Eating & Drinking Our Way through NYC (Day Two)

For breakfast on our second day, I was trying to figure out this place I saw Top Chef Brooke Williamson post about in Chinatown that sold Cantonese rice noodle rolls (腸粉). Apparently there are a lot of places in Chinatown who make these fresh and I could not find the Instagram post (maybe it was a story?) so instead I chose a place that accepted credit card since neither of us had cash on us. This led us to Tonii’s Fresh Rice Noodle.

Tonii’s Fresh Rice Noodle

83 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

The rice noodle roll shop was a small shop without seating and two younger men taking orders and cooking. The customers were mostly older Cantonese-speaking men and women. I think the customer base made the shop seem more legit. They had rice noodle rolls with various fillings and other items such as sandwiches and sponge cakes. I ordered a fresh shrimp rice noodle roll similar to the ones in dim sum restaurants and my friend ordered one of Tonii’s special rice noodle rolls with pork, chicken and shrimp. I think they were about $5 and came in a black plastic container. They were very good and made fresh.

We took these back to our hotel room and ate them there. Afterwards, we headed to the metro station to take the train to Dominique Ansel Workshop.

Dominique Ansel Workshop

17 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016

Dominique Ansel Workshop is one of two Dominique Ansel bakeries in New York. The Workshop has more bread-like pastries while the other location has more cake-like pastries and the Cronut. I wanted to visit the Workshop because I saw Dominique Ansel post on Instagram that there would be pumpkin brioche available that weekend at the Workshop. I figured we would pick up some pastries and take them along with us so we could eat them later in Central Park like a picnic.

At first we were planning to order three items but the cashier said if we ordered four we would get a box (otherwise just a bag?). We decided to add a fourth and I am glad I did because I liked the fourth item a lot. We ended up with a pumpkin cream brioche, a caramelized apple danish, a salted caramel pecan pull apart bun and a slice of pumpkin pie. The pumpkin cream brioche was okay. I did like the pumpkin pie like filling in the middle. Sadly the actually pumpkin pie was a little bland.

After leaving the Workshop, we started walking to our lunch reservation but on the way passed by a COS sample sale. My friend was the one interested but they had a very small men’s section and I was the one that ended up getting a top. Retail price was about $90 but since it was the last day of the sample sale I got it for the low price of $12. What a find!

After leaving the sample sale, we continued on and passed by what was a filming location. They had closed the road to cars and there were a TON of staff milling about, cops patrolling and filming cameras. We were trying to figure out what it was for but all we could tell was that it seemed one actor was dressed in scrubs.

Eventually, after all the walking and detours, we made it our lunch reservation, Sushi Lab.

Sushi Lab

132 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

The restaurant is located in the Sanctuary Hotel and getting to the actual restaurant is bit of an adventure. First, our vaccine cards and ID were checked outside. Then we were told to take the elevator to the 6th floor. On the 6th floor we were then directed by signs to take a stairwell up to the restaurant. Mind you, the 6th floor is an actual hotel floor with hotel rooms so if you were to stay at the Sanctuary Hotel, you might not want a room on that floor with people traipsing through to get to/from the restaurant. But once you arrive at the restaurant, you’ll find a beautiful decorated “garden” with both sushi counter seating and tables. We chose to sit at the sushi counter and started our meal with a few cocktails.

I ordered the Yuzulicious cocktail and my friend ordered the Spicy Toki. Mine was a refreshing acidic drink and his was a whiskey-based drink that was supposed to be a bit spicy thanks to some jalapeño slices.

We both got the Chef’s Selection omakase which comes with ten signature nigiri pieces plus A5 wagyu. Our selection came with sea bream, artic char, bluefin tuna, striped jack, sea scallop, seared fatty tuna, sweet shrimp, freshwater eel and California uni. Because we were sitting at the counter, the chef readied one item at a time and described exactly what each one was. For those who sat at the tables, they prepared a bunch at once and I am not sure if that got as thorough a description. If you have the time, I definitely recommend sitting at the counter.

Now that we had already eaten twice and were even carrying a box of pastries, it was time to take a break from all the eating. We walked by the Rockefeller Plaza where there was a Dias de la Muerte event and some very pretty sculptures and headed over to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

First off, the museum was a lot larger than I expected. It was a total of six floors with exhibits on the 2nd through 5th floors. The 6th floor was a café that was closed at the time. Adult tickets are normally $25 but student tickets are $14 if you have a student ID. They do sell timed tickets but since we were not sure what time we would be there, we bought tickets in the lobby when we got there. Luckily it was not overly busy so we were able to go in directly.

There were a lot of exhibits to see and also two museum stores (a smaller one on the 2nd floor and a bigger one down the stairs from the 1st floor). I had not really looked up what was at the MoMA and was surprised to discove at the very end on the 5th floor was Van Gogh’s Starry Night. (Can you tell I am not an art person?) It was interesting to see since I had gone to the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit earlier in the year in Las Vegas.

But with five floors of exhibits, you can spend a lot of time in the museum. We ended up spending about three hours to visit all the exhibits and stores and a few exhibits were closed.

When you finish at the museum, you can also go across the street to their design store that sells a lot of interesting items.

After the three hours at the museum, we thought it was about time to walk over to Central Park. On the way we passed by a Halal Guys food stand and if I were not still so full and still had a box of pastries and a dinner reservation, I would have totally got some especially since another friend of mine told me the food stand is tons better than the actual stores. Next time!

Central Park

When we reached Central Park, we found a place with empty benches and had our little pastry picnic. Afterwards we walked maybe halfway through the park. There are a few things inside the park you can see including a zoo but because we had dinner reservations, we did not have enough time to thoroughly explore the park. We did walk through the Mall and Literary Walk where some artists were set up and then walked around the Lake and passed by the Alice in Wonderland Sculpture. I had been hoping to see a lot of fall leaves but the majority was still green with some yellow and very little red.

When we were exiting the park, we came upon a bunch of kids in their costumes (it was Halloween). If I had to guess I would say the area is probably expensive real estate and so parents bring their kids to the area in hopes of better candy. We did see some of the doormen giving out full candy bars and not the mini ones you usually see when trick-or-treating. Once we got past all the trick-or-treaters we caught the train back to the hotel (and saw a lot of adults in costume on the train headed for the parade) where we rested before our dinner reservation at Ki mi ka.

Ki mi ka

40 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

Ki mi ka calls themselves a Japanese-Italian restaurant but I think East Asian-Italian would have been more appropriate because I saw not only Japanese influence but also Chinese and Korean influences in their dishes. They had both indoor and outdoor seating but since I had seen the restaurant on an outdoor patio list I chose outdoor seating for my reservation. In honesty, it was a nice patio but there was not anything special about it.

As always, we started off with some drinks: the Mugen Sour and the Kaga Milk Punch and then at the recommendation of the waitress, we ordered 4 dishes to be shared family style. The waitress here was really a delight. She gave a lot of recommendations and was great at describing some of the dishes.

We ended up ordering the tuna tartare which the waitress said was one of the most popular dishes. It looked a little like a Korean bibimbap in presentation. You basically mix everything up and then scoop it onto sheets of seaweed. We also got the prosciutto pizette which the waitress told us was more like a scallion pancake than a pizza crust and this was very true. The last two dishes were the fried tortellini in brodo and the crispy rice cake lasagna. Both were delicious! But maybe now you can see what I mean about the Chinese and Korean influences.

After paying the check, the waitress also gave us some candy since it was Halloween. A nice touch to end the dinner.

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