Wednesday, 18 July 2012

NYC - Part 1

I've done so much traveling this year that it's kinda passed by in a blur, not the actual travel parts but the year itself. I love having my blog to write so that I can remind myself to sit down, look through my pictures and remember how awesome it all was. I can't believe it's mid July already and I'm sure that one of the reasons it still feels like spring to me is England's terrible attempt at summer, so far this year I'm pretty sure I've only seen the sun in other countries!

One of those other countries was America. I was last in the U. S of A in 2009 and I've been itching to go back ever since. Regular readers of my blog will know that it's taken three years of flying practice (not exactly the worst thing to have to practice!) but Nick got on a long haul flight in May and we headed for NYC.

We look super tired there & Nick does't look overly impressed...I think this was probably the eight zillionth photo I'd taken on the plane!

After landing, waiting for THREE hours to go through passport control at JFK, and then getting the train / subway to the hotel we used the Happy Cow App to find the nearest place we could grab a quick bite to eat. We picked Two Boots Pizza. I'd never been there before and we didn't realise until we arrived that this was a Cajun pizza place! In our dazed state we even forgot to ask for the mild sauce. Rookie mistake!

The pizza was definitely good, I loved the thin crust, the melty Daiya cheese, and the amount of toppings but it was way way too hot for me. This was easily rectified though, we swung by Whole Foods & picked up a jar of Veganaise which I proceeded to slather all over my leftover slices in our hotel room before falling asleep in a jet lagged food coma. Brilliant.

The next morning we woke up bright and early at 5:30 am and after a walk around the LES we ended up in Soho at s'Nice for an awesome breakfast of tofu cream cheese bagels and muffins.

Banana Chocolate Chip


I love s'Nice, I stayed right by their West Village location back in '09 and I ate breakfast there almost every day. This time we only made it there once but the muffins were perfect and you really can't beat an everything bagel with cream cheese.

After breakfast we headed uptown to be mega tourists! These are two of the views from the Top of The Rock, the observation deck at the Rockefeller Centre.

I was a little sceptical about this at first, I'd been up the Empire State Building before and at $25 each it seemed kinda expensive, but, it was TOTALLY worth it! I loved being able to see so much of NYC and we were really lucky to be able to go up there on such a clear day. We must've spent two hours running around Ooh-ing and Aah-ing at the sights & taking a million photos. I'd totally go up there again!

After getting sunburnt faces we headed to Central Park to find some shade before our brunch booking at Candle 79. We sat under a tree watching people attempting to row boats for about an hour, it was hilarious and we were both surprised at the amount of people trying to row the boat backwards. I doubt we'd have been any better at it though!

I'd been wanting to eat at Candle 79 for years and as brunch is my favourite meal of the day we decided to make this booking before we left the UK so that we didn't miss out.

We're both lovers of sweet brunch food so I ordered the Homestyle Quinoa Pancakes with seasonal fruit, strawberry butter and gingered maple syrup.

...and Nick ordered the Mixed Grain Waffles with bananas, candies pecans, strawberry butter and gingered maple syrup.

We ended up swapping these as soon as they hit the table because my pancakes came with banana and Nicks waffles had the seasonal fruit but even after that tactical swap all I have to say is, meh. I don't really know what else to say about our brunch at Candle! The waffles and pancakes were both pretty flavourless, I make much better versions of both at home and for $13 I was expecting something a little more high quality than plain fruit dumped onto bland food. We also ordered a side of the Sausage to share and both thought that it tasted like cheap Bolognese. On top of the not so great food we thought the whole place was super stuffy, I know, it's on the Upper East Side, but I've been to fancy places plenty of times and I know for a fact that it's possible to be upscale without being stuffy. Overall I was not impressed with Candle 79 & I doubt I'd go back.

That night after more walking & sightseeing we had dinner at one of my favourite NYC places, Pukk. The pictures I took were THE WORST though so no photos...checking back on my last blog post about Pukk it seems that there were no photos then either so I'm going to blame it on their mood lighting not my photography skills!

We ordered the Chicken Nugget to share to start with followed by the Pad See Ew (my favourite from last time) and the Gravy Tofu. The Pad See Ew is still my favourite dish at Pukk, I love big thick noodles, their sweet black bean sauce is excellent & anything that comes with a tonne of broccoli is a winner in my book. We both loved the Chicken Nugget starter which was a plate of four fried chicken balls rather than what I'd usually think of as a nugget and whilst the Gravy Tofu was pretty good I'm not sure I'd order it again.

After dinner we went for another walk around the neighbourhood and took advantage of one of my favourite NYC things, late night ice cream. I'm sure I've mentioned it before but one of the things I hate about England (with the exception perhaps of Central London) is that aside from proper sit down restaurants everywhere closes at 6pm, earlier on a Sunday. It's ridiculous that you can't get coffee, cake. ice cream or a sandwich here after dark! It limits evening socialising to pubs which I think is a massive part of what's wrong with British culture....anyway, rant over, back to ice cream!

I love Lula's Sweet Apothecary & this time around I got a scoop of Rocky Road in a cone. It was a ridiculously sweet icy treat and it really hit my dessert sweet spot!

One of the other awesome things about Lula's (aside from the lovely staff, delicious ice cream & late opening hours) is that they sell all sorts of delicious treats like Go Max bars, Sweet & Sara S'mores and these amazing Peanut Butter Pit Bull chocolate bars.

I didn't actually devour this until we got home (yeah, I kinda lost it in our ever-growing selection of bags!) and it was honestly the hardest thing I've ever had to share. I almost hid it (in my belly!) from Nick but that would have just been mean...if he wasn't vegan too it would've been an entirely different story! This was the most amazing chocolate bar I've ever had the pleasure of eating, made by Rescue Chocolate every penny of the profits goes to animal rescue groups, something I can definitely get down with, and OMG this is GREAT chocolate. Crispy peanut butter enrobed with sweet chocolate, perfection. If you get the chance to pick one of these up please don't be put off by the almost $6 price tag. I promise it'll be worth it.

After another amazing nights sleep in the worlds comfiest bed we woke up early again, ate Whole Foods blueberry muffins in bed...

...and headed downtown to take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.

We had so much fun & I managed not to throw up, yay! Have I mentioned that I'm bad with boats?! After feeling the wind in our hair on the water we hopped on the subway & headed over to Brooklyn... but that's a whole 'nother blog post!


  1. Rescue chocolate is the best! I can't remember the last time I went to New York, I'm sorry your trip to Candle 79 was no good, I have been wanting to try it for years too! When you come here to Austin I'd love to show you around :)

    1. Seriously, I still dream of that chocolate bar! I'd love to meet up when we're in Austin!!

  2. welcome to NYC! :) you hit up some of my fav spots! I loveee s'Nice:)

  3. Aw, what a shame about Candle 79. Glad to see all the other places were good though and I'll be adding them to my list for when I next visit. I am craving an icecream sundae now after reading this post!

  4. I'm so happy for you for finding the peanut butter pit bull bar. They are the BEST! And for a great cause too :)

  5. I'm sorry you were disappointed with the food at Candle 79. I really love the food there but I have never eaten brunch there. I'd urge you to try it again for lunch or dinner as the seitan dishes are wonderful, the ravioli is great, the peanut buter bliss dessert is amazing and their cannoli is most definitely not to be missed.

    I have to say I don't find it at all stuffy though - where were you sitting? Upstairs or downstairs? In a booth?

    Perhaps you went to Candle Cafe while you were there, if you did and you enjoyed the food you'd also enjoy Candle 79's regular menu. I hope you give it another chance on your next visit and try sitting somewhere else.

    1. We were downstairs near the front. To clarify when I say stuffy I mean the atmosphere / service so not something that would be helped by sitting somewhere else! I haven't ever eaten at Candle Cafe but I may try it our next time I'm in NYC.

  6. And I agree about Top Of The Rock. If you time it right to go just before sunset you get the best of both worlds with daytime and night time views, hopefully with a gorgeous sunset thrown in!

  7. I'm so pleased someone else thought the food at Candle 79 was meh - I thought I was the only one. I've eaten there twice, and both times was disappointed. After the first bad attempt I wondered whether they were having an off day, or I was just jet-lagged and grumpy, but the second visit cemented it. It's just not all it's cracked up to be.

    My favourite place to eat in NYC is Angelica Kitchen. I love, love, love that place. I also like that I can walk to Lula's or Stogo afterwards for a hujass ice-cream to finish my yummy meal. I also really love Babycakes NYC.

    One of the best meals I ever ate in NYC was at Pure Food and Wine. It was amazing, but their opening times, and prices, meant that I haven't managed to get back there since. Even so, NYC really is fantastic for vegan food. I seem to do nothing but eat when I'm there, and probably put on about half a stone! haha!

    1. I ate at Angelica Kitchen whilst I was in NYC! I have a post on it coming up soon! I'd love to try Pure Food and Wine one day, it looks great.

  8. Very interesting blog and an avid reader. You provide some very helpful suggestions on places to eat. Question for you:- Who or are you sponsored in any way as you seem to be jetting off 'at left right and centre' to various places and was just wondering how you manage to fund all of this?

    Are you both 'Secret Millionaires' or Lottery winners? :)

    1. I'm excited to hear that you enjoy my blog. I have to say though that your question's quite a personal one coming from an anonymous commenter! I'm not sponsored in any way and nor am I any kind of millionaire.

  9. We thought that Top of the Rock was better than the Empire State Building, definitely worth it! And I love s'Nice too.

  10. Your blog is so informative and useful. I am visiting NY in September and definitely going to use some of your recommendations!

    I think the Top of The Rock is better than the empire state building. It just seem to have a better view and the most epic view of central park, really showing how vast it is!

  11. Looks like you had a great time! So cute, you two are :)

  12. That's such a shame that your meal at Candle 79 was so disappointing! I hope all the other amazing meals you had in NYC made up for it, though. I especially like the look of the chocolate & ice cream, yum.

  13. Okay, sorry I'm leaving all of these comments; I'm just so excited and envious reading about your road trip. Maybe we were in NYC at the same time; we went in May. I do really love Candle 79, although I always feel like the portions are so small and pricey. I love the owners.


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