NYC Chocolate & Macaron Tour

Most of my group was from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and had never tried this style of Pizza before. Using a fork and knife to eat pizza was not something they were accustomed to.

My most recent NYC food & neighborhoods tour was different from the previous one. Last time, a bus took us everywhere, while this time my group and I started with a dim sum brunch at Jing Fong in Manhattan’s Chinatown and then went everywhere on foot and via subway.

NYC Food & Xmas Spectacular 12-6-2015 Brian
tour flyer

My 1st dim sum brunch was back in June with a Chinese friend. I was excited that our tour would start that way, but concerned that we would have no room for pizza later in the day. At brunch, I finalized my plan for the day and ate every appetizer with shrimp.

Dim Sum at Jing Fong NYC 12-6-2015
inside Jing Fong on Elizabeth Street

The tour I advertised included a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. This is a risky thing to advertise in December. I had an alternate plan which would have cut Brooklyn out of the tour, but it was around 55 degrees and nobody in the group wanted to change the plan.

Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge 12-6-2015
walking across the Brooklyn Bridge

On the last tour, everything took more time than I allowed for. This time, everything took less time than I planned. Our walk from Chinatown to DUMBO took less than an hour. The last time (that’s a Rolling Stones song) I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge was in October 2013, on my way to a (nearly three hour) Pearl Jam concert at the Barclays Center. Only one other person in my group had ever walked over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges from Booklyn Bridge Park 12-6-2015
Brooklyn Bridge on the left, Manhattan Bridge on the right

After a photo op filled walk across the bridge, we followed Tillary Street to Cadman Plaza, which turns into Washington Street, which took us to Jacques Torres only Brooklyn location on Water Street. I bought a box of 12 chocolates and let everyone else do their shopping. Most bought something. I’m usually the one who buys the most, but someone else bought a box of 25.

Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn Bridge Park 12-6-2015
Brooklyn Bridge from Main Street Park under Manhattan Bridge

From Jacques Torres, we followed Main Street to Main Street Park, so everyone could get pictures of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. After a quick walk along Washington Street to York Street to Jay Street, we boarded the F train, bound for the 2 Av Station between the Lower East Side and East Village. Most of my group had never been in the subway before.

selection at Jacques Torres Brooklyn 12-6-2015
selection at Jacques Torres

Our next destination was Bisous Ciao on the Lower East Side. They were running a happy hour special where you buy two and get one free. Everyone sampled the different flavors. Those who took my suggestion and tried the salted caramel were not disappointed. I bought a box of six and we headed to Essex Street, which turns into Avenue A.

tour group at Bisous Ciao LES NYC 12-6-2015
Bisous Ciao on Lower East Side

After a left turn on Saint Mark’s Place (East 8th Street), we arrived at Macaron Parlour, where I bought a box of six and let everyone else try the different flavors. I tend to avoid the more eccentric flavors there. “Party time” is my favorite.

Macaron Parlour 12-6-2015
me offering advice at Macaron Parlour in East Village

After Macaron Parlour, we walked to First Avenue then north to East 12th Street to Motorino. We all shared Margherita Pizzas. Even after dim sum, I ate 3 slices and did not feel stuffed. Most of my group was from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and had never tried this style of Pizza before. Using a fork and knife to eat pizza was not something they were accustomed to.

Margherita at Motorino East Village 12-6-2015
Margherita Pizza at Motorino in East Village

From 14th Street, we took the L train to the 6 train to 51st street to sample Japanese and Belgian Chocolates. Royce gives out a free mini box of green tea nama to anyone who checks in on Yelp. Since the refrigerator at my house usually has at least a couple different flavors of Royce chocolates, I just took the free ones, but the people in my group bought chocolate covered potato chips.

I had not been to Leonidas since earlier in the year and that was our next (and final) destination, just a block south on Madison Ave. My favorites there are the speculoos and champagne truffles. Since I’m not in this area very often, I bought a half pound of truffles while the people in my group sampled some other flavors.

As our chocolate and macaron tour was coming to an end, we walked to Rockerfeller Center so everyone could take pictures of the tree. Our tour ran ahead of schedule so there was almost an hour before we had to meet the bus on 49th street between 8th and 9th Avenues (the bus was not allowed to drive to Rockerfeller Center).

Xmas tree at Rockerfeller Center 12-6-2015
Christmas Tree at Rockerfeller Center

 

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I like the organized countries

I love this city! I could live here! I was teased about how I only like the organized countries. I enjoyed using their (very clean) public transportation & eating at the hawker stalls.

There are no direct flights between Hat Yai & Denpasar, so my friend and I chose to stop in Singapore and spend a couple nights. I love this city! I could live here! I was teased about how I only like the organized countries. I enjoyed using their (very clean) public transportation & eating at the hawker stalls. I guess for me, the unorganized countries are nice to visit but……….

Happy New Year from Amsterdam!!

I love this city and I hope to return. I didn’t eat any amazing food here, but I just enjoy walking around and taking in the atmosphere. It’s a city, but it’s not chaotic. Nobody seems to be in a major hurry. There’s a good public transportation system and excellent museums as well.

This place was not just be best deal, but it’s named after a borough near the city I live in.
The line to get into the Anne Frank house
I love fish, but did not enjoy this at all.
I had not been to Amsterdam in over 7 years. I love this city and I hope to return. I didn’t eat any amazing food here, but I just enjoy walking around and taking in the atmosphere. It’s a city, but it’s not chaotic. Nobody seems to be in a major hurry. There’s a good public transportation system and excellent museums as well.

My 2nd favorite American city

I relied exclusively on public transportation and by the time I left, it was my 2nd favorite American city.

Cupola Pizzeria. My favorite pizza outside of NYC
Back in August 2004, me, 2 friends and a cousin flew into San Francisco and out of Los Angeles. We rented a car and stayed in some suburb (I can’t remember the name) of San Francisco for the first few nights. We didn’t like San Francisco too much and were in no hurry to go back. In fact, we were so excited when we got to Los Angeles because we thought San Francisco was kind of boring.
I wanted to do something for Labor Day weekend and had enough US Airways frequent flier miles to get a free flight. San Francisco seemed the best deal and I decided to give it another chance (this time staying in the city with no car). I relied exclusively on public transportation and by the time I left, it was my 2nd favorite American city. I stayed at the Mayflower Hotel in Nob Hill and used the street car to get up the “Hill.”
I really appreciated the bay area weather this time. Never too cold, never too hot. I’m one of the few people who appreciate the UK weather. I don’t like extremes, but I’ll deal with them if I have to.