NYC Neighborhoods Visited: SOHO, Nolita, Theater District, West Village, and Flatiron.
We started our day off with a late morning subway ride to SOHO for lunch at the famous Lombardi’s Pizzeria. They are renown for being America’s first pizzeria and since we had a taste of Grimaldi’s the day before, we just had to tickle our tongues with a taste of Lombardi’s. Located on the corner of Mott St. and Mulberry St., we were surprised when we saw that Lombardi’s had no line. We had surely thought that this famed pizzeria would have a line shooting out of its door, considering that we waited nearly an hour before we were able to get a seat inside of Grimaldi’s yesterday. In any case, we blew off the no line to the face that we were there just little after 30 minutes from opening. And anyway, we were both hungry for good pizza so no line was a good thing!
I’ve argued with a bunch of hardcore Lombardi’s fan about the superiority of Grimaldi’s, but with no firsthand experience of Lombardi’s slice, I was a bit biased. We ordered the same pizza as we did at Lombardi’s (pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms) but this time we also added spinach. Like Grimaldi’s you pay a bay price for either a small or a large and then pay extra for toppings of your choice.
So which was better, Grimaldi’s or Lombardi’s? My first thought was that they were very similar to one another. So similar that I could not choose a favorite between the two. But after a few minutes and my second slice, I had found a clear favorite. Grimaldi’s is indeed my favorite pizzeria in the state of New York. Hands down. The pepperoni had a spicier kick, the sausage was tastier and the cheese, oh my goodness the cheese at Grimaldi’s was thicker, cheesier, and there was just more of it overall. And let’s face it, more cheese is always a good thing. Plus, you’re eating a pie under the Brooklyn Bridge – that’s pretty freakin’ awesome. If you’re in New York, and have to choose between the two, I’d recommend that you cross the Brooklyn Bridge and have a taste of New York’s best, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.
After Grimaldi’s, we crossed the street and had a taste of Rice to Riches, a rice pudding specialty shop. The first thing you’ll notice is the colorful and chic decor and then you’ll notice the clever and witty sayings throughout the shop poking fun at skinny people. Rice to Riches is definitely not a place for the carbohydrate conscious. Both Michelle and I ordered a small serving each, I had the Sex, Drugs, andl Rocky Road topped with mixed nuts and Michelle had the Chocolate Chip Flirt. First note, the serving sizes are huge and a small is definitely big enough for two. The pudding is very rich and is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
We then walked down Stage St. and stopped by American Apparel. They were having a sidewalk sale and we were able to pick up some great items for $8 a piece. I grabbed a couple of Raglans – yay!
A quick subway ride to 9th, between 15th and 16th Streets, and we were at Chelsea Market – home of the Food Network. On the bottom floor of this large building is a market that is scattered with a variety of different restaurants and open markets. I even scored a free gingerbread cookie by checking in at One Lucky Duck on Foursquare. Have I told you how much I love Foursquare?
Once we had our fill of Chelsea Market, we explored the Chelsea area quite a bit. And then we made our way to Jon Wye’s flagship shop on 47 W 20th Street. If you read this blog on a regular basis, then you know who Jon Wye is, since I have featured him multiple times on the blog and on Co-Tee TV. Jon Wye recently opened up a brick and mortar store. The shop is actually located inside of an old church that has been transformed into a three story market and gallery known as The Limelight. Unfortunately, Jon wasn’t in – he’s busy in DC working hard on his products at his factory. I did, however, have a chance to explore this shop and was thoroughly impressed by what I saw. I’ll be posting more photos of his shop in a separate post so be sure to check back for that.
The Museum of Sex on 5th Avenue was our next detonation. The tickets are priced at $17 a piece, however, I was a but underwhelmed. I expected more sex. Don’t get me wrong, the museum features three floors of sex exhibitions, but none really shocked or offended me. I was expecting to be shocked and offended. Not really. They currently features five difference exhibitions, Sex Lives of Animals and Rubbers were the the ones that I found to be the most interesting. Who knew a rhino’s dick was so huge.
By this time it was about 4pm, so we decided to head back to Times Square. Before heading to our hotel we made stops at the Hershey’s store and the M&M’s store. Both were a bit meh for me and just too crowded to even browse the products. I wanted some dark chocolate Kit Kats but was not willing to stand in line for it. If you’re in New York and have to choose between the two, then I’d suggest passing on Hershey’s (the store floor is small and crowded, and you can find most of the products at your local store anyway) and instead hit up the M&M store (it’s 3 floors big and the wall of M&M’s is impressive).
After a short pit stop at our hotel to freshen up, we hit the subway once again toward West Village to pay a visit to Carlos, also known in the T-Shirt universe for his baking and lifestyle collective, Oven Fresh Dreams. Carlos has released some limited edition tees in collaboration with Nicolo Nimor of Nick Automatic and Greg Abbott. Carlos invited us to stop by the bakery that he works at, Amy’s Bread. What’s awesome about this is that I actually had this planned on my itinerary, based on some suggestions that I had read prior to his invitation. How serendipitous of him to invite us there! He hooked us up with some excellent brownies and we even chatted a bit about NYC and the food scene. Not surprisingly, Carlos is a foodie, much like myself and Michelle! Cool dude. Support his brand Oven Fresh Dreams and if you’re ever in NYC, pay a visit to Amy’s Bread to treat yourself to something special.
The West Village area is filled with an amazing assortment of small restaurants. Carlos suggested one called Little Havana, so that’s where we planned to go. It was located right across the street from Amy’s Bread on Cornelia Street. But alas, it was closed. So what to do? Eat a New York hot dog, that’s what we did. Michelle spotted Gray’s Papaya, which she had learned about from a J-LO movie and I had heard about it on the Food Network (or was it the Travel Channel?). Needless to say, I had a few hot dogs and the flagship papaya drink. Simple hot dog, but still very good. You get a nice crunch from the encasing, which is the sign of a good hot dog.
Before heading back to the hotel we decided to stop by Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. I was a bit hesitant, because it seemed like a tourist trap to me. And for the most part, it was. I’m pretty sure that most of the museum’s artifacts were replicas. It’s okay, I still enjoyed looking at the bizarre and absurd. But at about $25 a ticket, I’d pass on it if given the chance to go again.
NYC Neighborhoods Visited: Theater District, City Hall, Brooklyn Bridge, Union Square, and TriBeCa.
Today was a big day and long day. We kicked it off by crossing one big and long bridge – the Brooklyn Bridge! Completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. It is 5,989 feet (1825 m) long and 85 feet (26 m) wide and it connects Manhattan to Brooklyn. This was my second time crossing the bridge so I knew what to expect, but this was Michelle’s first time. I kind of wish that I had timed the length of time it took us to cross the bridge.
Once we reached Brooklyn, we headed straight for Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. After getting lost for a little bit, we finally found this little pizza gem on Old Fulton St. The establishment has quite a storied history:
“Patsy Grimaldi, the founder of Grimaldi’s, learned to make pizza at his uncle Patsy Lancieri’s pizzeria (trained under pizza patriarch Gennaro Lombardi of Lombardi’s Pizzeria) in 1941 at age ten. He eventually opened his own restaurant, Patsy’s Pizzeria, in Brooklyn. Grimaldi originally planned to build it in Manhattan. However, he believed that coal-fired brick ovens produced the best pizza, and it was illegal to build new coal ovens in Manhattan. As a result, he moved to the current location at South Ferry, Brooklyn.”
We ordered a small pizza with pepperoni, italian sausage and mushrooms. My first bite reminded just how much I loved this place the first time I visited in 2007. Grimaldi’s is awesome and it will be one of those place that I will always visit whenever I visit New York. The crust is perfectly thin, the meats were nice and fresh and spiced perfectly, and the cheese was thick and plentiful. Mouthgasm? Hell yes. The amazing part is that the amount of time it takes to cook a Grimaldi’s pizza in their over 100 year old brick oven is faster than it takes a Pizza Hut to cook a pie in their modern ovens. Whenever I eat pizza, I will think of Grimaldi’s. Grimaldi’s is the real deal. If you want good pizza, you must pay a visit to the mecca of pizza, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.
Once we had our fill of Grimaldi’s, we headed toward Union Square so that Michelle could make a stop at Trader Joe’s. What’s awesome about Union Square is it’s commanding and engaging intersection. People come to union square to relax, sit, people watch, mingle and even play chess. And since it’s surrounded by shops, it’s the perfect place for tourists who want to escape the madness of Times Square.
Saddled by bags of Trader Joe’s nuts, we headed back to the hotel for a little rest. We needed that rest so that we wouldn’t fall asleep during our broadway experience – American Idiot! In factor, American Idiot was the entire reason why we began planning this trip. I am a huge fan of Green Day so I had been dying to see this musical by Billy Joe Armstrong, featuring music from the iconic 2004 Album, American Idiot and select songs from their latest album, 21st Century Breakdown.
The St. James Theater is the home of American Idiot and lucky for us, Hotel Mela is located a measly 3 minute walk away. We left the hotel at 7:30 pm for an 8 pm show and arrived in our seats with ample time to spare and take in the inspiring interior of the St. James Theater. Once the curtains went up, the madness started and it was complete rock and roll for 90 minutes. Non-stop punk and non-stop Green Day for 90 minutes. I loved it. I loved every burning second of this musical. I loved it so much that I want to see it again. The songs came alive right before my eyes and I was in Green Day heaven. Did I say I loved it? I loved it.
After waiting around a bit for the stars of the show to meet and greet, we jetted off to TriBeCa to dine at Ninja Restaurant. I had been itching to go there ever since I first heard Dan Trachtenburg and the rest of the Totally Rad Show crew talk about it in one of their past episodes. I was sold when Dan mentioned that Ninjas appear out of nowhere. Awesome.
When you first arrive at the unassuming front door, you are greeted by a host in a small room with an elevator. I don’t want to spoil the experience for those of you planning to pay a vista to Ninja Restaurant, but, I will say that the Totally Rad Show guys swear right – Ninja do appear out of nowhere. Oh, and if given a chance, take the secret yet dangerous path. You’ll love it. Michelle and I found ourselves still talking about it the day after. It was that fun.
The food at the Ninja Restaurant was okay compared to the Ninja experience. We had the Four Elements sushi (California roll topped with tuna, salmon, yellowtail and eel) and the Spicy Tuna sushi to start. Being from Hawaii, we know good Sushi – this was just okay sushi. For the main entree, I had the Ninja Paella (orzo pasta with seasweed and miso marinated salmon, short-neck clams and veggies) and Michelle had the Poseidon’s Pot (a pot of mussels and calamari, steamed with white soy sauce and sake). The serving size of my entree was unexpectedly huge. Five large filets of salmon was the main attraction for my entree. The salmon was cooked well, but again, living in Hawaii, I’ve had better fish prepared and cooked much better. Still, the Ninja Restaurant is quite the experience. You’re even treated to a Ninja magic show prior to eating. Neat!
You can also watch this episode on Vimeo, Viddler, YouTube, blip.tv and download and sync all episodes to your iPod or iPhone by subscribing for free to Co-Tee TV in the iTunes Store.
Multislacking-Slacker by Teezeria.Pros: Super fun design! Have a slacker in your life? Or maybe you’re a self-proclaimed slacker. If so then this is the shirt for you! Because Teezeria prints their tees on demand, you have the freedom to choose any color shirt you’d like the design printed on. One of the best parts about receiving a T-Shirt from Teezeria is the custom pizza box like packaging. The designs are printed on American Apparel tees so you know you are getting a quality shirt. T-Shirt also came with specific washing instructions so you know how to handle the direct-to-garment print.Â Cons: The main drawback of doing on demand direct-to-garment prints is that the prints don’t come out as soft as some of the screen printed tees do. For instance, the Multislacking Slacker print had somewhat of a vinyl like feel to it. The positive is that the print tends to soften up afte the first wash. Price: $20.
iSteamMac by Kevin Tong.Pros: As a true MacHead, I can tell you that any Mac fanatic would be thrilled to receive and wear iSteamMac. This da Vinci like print features a two color design on a cream American Apparel T-Shirt. The perfect shirt for any Apple fanboy.Price: $20.
Growing up “MacGyver” (contrary to the name of the shirt, this is the actual spelling of his name) was on constant rotation in my household. My mom was a huge MacGyver fan, which later turned into a general obsession with Richard Dean Anderson (but that’s a different story). So as I was perusing the collection over a TeeZeria, I couldn’t help but notice this black MacGyver themed T-Shirt. First off, everything within the bubble is brilliant – love it! The only problem I have (and maybe the biggest) is that other than the mullet – that doesn’t look like MacGyver! That might just be me though. What do Â you guys think?
Pick up Mgyver from TeeZeria for $20 and since the store is themed after a Pizzaria (TeeZeria – get it?) all orders are shipped in a custom pizza box.
This marked the start of our road trip to neighboring state, Oregon. We began the morning by having breakfast at a little cafe en route to Tacoma, were would switch off with our friends cousin whose car we were borrowing for the trip to Portland. The Shipwreck Cafe is this small stop off of Martin Way in Olympia, Washington. I got the breakfast special, which consisted of chickenfried steak, eggs, hashbrowns and toast. It was better than I expected! Tons of gravy lathered over the chicken steak. Don’t pay attention to the calories because the gravy really makes this dish special.
After breakfast we headed straight for our first stop in Portland, the Full Sail Brewery, which is right next to Hood River. Full Sail Brewery is known for their award winning Session brew. The brewery tour lasted about 30 minutes and was quite interesting and informative. They walk you through the entire beer making process and even let you taste the ingrediants that go into brewing beer. At the end of the tour you score a free Full Sail glass!
The food at Full Sail Brewery was OK but the beer was exceptional. I especially loved the Full Sail Session Lager, that is definitely my type of beer and well worth the 2.5 hour drive from Tacoma. We ended up buying a case to bring back to the hotel.
After Full Sail we headed to Portland to check into our hotel, the third Marriot stop of our Seattle/Portland journey. We got lost. But that was a good thing because we ended up at a Traders Joe’s and bought tons of snacks! I wish Hawaii had a Trader Joe’s.
Lo and behold our hotel was only 5 minutes away from Trader Joes. We made it to our hotel, quickly unpacked and headed out to yet another beer destination – Rogue Distillery & Public House, to meet up with Travis Greenwood of Found Item Clothing and Patrick Treadway of Tilteed! We had a great time chatting about tees, Portland life, tees, and tees! It was great meeting up with those two excellent dudes. And my friends were happy because they scored some free tees from Patrick and one of you lucky readers will score a free tee(s) from Travis (I need to first figure out how to give them away)!
Hey, it’s Patrick from Tilteed.com! He markets, prints, and ships out all Tilteed orders by himself! Talk about dedication and being passionate about what you do! Follow Tilteed on Twitter @Tilteed. Use the code â€œTiltCotyâ€ for an additional $2 off your Tilteed order!
After Rogue, Patrick was kind enough to drive us to VooDoo Doughnuts to get a taste of the weirdness that is Portland! VooDoo Doughnoughts was great experiece filled with an eclectic set of people! I’ve never quite experienced anything like VooDoo Doughnuts. It was a trip to say the least. And Patrick was right, VooDoo Doughnuts is best experienced at night because when we stopped by the following morning, the crowd was a bore compared to the night munchers.
Yes, that’s bacon on top of maple syrup drenched doughnut. Only at VooDoo Doughnuts!
Portland here we come! The morning was spent exploring the Pearl District of Portland. Our first stop was the famous Powell’s Books on Burnside. To say that this bookstore is huge is a big understatement. It’s ginormous. It’s probably larger than most public libraries you’ve been to. The store is split up into 8 different sections based on genre and occupies three full floors. You could spend countless hours exploring Powell’s, unfortunately our time was limited so our visit was brief (I still left with two new books).
As I was walking through Portland someone walked right pass me and said “I Love Your Shirt”. You can get it from I Am Wellness. Use the code “SUMMER09″ for 15% off (hopefully the code still works).
By the time we were through with Powell’s we headed out to lunch at Old Town Pizza which is an iconic Portland eatery with a haunted reputation. “Donâ€™t be surprised if an unexpected guest joins you for a slice today. A constant presence at Old Town Pizza is Nina (pronounced â€œNigh-naâ€), our resident ghost. If you feel a presence behind you, or smell a faint waft of perfume, you may have just received a visit. Nina is often seen in a black dress observing diners and wandering the basement below.” We settled on the House Pizza topped with salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushroom, black olives and bell peppers. The pizza was good but unfortunately there was no sighting of Nina, the resident ghost. I will say, though, that the restroom was freaky as hell. It is very dimly lit in there and I had a weird feeling (while I was peeing no less) that someone was watching me. Freaky!
Ground Kontrol is a neat little vintage arcade that Travis of Found Item Clothing suggested we hit up and I’m glad that we did! We spent about an hour in there playing some very old school arcade games like Centipede, Punch-Out, Simpsons and Space Invaders. This is not your typical arcade because at Ground Kontrol there is a fully functional bar. Awesome.
I’m a huge fan of Punch-Out so I was stoked to find this classic arcade game at Ground Kontrol!
After Ground Kontrol my buddies decided to grab a box of VooDoo doughnuts for the drive back home. While they stood in line (in the hot sun no less and yet another reason to go during the night time) I ventured down the street and stumbled across a neat little coffee/art shop called Stumptown Coffee Roasters. It had a a nice open space as opposed to the typical cramped coffee shop. I had the Queens Iced Tea and it was the cool refreshment that I needed! While the guys stood in that line for VooDoo doughnuts I sipped on my iced tea in air conditioning!
Good bye Portland, I knew you for just a day but I had a great time! Now en route to Tacoma (to return the car), we decided to stop by the Outlet Mall near Chehalis and in Centralia, Washington. The outlet stores of importance included Quicksilver, Billabong, and Nike. We hit those three shops up pretty hard.
From there we caught a shuttle to the 4th and final hotel of our stay – the Marriott Seattle Waterfront, which is just a few steps from Pike’s Place. We didn’t stay in the hotel for long as we decided grab some Clam Chowder from the original Ivar’s Seafood, right on the Seattle Waterfront. When you go to Ivar’s there just one thing you need to get – The Clam Chowder! We ordered one of each of the three different varieties: white, red and salmon. I urge you to do the same.
They encourage you to feed the Seagulls.
Small cup of Salmon Clam Chowder from Iver’s before heading to Del Rays for even more food and drinks!
Next we hit up Del-Rey’s for appetizers and drinks (or should I say beers and margaritas) and then finished the night off by closing down the bar at, appropriately, Ohana’s in Belltown, a Hawaiian themed bar. This was the third night that we stayed at a bar till closing (2am in Seattle).
But the night did not end there. We ventured off into the alley ways of the Seattle Waterfront and eventually ending up at Pier 67. The streets were empty and all that was left were four guys from Hawaii, laughing, talking and enjoying the camaraderie that you get from being with your closest friends.
Strangely enough, we ended our last together at Ohana’s in Belltown.
It’s a big week at Threadless! First the Spring Cleaning sale and then 9 new tee releases! This might be too much for me to handle. Olly Moss’ Shoot The Baddies was my Threadless Pick of the Week but watch on to see how I score the rest of the tees!
If youâ€™re looking for quality pizza in Hawaii then skip all of the chains like Papa Johnâ€™s, Dominos, Pizza Hut and even California Pizza Kitchen and instead opt for some great tasting, traditionally made pizza at Mamaâ€™s Island Pizza.
Mamaâ€™s Island Pizza has been serving the Kailua community since late 2005, and recently underwent management changes in early 2008. Even though thereâ€™s a new mama in town, the staff is still just as friendly and the pizza is the same cheesy and meaty goodness that customers have come to expect.
They offer seven types of Hawaii themed pizzaâ€™s, from the Kailua supreme with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers and sweet red onions to the Island Veggie Spectacular which is topped with a slew of top quality veggies. My favorite pizza has to be the Hey Brah Meat Delight, it is definitely the pizza for the meat lover in you. It comes with a colossal combination of Portuguese sausage, pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, and meatballs. Another favorite of mine at Mamaâ€™s are the Midwestern style chicken wings.
One of the best things about Mamaâ€™s other than the great tasting and high quality pizza is that they accept competitorâ€™s coupons. If you bring in a coupon from Pizza Hut, Papa Johnâ€™s or any other pizza company then they give you a discount on your pizza order! The discount ranges depending on the size of pizza you are ordering, from three to five dollars.
Be sure to make the trip to Mamaâ€™s Island Pizza the next time you’re in Kailua town, youâ€™ll be greeted not only by friendly people but by the best pizza on the island.
Mamaâ€™s Island Pizza
108 Heikii Street, Suite 107 (Foodland Plaza)
Kailua, HI 96734