NYC Pre-Christmas Getaway

23 Dec

With the exception of last year, a weekend trip to New York City has become a December tradition to celebrate my birthday and take in the Christmas magic in the city. My husband doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm for dealing with NYC  in what is probably the busiest time of year, but he’s a gem and indulges me all the same. He’s a keeper.

After dealing with insane traffic, we finally made it Friday evening and had a really great Italian dinner at Basso56 before turning in like the lame suburbanites we are. The next day, however, was the highlight. We picked up a few Christmas gifts at Columbus Circle before heading down to Momofuku Noodle Bar, where I really wanted the pork belly bao. I mean look at these bad boys:

Pork Belly bens with hoisin, cucumber and green onions

My mouth is salivating just looking at them again. The ramen was pretty good, but not the highlight. I realize how ridiculous it is that we ate here for lunch, which is only two doors down from Ko where we had dinner reservations. But whatever.

The 12-seat restaurant dishing out 10 plates plus other bites for dinner is really not to be missed. From lychee with frozen/shredded foie gras, ravioli with celery and shaved black truffles, pan seared skate, venison and other mouth-watering plates – we were delighted and stuffed by the time we left. If you live in NYC or are visiting, make this a priority.

Before leaving Sunday afternoon we had lunch with a friend in Chinatown at Joe’s Shanghai for soup dumplings. Sadly, DC doesn’t have any soup dumpling spots so this was a must for me.

The main event – Xiao Long Bao Pork Soup Dumplings are all of it! We ordered two baskets for the three of us (don’t judge) and were able to sample the crab and pork version due to our neighbors who over ordered for two.

Pork soup dumplings

I’ve always been curious of wine chicken, and now know to order it. Very good and refreshing. Pickled cabbage always a good one, too. It was nice to have someone else to eat Scallion Pancakes with, since Anh isn’t a huge fan.

Pickled cabbage and wine chicken dishes

As we left the restaurant and walked around Chinatown, I asked if there are good Vietnamese restaurants around Chinatown or elsewhere in the City, and she didn’t have many solid go-to spots. Are any readers NYC residents or travel there often? Curious to hear about your Vietnamese secret (or not) spots!

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