Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New York Adventures, Friends, Food, Drink and Hotel

My wife and I just returned from a quick weekend trip to New York City. As usual, we had plenty planned for this outing and not enough time to do everything. Nevertheless, we had a great time and even had the opportunity to share our adventures with some of our L.A. expat friends (RE, ME, JD & visiting friends), who now live on the East Coast....thanks again for all the hospitality.

Some of the great places we ate and drank at, included:

Casa Mono - Small Batali spot on Lexington and 17th serving Spanish (Catalan) cuisine. The Jamon Iberico was really good. Also, Top Chef Ilan used to work there. I had eaten there before, but it was nice to take my wife there.

Rue 57 - Its on 57 and Ave. of Americas, mainly French but interestingly also serves Sushi. This place was a pleasant surprise and the mushroom salad that my wife ordered was one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted.

Craft - This is a Tom Colicchio restaurant, who I am a big fan of. As expected the food was delicious and ambiance was great. We were joined by ME and RE, and we all shared a variety of dishes. A highlight and disappointment for me was the Salvadorean coffee on the menu "Los Luchadores," which unfortunately they did not have that day. Regardless, what a great name for a coffee. I will write more about that later.

The Continental - Talk about a cheap spot to get faded at. This place is famous for its 5 shots for $10 deal. So between our friends we ordered 20....and this was the first bar we hit.

Florencia 13 - Named after the infamous L.A. street gang, this SoHo bar is straight up chingon. With its tribute to gangster culture and cholo paraphernalia on the walls, this place is a magnet for out of town Chicanos and West Coast Raza in NY. The place is tiny but we had a blast. Special thanks to Lori, for being such a gracious hostess. Check out her Beaner Bar in Brooklyn.

Dean & DeLuca - We always see this spot in the background on the Today Show, so we stopped by for coffee and pastries. My wife and I had been to the one in DC, and since they don't have these in L.A. it was a nice treat.

La Superior - This joint is a Mexican restaurant in a real hipeester (out of the way) part of town in Brooklyn. The place itself embodied the arty/bohemian vibe of the neighborhood. Aside from some of the minimal folkloric accents on the walls (various images of the Virgen de Guadalupe, even on a skateboard.) you would of thought you were in some type of minimalist vegan spot. While the decor was subtle, the food was vibrant and delicious. Our group ordered a lot of food, specially JD, that guy eats like its his job. I recommend this place, its good... just don't trip out on the electronic ambient groove tunes playing in the background.

Finally, a big highlight of the trip was the hotel we stayed at, The London Hotel. This hotel was truly amazing, probably one of the bests that I have stayed in. My wife and I are big fans of the show Hotel Babylon on BBC America, and we felt almost as if we had been transported into the show...except this place is nicer. The decor is modern elegant, with a very tasteful earthy color palette. The room was off the hook, super comfy bed, incredible bath and overall it had every luxury amenity of a contemporary home. Our view was also fabulous, as we looked out towards northern Manhattan facing the southern part of Central Park. On the night before we left we even ran into Chef Gordon Ramsay, who has a restaurant at the hotel. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to eat there.


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