NYC 2013 (part 2)

Okay, when I left off, we had left Barcade and headed back to the hotel.

I took a nap while Keith read comic books on his iPad. (I got really used to these before dinner naps, they were hard to give up.)

So then it was time for dinner and Keith said that he did not want to leave Chinatown without eating Chinese food…so Yelp to the rescue again. We were just a few blocks from Joe’s Shanghai and with 2,000+ reviews, we figured we had to try it. Until I read some reviews and got a little nervous, but we headed over anyways.

So we walk in (luckily no line – there were probably 30 people in line when we left an hour later) and are seated at a big round table with two other groups. We are seated, given menus and a pot of tea. All the reviews said that you HAVE to get the soup dumplings, so we got those (I think I tried to order pork/crab as suggested, but I am pretty sure we only got crab) and pan fried noodles. I had no idea what pan fried noodles were but whatever the group across from us had looked delicious so I was trying to order that. In hindsight, I should have just asked/pointed.

So the restaurant is insanely busy, there are just about as many employees as patrons and they have different colored shirts on based on their job (? I think?). So it was hard to find someone to find to get some water, but eventually we did.

So then the food came out and the noodles were not at all what I expected. Still good though and Keith said they were the easiest thing he has tried to eat with chopsticks (no forks).

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The soup dumplings were awesome! I sort of had no idea what they were until we got them. They are little pillows of (in our case) crab…but also a broth…so you make a hole, slurp out the broth and then eat. They were a little messy, but before we got them, a group of old Asian people came and sat at our table and I was able to learn from watching them eat and not make a fool of myself. One of the women kept SCREAMING at the waiters in whatever language and it was sort of ridiculous.

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Another group came and sat with us and anything they asked the waiter, he was baffled by. They ordered fish, then asked to order a vegetable and he just kept saying “Vegetable?” over and over until she said “What kind do you have?” Then he rolls his eyes and starts listing them off. They really blew his mind when they asked for another spoon. (And I don’t believe this was a language barrier, he spoke English perfectly well…I guess they are just Soup (dumpling) Nazis.)

Then we headed over for the 2nd night of KATG festivities which was a live version of the “What’s My Name” show podcast, hosted by Chemda, the girl. The show was all about bad roommates and it was pretty hilarious. Another afterparty at which we did not exactly party and then home to bed.

_MG_9782This was a very slight ramp to our Broolyn subway stop and it freaked me out a little bit. I think I played too much Tomb Raider as a child because I kept expecting a giant boulder to come rolling down after us.

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Sunday! I was really excited for Sunday. The one thing I wanted to do was go to Smorgasburg, a Brooklyn Flea Food Market. It was in the same area as all the shows, so very convenient to where we were staying. It was a gorgeous day and people were out in droves.

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The food is actually inside that structure. This was just spillover of people eating. I had really wanted to try Milk Truck, but the line was soooo long that I just couldn’t do it. We had carnitas tacos from Choncho’s Tacos which were pretty good, a chicken burger with granny smith apples, goat cheese and cranberries that was OUT OF THIS WORLD from Bossa Nova Chicken Burgers. (That was Keith’s suggestion, I wanted a different burger but I am so glad I listened to him.) Bossa Nova was right next to Red Hook Lobster Pound and we both really wanted a lobster roll but at 16$ it seemed a little pricey. The line was enormous and I have heard they are worth it. Next time! We kept passing this booth with MASSIVE black and white cookies, and as a B&W cookie lover, I had to try.

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It was from Lassen and Hennigs and even though that may look like a domed cookie, it was not. The cookie was perfectly flat and there was at least a 1/2″ of icing…which proved to be way too much. I like B&W cookies for the slightly hard icing…and this was more like frosting. It was good…but I kind of wanted to die after I ate it. While I was suffering through my sugar shock, Keith got an arepa from Palenque. Aside from the burger, this was my second favorite.

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Although it was a little hard to eat with the paper plate and bamboo fork, it was delicious. But! The crowing glory of Smorgasburg was again something Keith chose. A 6$ icecream sandwich from The Good Batch.
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This is the only picture I have of it. It was the MG – flourless chocolate cookie, roasted crunchy peanut butter, sea salt, Blue Marble vanilla ice cream. The flourless chocolate cookie sealed the deal. It was so flaky and almost like a chocolate macaron and just thinking about it, my mouth is watering. I only got 2-3 bites but it was the best thing ever.

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I love old brick buildings. I especially loved the stars on this one.

_MG_9728Some cute door on a random side street.

_MG_9729Ha, this picture is not the best, but I was trying to be covert. This guy was dressed pink head-to-toe but his shoes were insane! Pink poodles!

Sunday we had dinner at Barrio Chino – a tiny, unmarked Mexican place in Chinatown. We got guacamole, then Keith got enchiladas verdes and I got calamari tacos. Everything was awesome.

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They had a pretty awesome looking drink menu, but we didn’t partake. I loved how the food was all served on blue china.

Monday we met up with a friend/photographer in an attempt to do a mini-engagement session but it was cold/windy and since he was working alone he thought it would be better to postpone til we got back to Pittsburgh. So we shot a few but then just went and had a drink and chatted.

Monday night was the big stand-up show. After the show, the final after party. All of the afterparties had been held in this neat space on the 9th floor of this building.

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Well..the final night…the elevator got stuck…with people inside! The FDNY came and we had to wait outside for probably a good 20-30 minutes. Idiot that I am, I packed for Pittsburgh weather (which was 10 degrees warmer all week) and had to stand there in a dress/sandals.
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Eventually the people were rescued, but the elevator was unusable. So everyone climbed up 9 flights of stairs to the final afterparty. And since I don’t want to make another post…I’m going to end this with a bunch of pictures. Including this one by our friend Newsy.

heh

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Someone opened a window on the 9th floor and I took advantage to get some shots of the gorgeous view.

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NYC 2013 (part 1)

The second weekend in April found Keith and I travelling to NYC for Keith and the Girl week. Keith and the Girl week is an annual event which centers around Keith Malley’s birthday stand-up show. There are a variety comedic events/parties and this would be our third year going.

Keith (my Keith) handles our travel plans (hotels and whatnot) and then I usually try to plan things to do/places to eat.

We left Friday morning and drove straight to Manhattan. Our hotel this time was in Chinatown, which was a first for both of us. As we are about a block away from the hotel, we are sitting at a light under the Manhattan Bridge and some sort of train rolls over us and the noise is DEAFENING. I suddenly am very very unsure of this hotel’s location.

For reference:

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The bridge…our hotel was the 3rd building from the bridge. I should have taken some sort of audio, it was insane. Luckily, even though we were on the 6th floor (out of 7), the noise from the bridge was hardly noticeable. You could tell something was happening, but it was less like a train was rolling over you and more like just something mechanical kicking on.

Our hotel was pretty interesting too, it must have been some sort of mall at one point, this was the view walking in:

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I was sort of surprised they hadn’t rented out the little glass cubbies as rooms.

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View back to the main doors, elevator was to the right and you had to take it up to the 2nd floor to check-in.

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This larger than life fella kept an eye on the first floor. (No matter how hard I try, I can’t get the white balance right.)

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The elevator was also mirrored which was…weird.

Okay, so enough about the hotel. We checked in, sat around for a little and headed to grab some dinner. Pulled up Yelp and ended up at Cheeky Sandwiches. It was a good thing someone on Yelp had a photo because I would have walked right past. I was tempted by the shrimp poboy, but Keith and I both ended up with the chicken sandwich.

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buttermilk biscuit, fried chicken, gravy, coleslaw

The shop was just adorable and considering it was only 5pm, we were the only two in there.
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From there, we headed over to Brooklyn for the first show. The reason we stayed in Chinatown was because it was literally one train stop away and it was wonderful. The Keith and the Girl podcast has expanded to include several spin-off podcasts and the first night was spin-off night. The shows were hilarious, of course. Afterwards there was an after-party across the street, which we attended for approximately 30 minutes before being old people and going back to the hotel.

The next day we headed uptown so Keith could check out a comic book store. And get lunch. One of the reasons I was most excited to head back to NYC after 2 years away (Sorry, KATG) was the Halal Guys. It is a food cart…but not just any food cart. This cart is legendary. (Over 3000 reviews can’t be wrong!)

The first time I went to NYC, way back in 2009 with Keith, he raved about this food cart. We were in the city for a basketball game and the game ended around midnight. We took the train but then had to walk at least 10 blocks to 53rd and 6th (where the cart lives). It was sleeting. I was in canvas shoes. I was miserable. We arrived and there were literally 30 people in line.

It’s finally our turn…Keith orders and then we walk a half a block away to take shelter while we eat (still sleeting!) and after all that, IT WAS SO WORTH IT. (And way too much food, after that we only ever get one meal and share it.)

So. Anyways. The cart is open 7pm-4am, and we typically make a late night trek, but we had heard that there was a daytime cart on a different corner. Now it gets tricky because the Halal Guys are seriously legendary…and they have many imposters. I almost stopped at two different carts before we found the correct daytime cart. One of the imposters even had sweatshirts that said “The Halal Guys.” The REAL guys are on the corner across from the Hilton at night, but they are in front of CBS during the day. The fool-proof way to tell is the yellow bags.

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So we got our food and found a random spot to eat…and it felt like cheating! To get it during the day…by taking a subway that went almost right to it (holla, F train) to not have to wait in a ridiculous line in the rain/cold/snow/wind…was weird. Dare I say it dulled the experience a bit. It was STILL the most delicious food of my life…but I didn’t feel like I earned it.

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combo platter with chicken, lamb, pita, lettuce, orange stuff is rice, white sauce is the star of the show. ALWAYS get extra white sauce. (this was what was leftover. SO MUCH FOOD.)

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some cute guy who bought me lunch.

After lunch, we headed to Midtown Comics so Keith could nerd out. (And buy nothing.) From there we zoomed across (under) the river, back to Brooklyn to hit up Barcade. Keith has been dying to go the past few times he has been in the vicinity but never made it, so he was really excited.

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It was a really cool place! We were there mid-afternoon, I’m not sure I’d want to be there at night…I would imagine it can get pretty packed. I had a delicious pear cider and mostly watched Keith play games. (All games are a quarter!) But then I discovered Timber, which I could actually play! (I am not good at video games.) We hung out there until we exhausted Keith’s quarters and then went back to the hotel.

And now I’m sick of writing so…to be continued…