April 26, 2011

New York Cuisine

We love the restaurants in New York and made a couple of nice finds during our most recent trip.  First up was Punch in the Flatiron district.  We were tucked into a corner table with great views of the cartoons on the wall.  We tried the wild mushroom ravioli and turkey burger.  Yum.
Next up was Tre Dici on 26th Street near 7th Ave.  The highlight here was the cocoa gnocchi with duck and vanilla.  I was so intrigued by the menu description that I just had to try it.  It was amazing -- the sweet flavors weren't overpowering and complemented the duck well.  I definitely recommend Tre Dici -- the food and service were excellent.

April 25, 2011

Sunday in New York

We arrived in New York with one thing on our mind -- bagels!  We walked from Penn Station to the East Side to Ess-a-Bagel, my 'go-to' place whenever I'm in town.  Filled with warm bread and butter, we headed south and passed this lovely display of flowers.
We popped into The Bean for a caffeine jolt.  We were encouraged because the place was extremely busy but we soon realized that they were mostly there for the free Wi-fi.  The espresso drinks weren't that great.  Still, the place had fun atmosphere.
Continuing toward the Lower East Side, we passed Economy Candy which was a gummi candy lovers dream.
We also peeked into Essex Street Market which featured fish, groceries, and other sundries.
One of our favorite finds of the morning was the Roasting Plant.  To order, you select raw coffee beans which are then roasted on the spot in an individual portion and brewed into your personal cup of joe.
A complex engineering diagram gives a sense of how it all works.
Heading across town, we chanced upon the Little Cupcake Bakeshop in Greenwich Village.
It was great to sit down after our long walk but the cupcakes were just so-so.
We soaked in the scene including multi-story walk-ups and weekend markets outside a local church.
I liked this building with two real windows and many, many more painted on.
We stopped for a rest at a lovely oasis near Bleecker and 6th Ave.
We stopped for a heavenly foldable slice of pizza at Joe's on Carmine St.
Passing into the West Village we saw this lovely textured door knocker.
I liked this composition that included a greenery covered wall, townhome, and surrey/bicycle.
Flowers, flowers, everywhere!
...and vines climbing on every possible surface.
We strolled the Highline from end-to-end (I captured pictures in a previous post here).
On our walk back to our accommodation, we discovered the Limelight Marketplace built into an old church.
Inside we found a wealth of designer and gourmet treats.
I really liked this fondant-based confection at the Butterfly Bakeshop.
I love how I always discover something new whenever I visit New York!

April 23, 2011

Weekend in Philadelphia - Day 2 - Manayunk

We finished our stay in Philadelphia with a trip to Manayunk, a funky neighborhood within driving distance of Center City and a popular night spot.
Old stone buildings sit side-by-side with more modern storefronts.
We went to Zesty's for dinner.  The food was fine but we were truly entertained by the Zesty's bus.  We could see this random van parked outside and could only speculate what it might be for.  They seemed to be using it for deliveries but it was pretty posh inside with full leather seats.  We even had our server ask the owner about it.  Apparently, it's used to transport VIPs to and from the restaurant.
We spotted this golfing construction flamingo in one of the store windows.  Completely random...
And with that, we concluded our adventure in Philadelphia.  We trekked back toward 30th Street Station bright and early in the morning to catch Amtrak to New York City.
We were left with images of Philly's imaginative architecture (the Amtrak building is a prime example) on our minds as we pulled out of the station.

April 22, 2011

A Dry Night in Temple Bar

There are only two occasions in Ireland where you can't get a drink:  1) Christmas 2) Good Friday.  I was curious to see what Temple Bar would look like without alcohol.  There were plenty of people around but a conspicuous absence of hen and stag parties.  Pubs like Farrington's, The Temple Bar, Gogarty's, and Quays Bar were simply buttoned up tight--a rare sight indeed.

Weekend in Philadelphia - Day 2 - Center City and Fairmont Park

We spent the afternoon exploring Center City Philadelphia and the area near Fairmont Park.  First up was the Union League, an organization with unambiguous leanings that cropped up around the time of the Civil War.  The building itself is stunning.
Next up, we stopped at a local fruit vendor in the Financial District.  I love that you can get a plastic tub full of mango for $3.00.
There are some excellent examples of art deco buildings in Philly including this specimen on Chestnut Street between the Financial District and Rittenhouse Square.
I love Philly soft pretzels and the Philly Soft Pretzel Factory is a must stop whenever I'm in town.  Located on Sansome near 16th Street, the goods are cheap, warm, and plentiful.
Walking back toward our hotel, we passed an alley with what looked like people suspended in mid-air behind a glass facade.  We decided to investigate and discovered that we were looking into the Comcast Center.
The Comcast Center lobby features screens projecting a variety of multi-media stimuli.
On to Fairmont Park... En route, we passed the Rodin Sculpture Garden and The Thinker.
Art is everywhere and we saw this little robot guy in the cross-walk leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The Rocky Statue sits at the base of the famous steps outside.
We finished the afternoon's walk with a few random finds like this gorgeous red brick building framed with cherry blossoms...
We also walked past City Hall again and noticed yet another tribute plaque, this time commemorating Welsh contributions to the City:

Commemorating the Welsh contributions to the founding of the city of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States of America.

We noticed a spiky fence surrounding City Hall.
We saw this surprising statue nearby which reminds me of flying bacon.  Great stuff as usual...