16 Sep 2011

A Foodie visits New York City! Travel Diary

This will most likely be one motherlode of a post, so here's the short version:

I spent a week in New York! I've uploaded four "Postcard" videos so far on my Youtube channel to give you a small impression. Here are the links:

Postcard 1: Arrival at the Hotel & Limo
Postcard 2: Fashion Night Out in Soho
Postcard 3: Ground Zero on 9/11 & Times Square
Postcard 4: Amazing Sushi and Fuerza Bruta show

I also uploaded loads of pictures of my trip on Facebook, click here to check them out.

Now for the longer version...

My boyfriend and I arrived at Newark on September 7 to sweltering heat and humidity and a painfully long security process at the airport. Security was bumped up because of the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, and it took us about 1 1/2 hours until we finally exited Newark. The wait was worth it - we got picked up in a Limo!! Inside cold beers and cokes were waiting for us, a welcome relief.

We sped off to the W Hotel located right in the centre of Manhattan on Lexington Avenue, it was quite posh! We were on a corner room on the 9th floor so we had a really cool view of the skyscrapers around us. We also got some Bliss products in our bathroom and they smelled so lovely, and I've forgotten how nice it is to have a housekeeper clean your room everyday and make your bed.

You can watch the video I filmed about our arrival, the limo, and a room tour of our hotel:

During our time in New York, I had some of the best food ever. New York is a great place that boasts restaurants of every culinary direction that you could possible imagine. From shops specializing in rice pudding to sushi to hamburgers, there's probably nothing you couldn't eat in New York. I threw my diet to the wind and ate to my heart's desire! (Although with all the walking and sightseeing we did, it balanced out.)

Where to start? From scrumptious breakfasts at our hotel...

...to amazing burgers at Joy Burger Bar in Harlem. This place is great! It's a small retro diner where you can build your burger to your taste - everything from the size of the patty, to the toppings and sauces. There are a lot of varieties to choose from! I chose one with mango chutney, garlic mayo, and sautéed onions along with the usual toppings, with a side of sweet potato fries. The fries were served with maple syrup, it was a bit too sweet for my taste, but the burger was so good!

My boyfriend went for the larges patty but was a bit more traditional on the toppings, but it was still good nonetheless. The fries were home cut and so yummy!

Since I absolutely love Asian cuisine, we gorged ourselves on Japanese and Thai food. First up was sushi at The Loop restaurant. The calamari was mediocre but everything else was delicious! They make a lot of interesting, non-traditional sushi rolls too, which I had never tried before. They do brisk business with delivery and take-out, but have a small but nice restaurant as well.

One of my favorite restaurants we tried was Yakitori Taisho because it was like stepping into a backstreet in Tokyo. Yakitori is Japanese skewered meat prepared fresh before your eyes, and everything we tried was freaking fantastic! The prices were very affordable, although they don't take reservations so you normally have to wait a bit for a table. We ordered a pitcher of Japanese beer for about $12, our bill at the end for 2 came to about $85 (but we seriously pigged out.)

Another great Japanese restaurant we tried was Sakagura, which serves Izakaya (Japanese tapas.) It wasn't as young and lively as Yakitori Taisho, the crowd was a bit older and more conservative, but the food was really good as well. They had a ton of sake varieties available!

One evening I met up with an old friend of mine who now lives in hipsterville Williamsburg, Brooklyn and he showed us around the area. We hit up Sea Thai restaurant, which was a very club-like atmosphere with a DJ, dim lights, great decor, all set within an industrial designed restaurant. The food was pretty good too, I had green papaya salad as a starter, then crispy duck as a main. Didn't like the cocktails so much, they tasted really sweet and chemical.

Another great place to grab a bit to eat in New York is the legendary Katz's Delicatessen in the Lower East Side. This place has been around since 1888 when it was founded by Russian immigrants, and everyone from Bill Clinton to Snoop Dogg has eaten there. The best thing to eat here is hands down the pastrami sandwiches, which don't come cheap starting at $15.75 a pop. They are actually quite huge, so my boyfriend and I shared the Reuben, which also has Sauerkraut and cheese on it. Definitely worth it though, the pastrami is mouth-watering and falls apart in your mouth.

I could probably go on and on about the amazing food in New York, but believe it or not, we actually did a lot of sight seeing as well!

I went to check out Fashion Night Out in Soho, where all the stores have special events going on in celebration of NY Fashion Week - celebrities at the stores, DJs playing club music, and all the display windows are elaborately decorated.

Watch my video to see what I wore for this special night out, and get an insight into the atmosphere!

Another really special trip was our day on 9/11, it was actually the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, so the whole city had special memorial services and events going on, as well as anti-war and anti-racism protests.

We started out on the Brooklyn bridge...

...then walked down to Ground Zero where I did a lot of filming to capture the atmosphere and the demonstrations.

It was a moving experience. Here are a few more pictures from that day.

In the evening we went to Times Square where I took this fun picture. There were tons of tourists there of course, but you can't leave NYC without seeing Times Square at night. I also did some shopping at Sephora for the voters giveaway and got some goodies. ;)

Some more pictures from various places.

We had a overpriced drink in Little Italy. What a tourist trap! I wouldn't recommend eating Italian food here, there's probably many better places around the city. The waiter assumed I was a New Yorker and he seemed surprised to see a "local" there. It was just ultra kitch, no real Italian-American flavor left.

Sweating in Central Park! It was so damn hot but what a lovely park in the middle of such a metropolis.

Elmo is my homeboy! Around Broadway area.

The WTC memorial lights made for some spectacular night sky photography...

Nighttime around Lexington Avenue.

Saks on Fifth Avenue:

Flatiron building:

We did a lot of shopping! I have a haul video coming up about that, but in the meanwhile, here I am goofing around at Century 21, a massive department store where you can get designer duds for less. You can get lost in there, there's so many floors!

St. Patrick's Cathedral...the lady in green had awesome hair!

We also went to see an amazing show in New York called Fuerza Bruta - it rocked! Best show I've seen since Cirque de Soleil. I filmed a lot, so make sure to watch my video to get an impression. I highly recommend you check it out if you're ever in New York, it's a wonderful collage of sensory, visual and acoustic performance. Loved it!

Overall this trip was a whirlwind of impressions, sights and tastes. I would love to go back someday, even if it's just for the amazing food and shopping! Thank you so much to the nail polish company ANNY that gave me this amazing prize, and to my voters who made this possible. I am eternally grateful.


  1. Looks like you had a spectacular time. Well done on the winning! xx

  2. Oh man! You look really great, looks like you had a wonderful time in NYC.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  3. I'm glad you had a great time. NYC is like a second home for me. I'm going to have to try the asian restaurants you visited it all looked SO GOOD.


  4. Paphiopedilum1:12 am

    Das sieht alles echt super, super toll aus, und liest sich auch so! Sollte ich mal in absehbarer Zeit nach New York reisen, werd ich mir das alles hier nochmal genau zu Gemüte führen und dann bestimmt auch selber einiges davon unternehmen. Die Show scheint ja echt der Wahnsinn gewesen zu sein, und auch in dieses bissl andersartige Sushi möcht ich am liebsten sofort reinbeißen... So wie überhaupt das ganze Essen so aussieht, daß ich am liebsten sofort Flüge buchen würde :-) Vielleicht erfahren wir im Laufe der Zeit ja auch noch bissl mehr von der ganzen Reise, das wäre schön!

  5. Hi Julia,
    I'm from Kansas USA. I never knew much about NYC until you had this win and I looked some places up on the internet. I never knew that Times Square was a real square area with lots of streets and stores, restaurants etc. So cool! I can imagine this was a trip of a lifetime for you. :) I'm so glad you had this chance to go. I have had an experience that I will never forget so I can imagine the memories you have and will enjoy for a lifetime. I'm glad that you went with your boyfriend. This is something that should be enjoyed with someone you love. :) Thanks for sending us videos and taking pictures etc. It was fun to see it all. My favorite is the picture of you jumping in the air in the street at night. :) You can tell from the picture that you are excited and having a good time. I'm glad you're back home safely. Looking forward to your haul and I hope you show us everything! :) ♥LizKS48

  6. P.S.
    I hope you bought that great fur hat you were wearing! :)

  7. I'm really glad you liked the experience so much. I went there 4 years ago for my honeymoon and it's one of the best cities I've ever visited.

  8. Oh wow... das ganze Essen sieht so fantastisch aus! Jetzt hab ich Hunger :D

  9. Das sieht echt nach einer Hammer-Reise aus! Ich freue mich schon auf den Haul :)!!

  10. Helene8:02 pm


    Nice pics & videos.

    So are you going to do a New York Look for your World Cities ?

  11. so much great info on here .

  12. Good morning Julia,

    I have a question that I can’t seem to find an answer to online and since you are a make-up goddess, I thought maybe you could help!

    What is make-up primmer and what is it used for?