In my books, waking up around noon with a terrible hangover is a pretty good start to your birthday (See my previous post on why we were suffering!) We dragged ourselves out of bed and went for an amazing recovery/carb laden lunch at Eataly on 5th Avenue (Note: In the photo below, I asked J to 'try not to look hungover, and act as if this is the most exciting thing you're ever going to eat' - He's learning) Funnily enough, it wasn't the most exciting food I've ever eaten, but it sure hit the spot and the Eataly atmosphere was a great pick-me-up.
I saw one of the waiters wearing this shirt below and almost walked up to him to inform him that it was my birthday as well but then realized that they sell these babies in the Eataly souvenir shop. Naturally, I got one and wore it the entire day. I was so tempted to flash it at random people but J spoiled my fun. Is that stuff not allowed when you've passed the twentysomething halfway mark?
As mentioned before, J had planned a day of surprises for me, but our hangover pushed things back a bit. At my request, we slowed down the pace, strolled around and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I also had my first Whole Foods experience in Union Square and nearly cried at all of the yummy choices. Yes, it's expensive and pretentious, but I loved it. We packed a picnic and made our way back to the apartment, which happened to be next to the High Line, just in time for a beautiful sunset.
I was snapping away and eating organic guacamole to my hearts content when J informed me that we had to move on to the next surprise. I got a bit annoyed because I was enjoying the view so much, but he pointed upwards and assured me that I would enjoy the view that much more from the rooftop bar in The Standard Hotel. This boy knows me too well :)
My inner 'Asian tourist' came out in full force ; I was 'oohing' and 'aahing' at the 1950's decor, the hot waitresses, the delicious cocktails and the bathrooms (They look out onto the Empire State Building skyline) and trying to take photos of it all. The view was INCREDIBLE and I gave up trying to do it justice. We savored our cocktails as we watched the sun go down over Brooklyn. I couldn't have pictured a better way to end the day but I didn't realize what was next on the agenda...
Most of my close friends know that 'death by sushi' could never apply to me. I LOVE sushi so much and could happily eat it everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thankfully, my final surprise was an amazing sushi dinner at Blue Ribbon Sushi in SoHo. This dinner was the bomb.com - so good in fact, that I almost dedicated an entire post to this meal but didn't want to leave you hanging.
First up: Oysters
I'm not usually a huge fan of oysters, purely because I find them quite boring to eat. But these were different in so many ways. We chose a sample of both East Coast and West coast oysters, to see if we could tell the difference, and we definitely could (I preferred West Coast because they were meatier) They were seasoned with soy, ginger and sesame seed oil and another sauce that I couldn't pinpoint, giving them a kick that I had never experienced before.
Round Two: Shrimp Dumplings
AMAZING. Enough said.
Sushi Squares/Boxes, as opposed to rolls. Similar to nigiri, except that the sushi is 'built' upwards, with the rice on the bottom, avocado and then tuna on top. Interesting to eat and definitely something I'd like to try to make myself.
Round Four: Maki, Maki, Makiiiii
Tuna, crab, eel and salmon rolls.
Round Five: Just kidding, we stopped after Round Four.
We were contemplating a fifth course when the waiter passed our table carrying this dish below. I was feeling snap happy (as you can tell) so I asked him if I could take a photo of the plate and feature it on my 'food' blog. The Manager was consulted and told that there was a food blogger from Barbados who wanted to feature the restaurant, so she happily obliged and even staged it in the light for me. I think I need to pull the blogger card more often and see if I can get any freebies in the future.
Desert: A few scoops of ice-cream at a local parlour around the corner, but at this point I was pooped and couldn't put J through another 'hold on, let me take a photo of that' moment, the poor boy had endured enough.
It was literally the icing on top of an amazing 3 day birthday celebration and I can't wait to explore New York again soon.
Stay tuned for my New York video :)