Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ippudo New York

Austin just does not have a good ramen place even with all the good food in Austin. I'm not talking about some half effort ramen place that serves some diluted miso based broth with the ramen. My idea of a high quality ramen place is those that make the noodles in front of out and have pork based broth cooking for hours or even days.

Lydia read about suggested going to Ippudo during our trip to New York to satisfy our ramen craving. Ippudo is located in the NYU area and conveniently, it was a couple of minutes walk from where we were going to watch the Blue Man group. We rushed out after the show and made it to Ippudo fifteen minutes before closing. Even at this hour, the restaurant was packed with what looked like the NYU crowd.

We started off with some pork belly sliders. The bun was soft and warm and went well with the caramelized pork.

I went with the traditional hakata ramen, which is the pork based broth ramen. It was flavorful and of high quality. It tasted like ramen you would get in Tokyo!

Lydia went with something different and ordered the squid ink dipping noodles. The sauce accompanying the noodles were bursting with flavor and had some sour notes which made it really appetizing.


 We would definitely make the trek to Ippudo if we're back in New York and have some ramen craving.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New York City Highlights

We didn't plan our days as such but we ended up with a routine the 4 days we were in NYC. The day started off with the complimentary Gold breakfast at the hotel before heading out to one of the tourist attractions. I blame the summer heat and humidity but we were exhausted by 3ish in the afternoon and would head back to the hotel for a much needed nap. We would then grab a bite to eat before heading to enjoy a show in Broadway.

Some of the tourist attractions:

Times Square

More Times Square

Statue of Liberty

9/11 Memorial

Brooklyn Bridge

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Best meal in New York: Morimoto

Our visit to Morimoto for lunch unexpectedly ended up being the best meal we had during our stay in New York. We continue to reminiscent about it till today. Morimoto is owned and named after chef Masaharu Morimoto who is most famously known as one of the Iron Chefs.


Lydia stuck to the restaurant week lunch menu which consist of a typical Bento offering - wagyu beef, some sushi and rolls and tempura. It was nothing out of the ordinary. Since we had been eating tons of heavy dishes for the last couple of days in New York, I opted for something lighter and ordered the chirashi bowl. This is bowl filled with sushi rice and topped off with an assortment of fresh sashimi. The rice was perfectly cooked and fish was amazingly fresh and reminded me of the fresh sushi and sashimi I had during my visits to Tokyo.

The best part of the meal was dessert. We were pretty full by now and was actually thinking of skipping dessert. Thank god we didn't! We ordered the "tofu - hot & cold" which was selection of desserts made of soy and tofu. It was just AMAZING. The tofu cheesecake was soft and creamy. The tofu ice-cream was light and flavorful and the souffle was just delicious.

Morimoto is definitely on the list of places to return once we're back in New York. Just can't wait...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: Hilton Times Square New York

This is a long overdue review of our stay at the Hilton Times Square New York. Hilton has quite a number of properties in New York and since it was our first time visiting New York, we opted to stay in the heat of the action at Times Square. Rooms were going for ~$250 a night during our stay so we decided to use points during this stay. Since we were staying for 4 nights, each room cost 42.5K points a night, instead of the usual 50K a night thanks to the AXON rewards for elite members.

Front Entrance

Back Entrance

We arrived around noon and the tiny lobby was crowded due to a number of checkouts. Once we did get to the front of the line, check-in was prompt and we were provided the usual breakfast coupons and internet passwords as Gold members. We were also told that we were upgraded to a corner room.

The room itself was nothing too spectacular but I guess was relatively large in New York standards thanks to the corner room upgrade.

The breakfast coupons were good for the full breakfast buffet which was appreciated considering that there are some Hiltons in the US that limits the breakfast to a continental selection. Tips however wasn't included and service during breakfast was spotty at best.

Overall, it was just an okay stay. We did stay at Times Square due to its location. Sure it was close to the subway, shopping, theaters and food but we did get overwhelmed by the crowd and people after the first few days. We would probably stay somewhere else on our next trip to New York city.

View from the room a night