On Friday, I had the honor of treating my older nephew to a day in New York City to celebrate his 12th birthday. Young Tyler's been a guest on this blog before, but it's been a while.
We had a bit of a foodie adventure between sightseeing. Our first stop was Rockefeller Center to see if we could secure tickets to an NBC studios tour. No dice, the next available tour was two hours away, and we weren't having it.
So, we had our first bit of food in the city.
We shared this sandwich at Bunchberries. We walked from Rockefeller center to 53rd Street, then east to 2nd Avenue for this sandwich. Well, not really. We intended to go somewhere else, but the menu was so uninteresting that we ended up a few doors down, at Bunchberries. The sandwich is made from multigrain bread spread with roasted garlic and stuffed with spinach, plum tomatoes, black olives, grilled portobello mushrooms and goat cheese.
The big news there was that Tyler had never tried goat cheese before and really enjoyed it. One of my favorite things about Tyler is that he's so open to trying new things, like goat cheese. I believe I was in my 30s before I tried goat cheese.
From there, we hiked to a subway that would take us all the way down to the Staten Island Ferry.
The thing about the ferry is that it's FREE. OK, that and it gets pretty darn close to the Statue of Liberty.
As we walked from the Staten Island Ferry terminal up South Street on our way to Chinatown for our next foodie stop, we saw the biggest police presence I've ever experienced. I later found out that it was due to car bombs in London that fortunately had been diffused.
These mounted police were kind enough to pose for the photo. Right afterward, the two in the middle gave me the thumbs-up sign and winked. Oh those wacky mounties!
From the seaport, we hoofed it another 2/3 of a mile up to Chinatown to dine at the Vegetarian Dim Sum House. Unlike typical dim sum spots, where the waitstaff brings you the little plates on a cart to your table, this one had us fill out a card with our choices, and they brought our selections to us afterward. This first dish was a "Mashed Taro Treasure Box." Inside a lightly fried shell was mashed taro and sweet bean paste. It was delightful.
Our other picks were "Mini Vegetarian Spring Rolls," "Vegetarian Mock Shrimp Dumplings," and "Bar-B-Q Pork." Reluctant as he was, Tyler did eat half the broccoli with me. Otherwise, we really enjoyed the spring rolls and the dumplings. The mock pork wasn't that great.
Here are the innards of the spring rolls and the mock shrimp, respectively:
Filled with dim sum, we headed back downtown to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was filled with tourists and their cameras. The walk over to Brooklyn and back is about 2 miles. Tyler was a trooper because we'd already hoofed it around town for a few miles prior to approaching the bridge.
If you've never done the walk, you should during your next trip to New York. On the bridge, you have fantastic views up the Hudson River and out to the Statue of Liberty. Plus, it's a pretty historic site.
Once we'd rested a bit, we headed over to Babycakes bakery for some agave nectar goodies to actually have cake for Tyler's birthday. He ordered the blueberry coffeecake, while I requested a raspberry lemon cupcake. We saved them for later, so John could visit with Tyler a bit after we'd arrived home.
Our final foodie destination was probably our favorite. I'd first heard of Han Bat Korean restaurant from Robyn.
Although I'll probably never get as good a photo as Robyn's, I gave it my best shot.
On her recommendation, I ordered the Pajun (above). It's a rice flour, shellfish and green onion pancake fried to perfection. We nearly ate the whole thing (about the size of a large plate).
A close-up reveals the shellfishiness of the thing. It was one of the tastiest dishes I've had in a long time. Tyler loved it and became an instant convert to Korean food.
On our train ride home to New Jersey, we looked at our Babycakes goodies and remembered what a big, fun day we had together. I'm truly fortunate to have such a wonderful nephew. Furthermore, it is a huge blessing that we had the time to spend together because you just never know...