We did a lot of things today. We started the day with a latte from Stumptown, one of my favorite coffee places in NYC, then we had a few donuts from Doughnut Plant, one of my favorite donut shops in the country. I had a malted milk donut. These donuts are much better than Voodoo doughnuts in Seattle.
For lunch, we went to Shake Shack. I had their burger and fries. Then, we took an express A train all the way up town to 190th Street to visit the Cloisters, which is part of the MET. It was a great experience visiting the park, the building, and getting to far north of the city.
After that, we went to the MET in Central Park since the tickets from the Cloisters are good for the MET as well. For dinner, we had gelato from Grom and halal food from the Halal Guys on 53rd Street. The gelato was great. The food from the Halal Guys was just okay. Not sure why it is so famous. We took the food to Rockefeller Center and ate it there since there were many tables and seats available in the basement. Then, we went up to Top of the Rock Observation Deck. The view was great from up there.
We started our day with a complimentary breakfast from the W hotel at the Blue Fin Restaurant. It was okay – very small selection.
Before lunch, we went to the New York Library at Bryant Park and visited a special exhibition there called Lunch Hour. It’s an exhibit about the history of lunch in the U.S. It was interesting to learn about the Automat and when it was so popular in the early 1900s. Surprisingly they all disappeared by around the 70s. I would think they would be popular in a modern society. I also stopped by the Rose Main Reading Room. Here is a picture of the reading room.
For lunch, we went to Won Dee Siam I which is one of my favorite Thai restaurants in New York. Their lunch menu has items for only $7.50 a plate. After lunch, we got tickets from the TKTS booth to see Dare at the New World Stages. We got front row seats.
For dinner, we went Sorella in Lower East Side by Chinatown. We found this place on Yelp. It turned out to be a great place to eat and drink. I had lamb ragu and it was yummy. Their gelato was great too.
I woke up pretty late this morning, around 10 AM. I walked all the way from 2nd Avenue to 7th Avenue looking looking for places to eat. I wanted to go to Shake Shack but the line was too long, so I ended up eating at Chicken Bar. Then I went to Alterations Master to have my jeans hemmed. I heard about this place on Yelp.
I had my afternoon latte from Blue Bottle at the Rockefeller Tower. I was surprised that it wasn’t crowded. It was expensive though, $4.50 for a latte but it was very good. While I was drinking my latte I saw a post on Facebook about No Pants Subway Ride 2013 in New York which was happening today. It was part of Improv Everywhere. I decided to go see it in person. No, I didn’t participate – just an observer. The final meeting point was at Union Square. There were so many people without pants. Here is a picture of a group of people doing a human pyramid.
Then, I went shopping at Trader’s Joe. I couldn’t believe that there was a line to get in. I waited for about 5 minutes in line. I ended up not buying anything because the check out line was about 30 minutes and they didn’t have the pre-packed salads I was looking for anyway. I got two bottles of wine from their wine store next door though. I will be watching the Golden Globes on TV tonight.
Everything went well today on my first day living in NYC. I had to get up really early to catch a 7 AM flight but all my flights were on time. I got upgrade to first class on my first leg from San Jose to Houston.
Here is a picture of somewhere in the west on the way from San Jose to Houston.
The apartment is very nice and clean. The building is called Beaux Arts and it is only a block from the UN on 44th Street between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue. I am on the 12th floor with a view of some office. It is going to be my home for the next two months. There is a Duane Reade a block away and there are a few restaurants on 2nd Avenue. Tonight I stopped by Duane Reade to get milk and a Brita pitcher. I had a Chinese take out from Shih Lee on 45th Street. I tried their Kung Pao chicken and it was pretty good.
I had a quick trip (2 nights) to Osaka, Japan in early September. It was a business trip on short notice. Luckily, I upgraded myself to business class with Japanese meals. In case you don’t know, you can request a Japanese meal if you are flying business to and from Japan on United. It is a standard option for everyone in business class but it often runs out quickly. However, you can call United to request one before your flight.
This is my second time in Osaka but I don’t remember much about it from my first trip about 15 years ago. This time, I flew in to Kansai International Airport which is a landfill in the middle of the bay. It is about an hour by train from the city center. I took an express Nankai train to the city center. I had a reserved seat and there were only a few stops at main stations along the way.
The train and subway system in Japan is somewhat easy to use and there are English signs in most places. I was able to navigate myself most of the time. I really enjoyed exploring Shinsaibashi district and Dotonbori district where there are many shops and restaurants. If you go, don’t miss the neon signs along Dotonbori canal. The most famous sign there is the Glico sign.
On my first night, I was craving tonkatsu and I found this local restaurant near Dotonbori district. This is a place where you order your food on a machine outside the restaurant first. This kind of restaurant doesn’t offer table service. It only has a counter around the kitchen. You go to the machine, insert money, pick what you want to eat, take the ticket(s) inside and put them on the counter where you sit, the chef will take your ticket and get you food. Most dishes come with noodles. The food was great and it only cost me 480 yen. For water, you can help yourself from cups and water pitchers available on the counter. After you are done eating, make sure to use the available cloth to wipe down your area. No need to tip in Japan.
On my second night, I got to try Torikara stick (fried chicken meat stick). It was pretty good. They offer many sauce options but I didn’t try any since I couldn’t understand what they were.
One of the most famous tourist places in Osaka is Osaka Castle. It is an easy walk from Tenmabashi station. The castle area is pretty big and the castle itself is beautiful. You can go inside the castle which is now a museum. You have a nice view of the city from the 7th floor of the castle. The elevator will take you up to the 5th floor and you can walk up to the 7th floor.
A few random things I learned from this trip about Japan.
– The close and open buttons in elevators really work in Japan
– It is hard to find free WIFI in Osaka. The only place I found was at Apple store.