Last weekend, Heather, of Joy De Vivre, and her husband, Gabe, came to town to spend their Independence Day holiday in NYC. They hadn't been back since 2009 so it was great to see them again! A. and I (but mostly A.) guided them around Union Square, the Village, the Lower East Side and Chinatown for what turned out to be some yummy sort of snack tour.
We met up in 14th Street's Union Square to then make our way over to Artichoke for lunch. (1) It's a tiny pizza joint with no seating and old-school music so people order and then eat their slices out by the sidewalk. There are only a handful of toppings to choose from, but the ONLY one A. and I get is the artichoke with spinach. (2) It sounds odd, but trust me it's so good, cheesy and creamy with a perfectly crispy crust. One slice is plenty big for two to share. (Later on during our walk through Greenwich Village, we saw that there's an Artichoke on MacDougal Street too!) (3)
After stuffing our faces, we walked towards the Village, pointing things out while catching up on work, life and etc. We knew the gloomy weather would mean an empty park devoid of weirdos and street performers, but we passed by Washington Square Park anyway. (4)
You know I couldn't swing by the Village without a stop into Popbar for gelato-on-a-stick. Even though it'd been raining on and off all afternoon, it was still warm outside. I dared to try something other than my usual mango sorbetto, but alas, the blood orange flavor just didn't do it for me. I think Heather and Gabe enjoyed their chocolatey, nutty treats though! (5)
A quick decision to take the train down to Chinatown landed us on Grand Street and soon enough the boys were happily munching away on spicy pork jerky from Malaysia Beef Jerky. (6) I decided to hold out for the real reason why I'd venture so far downtown: Vanessa's Dumpling House. (7) There's limited seating and the place is always incredibly packed and with good reason: the chive and pork dumplings are amazing and the four-for-a-dollar price makes them even better. Lately I've been craving pork dumplings non-stop and only wish this place were closer to home. (Thankfully I have Ginza in Midtown East to fill that hole.)
We walked off our second meal with a stroll through the Lower East Side along Bowery Street. At one point, the four of us were drawn into this insane shop filled with the most lavish chandeliers and imagined what it'd be like to live in a house that would warrant such a purchase. (8) I love how all of them had a "sale" tag too...
I thought we'd run out of things to do until A. had a genius idea. "Hey, isn't Papabubble around here?" Yes! Artisan hard candy handmade on the premises! (9) A few blocks later we were tasting delicious samples of fruity and sour creations and watching two employees work away on a block of caramel. (10) The only bad thing about the shop is that it's so hard to choose which to buy! (11) I bought the colorful pack of Fruit Mix flavors that I always get, but after trying Gabe's sour Acid Drops, I'll have to go with that one next time around.
With our collective sweet tooth satisfied we took the train back uptown and parted ways. (12) A. and I had a great time showing Heather and Gabe around for the afternoon and I'd like to think they had a fun time tasting a different side of Manhattan too.