Well, it’s official. I’m out of school for a month. I don’t know if that’s good thing for me but heck, I don’t want to deal (or have to) with papers and exams until after New Year’s. After that I need to bury myself in study books for the LSATs.
I planned to hang out with my two friends who attends from my former school, St. John’s University about a few days ago. They agreed and luckily for them, finals were over for almost a week. Anyways, we met at one of my friends’ house, Helen. She’s not usually a morning person and somehow she managed to surprise me (or should I say, myself and my best friend since high school, Seungmi?) that she’s up at 8:30 AM. Trust me, this is a record for her since she told me that she tends to wake up in the afternoon.
Anyways, we took the subway to Bryant Park for some ice skating. This is the second time in my entire life that I’ve ever skated. (The first was a Christmas present of sorts from Helen last year at Rockefeller Center.) I still have the painful memories of actually wiping out pretty bad on the ice last year. Not once. Twice, and then a few little slips. Thankfully this year, I managed not to fall but I have a few trips but I’ve managed to save myself from falling; or my friends held on to my hand guiding me the way. The funniest quote that’s written on the boards of the rink was from Citibank that says, “People are like snowflakes. No two are alike but they are always fun to watch.” The skaters on the rink might be fun to watch because they can actually fall pretty darn hard. The people watching just outside the rink are having a kick out of the poor souls falling unlike graceful snowflakes, even taking videos of us…eek!
My rants about this rink is that they don’t let you take pictures. They also, charge you almost $10 for renting some really ugly and uncomfortable skates that really strangle your feet after wearing it for 40 minutes to have pain kicking in. But I guess they have to make some money somehow by having free admission to the rink. That’s how grotesque and crappy these skates were:
After our skating session, we walked around Bryant Park’s Holiday Market since it’s just a few feet away from the rink. Heck, we’re fascinated with the merchandise they sell. I’m mesmerized with the glass objects, while Helen and Seungmi are digging the hats (seen below):
After we walked our way through the entire market, browsing through the really cool objects, we’re craving for some hot chocolate. When it comes to hot chocolate there’s only one who’s really the best so far, in my opinion, and that’s Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Haven in SoHo. We took a subway to Jacques’ and it’s really bustling with the last days shoppers (as I would call them, since it’s 4 days before Christmas) and patrons getting their fill of hot chocolate.
I managed to get the Wicked Hot Chocolate with peppermint crunch and a Mudslide Cookie. While, Helen got herself a Classic Hot Chocolate with whipped cream and Seungmi got the mocha with whipped cream.
I’ve split my cookie with them. I must admit this cookie is divine. It’s very, very chocolatey and sweet (but not tooth-achingly sweet) with chunks of walnuts. I should have asked them to warm it up a bit so the cookie would be a bit softer and gooier. But anyways, I just can’t seem to replicate this recipe at home. I mean, if I’m in serious need of a chocolate kick, this cookie would be an awesome way to satiate my craving. I need to get Jacques Torres’ book and search for this evasive recipe.We’ve enjoyed our beverages. My Wicked hot chocolate is slightly spicy with a tiny bit of tingle in the back of my throat that indicates the spiciness. The chocolate itself is great and the mint factor from the crushed candy canes (which they call it “peppermint crunch”) has a nice cooling effect. Honestly, when I requested the peppermint crunch the person who made it for me had that look saying I’m weird but really, who cares? It’s my hot chocolate. To those of you who never seen my face before…here it is.
Yep, that’s me. A shocker isn’t it? I’ve looked worse than this in other photos (I’m not photogenic) but this came out pretty good. Thanks to Helen for this candid shot of me, using my camera.Speaking of Helen, she particularly loves the whipped cream from her hot chocolate that she even licked it from the bottom of her lid! It must’ve been really good. Or she’s really hungry.
Then there’s Seungmi savoring her mocha. Except Helen’s interrupting her moment of contentment with my camera flashing before her very eyes.
Well, after our noshing of chocolate and getting a really good sugar/caffeine rush out of this, we walked it off to getting a burger from Stand. I remembered reading from NY Magazine about a week ago that it’s opened.
However when we got there, the first thing I’ve noticed that it’s empty and it’s almost 2 PM. But then as I looked at the door, there’s a sign that said that they’re opened for dinner. They will be opening for lunch after January 2. Arrgh! No! I craved for a really good, greasy, juicy burger.
After the wash of disappointment, we thought of going to Momofuku Ssam Bar and headed out east toward 2nd Avenue. But then Helen wanted some sushi instead. So, we ended up in Japonica.Helen and I ordered the nigiri-sushi set, while Seungmi got herself a bento box lunch, as you’ll see below.
Sushi’s fish portions are actually quite generous. It’s more of a two-biter than the traditional one bite sushi. The fish is fresh and tasty but it’s not the most exquisite sushi I’ve ever eaten in my entire life, mind you. Somehow, Helen managed to get that whole piece to fit in her mouth and masticate it for a good minute. It was quite entertaining to watch her eat it.
Then Seungmi’s bento box is quite substantial as well. The main dish of sorts was the fried chicken nuggets that is on the lower right on the photo. She let me taste one and it’s actually pretty good. It’s not too greasy and it was quite hot. I think her food is the better bargain, if you seek for a substantial meal. It cost under $14, while my sushi plate was $20. Japonica is a good neighborhood establishment for decent sushi and Japanese fare that doesn’t cost you a ton of money.
That’s basically our day out together and it was a lot of fun and food.
Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Haven
350 Hudson Street (at King Street)
New York, NY
24 E. 12th Street (between 5th Avenue & University Pl.)
New York, NY
100 University Pl.
New York, NY