Travel Treats: New York

New York, New York. We meet again.

The vast majority of my family lives in New York and we have been taking trips since I was a baby. Recently, my beautiful cousin Stephanie came into town from Barcelona. My tia hosted a bbq at her home in Long Island so I decided to make the voyage. Much to my delight, the boy came along and we turned it into an adventure.

We took the bus up. Let's get serious.... the cost to fill up my ol' Rav 4 is over $50 these days. That is PAINFUL. Rather than pay the cost of gas, tolls, parking, etc.- this option is a dream, especially at $15 per ticket through Bolt Bus. We took the 7pm bus and were there by 11pm. Perfect. 

It dropped us off right in front of Penn Station, a heart throb of the city, and our hotel for the night, the Hotel Pennsylvania. Okay... What a crap hole. Promise me you'll never stay at this hotel! The first warning should've been a hotel named after another state. We went to our room and turned right back around. Someone else was occupying the space- tv on, toilet unflushed, bed ruffled, and an open bottle of mountain dew. No thanks! The front desk didn't even bat an eye- just gave us another room. Charming, no? 

We were supposed to meet up with my cousin but he was exhausted from work and taking some benadryl for a bee sting. As the fates would have it, Mike's friend Mark-Rock from Korea is studying English in the city. We walked around, catching up and taking in the night.

The first spot we tried was too busy, Webster Hall, and had a $25 cover. We wanted some good hip hop, but passed on spending half the night in line. Then we checked out Hiro per the suggestion of a friend but our attire wasn't going to get us in.

We settled with my kind of night: casual drinks and billiards! The venue, La Bottega, was laid back with a very random DJ and candles on every table. The boys had rum and coke, I nursed my beloved White Russian.

After a long night, we were lucky to be functional before the 12pm check out time. We stumbled out the door and walked to the lunch spot my girlfriend Marie highly recommended: Ippudo. As usual , Marie's choice in nom noms is impeccable. We are some serious noodle lovers! I got the Shiromaru Hakata Classic Ramen ($14) and he got the Akamaru- pictured above ($14). Mine was full of flavor and thicker noodles with heat. The Akamaru was much more creamy- it would be PERFECT if you had a cold. Delicious!

While wandering around, we stepped into the ABC Home store. Holy. Crap. This place is gorgeous and can only imagine the effort each display must take. Then you look at the price tag... and want to faint. I'll stick to Ikea!

Our next spot was China Town for bubble tea. Again, another nice walk for the two of us with nothing but our book bags. Mark Rock was sweet and gave Mike one of his crew hat's and he wore it around the city with pride. Fam all over the world.

We chose Vivi bubble tea, again a Marie recommendation (thanks hun!). Much to my dismay... it did not have the bubble tea that I was longing for so deeply: black sesame bubble tea. I had this in California a few years back on a trip with my lovies, Asako and Yennei. It's been an addiction ever since that cannot be satiated. I settled with the tiramisu, the boyfriend got grape champagne. Mine was delectable; his was good but not up my ally as it made me think of cough syrup. Oh p.s.: this place is cash only but there's an ATM around the corner.

Following a TON of walking, we plopped down on a bench by the water to wait for the bf's friend Caroline from highschool. She came to NYC for school and never left.

It was cute to see someone else trash talk my hunny bun. They call one another brother and sister; it made me miss my 'son'- John- from college. You always need that person you can be blunt as hell with and talk to about everything.

She randomly b-lined across the street into chocolate heaven: Maison du Chocolate. A single piece of candy was $8. I settled with a latte- staying alive through sheer sugar and caffeine. The lady at the counter was French and knew her stuff. Caroline bought me a box of macaroons as a sweet surprise. I made macaroons at home once and was impressed by the concept... but these sons of bitches blew me right out of the water. These were my first store bought macaroons and my goodness- they could start and end wars. Thanks Caroline!

We managed to get through the subway and caught the LIRR for dinner in Long Island. It was nice to see everyone and laid back as usual. I played with my little cousins, chowed down, and listened to stories. We crashed with family in Mineola- thank you so much Lysette and John!

The next day was straight chill mode. Went to the pool with my three little adorable cousins and kick ass tia. She treated us to lunch and we were still tuckered out from all the walking. Just look at those expressions! I heart this man, he's so wonderful. 

We caught a ride back with my cousin Steph who was en route to visit my mother in VA. The traffic leaving the city was absurd... as usual. It took about an hour of stupid traffic. The ride back was filled with laughter and naps. Thanks for driving prima!

Goodbye NY! Until the next time... which is always right around the corner.