Sunday, January 15, 2012

New York: Day 2

Intro: Eating Our Way in the Big Apple
Roosevelt Hotel
Day 1: Doughnut Plant, Cafe Habana, Peter Luger, Momofuku
Day 2: Shake Shack, 9/11 Memorial, Chelsea Market, The High Line, Babbo
Element by Westin Times Square
Day 3: Ippudo
Day 4: Shake Shack, Wafels & Dinges, Eataly
Day 5: Kyotofu

Shake Shack

Shake Shack!

We woke up later than anticipated and didn't make it to our planned breakfast place :p so we ended up sleeping in and went straight to lunch at Shake Shack. A lot of people recommended this burger joint. We went to the one in the Financial District, since we were going to the 9/11 Memorial, which was close by, after lunch.

Outdoor seating area

The location was on the ground floor of a downtown office building. The decor was modern/industrial, with lots of metal, TVs, and wooden counter tops. It somehow felt more "upscale" than a typical burger/fast food restaurant, like In-N-Out or Five Guys.


Since we went on a Sunday, there was NO line. Woo hoo! We heard that the Madison Square Park location usually have lines 1.5-2 hours long. We're glad we didn't have to wait at all. Dan ordered the regular single burger, I order the 'shroom (vegetarian) burger, and we shared an order of cheese fries.  

Our order took about 10 minutes, and we were excited to finally dig in! The size of the burger was actually a little on the smaller side, but definitely enough. The burger was good, simple but solid. We really liked the bun; it tasted more home made style rather than fast food.

Our order

I would say the star was the 'shroom burger. When my friend originally told me to order the vegetarian burger, I was hesitant. But I'm so glad I did! The patty was basically cheese filled mushroom, deep fried! It was so unique and delicious. When I took my first bite, I could taste the crunch from the breading, and the cheese from the patty was oozing out! Yum! The fries were good too, simple and crunchy.

Shroom burger close up
Inside view with the cheese oozing out :)

We really enjoyed our simple burger at Shake Shack. We definitely recommend this place and would come back on our next visit to NY! :)

9/11 Memorial

The memorial was recently opened and we both hadn't been, so we made this one of the places to visit while in town.

Our friend told us to get tickets online which we're glad we did. Tickets were free, but we had to bring the hard copy print outs with us. When we came, they were doing major construction so there was only one entrance! We basically walked all the way around, and it was a LONG walk. So make sure you do your research on where the entrance is to make sure you don't do what we did. There was a pretty secure security measure--we had to go through something similar to airport security.

The memorial was very nice and tranquil. I think they did a really good job by making it a fountain-like memorial.... There were 2 fountain pools: North Pool and South Pool, signifying the North Tower and the South Tower. The names of the victims were engraved on the sides.

Chelsea Market

After visiting the 9/11 Memorial, we met up with Dan's friend at their place, and they recommended we check out Chelsea Market and High Line Park. They mentioned that the Food Network studio was above the Chelsea Market which made it even more appealing to visit!

There were cute stores, bakeries, cheese monger, cupcake place, cafes, and restaurants inside the building. It reminded us of the ferry building in San Francisco. Definitely a cute place to visit and wander around - especially during the day. We came at night and some of the stores were already closed.

High Line Park

Our friend also recommended us to visit High Line Park. Since our time in New York was limited, we decided to go ahead and check it out, since it's really close from Chelsea Market.

The High Line Park is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan's West Side. 

Interesting park

Since we came in January, it was really cold at night around the park. I imagine that when the weather is nice, the park would be really neat to walk around or take a jog. The elevated park is a truly unique concept, and we did get a wonderful view of the city.

Beautiful view from the High Line

Too bad it was way too cold for us to walk around for too long, so we gracefully went back down and grabbed some warm drinks indoors at the Standard hotel.

Park Benches


For dinner, we met my high school friend who I hadn't met in 10+ years! She currently lives in NYC and suggested that we eat at Babbo which is one of Mario Batalli's restaurants--apparently it's really hard to get reservations here! We were pleasantly surprised when my friend was able to make a somewhat last minute reservation at Babbo.

We were seated on the 2nd floor, which was a bit more quiet. The price was surprisingly not bad (appetizers were around $15-$18, pastas around $25+, mains around $30+). We decided to share the appetizers and pasta with our friend, and got individual main entrees.

We ordered the following:
Grilled Octopus with “Borlotti Marinati” and Spicy Limoncello Vinaigrette
Baby Wild Arugula with Parmigiano and Aceto Manodori 
Black Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp, Spicy Salami Calabrese and Green Chiles
Chianti Stained Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu 
Grilled Pork Chop with Cherry Peppers, Cipolline and Aceto Manodori

The grilled octopus was probably the highlight of the night. It was probably the softest, most tender octopus we've ever had. 

Grilled Octopus

The arugula salad was HUGE! It was slightly drizzled with the balsamic vinegar, and served with large pieces of shaved parmigiano.

Arugula Salad

Dan liked the Chianto stained papardelle. The tomato based ragu with wild boar tasted like a meat sauce. The dish was a good, solid dish.

Papardelle with Ragu

I actually really enjoyed the black ink spaghetti. It was cooked al dente with a slight chew which was great. There wasn't a sauce per se; it was served with shrimp and spicy calabrese which tasted like bacon. There were a little too much calabrese on the plate, but overall still a great dish.

Black ink spaghetti

The pork chop was delicious. Tender, juicy, and flavorful. The portion was so huge; we were glad we shared this because we probably couldn't have each finished a main course of this size.

Pork Chop
Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Babbo. We were glad to try it out, but we weren't blown away. Maybe worth checking out once, but we probably would not come back given so many other food options in Manhattan.


  1. Hi Marcela! You know, you and Dan have a very similar traveller profile as my wife and me, we usually like to travel to different cities, walk until exhausted, and try the local food and restaurants. You'd never find us lying on a sunbed on a beach all day long!

    I didn't know about the Chelsea Market, but we loved the Ferry Building in SF, so maybe this is a good excuse for a stopover in NY on a future trip!

  2. @Alejandro: Ha! Yeah, this particular trip is very food focused :) Some times we do take relaxing vacations though, but since New York is such a food mecca, we wanted to make sure we maximize our time in New York.

    Yeah Chelsea Market is nice, also a similar place that would be nice to visit is Eataly - I'll blog about it next :)