June 8, 2009
We didn’t get a chance to Canal Street on our first visit to NYC in 2007, but we made sure we walked there when we were in NYC this year. Canal St is known for its knockoff goods; bags, belts and perfumes at cheap prices. Like PacMall’s DVDs, the cops know too and I suppose they have had their issues because the knock off goods are usually hidden in a back room or a low crawlspace below the shop.
With the recent police crackdowns, the shops in Markham have adopted a similar approach with their English DVDs. I went this weekend to replenish my backlog. My haul for $20 was:
- Quantum of Solace
- Slumdog Millionaire
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Queen in Montreal/Live Aid (music DVD)
- Sex and the City (Pauline’s pick)
Also, I still have The Diving Bell and the Butterfly which I bought awhile ago.
I am not too enthusiastic with these (although I had semi wanted to watch them). The shops now only have enough room for the recent hits instead of having a large collection like before. I may have to go more often than once every two years.
March 28, 2009
Pauline was browsing through the magazines in our room, and there were two mentions of a restaurant called Rouge Tomate. The niche is that they have a philosphy of S.P.E. which means “health through food”. I originally thought that it was environmentally related, but it’s more about the preparation and sourcing of food. I guess it’s a bit like eating organic and other green ideas, so maybe that was why I mistakenly thought it was environmental-related. Either that, or because the bill was recyclable!
We tried going here twice, the first time we were thwarted because they were doing a special event with lots of film crews. I guess they were recording more promos to convince tourists to eat here! We received complimentary bread, with spinach-almond dip! That was new and unique. Our waiter spoke quietly so I didn’t catch what he said, I sure hope it was spinach, and not toxic goop from Three Mile Island.
My main course was also from a nearby Island. The Long Island Duck was again unique. There was a spring roll made with duck! I think this was $33USD.
I didn’t think that Rouge Tomate was that special, but maybe it was because I didn’t care about SPE and it was a bit expensive. Although I could just not be used to NYC prices. As a bonus, we received some trail mix/cereal to go!
March 26, 2009
I have no idea who or what Morimoto is, but Pauline wanted to go (it’s a restaurant btw) and so we went. Morimoto is a restaurant opened by Masaharo Morimoto, one of the chefs from Iron Chef and Iron Chef America.
You can quite easily miss Morimoto because it looks like a begger’s hideout. It is in fact quite trendy being part of Chelsea Market (think of it as a hipper and more expensive version of St Lawrence Market). We showed up for lunch a little past 1, and it was pretty deserted.
With Masaharu being Japanese, this was a Japanese restaurant. I tried their Chirasi Don and it was pretty good. They cut up the fish in to smaller pieces, and distributed it around the bowl. They also had the larger sized salmon roe which I haven’t had outside of Japan. Although it was good, I don’t think it was really worth it since that cost > $40 CDN and then tax and tip on top of that.
They were also offering a prix fixe lunch menu, and Pauline got the black cod version. Compared to my Chirasi, I found the fish had too much flavour.
The meal came with a dessert, which was wagashi, which I had never had before.
March 22, 2009
It happened that the 248th annual St Patrick’s Day parade happened while we were there. When we headed out in the morning, there were already a lot of people walking around dressed in their greenest, and if you didn’t have any green, you could buy some JIT St Patrick’s Day gear from the street vendors.
There were a surprising amount of people about, I guess all the kids skipped their classes for the day to start celebrating. The most exciting part of the parade I think is just walking around amidst people dressed in green, sharing the spirit of the day.
The parade itself was boring. It consisted of a lot of marching: bands, bagpipes, politicians, and NYPD/FDNY. Ad naseum. After awhile of the same, we left and walked around, coming to the staging area for the parade. It’s incredible the amount of policemen and firefighters who aren’t on duty and are able to participate in the parade.
March 21, 2009
We flew to NYC on LAN airlines, which is a Chilean airline. They have a YYZ->SCL line which stops over at JFK. Flying LAN was significantly cheaper than every other airline; it cost us about $195 USD for the return trip, which we booked one week before flying.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t a bad experience flying on LAN. Even though the flight was not even two hours, we were given a drink and a snack (cheese sandwich). The best part was that they had an in-flight entertainment system where you could choose which movie or TV show to watch, what albums to listen to, or what games to play. Each seat had their own remote/gamepad to play classics like Tetris, battleship, or chess. Some of the games even supported multiplayer!
We stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan. Though, I felt that I needed a suit and few more 0s to fit in there. The location is super-convenient as it’s attached to Grand Central Terminal. The room was decent sized as well, although we had a full walk-in closet; I guess they intended for us to do a lot of shopping?
March 20, 2009
I bought this book in Japan for the flight home last year, but as it turns out Pauline started reading it and I didn’t get a chance to read it! So on this trip to NYC, I brought it along as my reading material.
I was really disappointed by this book. The book can be summed up in one line: Don’t act with a negative bias towards other people. There I just saved you two hours of your time. I was further disappointed at how the book was “written”. It was a conversation between two people (i.e., a senior VP and a VP), where the VP had just joined Zagrum from a competitor and had to learn the Zagrum system (and secret to success). I couldn’t get into this storybook/conversational style of the writing at all.
The most interesting thing about this book is that it was authored by The Arbinger Institute rather than a single person. With that in mind, the story made sense; they created a fictional situation to describe their research.
March 16, 2009
It’s March Break and we’re headed for NYC for a week. Surprisingly, NYC is pretty cheap this time of year; I guess no one is booking hotels anymore. While we’re there, the St Patrick’s Day parade is going to happen, and it’s the largest in the world; so hopefully that will be neat.