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It rained most of the day Sunday, but we were determined to go out exploring and have fun.  And we did.  First stop: Chinatown.  We came across this Taipan bakery on Canal Street that looked fairly inviting and clean, so we went in for breakfast.  Hubs and I split some egg tarts and pastries filled with curry beef.  I wish I had taken a picture of the display case–they had some unique egg tarts.  Not the typical ones, but green tea, papaya, coconut, pineapple.  We bought the papaya egg tart (sweet and light) and the green tea (slightly bitter, tasted strongly of matcha powder).

New York Egg Tarts

New York Curry Beef Pastries

This was the first time I had ever seen a parking structure like this.  We stumbled across it while we were wandering through Chinatown.  Hubs says this type of parking is fairly common in Taiwan and his friend would always have the hardest time trying to back into the spot.

New York Parking Structure

We walked from Chinatown into the neighboring SoHo district, where a street market was going on, despite the rain.  Vendors were selling things like clothes, purses, art, and smoothies.

New York SoHo

Before going to NY, I was told by multiple people that “you HAVE to visit the Dean and Deluca store in SoHo!!”  So I did, and you know what?  I wasn’t really impressed.  It reminded me of a smaller, more expensive version of Whole Foods or Draeger’s Supermarket.  One thing I did notice though was the lack of grocery stores in Manhattan.  No Safeways or Lucky’s that I saw.  In all our travels across Manhattan, we came across one Whole Foods and one Dean and Deluca.  And of course, there was all of Chinatown, with its open-air markets.  I guess I’m just used to having a grocery store or market every few blocks.  I don’t know if I was allowed to take pictures in Dean and Deluca, but I saw these adorable marzipan animals and just had to take it.  Surprisingly, it came out okay, considering it was through glass and a super fast covert shot.  Aren’t they cute?

New York Marzipan Animals

Before our food tasting tour, Hubs and I went looking for the Friends building.  You know, the apartment building that Monica, Rachel, Chandler, Ross and the rest of the gang supposedly lived in?  Its in Greenwich Village, on the corner of Grove and Bedford.  Yes, there actually is a little cafe on the first floor of the building, but its called “The Little Owl,” not “Central Perk.”  On our food tour, the guide mentioned that the food at The Little Owl is actually pretty good, but you need reservations to get a table.  Its impossible without.  I wouldn’t be surprised.  While Hubs and I were being tourists and taking pictures, the restaurant was jam-packed with patrons, some of whom were staring at the idiot tourists taking pictures out in the pouring rain.

New York Friends Bldg

We came across this sign wandering around Greenwich Village on the food tasting tour.  Hee hee, “On this site in 1897, nothing happened.”  I love that.

New York Nothing Sign

On our food tasting tour of Greenwich Village, we went to about eight different places and sampled various items.  We had:

  • some NY-style pizza (not as good as the one in Times Square, maybe because this one was cheese only),
  • olive bread from Amy’s Bread (delicious!  savory, salty, doughy and just plain ol’ good!)
  • fried rice and cheese balls (I wish I could remember which shop these were from–they were yummy)
  • cheese and olives from Murray’s Cheese Shop (just so-so for me)
  • chocolate-covered nuts from Aphrodisia
  • mushroom-laced rice thing from Centro Vinoteca (I don’t remember what it was, just tasted mushroom and gave it all to Hubs to eat.  Notably, this is the restaurant where Leah from Top Chef works)
  • cannoli from Rocco’s Pastries
  • chocolate chip cookies from Milk and Cookies (my favorite stop on this trip!!)

All in all, the food tasting tour was fun and we were glad we did it.  At the start of the tour, the guide Cindy, told us we should feel free to tip her at the end.  I have to admit, I was a little turned off by this, but she was a great tour guide and we ended up tipping her pretty generously.  We learned quite a bit about the history of Manhattan and Greenwich Village and she did her best to make the tour fun despite the pouring rain.  I wanted to take more pictures during the tour, but soon found it to be impossible, given the pace of the tour and the outdoor nature of it.  Just couldn’t juggle my dSLR, umbrella, and plate of food without dropping one or jabbing a fellow tourist in the eye with my umbrella.

My favorite place in Greenwich Village.  Maybe in all of NYC.

My favorite place in Greenwich Village. Maybe in all of NYC.

On the way back to the train station, Hubs and I were walking along Houston Ave and saw this sign:

New York Housing

Yes, thats $9,500 a month for rent for this 2 Bed/2.5Ba apartment in the Tribeca area.  Crazy!  I couldn’t imagine paying more than $2000 a month for rent.  My New York friend tells me that this is pretty normal for Manhattan.  Having lived in the Bay Area for several years, I thought I was used to exorbitant rent and housing prices.  I mean, $800,000 for a run-down, needs-to-be-bulldozed-to-the-ground 2-bedroom house?  Thats normal for certain areas of the South Bay.  I think the asking price is even higher in the City.  I have to say I was totally blown away by the prices in NYC.