I lamented about not seeing the Xylopholks around town during our previous times in NYC. So, I was pretty surprised that, on our first day in the city, we randomly happened to catch a performance at the Times Square / 42nd Street station. Their music just makes me happy. I mean, who doesn't love a xylophone and an over-sized pink gorilla?
Even though we were a bit groggy after the long train ride, we were eager to go out immediately. We arrived in the evening and made our way to Whiplash at the Upright Citizen's Brigade, where we spent nearly every Sunday a few summers ago. After the show, we were hoping to grab a bite to eat at one of the many places on our list, but everything seemed to be closed. Luckily (unluckily?), there was a Papaya Dog down the street from where we were staying on West 42nd Street. So, we had a greasy late night snack and headed back to the hotel. - Mina
Kazu is a popular Japanese izakaya-style restaurant, in downtown Montreal, that we've been wanting to try for awhile. We visited it on, what felt like, the coldest day of the (otherwise mild) winter and stood outside for about 30 minutes to get a seat in the crowded restaurant. Kazu was well worth the wait; it's definitely one of the best restaurants in Montreal. The tables are so cramped together that you can't help but check out what other people are ordering, and overhear their conversations about the food. A guy seated nearby told us we had to order the pork neck, so we went for it. I complied with his specific, and unsolicited, instruction of eating it without cutlery. For dessert, I got the sake soft serve and Mina had the earl grey ice cream - essentially ground tea leaves sprinkled on top of vanilla soft serve (which she thought was a genius idea). -Alex
Rick's Cafe, in Casablanca, is a recreation of the piano bar/restaurant in the famous movie named after the city. I anticipated a tourist trap, thinking it was one of those places to cross off the list - as if missing this in Casablanca would be like skipping the Pyramids while visiting Cairo. It was far from it and we couldn't have been more pleased with everything. Unfortunately for us, the pianist who usually plays "As Time Goes By" wasn't around. After lunch, we went up to the bar (which we inexplicably had to ourselves) where we watched part of the movie and had dessert. It was the first place we headed after arriving at our hotel and a perfect start to the day in Casablanca.