. Coco

    Finally found your blog after TA rudely deleted yours. What’s up their uptight bum? Anyway loving your blog and especially your daily NYC report! Now off to read the rest…thank goodness for our public holiday today.
    Cheers CocoBrisbane

  3. Tanya

    GREAT report! And there’s nothing wrong with the Australian penchant for squirrels…….Come back to the forum soon.

  4. Jenny

    Even tho’ I’m not posting on the Forum in protest at the crap going on there with deleted posts etc etc etc, I’m still looking occasionally – and so glad I did to find you’d posted here. Thanks Tanya for the heads up. Looking forward to the rest – it’s better with the photos incorporated.

  5. Kaye

    Good to have the whole story, with pics. Thanks.
    P.S. The TA “staycation” thread is now a closed topic too!

  6. Omoshiroi

    I’ll bet that gelato tastes better in the glass bowls than the little plastic dishes you get at the laboratory. Thanks for sharing, things are sort of lonely over at the other place with most of the regular avatars missing

  7. WEQueen

    What’s the dish above the egg photo. Am I imagining bone marrow (NOT, but wish) filled with calamari?

  8. Everything tastes better in glass, especially coke.
    I cant help but feel partially responsible for whats going on on TA tho I dont think I did anything wrong. After all those years I still dont know what I’m allowed to say

    Day 2 pics are double day 1. Some are slightly inappropriate so you must be 18

  9. WEQueen

    I don’t think it is you, Ziggy. There’s someone out there who has some “issues” to put it mildly. Post that were absolutely tame and on topic: were arbitrarily deleted. A few other posters have made “inquiries” so we shall see and hopefully the thread in its entirety is reinstated.

  10. Jenny

    Ziggy, if you want to know (and others to know) what TA have said to me so far about the thread, I’ll post it here. But I won’t if you don’t want to spoil this lovely blog….it wasn’t you, be assured of that.

  11. WEQueen

    Back to food: how would you compare Ippudo’s pork buns to that of Momofuku? Love pork buns almost as much at a crisp and crackled porchetta.

    • I haven’t tried the Ssam buns yet, but much prefer ippudo over Ma Peche, which are more suited for their carts rather than a reap app. The Ippudo buns turned mrs Z into a pork belly lover

  12. -:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

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    Removed on: 6:36 pm, August 13, 2014

    • Wow, can you believe this? They now removing posts from here.
      Ok ok, lets try stay on topic guys and gals. This post will be gone very soon too

  13. Looking forward to Day 2 – bring it on. At least you know any “inappropriate” comments wont be deleted! 😉

    Really sad what happened on the TA forum and so uncalled for. Definitely isnt the same without you and Jenny, so stupid whats going on.

    • Well, they just did. Look above 😉

      • What?I Im confused….so WordPress is connected to T.A?

        Ok, dont want to get you in any more trouble…….(feel like Im back at school). Apologies!

  14. Jenny

    Oh we’ve got a ramen shop around the corner…I wasn’t keen on the ramen, but the pork buns I had as an ‘appetiser’ were great…these photos (and those of ktsnowlowl’s on the Forum) have reminded me to go back.

    On the m+m shop – I so wanted to love it….in 2012 I had an hour to spare before a lunch booking at Del Posto…we’d been at the International Center of Photography that morning so I made a beeline for the m+m shop.

    I spent ~1/2 an hour collecting bits and pieces – lots of different flavours of m+ms and some trinkets…but the excruciatingly loud doof doof music was hard to deal with, and then when I waited in the line for 20 minutes to pay and it didn’t move (shift change?) I gave up and left my goodies and walked out…so disappointed.

  15. Jenny

    Thanks skyletta …kind words…

  16. 🙂 @ Jenny. Actually I dont know how my username here is Skyletta? Didnt even know I had a wordpress account till I got here? Im Santorina on T.A. but you can call me Marie 🙂

    We were stuck at the m+m shop for over an hour…thats what happens when you have kids! But have to say am lucky as my daughter isnt a big shopper….we only came out with little gifts for a couple of her friends and just a small bag of m+m’s.

    Am so keen to try ramen now, never had it before so am really intrigued!

  17. Jenny

    Hi Marie (Santorina)! Maybe the peeved off TA Forumites should all just migrate to a WordPress “NYC – Ask questions here” blog? I especially love that the photos can be incorporated.

    I so cannot stand doof doof music so thought I did really well to last 50 minutes in the m+m shop. But we were meeting Whiz (for the first time) at Del Posto for lunch and I did not want to be late! So once I realised I was not going to get out of the line at the counter in the next 5 minutes I was out of there….

  18. Escaping Our Comfort Zone

    #1 – Bravo for being tourists in your own town! We (The Man and I) keep reminding ourselves to do the same, then forget again.
    #2 – The timing issue at the tapas place hit a nerve. It’s one of our pet peeves. Seems like most restaurants don’t get the timing thing. Something so simple.

  19. Escaping Our Comfort Zone

    OH! And #3….I am I on topic?

  20. WEQueen

    What happened to Day 2? i thought i saw it yesterday. a bit off topic,Ziggy, but you may want to see this flick in preparation for your next big trip.

    • I just posted day 2

      Some of it was published prematurely last night due to wordpress issues

      Thanks for the article, Will read on the bus tomorrow. Good night

  21. Leigh

    Those pork buns look interesting… ! Thanks for posting. *shakes head* @ T/A

  22. WEQueen

    Hopefully you see this. Thinking of going tomorrow to Casa Mono for a quickly lunch before preschool pickup. What do you recommend. Fideus sounds good but have had to much carbs lately.

    • I would get the egg dish with truffles, and the razor clams. Fideo is very pleasant. Cant think of anything else. They may have new seasonal items that may interest you

      • WEQueen

        Thanks. I was looking at the creamy eggs with sea urchin, but are you thinking of the duck eggs? Frankly I can’t really think of food as I am bursting, but we need to “pass the time” between child care duties, so might as well eat! Enjoy Italia. Am green with envy.

  23. WEQueen

    Did have a very nice, although rushed lunch, with the duck egg and truffles, croquettas de Bacalao, the Fideus, and the pork chops. Love their sauces, it’s the sherry vinegar. Next on the list is the Gander which is along my daily “route”.

    • Rushed we were as well, and one of the reasons I’m not coming back. They bring the dishes way too fast. But glad you enjoyed

      I liked the Gander burger a lot

      • WEQueen

        I actually liked the food being brought quickly as I had a kid to pick up, but the tables were literally stuck together, i felt like the “prisoner of Zenda!” Will have to give Gander a try next visit.

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