Travel Diary 5: Easy North

November 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have gotten to be quite unimaginative. Easy North? (I was trying to play with term Northeast, but what an epic fail.)

So this post has been long-delayed. I visited the Northeast two weeks ago for about four days. Officially, I was touring colleges. Unofficially, I was visiting my sister in all her Manhattanite glory and ย also to celebrate her birthday!

Our first stop was Boston, Massachusetts. I’ve been to most of the major cities in the US and Boston has been on my to-see list for a very long time! Granted, we didn’t get to explore the city much itself, but I did love the accents, the lights, and the general friendliness. Those who complain of Northern non-hospitality are completely false! Everyone is so nice up there.

It felt so nice to be back on the East coast– my home ๐Ÿ™‚ I felt very New England-ish with my mocs and blazers and peacoats. People are a million times more fashionable up there.

We visited Harvard University first:

We didn’t take many pictures here as I was completely focused on the tour and also… I forgot to insert the battery into the camera. Hmm, that cold did some brain damage, I see. How did it feel to be walking around the finest institution in the world? It felt relatively normal! Everyone at Harvard is completely friendly and unpretentious. They were all spirited and the campus is absolutely beautiful!

Next, we stopped by Tufts University where my TA from camp two years ago went! The campus is so peaceful and quaint… Very quiet. It was so gorgeous though– so many hills and trees and colorful foliage. And here, on the roof of the main library, is the most wonderful view of the Boston skyline.

See? Pretty!

Later that night, we headed off to Providence, Rhode Island, a bustling little town. In the morning, we situated ourselves at Brown University:

Brown seemed very relaxed, very free-thinking and joyous. I really enjoyed touring the campus, which was very compact and nice. I also had lunch with three current students and the cafeteria food is pretty amazing!

Brown is very uniquely traditional and modern. They are known for their art program since RISD is right next door, so much of their works are very modern. On the other hand, if you take a look at their buildings– very traditional, very Ivy.

Just a quick note– I’ve always been a Subway girl at heart, but this Chicken Carbonara from Quizno’s has won be over. It’s very creamy and slightly tangy, delish!

And finally, the last leg of my grand college tour was at Yale University. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures there but the campus is absolutely breathtaking. I spent the night and am just awed by the intelligence of everyone there! Also, Yale food is probably the best college food I’ve consumed (followed closely by WashU and Berkeley!), most likely enhanced by the fact that their dining halls very closely resemble the Great Hall at Hogwarts! The buildings were all so large and wonderful. New Haven, Connecticut is gorgeous.

And finally, I was in New York City. What an amazing place to live. I am so jealous of my big sister. There is always something going on and the whole city is just so glamorous! Just walking through Soho, we saw a photographer shooting pictures of an long-legged model with huge hair and a handful of balloons. We also saw a movie filmed that’s directed by Brett Ratner and stars Ben Stiller and Casey Affleck! So cool.

For brunch, we hiked to Congee Village. Take it from a Chinese family always on the lookout for good, real Chinese food. Congee Village is authentic and oh-so-delicious. This seafood mee-fun is tossed so flavorfully with vegetables and seafood. It was my favorite!

Sorry for the blurry picture, but these clams do deserve a mention because they are so scrumptious. The sauce is salty but substantial and the clams are very fresh and chewy.

I was not the biggest fan of their version of the salted-pork-and-preserved-duck-egg congee (which is usually my favorite), but my parents did love it and they were the ones who grew up inhaling this stuff, so I’d trust their judgment over mine. The pork wasn’t fatty enough for me and there was just an overabundance of ginger! I don’t like ginger in my food!

After brunch, we walked to Soho so that my sister could show us her office. We also made a quick detour into UNIQLO so I could pick up some jeans… More on that later!

While my parents rested at the hotel, my sister showed me around her neighborhood. We walked around Central Park first as it was the most beautiful day.

Funny story– we were going to take a shortcut through Central Park on our way to the hotel to meet up with my parents, but we ended up right where we had started! Oh my sister, the New Yorker ๐Ÿ™‚

Welcome to Shake Shack! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this place before as I try to be a connoisseur of all things popular-food in cities. But the line (it snaked around the building) proves just how popular and delicious this place is. Shake Shack is a burger joint, sort of like In-N-Out or Mooya Burger if you’re from Houston. I only had enough stomach for a chocolate milkshake, but folks– this is one of, if not THE, best milkshakes I have ever consumed in my life. So thick and creamy and absolutely phenomenal.

Mmmm, this little guy is from Bomboloni, an Italian dessert place right by my sister’s apartment. I am so in love. This is so dangerous for a dessert-lover like me. Bomboloni are Italian donuts. The pastry part of it does taste very much like a donut, but the inside is filled with delicious cream (in my case– vanilla bean). It’s very much like a cream puff in a way. They are not too sweet, but very creamy and insanely good.

The two of us browsed at a couple markets– both flea and farm! We didn’t get any at either one though except for a nice bottle of freshly-pressed apple cider. It definitely put me in the fall mood!

Before dinner, my parents and I made a quick trip to Times’ Square. I’ve been there plenty of times before, but it was especially crowded that day. No idea why– nothing special was going on! But after much pushing and shoving, we finally did get to see all the shining lights.

This American Eagle billboard seemed very Buried Life-esque, so I had to take a picture! One day you will…

And finally, where did we go for dinner? My sister, the birthday girl, got to choose of course (not that the rest of us would have any idea were to pick if we could…)– Ippudo was the winner!

These pork buns were way too amazing and gone way too quick. Fluffy, white buns were filled with cubes of fatty pork and veggies. Oh God, it could induce a seizure, it was so mind-blowingly good. Slightly sweet and slightly spicy, it provided just the right amount of kick.

What could be in this darling bowl?

This isn’t the best picture because the lighting was so dim, but it was Tori Ramen. Oh my Lord, one of the best bowls of ramen I have ever had. Tori Ramen is chicken-based (my sister and mom’s were pork based and my dad’s was soy-sauce based) and so heartening. The noodles were chewy and wonderful. This is something that I would crave if I was sick or you know, anytime at all. I tried some of my family’s respective bowls, but I thought mine was the best ๐Ÿ™‚

I am now officially hooked on Ippudo. It’s all good. And that was my food coma. (Oh, there’s more, but I shall show you tomorrow!)

Well-fed and happy ๐Ÿ™‚

After dinner, we tried to work off a bit of that food by walking back home, but it didn’t do much. We did however chance upon a pretty fountain and I made a wish! Anyways, I slept over at my sister’s place and we watched Wizards of Waverly Place to our hearts’ content. Sisterly bonding!

And that was my lovely Northeast trip! Have you realized how every Travel Diary I post always ends up being 95% food-related? Le sigh.

C

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