F First 24 hours - jeepneyjinggoy

First 24 hours

Is it possible to sample all the food New York City has to offer?

I was stuffed. Only 24 hours into my visit of the Big Apple and I was able to feast on the gastronomical offerings of the city. Imagine this, I am staying in the area for a couple of weeks. I was visualizing the weighing scale tipping its arrow very close towards the right margin.

The fat face that New York City made.... how to lose weight in this city....ho-hum...

I knew I had to deal with when my weight spikes but that would come later, or not (I am crossing my still slim fingers). In the meantime, I channeled the Bourdain in me and explore anything and everything New York City had to offer.

With much of the businesses closed (I arrived in the middle of Sandy’s hit concert), Nuhma— chef, Dabawenya and hostess with the mostest— and I had to trek the city on foot for foodstuff I must try.

Have a chef for a friend, know where & what to eat. With Nuhma, a Dabawenya chef in the Big Apple, the best food tour guide.

We got lucky on the third (or was it fourth) stop, a Japanese restaurant called Sei. A smiling crew greeting you “Irasshaimase” loudly and serving you hot ramen on a cold, overcast day can surely put a smile on anyone’s face. It was my first NYC meal. Comfort food.

Comfort food on a cold, stormy weather. The first meal in NYC- Ramen at Sei Japanese resto.

After a few more thousand steps around the city, Nuhma brought me to Le Colonial, a fancy Vietnamese restaurant where she used to work way back in the 90s. The food was nothing to rave about and fell short of the flavors I was expecting of from a Vietnamese cuisine. The place looked nice though… and the couple bottles of red was good enough to conk me out for the night.

So-so Peking duck at the Le Colonial. Do you really want to order Chinese in a Vietnamese food joint?

These two wanted me to check out where they used to work. @ Le Colonial.

Breakfast was already cooking when I awoke the next day. Nothing beats being hosted by a chef in her own home. After a hearty and happy (Nuhma’s term for organically raised or grown fare) meal, I was ready for another bout with the city and its food.

Only "happy food" on Nuhma's dining table. Happy meal. My host is a chef. Happy me.

If there is one food truck in NYC you have to try, spot the yellow one called Waffles & Dinges and stop for some honest to goodness Belgian waffle treat. Even the simplest preparation of the waffles, the plain one, is to die for. This is a must-eat delight.

The best food truck in the park making the best waffles in the world (if you ask me)-- Waffles & Dinges

I had the plain one. It was heavenly!

Oh, this one you can't take out. But you can;t blame me for trying. LOL.

Right across Central Park is The Plaza Hotel where a food court can be found at the lower level. Nuhma recommended Luke’s Lobster’s bestseller- the lobster sandwich, of course. It was good, very good, tasty and filling.

The Food Hall at the Plaza Hotel.

Luke's Lobster stall

...and Luke’s Lobster Sandwich is a must-try.

And for dessert I was finally having Lady M’s famed signature cake (the confectionery boutique we went to the previous day was closed) made from no less than twenty paper-thin handmade crêpes layered with light pastry cream. It’s truly a melt in your mouth delicacy that only leaves a subtle sweet finish on your taste buds. I had the Chocolate Mille Crepe and I will have to try the rest of the flavors—Coconut, Chocolate Banana (exclusive to The Plaza Food Hall), Green Tea, Citorn, and the rest of the pastries.

No less than twenty paper-thin handmade crêpes layered with light pastry cream. It’s truly a melt in your mouth delicacy of Lady M.

I can finish 20 of this Chocolate Mille Crepe.... if you let me.

More drooling came after lunch while window-shopping. Not having to own any of the goods in the boutique’s display accounted to 75% of the calories burned for the day, the other calories were burned by walking.

Look at that guy smile at the sight of the colored "chippys".... and he's only looking... so he said.....

Nuhma was whipping up something special for dinner. It was time to head home but not after a quick stop at the French macaron shop for some of those round, colored sugary poppers….and at a NYC sidewalk hotdog stand, which Nuhma is not a fan of. So, I quickly consumed one behind her back.

This NYC street staple is not something I can eat in front of  a only-happy-meat-chef like my host. So I ate one behind her back.

For more travel & lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 26, 2013.