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Adventure weekend

Sorry I’ve been missing for a bit.  This past holiday weekend was jam-packed with fun and excitement and it’s been hard to get back in to the routine of normal life…

First up was Thanksgiving Day with Andrew’s family and our friends, Adina and Steph. The food was delicious and the company, as always, entertaining.  After consuming a rather large dinner, we settled in for a good game of sceneit?.  It was girls versus boys and, for once, I was actually useful.  I’m just awful with names – especially of actors, directors and movies – so, normally this game is not my strong suit.  This time, though, I got into it…

Ultimately, fun and food were had by all, I think; but, it was the next day when the real fun began!!

On Friday, Adina, Steph, Andrew and I set out for New York City for a weekend full of food, fiber and adventure. I just adore mini-vacations!!

Our first stop was the hotel:

We stayed at the new W Hoboken.  As you can probably tell from the photograph above, they had these annoying purple lights.  They were too harsh for the space; my eyes still burn just thinking about them.  They also had some indoor grass…

…and a backup plan.

Ok.  So the hotel is not technically in NYC – or the state of New York for that matter – but they were having a good deal and it is close enough to allow for easy travel into Manhattan by train.  Speaking of, our intrepid group headed out right away into the insanely windy wilds and onto a train where we proceeded to go all meta:

Once we got into the city, we headed directly to Sapporo for some tasty, tasty ramen.  This was the first time Adina and Steph had ramen that wasn’t from an instant package so it was all very exciting.

After eating, we stopped by nearby Rockefeller Center to see the gigantic Christmas tree; unfortunately, it wasn’t lit yet.  There were plenty of people, though.  Some of them were ice skating:

The exorbitant price tag, a gnawing craving to go shopping and a mildly traumatic college ice skating incident prevented me from taking part in the fun.  Oh well…

We headed onward toward Kinokuniya, a great Japanese bookstore located near Bryant Park.  I purchased a crochet pattern dictionary – モチーフ・エジング300―かぎ針編みパターンブック- and some great graph paper.  I cannot wait to play around with some of the motifs in the book and, I have to admit here and now that I absolutely love graph paper!!

After we had our fill of cute Japanese goods for the day, we headed out in search of Dylan’s Candy Bar and we found it:

It was a brightly colored, crowded candy mecca.  They have so, so many kinds of candy that it boggles the mind.  I have to say that it induced stimulus overload.  Nonetheless, I ended up leaving with some nostalgic favorites like Fruit Stripes gum, candy buttons and Warheads.

We checked out Serendipity, down the street from Dylan’s, as a possible dinner location but were discouraged by the wait time of two or more hours.  So, we ended up going to Gyu-Kaku, a Japanese yakiniku restaurant.  Yakiniku is similar to Korean barbecue except the food is cooked on a grill instead of a griddle surface.  The restaurant is a bit pricey but well worth the expense.  Yum!

We rounded out the day by going in search of dessert.  Our first stop was a small ice cream shop called Sundaes & Cones.  They have quite a few unusual ice cream flavors like Wasabi and Corn.  I ended up with a rather more normal sounding milkshake made with their coffee chocolate chip and chocolate ice cream, though.  It was delicious.  This establishment has gotten a great number of rave reviews on sites like Yelp and I heartily add my endorsement to these.  If you like ice cream and you’re in NYC, you should definitely make a point to drop by.

Then, after a bit of uncertainty and searching, we landed at momofuku milk bar.  They have a lot of unusual but tasty treats.  Andrew and I picked up some cookies to bring back to the hotel.  The compost cookie and chocolate-chocolate cookie were delectable.  Next time I’ll have to try some of the crack pie…

Exhausted, we headed back to the hotel with our spoils.

The next morning we headed to Manhattan again, this time to explore Soho and the East Village.  Our first stop was breakfast at Cafe Orlin:

Andrew and I love Cafe Orlin!!  More specifically, we love their millet pancakes:

Served with homemade chicken sausage and roasted beets with goat cheese, we can’t go to NYC without having millet pancakes at least once.  If ever find yourself in NYC for breakfast or brunch, you must have millet pancakes!!

Anyway, after we stuffed ourselves silly, we went on shopping excursions in the nearby neighborhoods.  We visited Kate’s Paperie, UNIQLO, Muji, Purl and Purl Patchwork.  As was to be expected, the crowds were out in full force; however, it was not as bad as I imagined it would be.  I ended up purchasing some awesome hoodies and socks at UNIQLO.  Surprisingly, I purchased nothing at Purl and Purl Patchwork.  Although I absolutely adore their selection, the cramped environment is just not conducive to my shopping style…

After shopping, we went on another eating expedition.  First, an unplanned stop at Beard Papa for some tasty cream puffs.  Then the best hot dogs in NYC at Gray’s Papaya.  And finally, seriously the best pizza I have ever had at Artichoke Pizza.

Once we were sufficiently stuffed to the point of exploding, Adina and Steph departed for some relaxation at the hotel, while Andrew and I trekked onward to visit a couple of my other favorite NYC LYSs: Annie & Co. Knitting and Knitty City.  These relatively spacious stores are much more conducive to my shopping style, and so, spend money I did.  Let’s just say that I bought enough yarn at Knitty City to get a free tote bag…  As a qualifier, some of it was bought for the purpose of making holiday presents.  Sorry, there are currently no photos of the loot but perhaps I can rectify this over the weekend when I get to see the sun again.

Finally, Andrew and I wound down our day by fighting for seats at the Upper West Side location of the Shake Shack:

The burger and shake were passable.  The fries were tasty-licious!!

Then, on Sunday, we headed home with a small detour to the Japanese hotspot that is Edgewater, New Jersey to go here:

Mitsuwa Marketplace!!

We had a healthy breakfast of sushi, assorted pastry, bread and creamyaki:

Creamyaki consist of a waffle-like dough filled with a wonderful creamy custard.  They are slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey inside.  The are one of my favorite parts of coming to Mitsuwa.

After shopping for some Japanese goodies in the marketplace and the nearby bookstore and gift shop, we settled in to lunch, which for me consisted of tasty hamburger steak and gyoza:

Don’t they look good enough to eat?!  Well, I can tell you, they were!!

Sadly, following lunch, it was back to home and reality, where homework and laundry were calling for my attention…