New York, New York: The Guggenheim Food Day

Japanese lunch

Trip Taken: 2010

With three museums under my belt, I was reluctant to go to the Guggenheim Museum. There wasn’t anything I really wanted to see there and it was all the way up on the northeast side of Central Park. But, I didn’t have any other real plans for that day so I decided to just go and see how I felt when I got there.

Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum

 

Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic building in New York City is one of the most striking pieces of architecture I have ever seen. It fits weirdly with the luxury brownstones and the classical style of The Met across the street. I got to the Guggenheim and decided not to pay the entrance fee to go in. I had enough of museums, but I did walk into the gorgeous atrium. The concentric makes it seem like the ramp will go on forever. The white palette makes the entire place serene. I took a small stroll through the gift shop, decided against buying a necklace, and basically sat outside admiring the view until I got hungry.

Wajima: Japanese Bento Lunch

Wajima interior

 

I was looking for a lunch special since food in New York is so expensive and there was one not too far from the Guggenheim. Wajima is a little Japanese place on the Upper East Side that was found through Yelp. Yes, it was one of the rare occasions were I didn’t turn to my Lonely Planet guide. I sat at the bar and ordered the lunch special, which came with: rice, soup, tempura, sashimi, and soba. It was all very delicious for about ten dollars. Service was quick and prompt. My only quibble about this place is the clientele. They skew on the older side and one person even came up to me to complain about my Germany t-shirt, saying Americans don’t like Germans. I was like “what?..”. This is a little ironic seeing how we were eating in a Japanese restaurant. The Germans weren’t our only enemies during WWII grandpa!

Eileen’s: Cheesecake for Dessert

Tea and cake

 

After my mostly satisfying lunch, I did a little shopping in Soho (Hurray for Yellow Rat Bastard, Topshop, Uniqlo). I bought some gifts for friends back in the West Coast and went to look for some afternoon treats. My objective was to find a good New York cheesecake and headed toward Times Square for Junior’s. I walked around for maybe an hour trying to look for this place and had no luck. I want to try Junior’s and will definitely try to find it next time.

But my second choice, Eileen’s, was much easier to find. It was close to Soho, so I had to backtrack. Eileen’s is a cute little shop with what looks like just cheesecakes. I bought myself a cup of tea and a small strawberry cheesecake. The cheesecake was good, but softer than I would have liked. Maybe that is how cheesecake is suppose to be. The consistency was goopier than I like my cheesecake.

Opa: Greek for Dinner

Kebab plate

 

After a bit more wandering, it was close to dinner time. It is a bit of tragedy that I’ve stayed in the Astoria neighborhood of the borough of Queens and I have not had a bite of Greek food yet during my stay in New York. So I decided that it would be my last real meal in New York. My host through, AirBnB, graciously recommended a local restaurant called Opa. Walking through the restaurant, the atmosphere is a little dingy until you get to the back patio area which is like a garden party explosion. Greek flags, grape vines, and Christmas lights are strewn everywhere. Service was fast and the food was food. I ordered the combo plate and it came with a complimentary eggplant appetizer. What was great about this meal is that it introduced me to Souvlaki. Love Souvlaki. After this wonderful New York day, I wish I could have more good food days like this.

Parting Words

New York is a great food city like most big cities are. Great variety and competition spawns some of the best food in the world. If I had a bigger budget, I probably would’ve booked a table at Thomas Keller’s Per Se or Daniel Boulod’s Boulod. Maybe some day I will get to treat myself.

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About the Author

John is always trying to find his way back to the road. He has an affinity for Germany due to his three years studying German at Cal, and a year working as an intern in the Stuttgart area. He also likes chocolate cake and good cheese.