After getting our stuff settled into our Pod (a decently cheap, but very nice and cozy place to stay on E 51st St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave., we hoofed it over to Chinatown to go to Joe's Shanghai Restaurant. If you've seen any of the dumplings filled with soup that I've posted here (usually from No. 1 Panda), these are another example. The dumplings had a pork filling and a wonderfully meaty soup (the website explains how to eat them if you need a tutorial). They served the dumplings with a ginger-infused vinegar that, when used sparingly, added to the experience of eating the dumpling.
While we did feel a little full after the dumplings, who could pass up the opportunity to enjoy some more Chinese food? We had some moo shu pork, which is always great with the slight plummy taste from the plum sauce. I ordered the lion's head. I've attempted to make this myself and it definitely did not turn out this good. The meatballs were wonderfully savory and lightly packed. The outer sauce is difficult to explain because it was so dark, salty and earthy. The sauce brought a full-bodied quality to the meatballs that could not be beat. Joe's was a great restaurant that is worth the wait and the hurried service because it is so gosh-darn good.
Two good tips while you are traveling around NYC are to keep your eye open for food on the go. There are innumerable food vendors roaming the streets, including hot dog carts, roasted nuts and ice cream. We found a farmers' market with everything from fresh cheeses to produce to kittens (to adopt, not to eat). Just down the street was a street fair with lots of food, crafts and various odds and ends. We had roasted corn with honey butter sauce (very excellent, seen above, though the holder's identity has been blocked out to protect his innocence), falafel and chicken souvlaki. While it was great to go down the 5-6 blocks of the fair, be sure to ask about prices first if they are not overtly advertised. I ended up paying $10 for the decent but not-worth-the-price falafel.
On most of my trips, I do my best to find a cuisine that represents the area I'm visiting. For this trip, I vowed to find a black and white cookie (among other items that just did not fit our time or stomachs). While strolling through the city, we spied Crumbs. The shop sells cookies, cupcakes and full cakes of all sorts. Among them were this "candy cookie" with M&M-like candies (very good) and my two-toned wonder which hit every criterion I remembered for this baked good. It was thick, cakey (in fact, it appears it was baked and then the bottom was frosted for the full, flat face), and the creamy icings were a wonderful duo of vanilla and chocolate. The next time you're in the Big Apple, be sure to try all of these recommendations as part of your NYC experience.