Second Weekend Trip to NYC

One of my best friends, Joyce, was coming from Berkeley to visit the East Coast so Ruth and I decided to go up to New York for the weekend. It was a brief trip- two long bus rides for less than 24 hours in the city, so we had to make it worth it by naturally squeezing in as many meals as possible.

We arrived past midnight on Friday due to a four hour back up at the Delaware Bridge, but fortunately I wrote down the name of a restaurant that was near where we were staying and was open until 3 am. Inoteca is a trendy Italian restaurant in New York that caters to the late night crowds. Their menu has a variety of original paninis, salads, and bruschetta (with fun toppings such as fig mascarpone, truffle oil and eggs, and fennel pepperonata). We all ordered paninis- Ruth and I had a prosciutto, mozzerella, and arugula pesto paninis and Joyce had a Mushroom, Spinach, Fontina Cheese, and Truffle Oil Panino. Perhaps it was from starvation from not being able to eat for 9 hours on the bus ride, but these paninis tasted like the best thing we had ever eaten. My panino came with a tomato and onion jam that went so well with the mozzarella, and Joyce's came with a cauliflower mixture that was also very delicious.
Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Arugula Pesto Panini Mushroom, Spinach, Fontina Cheese, and Truffle Oil Panini
For dessert I ordered an Affogato (vanilla gelato with espresso poured over it), and Joyce ordered a Nutella Panino. Inoteca hit the spot- this place was fantastic, convenient, and everything we were hoping for.
Affogato (Vanilla Gelato with Espresso) Nutella Panini with Apricot Compote
The next morning, we woke up and headed over to the Lower East Side for brunch. I read about a place located in the Essex Market called Shopsins, which is known for it's never ending menu. We arrived and noticed a long line wrapping around the wall, which was of course for Shopsins. This brunch place had literally five tables, hence the line, but everyone around us assured us that the wait was worth it. One hour later, we were seated. I ordered the "Moe 2", which consisted of two pieces of French Toast filled with maple glazed bacon and topped with two fried eggs. It was insane- I think that meal goes into my top 5 brunches of all time. Shopsins had real Vermont Maple syrup and I happily drenched the sandwich in it. Joyce ordered the "Auntie" Omelet which came with blue cheese, avocado, spinach, and whole wheat toast. I had a bite of this, and the eggs were perfectly cooked. Ruth ordered their famous pancakes, with chocolate chips and toasted coconut. Some of the best I've ever had! Overall this place gets 5 stars. It was definitely worth the wait.
Moe 2- French Toast Sandwich with Maple Glazed Bacon and Two Sunny Side Up Eggs
"Auntie" Omelet with Blue Cheese, Avocado, Spinach, and Whole Wheat Toast Chocolate Chip and Toasted Coconut Pancakes
Shopsins happened to be two blocks away from the famous Il Laboratorio de Gelato, and I've always wanted to try it- so to make the day worth it we ignored our calorie limits and walked over. They had a range of unusual flavors, and I decided to try Cinnamon based on the recommendation of the worker there. Absolutely delicious! I finally got to see what the hype was all about. Ruth ordered Chocolate Amaretto Crunch and Mango Sorbet, and Joyce ordered Vanilla Saffron and Rosemary Ice cream.
Cinnamon Gelato
After doing some shopping in Soho, we stopped at the touristy but worth it Rice to Riches. This place is fun because instead of being an icecream shop, it is a rice pudding shop. There are dozens of different flavors of Rice Pudding, ranging from Rocky Road to Banana Coconut to the classic Cinnamon Raisin. Joyce had never been, so we went and all split a cup of the Pecan Pie. Yum!
Mascarpone and Chocolate Chip Rice Pudding
Retro To-Go Containers Rice Pudding is served in
After Rice to Riches, Joyce went to the airport to go back to California and Ruth and I headed up to Central Park. We ordered the most expensive latte I have ever had at Via Quadronno, and wandered around Central Park until making our way to dinner. After our nine hour bus ride, we justified an expensive dinner on the Upper East Side. My friend Maddie once recommended Park Avenue Winter, so we decided to go.

This restaurant was adorable with comfy white chairs, candles everywhere, and leafless trees inside. This restaurant changes the entire menu, name, and decor every season. We caught the restaurant on it's last night of Park Avenue Winter, because the following day they were going to remodel for Park Avenue "Spring". We sat down, and immediately received complimentary Parmesan Fritters which were cheesy balls covered in bread crumbs that melted in your mouth. The waiters were very friendly and made a bunch of recommendations until we finally decided what to order. I had the Scottish Salmon with Parsnip Puree and Pickled Red Onions, and Ruth had the Seared Yellow Fin Tuna with Avocado, Grapefruit, and Ginger.
Scottish Salmon with Parsnip Puree and Pickled Red Onions
A side dish was recommended because the fish plates were small, and one immediately caught our eye- Broccoli and Cheetos. It sounds like the strangest, and most disgusting, combination but the waiters assured us it was worth it. We figured an Upper East Side restaurant would not serve Cheetos unless the dish was perfected, so we were intrigued and ordered it. Every part of this meal was superb. The fish was so moist, and the parsnip puree had a unique flavor that worked very well on the plate. Now for the Broccoli and Cheetos.. they were unbelievably delicious. The broccoli was sauteed in garlic, white wine, and with some Gouda cheese. They were topped with the Cheetos, and frankly I could not stop digging in for more. Overall, this restaurant was incredible. It was worth the huge dent in my bank account.

Broccoli Sauteed with Garlic, White Whine, and Gouda Cheese topped with Cheetos
The number of meals we squeezed into this 24 hour period made the trip worth it! We had a fantastic time.

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