serendipity

10.30.2010

 
Remember the 2001 romantic comedy starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, where they meet serendipitously in New York? Aptly titled, Serendipity, it was a saccharine movie that I kinda loved (don't judge, I was still in high school). Bad reviews aside, it definitely made me want to visit NYC even more and go to some of the places that were featured.  Although we couldn't rationalize staying at the Waldorf Astoria, we did make our way to the restaurant that the movie was named after.


Known for their frozen hot chocolates, Serendipity in the Upper East Side is always busy and filled with tourists.  There was a pretty long wait when we went, so we perused the menu, chatted with other travelers outside, and took photos.


We each ordered a frozen hot chocolate. I just searched for the clip from the movie and the drinks don't look as gigantic on film as they did in real life. We really should have shared one ...but it gave us the opportunity to try the original and the peanut butter. I preferred the PB. Brain-freezes and good times ensued.


burger joint

10.29.2010


Tucked away behind the front desk of the Le Parker Meridien Hotel lies, the highly rated, Burger Joint. Just pull back the unmarked curtain, and follow the tiny neon sign down the hallway.


What motivated a hotel of this caliber to build a greasy burger stand? To this question we have no answer. To the question of whether they serve a good burger, we would say, hesitantly, yes. It wasn't the best we've ever had, and certainly not fairly priced, but it had a nice old-fashioned-home-cooked quality to it, and that worked for us!

lady liberty

10.27.2010


If you're like us and you don't have the time or inclination to take a full Statue of Liberty tour, then the Staten Island Ferry is a great alternative. It's free, it floats right by the famed statue, and it runs 24 hours a day. Taking the ferry allowed us a brief exchange of the hustle and bustle (and smells) of Manhattan for the calm sea breeze (and smell) of New York Harbour.






We've heard there are replicas of the statue located all over the world. We've been surprised to see them in Paris, Tokyo, and Las Vegas (okay, not as surprising). Have you spotted any?

staten island ferry

10.26.2010


A few shots that we took on the Staten Island Ferry with our Diana Mini.

where harry met sally

10.25.2010


If you've seen When Harry Met Sally, you've seen Katz's Deli. We didn't notice the apple pie on the menu, but according to Anthony Bourdain, you go there for the best pastrami sandwich in New York City.



Adorned with celebrity photos from over the last 25+ years, the walls of the delicatessen have that shameless self-promotional look that you come to expect from classic diners.

In true NYC deli fashion, we were greeted with a plate of pickles:



In addition to the variety of menu items for you to choose from (salami, pastrami, roast beef, corned beef, etc...), you're also able to get some freshly sliced deli meat to go... or even send some overseas!


After overdosing on knishes in Philadelphia, we thought we would try another staple of Jewish-American cuisine: matzah ball soup.  We wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Pretty good stuff.


We devoured the sandwich that we ordered before there was a chance to photograph it. You don't go to Katz's for the presentation though. It's basically just the meat between two normal slices of bread. Nothing fancy. The juicy, delicious meat is this deli's raison d'être.

street performers

10.24.2010


Street performers. They hide their true lives behind masks or costumes, and do their best to creatively spread happiness in the world. Or, they're too lazy to get an office job. Whatever their motivation, these entertainers deserve credit for having given us a few minutes of intrigue, amazement, or mere distraction.



One of our favourite busker experiences was on the metro in Paris a few years ago (apologies for the video quality):



It takes a stone cold heart not to love a Wooly Bully puppet show.

look to the cookie

10.23.2010


Black and white cookies are a New York institution. They're kind of a spongy shortbread with a fondant topping (half chocolate and half vanilla). Neither of us had heard of the cookie before viewing the infamous Seinfeld scene. We think it was that same episode where they miss out on the chocolate babka and end up purchasing the "lesser babka":


There were a few occasions where we had a chance to purchase a babka, but we didn't. Babkas weren't on any restaurant menus, so our only option would have been to buy an entire cake. We would have felt a little pathetic eating a whole cake alone in our hotel room. So, next time we're in New York, maybe you'll share a babka with us? Chocolate or cinnamon, we're not picky.

alice's tea cup

10.22.2010


The wholesome lunch at Alice's Tea Cup (their 'Chapter III' location in the Upper East Side) is just as much of a draw as their extensive selection of teas. The Alice in Wonderland-themed restaurant is likely a hit amongst girls and children, but if you like vegan cuisine, they have a pretty good variety of dishes to choose from.


The broccoli soup that I ordered would be a perfect autumn meal. Puréed broccoli doesn't particularly look or sound appetizing, but you're going to have to trust me. I have scoured the intertubes for a recipe only to come up empty handed. If I'm lucky, it's in their cookbook (but probably not because it was the soup du jour... lament).


If the whimsical decor and soup offerings aren't enough to entice you, their scones are everything you could ever want from a scone - the strawberry flavored one, in particular.  The cream and fruit preserves were fresh and made the already perfect dessert even better.


To be honest, we don't really remember the tea. Like a lot of places that serve afternoon tea, they claim the water they use is double-filtered. Does anyone know the point of this? Does it make the tea taste better, or does it serve some other purpose?

Anyway, it's an adorable restaurant and if we're ever fortunate enough to go back to NYC, we'll be going back for a scone (or two).

natural history museum

10.21.2010


Bones at the Natural History Museum in NY.









10.20.2010

10.20.2010


A year ago today, we were married on a bright afternoon in Los Angeles. Although we knew we would be traveling this past year, neither of us could have predicted what was to come. What a crazy year it's been. One day, when we're old and in rocking chairs, maybe we can tell our grandchildren about that one time we climbed an active volcano or that we almost got trampled by an elephant. Maybe they'll believe us.


Photography by Max Wanger
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