Michelin Mission in New York City … check

1) the view from our hotel looking out on Central Park

After a very short stopover in Vancouver at the Fairmont, it was onwards again – me flying to London; G to Toronto. It was great to spend the holiday home after 2 years of being away and mom (and my sis) did an amazing job both decorating the houses and preparing meals. G and I reconnected in Toronto for a night at the Royal York (where we had a gorgeous 2-bedroom suite) and dinner with Lady Sarah and Sir Phil before flying down, with Blee, for a whirlwind eating tour of New York City through New Years Day.

2) our room at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport the night before flying out; 3) G and Blee explore the big suite at the Royal York in Toronto

4) one of the views from the corner suite – the CN Tower; 5) one of the two bathrooms, complete with wonky-functioning bidet

6) Blee takes a look out from the dining room at the Royal York suite; 7) the ‘guest’ bedroom

While in New York City we took up residence at the Parker Meridien. It was a nice place (waits for elevators and a lobby that was endlessly filled with people aside) centrally located to Times Square, Central Park and 5th Avenue shopping (me likes Saks Fifth Avenue and I left there short on cash but wealthy in new clothes). While in the big apple, among other things, we:

  • wandered Soho and the Village and the Meatpacking district;
  • toured little ltaly looking for the city’s best pizza;
  • visited the MOMA;
  • visited the 9/11 Memorial;
  • ventured down to Brooklyn to try its famous doughnut place, Dough;
  • stumbled – happily – across Molly’s delicious cupcake shop (the peanut butter cupcake is to-die-for);
  • ate at Michelin-starred restaurants each night tackling the tasting menus the chefs put before us – the indian-inspired Junoon; the molecularly-inspired wd-50 and the modern-American-inspired Rouge Tomate – all were great though I give nods to Wiley Dufresne’s wd-50 as I am molecularly-food-inclined and had, without a doubt, the best desserts ever thanks to his young and exceptionally talented pastry chef, Malcolm Livingston II (previoiusly of none other than Le Circle and Per Se). We also received a tour of the kitchen afterwards which was great and got to chat-up chef. 
  • tried the infamous (and famously `secret`) Burger Joint in the Parker Meridien;
  • walked the new High Line 

8 & 9) our suite at the Parker Meridien, NYC

10) our bedroom; 11) know this guy? he’s actually made from gingerbread and sat in the lobby of the hotel

At Junoon, we had the 6-course tasting menu which comprised:

  • Lotus root 3 ways – fried, pickled and pureed with hibiscus gel and cilantro powder
  • “Sag paneer” – poached paneer gnocchi with spiced spinach puree and Omani lemon crisp
  • Kari patta shrimp – marinated with curry leaves, green chilies and cilantro served with pickled vegetables
  • Poussin jugalbandi – poussin breast stuffed with minced chicken and coconut in a rich sauce served with naan
  • Lal mas – Rajasthani lamb curry with black cardamom, clove and chili served with pulao rice and kachumbar salad
  • Trio of desserts – ras malai, shrikhand, date fig gateau

Dinner with a cocktail, bottle of wine, tax and tip will run you US$145 per person

13) first stop on the eating tour – Junoon

14) the lotus root*; 15) and a very inventive, modern take on sag paneer

16) the shrimp dish, which was the best of the bunch … VERY spicy

17) Junoon’s “Spice Room” downstairs, oh how I wished I could step inside to take in the smell; 18) the open kitchen at work (nothing better than table seating near a kitchen me thinks!)

19) the poussin*; 20) and finally the lamb curry*

21) the trio of desserts … the spiced cake was the best but Indian desserts, sad to say much like Chinese ones, not so good*

22) heading back uptown afterwards; 23) a stop at Mario Batali’s “Eataly” market

24) G explores Eataly; 25) see those shrimp in top right corner … they were nearly 10 inches long!

26) skating anyone?; 27) we did the – yawn – requisite romp in Times Square … I dunno, perhaps I’ve been blessed to travel greatly but this did nothing for me and I thought both Hong Kong and Tokyo have far more vibrant public squares (Times Square was all rather, well, sad)

At wd-50 we had chef’s 12-course tasting menu which comprised:

  • Nigiri, salsify, seaweed, sesame
  • Sweet shrimp, ‘pine needles’, chestnut, cranberry
  • Pho gras
  • Bone marrow, potato, pomegranate, red onion
  • Veal brisket, za’atar, apple, mustard
  • Crab toast, saffron, kaffir-yogurt, arare
  • Black bass, squash, cherry, juniper, couscous²
  • Squab, tomato hummus, pickled turnips, tzatziki
  • Flat iron, mushroom jerky, grape, verjus
  • Coconut, cucumber, chartreuse
  • Yuzu milk ice, hazelnut, jackfruit, basil
  • S’mores, bitter cocoa, meringue, black current
  • White chocolate, gjetost

Dinner with a cocktail, bottle of wine, tax and tip will run you US$250 per person.


28) wd-50 signpost; 29) our wondrous pinot noir


30) the nigiri; 31) the shrimp (so-so) but my, those ‘pine needles’ were truly a work of art

32) a very interesting take on ‘pho’ … sort of deconstructed … it was good but needed to be much hotter; 33) the ‘bone marrow’ … what was interesting here was the ‘bone’ had been made of potato

34) the veal brisket was amazing – done sous vide – though I thought the mustard (particularly the large mustard crisp you see) overpowered*; 35) the crab toast*

36) the black bass; 37) the squab

38) the steak was very good (Tapas Molecular Bar in Tokyo has this beat hands down) and the mushroom jerky was fabulous


39) this palette cleanser was the most inventive creation I’ve yet seen, stunningly creative as it arrives as a sort-of creme brule that you ‘crack’ open to reveal the little secrets underneath … a true standout and worth the US$250 alone*

40) … that was until the S’mores arrived … it was, in a word, breathtaking and astonishing (okay, that’s two words); 41) again, we had seats right at the open kitchen

At Rouge Tomate we had the chef`s tasting menu which consisted of:

  • Cauliflower panna cotta – american sturgeon caviar, lemon, chive
  • Lightly cured hamachi – winter citrus, baby beet, dill, fresh horseradish
  • Celery root chestnut soup – Hudson Valley foie gras, celery hearts, black truffle
  • Maine lobster en sous vide – fennel, leek, saffron, meyer lemon
  • Black winter truffle risotto – carnaroli rice, wild mushroom, parmesan, squid Ink
  • Slow cooked bison short rib – sunchoke, Anson Mills farro, baby root vegetable, crispy shallot, red wine jus
  • Heirloom citrus entremet – orange scented chiffon cake, blood orange, pixie mandarin, olive oil gelato

Dinner with a cocktail, bottle of champagne, tax and tip will run you US$350 per person (though this was on New Year’s Eve).

42) such a cute amuse … a panna cotta with caviar*; 43) the hamachi (still doesn’t beat what you can find in Honolulu or Tokyo – or Las Vegas for that matter – though)*

44) the maginificent risotto … our waiter just kept shaving a black truffle the size of a golf ball on to the dish

45) the short rib; 46) G’s martini

47) the palette cleanser; 48) a citrus inspired dessert*

 49) moi discussing wine selections with G … we opted for a French champagne made with all 7 varietals of the grapes normally used for champagne making … very different – quite earthy on the nose and robust to start but with a disappointing finish*; 50) the restaurant


51) G gets ready to dance*

52) here are G, moi and Blee hamming it up at one of the installations at MOMA; 53) hanging out at the MOMA

54) walking the Belt Line; 55) the new WTC going up

56) the 9/11 Memorial site


57) Burger Joint in our hotel; 58) endlessly long lines into the ‘secret’ place

59 & 60) inside the tiny place

61) here’s the burger they make – good, but com’on really!

62, 63 & 64) out in Brooklyn for Dough and their blood orange doughnut

65 & 66) our first – and we thought best – pizza stop – Joe’s

67 & 68) second runner up was John’s which is just around the corner

69, 70 & 71) and around the corner again is Bleecker – also good but not as good at Joe’s we thought … it was offical at this point, we’re pizza-ed out

72) so, to compensate, we stop in at Molly’s for cupcakes!; 73) G admires the Brooklyn Bridge

74) near our hotel was the famous “LOVE” statue which was always full of tourists; 75) wandering Central Park

76 & 77) breakfast at the Brooklyn Diner and my Western omelet and polenta cakes


78) G’s corn beef hash; 79) of course, we visit Bryant Park!

80) … and to all, a very merry New Year! … and a special thank you to Blee for sharing some of her pictures with me, marked with an *


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3 Responses to Michelin Mission in New York City … check

  1. kunhuo42 says:

    what a trip! you definitely dined in style. my prof (who is something of a foodie, and his partner is a chef) has told me that 11 madison park is currently his top choice regarding restaurants in nyc… i can’t afford to eat there, but you might want to check it out if you haven’t tried it already.

  2. Fatcat723 says:

    You had a busy trip. The food looks excellent – the prices – well above my head. Glad you enjoyed yourself.

  3. christao408 says:

    Well, it looks like a splendid dining trip. Happy new year to your both!

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