I spent the past weekend in Manhattan with my high school friends for what became a totally chow-obsessed vacation.
We started off with Tao for a late lunch on Friday. My friend picked it for its Restaurant Week menu, which was enjoyable. I had the duck spring rolls, which were very tasty, the chicken pad thai (meh), and the chocolate and raspberry wontons with vanilla ice cream. The dessert was fantastic, although a little hard to eat, with mini wontons filled with chocolate sitting in a pool of raspberry sauce. The room, with its giant Buddha statue at the far end, was a great place to start our girl's weekend.
After such a late and filling lunch, we ended up only having room for a snack later in the night. We ended up at Pommes Frites in the East Village. We tried the mango chutney mayo and the parmesan peppercorn sauces, both excellent. The fries were perfectly crisp and were a great way to fuel our wanderings for the rest of the night.
Saturday morning was spent at Chelsea Markets. The place was surprisingly quiet. The brownies at Fat Witch Bakery were too dense and fudge-like for my taste. Amy's Bread was our favorite spot, and we tried a ton of items: the tomato, mozzarella, and basil flatbread, olive twist, lime cornmeal cookie, and almond brioche toast were all stand-outs. The olive twist was my favorite, plenty of salty chopped olives to give me that salt kick after trying all the sweets. The gelato at the place in front of Bowery Kitchen Supply was so smooth and light that it reminded me of Rome- I sampled the blood orange and cantaloupe, but was too full to buy anything on the second pass after Amy’s.
We spent the afternoon enjoying tea in the St. Regis Hotel. The tea sommelier helped us each pick a different blend from their menu (the peach ginger was excellent- not too fruity, but not overly sharp from the ginger either), and the wait staff was very friendly for the 2+ hours that we were there. The typical afternoon tea treats (scones, finger sandwiches, petit fours) were continuously refilled, and we had to roll ourselves back to our hotel.
Our last chow-filled meal was for dim sum Sunday morning at Jing Fong in Chinatown. None of us are dim sum people, so we had no idea what we were doing. Everything seemed way over-MSG’d and oily, although there were some nice flavors in there somewhere. My favorites were the pan-fried noodles (ordered off the menu) and the shrimp and veggie pan-fried dumplings. We stopped by the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory afterwards, and I enjoyed the black sesame ice cream. A sorbet probably would have been better, though, to clear out the saltiness from lunch.
Overall, a great trip, and I can’t wait to discover some more places next time.