Junior year of high school is a rough period in people’s lives.
Y’know it’s when school starts getting really hard, and you’ve got SATs to worry about, and the prospect of senior year and COLLEGE APPLICATIONS looms ever closer. And if you’re involved in extracurriculars, you’re constantly trying to juggle everything without overstressing yourself.
Yeah, I managed to survive junior year. Somehow. (It still kind of comes as a surprise to me that I’m in COLLEGE..).
I know from experience how hard it is. And during the few times I was home this past year, I saw how my sister Calynn was struggling through the same thing, but about a billion times worse because she’s involved in so many more things than I ever was.
So for a while now, I’ve been planning a trip to the city for my sister; a congratulations!-you’re-done-with-one-of-the-hardest-years-of-your-life-to-date kind of treat, if you will. And although it took a while for us to settle on a date, we finally managed to make our way to Manhattan yesterday for a sisters’ day out.
If you’ve read my other posts on the city trips that Euna and I go on, you’ll know that they’re very food-centric. Well, I decided that this one should be a mini food-trip, where my sister can have fun just exploring and frolicking around the East Village. Wheeeee, sounds fun, don’t it? WELL, YOU BET IT WAS.
First, we went to the Union Square Greenmarket.
Where Calynn bought a really yummy Apple-Lemonade, and we saw a lady grinding corn with a…
The weather was nice, so we fooled around the lawn for a bit before heading to Momofuku Noodle Bar for lunch.
Since there was only 2 of us, we got seated at the bar RIGHT in front of the open kitchen. It was super cool because we could see all the dishes getting fired and prepared before they went out to the customers.
Amidst all the smoke, hustle, and bustle of the kitchen, it seemed Calynn had a hard time choosing a dish. The waitress came and asked us if we were ready TWICE before my sister decided on the most typical dish you would find in any Korean home…
Kimchi stew. With rice.
But I’ll admit this isn’t your average kimchi jjigae. Made with braised kimchi, pork shoulder, and rice cakes this stew is a lot richer and sweeter than the normal Korean style ones. It’d been David Chang-ified.
Look at my sister, eating away… She actually couldn’t finish the bowl, not only because there was a lot of food, but also because it was really heavy. I think she prefers my mom’s version of kimchi jjigae. But let’s be honest – who wouldn’t?
I wanted to keep things light (you know, with the 87° weather and everything), so I got a chilled snap pea salad.
Although not very substantial, I really like this salad. The lettuce and peas were crunchy, and the pickled radishes gave the whole thing a nice tang. I really liked the dressing too, which doesn’t come as a big surprise, seeing how it’s made with sesame oil.
My other plate was made up of bok choy, cauliflower mushroom, and fermented black bean.
While I did enjoy the veggies in this dish (perfectly cooked bokchoy! soft-yet-crispy mushroom thingies!), I thought that overall it was too salty. It also had meat in it! :O I ate it anyways because Momofuku is really good about where they source their meat, but there were chunks of a stringy, porkish thing (almost like chopped up Slim Jims, although it was probably a cured pork of some sort) in it.
After our lunch we walked over to a store called Sustainable NYC. I didn’t take any pictures of the place, but if you’re into eco-friendly, upcycled goods of all kinds (kitchenware, clothing, stationary, etc., etc., etc.) you should DEFINITELY pay this place a visit. There’s so much cool stuff, and a café selling vegan and vegetarian goods. Calynn told me that this was her favorite part of our NYC trip. And if she says it’s cool, you better believe it!
Once we were done with our earth-friendly shopping trip, Calynn and I headed over to Sundaes and Cones, my favorite ice cream store in the WORLD.
Does it matter that I only like it because of one particular flavor they have? NO IT DOES NOT. THEY’RE AMAZING AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS.
I’ve been to Sundaes and Cones once before with Euna, which was when I fell in love with the place. Although they do have normal flavors like vanilla and chocolate, the unique flavors like wasabi, corn, and avocado are what make this ice cream parlor unique. Their Asian flavors (green tea, red bean, taro…) are ESPECIALLY good, although they make choosing an ice cream all the more difficult.
After much sampling, Calynn decided on a scoop of taro ice cream in a sugar cone.
An excellent choice, if I do say so myself. Taro is the starchy root of the cassava plant, and normally eaten as a form of carbohydrate in parts of Africa and southeast Asia. At Sundaes&Cones, they’ve somehow managed to turn into a creamy, purple ice cream that tastes like a heavenly combination of Oreos and vanilla.
Of course, I already knew what flavor I was going to get before I even stepped into the store. There was no way I was going to get anything else other than…
It’s dark gray and speckled with black dots, but don’t let that fool you.
Sundaes and Cones makes the best black sesame ice cream I’ve ever tasted. It’s got such a strong punch of sesame flavor, that’s nutty and almost burnt-tasting in the best way possible. Creamy and gritty at the same time, this is so good… My scoop was gone too soon.
Once we had both finished our ice creams, we headed back to Union Square for some more shopping (Calynn at Forever 21, me at the Greenmarket), before we walked up Broadway all the way to Port Authority.
On our way uptown, we stopped by the famous Strand bookstore for a brief look-see, oohed and aahed over the Flatiron building, and also walked around Eataly for a bit.
We had so much fun just taking in New York, and the best part was that I didn’t even plan any of this! We just walked along and stopped where we pleased; although it was quite a bit of walking, this casual part of our outing made me glad we didn’t take the subway. :)
And that’s how we ended our day out in Manhattan. Once we got to Port Authority and braved the lines (was anyone there yesterday? There was a problem with the traffic flow, and the lines were CRAZY long), we got on a bus heading back to the Valley. Calynn and I were both pooped, and ended up snoozing on the bus, and my sister somehow ended up falling asleep on a stranger’s shoulder.
As cheesy as it sounds, I really enjoyed spending quality time with Calynn; I miss her a lot in college, and getting to hang out with her one-on-one while showing her the places I love in the city was really fun. I WANT TO DO THIS AGAAAAAAINNNNN. I’m seriously already planning on where to take her next… Don’t judge me!
Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
139 Ave A
New York, NY 10009
Sundaes and Cones
95 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003