Category Archives: New York

foodie adventures in NYC

travelin pals - foodie international, kirsten alana & epstein travels with lola

i’ll be honest, while i do think i like a lot of different kinds of food, i don’t think of myself as that adventurous of an eater. strange foods scare me a bit. i think i might even have a texture/sensory issue that was never dealt with but that’s another story.

i’ll be traveling to Asia this august and i figured this would be the BIG food exploration experience for me. Asian food really scares me. but, in order to have an adventure of a lifetime, i’m going to get past that. i’m going to be willing to try things i wouldn’t ordinarily choose to eat AND here’s how i know i will…

i ate SCARY ASIAN food in New York at the end of march. it wasn’t intentional. not at all. but there was a formula that led to the scary Asian food eating and here it is:

  • going to a happy hour mixer on an empty stomach & finally eating dinner at midnight = i’m so hungry i could eat a horse!
  • being a little tipsy (ok maybe really tipsy) = i’m drunk enough that it’s a good idea to put something in my stomach
  • dining amongst well-traveled peers = i feel like i’m on survivor and this is a crazy dare that i must take so i don’t kicked off the island!

good times at Kenka - east village - NYC

all of this chow-down took place at Kenka in the east village.

here’s the run down of the crazy-ass Asian food i ate. just typing this makes me a little nauseous but i’m going to persevere just like i will in august.

  • takoyaki – fried octopus balls
  • yakitori – chicken skewers of thigh meat, chicken liver, hearts, gizzards
  • bull penis – bull freaking penis
  • kaeru no kara age – fried frog

it really wasn’t all that bad with the exception of the aforementioned texture issues with the bull penis – YUCK.

like kids in a candy store!

BONUS was DIY cotton candy and cheap big pitchers o’beer! that, and hanging out with three totally cool travel peeps that i’d been dying to meet til 1:30am! thanks miss foodie international, kirsten alana & jonathan epstein for a night i’ll soon not forget!

XO – lola

*cotton candy photo credit to Kirsten Alana – photographer extraordinaire

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girls NYC cocktail tour = priceless

there are some things money can’t buy – GOOD laughs with GIRLFRIENDS.

for everything else – a GIRLFRIEND trip to NYC and many GOOD cocktails – there’s a thing called a credit card!

let me break it down.

JetBlue plane ticket to JFK = $72

yellow cab to Manhattan = $55

walking the East & West sides of Central Park = $lovely yet expensive on the eyes

shopping damage = $42

pre-dinner drinks at 6 Columbus & Perry St. = $75

taxi to/from West Village & Soho = $25

dinner at Perry St. = $45

post-dinner drinks at Crosby St. = $85

roundtrip subway ride to/from Soho = $4.50

walking in circles in Soho & Midtown = $annoying result of foggy hangover

brunch at The Cupping Room = $30

shopping damage = $120

taxi to/from Meat Packing district = $16

pre-dinner drinks at  Buddakhan & Scarpetta = $55

dinner at Scarpetta = $32

post-dinner drinks at Scarpetta = $FREE (thank you!)

hotel = $133

parking = $28

ride home = $0 (courtesy of my pal)

GRAND TOTALS:

  1. transportation & parking=$200.50
  2. hotel = $133
  3. shopping = $162
  4. food = $107
  5. drinks = $215

fun with girlfriends = PRICELESS

PS – if you are reading this far down then you’ll know i’ve proven my point from previous posts that 1) i think dinners are not so expensive in NYC yet cocktails are very expensive! 2) obviously, the subway IS the way to get around 3) i like to score free drinks without scoring and in NYC this was a success – huge savings!! CHEERS!

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Bright Lights, Big City: perceptions & misconceptions

like i said before –  NYC – you were once home to me.  still, one has perceptions about you – some of which are true, some that were once true and some that were never true at all. here’s my list as an ex-New Yorker now visiting NYC.

 

PEOPLE ARE GRUFF: when i lived in NY people were not as friendly as they now seem to be. have you gone soft NY? maybe it was me and the daily grind? POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE

TAXIS ARE DEATH TRAPS: cabbies still drive like total MANIACS and you have reason to fear for your life. TRUTH

IT’S A CROWDED ISLAND: it still feels very crowded on the streets and i now know i do not care for this. it was the first thing i noticed when i left NY – i had room to spread out my arms when walking the sidewalks. it was the first thing that made me feel claustrophobic when i was visiting. TRUTH

NYC IS VERY EXPENSIVE: you can eat at some top-notch places and not break the bank. i always thought of NY as expensive in every way but really the restaurants are priced the same as other major cities. POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE

THERE’S A LACK OF CUSTOMER SERVICE: i appreciated the attentiveness of the restaurant managers where we ate out Friday and Saturday nights. at some point of the meal at each restaurant the manager came by to make sure we were happy and enjoying ourselves. this stood out to me because it’s not typical at most places but perhaps it now is in NYC. nicely done! (you hear me Boston?) POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE BUT I’M GONNA GO WITH NEVER TRUE AT ALL

NYC IS VERY EXPENSIVE: drinks on the other hand seem to be exceedingly expensive EVERYWHERE or was it that i just went to fancy spots with fancy drinks?  hmmm… TRUTH

IT’S A MELTING POT: always has been always will be one of the best places on earth to people watch. TRUTH

THE SUBWAY IS GROSS & SCARY: the subway is still the fastest, most efficient bargin to getting around. NO, it’s not flithy & people DO smile and look at each other in the eye. that said, probably not somewhere you’d want to hang out all day long or stay overnight! POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE

NEW YORKERS ARE RUSHED & RUDE: if you ask for something, there’s a better than good chance you shall receive it. everytime i asked for something during my visit – i got it. that’s 100 for 100! not too shabby for a tough little city like the  BIG APPLE. *wink wink* PROBABLY NEVER TRUE AT ALL

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S.M. and the City

LET’S GET SOCIAL!

Social Media Relationships in New York City.

in this day & age of connectedness with the whole facebook, foursquare, Twitter, etc. – i ask you, how can a brand afford NOT to be practicing good Social Media?  it just seems so obvious to me.  your customers and potential audience want to share with you and you build loyalty with them when you create an open dialog.  i decided to put this to the test during my recent visit to NYC. i started with my flight down to NY on JetBlue. i knew JB practices good social media and they did not let me down.  thanks JetBlue for your weekend well wishes!

Lauren DiMarco (@LolaDiMarco)11/18/11 11:19 AM

Hey @jetblue I’m looking at you here at boston logan! Take me to #NYC for my luxe weekend w/the gals!#LolaInTheApple

JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue)11/18/11 12:16 PM

@LolaDiMarco Enjoy your luxury weekend with the girls – it’s always an adventure!

meanwhile, 6 Columbus – a Thompson Hotel in NY that i began a dialog with over the summer after they were noted for having a great rooftop bar by Fodor’s – tweeted me saying “see you soon!”

Lauren DiMarco (@LolaDiMarco)11/18/11 11:48 AM

@6_Columbus@loladimarco See you soon!”YES you will! Can’t wait to show off your roof to my pals!#LolaInTheApple

6 Columbus (@6_Columbus)11/18/11 12:14 PM
@loladimarco Keep in touch.

Lauren DiMarco (@LolaDiMarco)11/18/11 4:55 PM
@6_Columbus I’m here!!! Just waiting for the roof to “officially” open! Waiting patiently… 😉

6 Columbus (@6_Columbus)11/18/11 5:33 PM
@loladimarco Enjoy!

LOVE that.  they have done an outstanding job keeping in touch over the past few months whenever i mentioned my upcoming trip to NYC or when i asked for recommendations for restaurants and such. so much so, that even though i was staying elsewhere, i insisted to my pals we should check out their rooftop bar because i felt like we would be visiting a friend.  love your diggs, 6 Columbus AND your rooftop bar is tres fantastique!

a few other tweeting successes to mention would be @JustMeEloise @ScarpettaNYC & @Firmdale_Hotels. @JustMeEloise is a Twitter account dedicated to the fictitious 6 year old girl that lives in the Plaza Hotel. i gave her a shout out that I had arrived in the big apple.

Lauren DiMarco (@LolaDiMarco)11/18/11 3:14 PM

Knock knock, you there? @justmeeloise http://t.co/MfREkGwW

Eloïse. (@JustMeEloise)11/18/11 6:22 PM
@LolaDiMarco hiiii

Scarpetta is the YUMMY Italian restaurant where i had dinner Saturday night.  although i did tweet saying i was looking forward to dinner and did they have any dish recommendations that went unanswered – they did respond to my post-dinner tweet.  good job and keep working at it @ScarpettaNYC

Scarpetta (@ScarpettaNYC)11/21/11 2:13 PM
@LolaDiMarco@ScarpettaNYC delicious dinner last night! John was an awesome server.” Thanks for the feedback!

Firmdale Hotels have a collection of hotels in both London and NY – one of which is the Crosby Street Hotel in Soho. i dropped by Crosby Street for cocktails upon a recommendation of a NYC Twitter friend who is ‘in the know’. it was fabulous just as she had said.  so i tweeted @Firmdale_Hotels to let them know i enjoyed it and they retweeted it.

FirmdaleHotels @Firmdale_Hotels retweeted to 781 followers:

@Firmdale_Hotels checked out Crosby street hotel last night. LOVE! Well done.#NYC

thanks for the delicious drinks and retweet.  i will be returning – Crosby Street!

Twitter failures would be Perry Street (dinner there Friday night) and The Peninsula NYC. i sent them both tweets. neither have been answered – not so impressive. i will say a HUGE shout out for The Peninsula NYC’s – Chicago cousin. they DID answer me regarding my NYC questions & continue the dialog to this day.

Lauren DiMarco (@LolaDiMarco)11/18/11 7:41 PM
@ThePeninsulaChi hey! Does your NYC counterpart have a twitter acct? If so, what is it? Thanks & Bon weekend!

Peninsula Chicago (@ThePeninsulaChi)11/18/11 7:47 PM
@loladimarco Yes we do! It is@ThePeninsulaNYC

Lauren DiMarco (@LolaDiMarco)11/18/11 7:48 PM
@ThePeninsulaChi @thepeninsulanyc thank you very much! You are SO good! 🙂

Peninsula Chicago (@ThePeninsulaChi)11/18/11 8:00 PM

@loladimarco Thank you for the kind words! If you ever need help planning a stay at @ThePeninsulaNYC or @ThePeninsulaChi we’d love to help!

how do you win in this Social Media game? you develop a rapport with your customer and then you gain a fan. well done Peninsula Chicago! you are on my list to visit unlike your NYC counterpart – SORRY!

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NYC – you were once home to me!

it’s been SO long since i called New York City home it feels like an exciting getaway when i go to visit. it’s not that New York wasn’t exciting while living there – it was. BUT life was different then…working hard with less funds and definitely NOT doing as many posh things as i’m able to do today.

i’m looking forward to taking a BIG, JUICY, LUXURIOUS bite out of you big apple! See you soon.

XO – lola

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