Tag Archives: nyc

Doughnut Plant

Doughnut Plant is a great place to unwind and chat with a friend. I usually get the creme brulee doughnut. Creme brulee is my favorite dessert and doughnut form makes it even better. Nothing can beat that burnt sugar and custard taste.

Lisa, my usual partner in crime for food adventures, got a latte and a pistachio doughnut. I will definitely continue to come back here, there are a lot of doughnuts to try (square, jam filled, rose petal – you name it). Everything is delicious and this is the only place I know with a fully mirror-tiled restroom with a disco ball.

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MONO + MONO

The midterms are over and it was time for a little celebration. When my friend suggested we get tapas, I eagerly agreed. Finding out that they were going to be Korean—made me question the choice. Upon arrival, MONO+MONO had me even more confused because the decor feels like a rustic jazz bar fell into the hands of a steampunk fanatic. MONO+MONO quickly won me over with a friendly staff, cozy atmosphere and great food. Where else can you see and hear 30,000 vinyl jazz records?

You can see right into the kitchen from the dining room. The kitchen staff always looked like they were having a great time.

We got the Soju Cocktail Sampler: lychee, strawberry, lime/mint, and blueberry milk. I must admit that the drinks weren’t that great. I would consider ordering lychee again, if I was in a particularly girly mood. The other options fell short on taste. This meal really called for a beer.

The Crispy Pork Bun was juicy and crunchy and provided a good foundation for what was to come.

The MONO+MONO fries are amazing. These thick wedge cut, skin-on, rosemary sprinkled fries come with three sauces: spicy mayo, ketchup and hot bacon mustard. I’m not sure why they bother to serve the ketchup at all. It’s not mentioned in the menu and it tastes like (and very well may be) Heinz. We left it pretty much intact, but the other two sauces were completely gone by the time we were done with the meal.

The wings were also great. Crunchy and a bit spicy with a dry heat. My friend thinks that the wings at Pour George were better because they were more saturated, but I can’t decide between the two.

I will definitely be coming back here. The MONO+MONO Happy Hour Special sounds like a great plan if you have three other friends to bring with you (it’s designed for four people).

Lunch at Cha-An

I met a friend for lunch at Cha-An yesterday. It’s a cozy Japanese tea house that specializes in a side of Japanese cuisine you rarely get to sample in NYC, a city mostly filled with sushi bars. I had the lunch special: shrimp and eggplant over a bed of rice with toppings (greens in peanut sauce and pickles) and Japanese green tea. My friend and I shared freshly baked scones with cream and jam for dessert (not exactly Japanese, but delicious). There are several pages of tea you can choose from in the menu. Cha-An also offers private tea ceremonies – that sounds like fun, I’ll let you know when I try it.

Louis Armstrong House Museum

I recently visited the Louis Armstrong House Museum – a little gem tucked away in Corona, Queens. Although it is a relatively small space (our tour group had six people in it including the tour guide and we were just able to fit into the rooms), it is packed with history, music, art and design. The tours are given every hour, so arrive at least an hour prior to closing time. You might want to come early because you are very likely to run into Selma Heraldo, Armstrong’s next-door neighbor and family friend, who will gladly answer your questions and tell you stories about Louis and his wife Lucille while you wait for the tour to begin. You can also take this time to rest in the Japan-inspired garden.

Kitchen, Louis Armstrong House Museum

The kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house. The bright painted and lacquered wood cabinets are sure to make anyone smile. The kitchen features a blender that’s been built into the counter, one of the first microwave ovens in the world and a six-burner stove, which was such a novelty that the company affixed a metal plaque, stating that it was custom made for the Armstrongs, to it.

The other rooms in the house are just as unique and there are small treasures scattered around the house, which gives you a feeling that it is still occupied. That feeling is further enhanced by homemade records of Louis and Lucille that are played by the tour guide in every room – Louis and Lucille can’t agree on what day, month or year it is , Louis talks about music and sings, etc.

Armstrong made a lot of recordings of his music and of everyday conversations and life in the house. He kept the tapes in boxes, which he decorated with photographs and newspaper cut-outs. These collages are a work of art on their own. You can see some of them on display at the museum. You can also check out Satchmo: The Wonderful World of Art of Louis Armstrong, an art book biography, to see his scrapbooks, art and writings.

The museum will be expanding to a new building across the street in a year or two in order to provide educational opportunities and to display their extensive collection.

Freshkills Park

Last weekend I visited the Freshkills Park in Staten Island. Freshkills Park was once better known as the Fresh Kills Landfill. Established in 1948, it was the largest landfill in the world and the cite remained operational till 2001. It is now being converted to a beautiful 2,200 acre park, the third largest park in the five boroughs. The project began in 2006 and will continue to develop in stages over the next 30 years. Freshkills Park is equipped with systems of drainage pipes, soil barrier layers, trenches and flare stations.  The landfill gas is collected and purified while methane gas extracted from it is sold to power 22,000 local homes. The leachate (liquid byproduct of decomposing waste) is piped to an onsite treatment plant and the purified water is released into the Arthur Kill (a local creek). Some of the wild life is already making Freshkills Park its home. I saw an Osprey nest during the tour; white-tailed deer, muskrat, red-tailed hawk and many others have been spotted on the grounds. The city is hoping to make some of the recreational areas of the park open to the public as early as next year. Currently the city is offering free public tours of the park and I think everyone should take advantage of the opportunity to see Freshkills Park in its early stages. The landscape is filled with a mix of natural and industrial elements that provide gorgeous views and an opportunity to learn.

CLICK HERE for a list some other fun outdoor activities in NYC parks

The Kitchen

I visited The Kitchen today to see the current exhibition, The Absolutely Other (on view through August 7). The exhibit is free and you should definitely visit if you enjoy interactive art (or if you’d like to try something new). The Absolutely Other is a group show that includes “New York-based artists who make work with, for, and about strangers.” All of the work creates a moment of tension, makes personal connections and/or tells a story. A piece that embodies all of the above, in my opinion, is Nancy Hwang’s Meet Me at Home, 2006. I had the privilege of having a gallery tour with the artist, who said that she tries not to exhibit her work twice. I’m glad that Meet Me at Home became an exception to the rule. Without giving too much away – pick up the phone and someone might answer. Another piece that connects strangers is Hope Hilton’s When I am Reading I am Far Away, 2010, which allows you to participate in a book exchange (like Swaptree with recommendations instead of requests); it also provides you with an address to send books to U.S. soldiers stationed overseas. I have added my address to the list and will let you know about my further participation in the project. The Absolutely Other is a show for those adventurous at heart that embodies the spirit of the city and comments on/builds relationships. Each piece in the show connects to the central theme in its own unique way that is sure to surprise. Don’t forget to stop by The High Line while you are in the neighborhood.

Nancy Hwang, Meet Me at Home, 2006