The Best Ice Cream Truck in New York

Shannan & Tien waiting in line at the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck :: Meatpacking District, Manhattan

Van Leeuwen ice cream :: Meatpacking District, Manhattan

When we came down from the High Line, the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck was parked nearby so we got some. Now, this is not your standard ice cream truck playing jingles and handing out ice cream in the shape of Mickey Mouse. Van Leeuwen’s serves gourmet ice cream made from hormone-free dairy. It’s all natural and has no stabilizers, preservatives, corn syrup or unnatural emulsifiers.

The flavors are all high-end and use quality, sustainable ingredients.Dallas had a strawberry cone, Tien and Shannan shared a couple scoops of green tea ice cream, and Jeannette had pistachio (I think?). I had a flavor called Giandujia, which was hazelnut and chocolate, and tasted kind of like Nutella, but not as sweet. Delicious. So good.

After our ice cream treat we wandered down Little 12th Street and found a fantastic outdoor garden at Revel where we lounged and talked over a few beers.

The High Line

Saturday morning we met up with Tien, Shannan, and Jeannette for dim sum at our favorite dim sum restaurant, Jing Fong. Someone is going to get mad at me for saying this, but Dallas and I have not liked any of the dim sum spots we’ve been to in Chicago’s Chinatown. Dallas used to go for dim sum in Boston’s Chinatown and I used to go in New York’s and it’s been years since either of us have had good dim sum, so this was a good meal. YUM. Char siu bao and char siu pastry craving fix.

The High Line

Dallas on The High Line. I was trying to position him to make a kissy face, but he didnt cooperate.

After dim sum we decided to check out The High Line. This is the abandoned elevated rail in New York that they just recently turned into a park. Not all of it is done, but what I saw is really impressive. Much changed since Tien and I stealthily broke into the abandoned rail and walked it several years ago. I loved the combination of nature, with modern architectural elements, with preserved old rail lines.

Jeannette, Shannan, Tien on The High Line

Frank Gehry’s new building as seen from The High Line

The High Line

I can’t wait to see how the abandoned Bloomingdale Trail in Chicago turns out. They’re supposed to be doing kind of the same thing.

The High Line

The High Line

It was a beautiful day outside and we all just walked and walked and talked and talked and sat and talked and walked some more. Perfect.

Little West 12th Street as seen from The High Line. We were going down there next!

Dinner @ Crispo

Crispo, Chelsea, Manhattan

Alden, Jeff, John
Alden, Jeff, John :: Crispo, Chelsea, Manhattan

Meat Equipment :: Crispo, Chelsea, Manhattan

Roast Beets, Pickled Onions, Goat Cheese :: Crispo, Chelsea, Manhattan

Salmon with Lemon-Roasted Potatoes :: Crispo, Chelsea, Manhattan

Last Thursday was our last dinner with the group while we were all out in New York. Jeannette had suggested Crispo as one of the options when we went out for dinner and then a coworker suggested it too, so we decided to try it out. I liked it, but I was underwhelmed. Because we had a large group they made us do this $45 prixe fixe and while I thought our firsts and desserts were fabulous, I think the main courses could have been better. But I really enjoyed the atmosphere and it’s not like the food was bad, I just would have rather not been tied to the prixe fixe and limited menu. I’d go back with a smaller group and order on my own.

Alden & His Smoking Friend :: Meatpacking District, Manhattan

Alden & his smoking friend
Alden & His Smoking Friend :: Meatpacking District, Manhattan

Chris – Not Impressed :: Meatpacking District, Manhattan

After Crispo, Alden made brief friends with some dude in the Meat packing District who, to “scam” Alden for a cigarette, challenged him to see who could roll the best cigarette. Alden smokes and always rolls his own, so the dual was on. I’m not sure who won. Also, there was brief simulated dumpster diving. I’m not sure I’m allowed to post that photo, but if you know him I’m sure you can guess who it was. After all this, we finally ended up at Pizza Bar for a couple drinks then called it a night.

I was also going to mention, and this isn’t as crazy as the people I ran into last weekend or earlier in the week, but on Thursday I ran into Mike at work. I’d forgotten he worked in the New York office and then when I emailled him he was in Japan. It was good to see him when he got back. I haven’t seen him in NY since we walked the High Line in 2004 and then when he came to my going away party a few weeks after that and once in Chicago in 2005 when he was in the city for a short time and we got together for lunch.

Back in New York

Taj Restaurant
Musicians at Taj Restaurant, East Village, Manhattan

Not to confuse you because I still have photos from my Memorial Day weekend trip to New York, but I’m back in New York again, this time on business. Monday afternoon and night we all came together at Taj Restaurant on 6th Street, right in the heart of Indian Restaurant Row, which is on 6th between 1st and 2nd Avenues. The music was great but the service and ambiance was questionable. They did keep the Taj Mahal and Flying Horse beer flowing though, which was a good thing. The food was reasonably priced and was pretty tasty if you could break through the language barrier to get your order in!

Don at Bar 82
Don, Bar 82, East Village, Manhattan

Afterwards we had a few drinks at Bar 82 and then made the long walk back to our hotel, the craptacular Radisson on 48th/Lex. It’s not that bad, it’s just so random. Like the wallpaper is peeling in my room and there are only hooks and stains where the artwork used to be above the bed, yet my room has a flat screen TV and a Herman Miller Aeron chair.

Spice Market
Vietnamese Coffee Granite with Vanilla Meringue, Spice Market, Meatpacking District, Manhattan

Tuesday was our first day at Google and was completely overwhelming with all of the information to take in. It’s really exciting to be working there officially. I think everyone is psyched. .. if only we can get our heads around everything. We had dinner at Spice Market, which I’d read so much about and was excited to try. It was about 100% fancier than the Indian restaurant that we’d been to the night before. The interior was really beautiful, if not over the top, and sort of Middle Eastern looking, while the cuisine was kind of Vietnamese/Thai/Indian. The Onion and Chili Crusted Short Ribs Egg Noodles and Pea Shoots was absolutely the standout dish of the night. I was expecting something like kalbi ribs, but it was the most tender bone-free beef I’ve ever eaten, I think. So delicious. For some reason I only took a photo of our desert. It was Vietnamese Coffee Granite with Vanilla Meringue. That night some people went out to the bar at the W, but I was so tired. I just stayed in and went to bed.

Tiny Beers
Mini Beers, Bar 82, East Village, Manhattan

This is turning into a food blog of the week, but Wednesday night we had pizza at John’s on Bleecker. Later on we had a couple beers at some generic Irish pub in Midtown. Everyone was too tired to really put any effort into staying out, so I hit up Duane Reade for some shampoo because the stuff at the hotel stinks and then headed in for the night.

Everything is so overwhelming this week. I’m waiting for Friday and looking forward to nothing on Saturday. Sunday I’m flying back out here.

Matthew’s Birthday at Pop Burger

Pop Burger
Pop Burger – The Burger Joint, Meatpacking District, Manhattan

Pop Burger
Pop Burger – The Lounge, Meatpacking District, Manhattan

Pop Burger is a strange spot. It has a split personality. In the front it’s a fast food burger joint and in the back it’s a trendy lounge playing loud music and serving pricey martinis. Tonight I went in celebration of Matthew’s birthday. It’s strange going out with people these days knowing that it could be the last time you see them for a very long time. I don’t see Matthew & Alessandro & Eddie & their crew nearly as much as I should so I was glad to have the chance to see them at least one more time before I leave.

Also, Happy Birthday to my dad yesterday!