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TSM Fave Things – July (New York Edition)

July 31, 2017

As you know, I was away on holiday for a month and boy, does it feel good to be back home! Since I haven’t posted on the blog for quite a long time, I hope you’re ready for this next blog post to compensate for my time away! 🙂

We are now at the end of July which means it’s also time for our TSM FAVE THINGS! And since my whole month was spent in New York City, the city my whole family loves coming home to every summer, I shall make this our TSM FAVE THINGS – New York Edition!

So what are my favorite things and happenings from this trip? Oh you bet that there’s a lot! So I will try my best to compress a whole month’s worth of favorites in this one blog post. Are you ready?

Kids’ Summer Camps

If you have been following me on Instagram, you know that my whole month in New York City was mostly spent with my kids — bringing them and picking them up from their summer camps.  My two boys took their courses in Columbia University, while my daughter went to a gymnastics school and a Broadway acting camp. So yes, I lived a pretty “normal” and “boring” life here compared to my previous holiday trips, as this time around it was all about homework, drop offs and pickups, and packing their lunches. My day really just revolved around my kids’ schedules! And the best part about it? I actually enjoyed it! I enjoyed doing the normal Mummy stuff here (things I don’t really get to do back home), and not to mention riding the public transportation like the yellow cabs, buses and subway trains!

Honestly, we’ve never enrolled them in summer camps before as every summer break from school, they are on holiday with us too! But this time around, we wanted to change that. We wanted to show them that the world outside their home and school is so much bigger — and learning shouldn’t stop just because school is out and they are on holiday!

Levain Cookies

I’ve written about Levain cookies here on The Spoiled Mummy so many times before — dating as early as 2012! Yes, all the way from when this blog started, which shows you how I really love this cookie! (Check out all my previous stories about this cookie here!)

Every time I find myself in New York City, I never miss the chance to go to Levain Bakery and allow myself to indulge in what is known as the best cookie in the world! Never mind if the lines here run a whole mile and I have to wait for my turn together with dozens of other people (locals and tourists alike) who are hungry for their cookie!

What so special about this cookie, you ask? Well for starters, it’s big and thick (you know, American size) and it’s crunchy outside and then, soft, chewy and gooey inside! Yes all the possible goodness that you actually look for in a cookie are in here! You can also bet that they did not scrimp on their ingredients. Just look at their Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip cookie here in this photo — see how big those peanut butter chips are?

And then of course, I went back to the bakery again right before going home to Manila, as I always bring some home for my friends as pasalubong, and I also keep some in my freezer. Yes it works! When my kids or I start to look for it, I just heat them up for a few seconds in the microwave, top it with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and voila, we are happily munching the best cookie in the world again!

July 4 Celebration

The 4th of July is always a big holiday in the United States…and so I made sure that I more than dressed up for it!

Here I was just having fun in Columbus Circle (the monument erected for Christopher Columbus, the explorer believed to have “discovered” America, and therefore the perfect place to commemorate this day) wearing my red, white and blue outfit to match what else, but the American flag!

By night time, the family (plus all our extended family in New York) got together over some grilled hotdogs and burgers and watched as the fireworks lit up the dark Manhattan sky!

Dinner at Daniel

New York City is a city that will never run out of good restaurants. From food trucks to hole-in-the-wall places, to fine dining Michelin-starred restaurants, there will always be something for every one, and for every taste and budget! This is also where a lot of highly rated and well-established celebrity chefs put up their main restaurants.

Speaking of celebrated chefs, one of my favorite French restaurants in the city is Daniel by Chef Daniel Boulud. In New York alone, this multi-awarded chef has 11 restaurants under his name, not counting the rest that he has in Boston, Miami, Palm Beach, Washington, plus the many more he already has around the world (London, Toronto and the only one in Asia yet — Singapore!)

As expected from this classic fine dining and 2-Michelin starred restaurant, food was delicious, ambience was elegant and service was excellent!

Here are just three of my many favorite dishes served that night :

Confit Ora King Salmon with finger lime heirloom tomatoes, Romanesco cauliflower and basil pistou

Scharbauer Ranch Wagyu Striploin with bone marrow “Soubise”, California carrots, Cipollini onions and Bordelaise sauce

Chocolate Dentelle, Cru Sauvage Bavaroise with Ma Khaen berry ice cream, roasted cocoa nibs, smoked Mexican vanilla and chocolate cremeaux

Broadway Shows

Every time I am in New York, I never miss the chance to watch the many award-winning shows on Broadway. Just like the city’s restaurant scene, Broadway has always something for everyone — for every age and interest! So I took advantage of this and watched as many shows as I can possibly fit in my schedule!

We started off with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which the kids really loved), followed by Anastasia (which my daughter cannot forget until now) and luckily, we were also able to snag tickets to the two grand-slam Tony-Award winners for Best Musical : Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen. 

Afternoon Tea at The Plaza Hotel

If you happen to find some extra time while in New York City, and you just want to stop in the middle of the afternoon to catch your breath, sit down and relax in a nice, cozy atmosphere, try having a lovely afternoon tea in one of the city’s oldest and majestic hotels, The Plaza Hotel. 

This is exactly what I did one afternoon when I had an hour to spare in between picking up my kids from their summer camps. And boy, did I really enjoy my quiet time here. The hotel itself is iconic — a classic and full of history, and the afternoon tea set up is just as gorgeous!

Williamsburg Waterfront, Brooklyn

One weekend, we found ourselves driving outside busy Manhattan to head out to Brooklyn.

Here in Williamsburg Waterfront, there are parks, flea markets, restaurants and ferry rides that offer the perfect view of the Manhattan skyline.

We spent the whole afternoon here just walking along the waterfront and enjoying the cool summer breeze while taking photos and grabbing some food-to-go from their fun weekend market, Smorgasburg. 

We then ended up having dinner in America’s most famous steakhouse, Peter Luger’s since it is located right here in Brooklyn. I highly suggest eating in this restaurant — as this is part of the quintessential New York experience!

Desserts, desserts and more desserts!

As I mentioned, you will never run out of good restaurants in New York City. In the same way, you will never run out of good desserts here in the Big Apple!

True to form, in my last couple of days in the city, I spent it all on desserts. And boy, did I eat a lot of them!

I went to Cafe Lalo, that cafe made famous by Meg Ryan’s and Tom Hanks’ hit movie in the late 90’s, You’ve Got Mail.  Here, they serve delicious desserts (about 29 flavors of cheesecakes alone and a multitude of pies and tarts, cakes and more) and good coffee. I had a sampling of their chocolate fondue, tiramisu, berry tart and apple pie — and everything was just oh-so good!

A few hours after that, I indulged in another New York original and one of the city’s most famous pastries, the Cronut! I first tried this on its first year of invention (2013) when I also met the superstar chef who created it, Dominique Ansel in his little shop — and almost cried a bucket of tears! (I shared that story on the blog here!)

And the feeling I had on this day on my first bite was the same as I had it the first time around! The texture was as amazing as I remembered it to be and every bite was packed with as much flavor as before. The experience of getting this box too was almost the same, although I must admit, it is easier this time around. I woke up at 7am, fell in line at 8am. The bakery produces only a limited quantity per day and allows only 2 pieces maximum per person!

And every month, Dominique Ansel Bakery comes up with a special unique flavor for its Cronut. And for this July (which is the one I had),  it was the Mirabelle Plum and Brown Sugar. This hybrid of a pastry (part donut, part croissant) is really all that it’s hyped up to be. It is unique, scrumptious and exceptionally good. It is both crunchy and flaky, while soft and chewy. (How does that happen? I really don’t know.) No wonder this creation has spawned a lot of copycats all over the world! And up until today, the Cronut still holds the title as “the most virally talked about dessert in history”!

My sweet day filled with desserts did not end there though…

On the same day I had some desserts in Cafe Lalo and the Cronut… yes, you wouldn’t believe this — I went to my favorite ice cream place : Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. 

And as expected in this wildly popular ice cream place, lines were also long (yes even at 10pm!) but it was all worth the wait as soon as I gobbled up my ice cream, the flavor of what I got was known as the American Glob!

This ridiculously scrumptious ice cream was made of dark chocolate pretzels smashed into soft serve vanilla ice cream and then it was sealed with a luscious chocolate dip! It looked pretty simple to me really, but oh wow, it was AMAAAZING to say the least!

The Met

And finally, on our last day in New York City… since our flight was not until midnight, we still ended up using our day productively. Yes you can say we maxed out our stay in the city! We spent our day in The Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Met, known as the largest art museum in the United States and one of the world’s most important museums.

I have to tell you that if there’s only one museum you have to see while in New York City, it has to be this one! It houses more than 5,000 years of art, spanning all cultures and time periods.

We were quite lucky that on the day we were there, there were a couple of amazing exhibits like photographer Irving Penn’s centennial celebration featuring his most important works and Rei Kawakubo’s artistically constructed dresses for Comme Des Garcons, dating as early as 1980’s to her most recent collection.

These works of art are not only beautiful (although they are not your conventional type of clothes) but they are such creative, genius pieces of fashion and art combined, something that both fashion and non-fashion people alike will appreciate and be inspired from.

So there you have it! All my favorite things in this summer’s New York adventure compressed in one blog post. Hope you guys got some tips to help you the next time you find yourself visiting this very exciting city!

My special thanks to Smart for powering up throughout my trip! If not for my reliable roaming service, their Smart Surf Abroad, I would not have been able to constantly post and update you through my Instagram!

To see my other photos from this trip (yes, I have more!), do check out my Instagram account through this hashtag #TSMinNewYork, or simply, click the link here.

How about you? What are your favorite things for July? Share them here with me by leaving a comment below!

And if you want to backtrack a bit and read my previous months’ posts on TSM FAVE THINGS, go ahead and just click here.

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