You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2012.

2012 has been an exciting year – one that has taken me to 11 countries and six domestic cities. Here are the top five posts that you all deemed the most worthy of reading throughout the year.  Allow me to get misty eyed and thank you for all the comments, “likes” and views this year. I look forward to more adventures in 2013 and cannot wait to share with all of you.

grand-oasis-cancun-21. the 90s are back in cancun

This journey from last January took us to Cancun of yesteryear, where girls strip down to the very bare minimum and beefcake dudes line up to drink tequila out of their belly buttons. It makes me smile that my readers found this to be the most popular post.

 

2. an affair with anthony bourdain

Not surprisingly, my encounter with my hero (and the hero of many of my readers, I’m sure) was worthy of your attention.

 

3. airport idiocy: top five pet peeves

We all have been to the airport, so we all know just how much of a hassle they can be. Plus, everyone likes reading complaint pieces where they get to say, “oh yes, that is soooo true!”

 

delposto4. five overrated restaurants in nyc

I don my snark cap and tell you that those restaurants with the $$$$ rating just aren’t that worth it.

 

5. summer of fun 2012

Every summer I make a list of the top 50 things in New York that I would love do between Memorial Day and Labor Day. You all came along on that journey with me this summer. I hope you were able to create some memories of your own!

 

Like what you have read this year? Follow me on Twitter at @tripptravelogue, or “like” me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/trippintravelogue. Thanks everyone and Happy New Year!!

china1A fluorescent Chinese menu blinks up on a wall behind a window flecked with dirty rain spots and grime. A tiny slit behind the register reveals from the kitchen little more than familiar smells of soy sauce, salt and mysterious meats. It’s not what you think – but nowadays, few things in New York are.

This is Mission Chinese Food, an outpost of the San Francisco phenomenon that has taken the City by the Bay by storm and since has moved East to surprise New Yorkers, a breed that puts Chinese takeout above church.

But this ain’t your mama’s Chinese takeout restaurant. Sure, it looks like that from the outside, what with its basement location and dingy exterior – but that’s supposed to be “cool”. Once you’re accepted into the fold, you are led to a back room, past an open kitchen where today’s youthful culinary elite are chopping and plating with inked arms and piercings. The dining room is washed in a red glow, making it look more like a concubine’s office than a restaurant, while a scarlet paper dragon twists along the ceiling.

china2And then it comes time to order. You won’t find eggrolls or wontons at this particular joint. The signature dish at Mission Chinese Food is its thrice-cooked bacon. Typically a signature dish never really lives up to the hype, but rest assured: it most certainly does. The taut pieces of bacon give off a smoky, almost jerky-esque flavor (we’ll call it haute jerky, if that helps you), and the meat rests on chewy rice pancakes that absorb the chili spices and bacon juice. (If you can manage to not eat the whole dish, save the leftovers for breakfast and cook with fried eggs.)

Then the menu gives way to old classics like buckwheat noodles with cilantro and seafood, and dishes more palatable to the epicurean hipster, like Kung Pao Pastrami and Stir-Fried Pork Jowl and Radishes.

The wait is long, even on a Sunday night – usually an average of an hour and a half, but with a plethora of bars in the vicinity, it’s not too bad of a situation. Dishes max at a reasonable $13 (save for the Veal Breast a la Orange, which is a hefty $24), and the portions are meant to be shared.

I think I’ve said all I can say on this eatery. You can read my elegant prose again and again or you can get yourself down to Orchard and Rivington and check it out for yourself.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter at @tripptravelogue!

goodHere’s a fun little fact about New York City‘s West Village: It’s awesome.

No, no keep reading. I know you know this. But do you know how awesome it is? It’s one of NYC’s most affluent neighborhoods with beautiful townhouses, cobblestone streets, trees (yes, TREES!) and cute restaurants and boutiques that seem to pop up out of nowhere. This is where New York’s “quiet” money is. I say quiet, because let’s face it. The money on 5th and Park is just a little too much.

Anyway, it has been a dream of mine since I was in college to make enough money to be able to call one of the West Village streets my home. I’d love to be lost in a ‘hood that is literally “off the grid.” So when some new friends of mine who actually happen to live in this part of town took off for a few weeks, I took it upon myself to inhabit their home a few nights a week to pretend that their home is mine. Creepy? Who asked you.

If you are so lucky to spend time in this neighborhood, you’ll want to do so for brunch. The people of the West Village love their “cute” brunch. On Sunday I happened upon good on Greenwich Avenue. While the dinner prices are a bit steep at this nouveau-bohemian eatery washed in off-white and pale blue, brunch prices are considerably more affordable – and even more so if you don’t order a brunch cocktail, but where’s the fun in that?

The menu runs the gamut from figure-friendly items to the heartier, “hey it’s winter I’ll eat what I want,” fare. I opted for the basil and goat cheese scrambled eggs, which came heaped on a piece of sourdough toast, garnished with fresh pesto, asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Yeah, that happened. My companion went all out with two eggs over medium on top of fresh biscuits and topped with a rich sausage gravy. Oh. yes. The bill was a respectable $35.

The wait can be long, seeing as it is Sunday brunch in one of New York’s most sought after districts, so if you find yourself unwilling to wait, just take a stroll through the criss-cross of streets and you are sure to find a gem.

543799_10101551325058949_1576961056_nIs anyone else having rooftop withdrawal? Just a quick post today for all you rooftop junkies in need of a quick (enclosed) rooftop fix to get you through this cold, rainy season.

Last night I hit up Jimmy, the rooftop bar at The James New York down on Thompson and Grand streets. I had never been to The James before, but I had heard rumors of its panorama prowess.

If you are looking for a fancy cocktail and a sparkling view of downtown NYC (and yes, a bit of Jersey…but I’ve always been a believer that alcohol and the night help to overlook flaws), take the trip downtown and visit The James.