Well, I lost what I had started on the final full day of freedom in the big city, but I will not allow this to stop me! Starting over!
Day two was looking pretty ambitious as far as what all I wanted to get done. I had three Japanese bookstores to hit in addition to Nintendo World (to try Mario Galaxy out), Saks, Rockefeller Center and, oh yeah, there were about a dozen chocolate destinations I wanted to hit as well. I had this great plan all laid out with my subway directions and where and when to break for lunch and hauling stuff back to the hotel and I actually followed through on a lot of it.
The first stops of the morning were at Kinokuniya and Book-Off for some manga. The opportunity to get my hands on some of the manga I was missing was too much to resist so I had to go. But once I was done with them it was off to find chocolate! After going to Nintendo World (they actually had wii in stock - I so should have bought one or three and mailed them back to myself). I figured I'm a big kid at heart and a minor Nintendo fanboy so I more or less had to go. They had just had their big Mario Galaxy premiere party the previous night (which I had considered attending) and I figured that they would have it out for play and they did. Messed around with it a little and decided that it was time to move on.
My next stop was one of the places I had really been looking forward to visiting - La Maison du Chocolat. They have quite the reputation going for them so I really wanted to stop in while I was in town. After a bit of really confused searching (I came close to walking into Godiva and asking for directions to their competition - that would have been awkward) I finally found the place and sat down for (what else) some hot chocolate. They have a more bitter European style and a sweeter American style and I immediately opted for the European and turned down the cream on the side. I wanted it straight up and was really glad I got it that way. It was good strong stuff. After a few minutes of watching them shuffle around the new shipment (they get weekly shipments from the home office) I decided that the remaining half of my hot chocolate would really go nicely with a macaron. So I got a raspberry macaron and enjoyed it with the rest of my hot chocolate. The good, "bitter" (I didn't consider it bitter so much as just not overly sweetened) hot chocolate was really good with the nice sweet macaron. Having blown a good bit of money on chocolate the prior day and on manga that same morning I decided to limit myself to no more than $10 per chocolatier and my hot chocolate and macaron put me up to the limit for La Maison. I had decided, though, that at some point in the future I would have to go back to work over their selection of chocolates. This time around I was more there just to be there and try a little something. And having done so I moved on.
Next on the list was a side trip to another Kinokuniya just to see if they had anything different that I wanted but once done there I quickly moved on to Saks. And while Saks may sound like a normal touristy shopping destination I was there for more than just the enormous Jhane Barnes section (not that it wasn't worth the trip - I love Jhane's clothes). I was there for Charbonnel et Walker who lurk on the top floor of the store. They have a nice bright café with this cool single strip chandelier thing going around the counter area and a conveyor belt of chocolate dessert fun to boot. Of course they also have the all-important chocolates. I got a Pink Champagne Truffle and a Buck Fizz Truffle and pushed on. Both were excellent. I’ll definitely go back next time I’m in town.
The next stop had me sort of backtracking across the street to visit Teuscher. Their store was quite friendly and fun with lots of neat stuff to check out on the way to the counter where the real fun happens (at least to me). I’m pretty sure that they had a good bit of holiday action going on, but I sure can’t tell you if it was Thanksgiving, Christmas, or both. I was really mainly worried about picking just a few pieces of chocolate from the case. This actually turned out to be pretty easy. I just went with what sounded good to me. A Champagne Truffle, a Zebra Gianduja, and some raspberry log thing (I think it was). All were tasty.
Next on the list was Richart, another place I had been looking forward to visiting. They have a really nice relatively simple store with a few pieces from a couple of artists adorning the walls opposite the counter. They state on the website that the stores are minimally designed so the focus is naturally on the chocolate. I really don’t remember at all what I got there, but I know that I picked up three different pieces and I’m betting money one of them had raspberry happening in it somewhere. I remember liking them, but can’t for the life of me say what they were. Sorry, it’s been too long and I’ve had too much going on.
I can tell you exactly what I got from my next stop, though. The final pre-late-lunch stop was Pierre Marcolini, where I ended up talking OSU vs Michigan while trying to decide what I wanted in the way of chocolate. I ended up with a Coeuer Framboise (bitter chocolate raspberry ganache in white chocolate all in the shape of a heart), a Citron (Earl Grey with lemon and lime zest coated in dark chocolate), and a Thym Orange (with thyme and orange peel). All were very good, especially the Citron.
At this point I wanted some lunch and I figured it was enough past the lunch rush that I could get a seat at Serendipity3, home of the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and some insano expensive desserts with gold spoons and the like (I try to ignore that sort of thing – I’m more about the food than the money). I’d heard good things about the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and so I figured it was worth a stop. I got seated immediately (they had a little table fit for one so I got right in) and started looking over the menu. Figuring that I’d been eating mostly chocolate all day I figured it was time to order a sandwich so I settled in on a spicy black bean and salsa burger and figured I’d chase it with the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. And then I saw another table get served their FHC (tired of typing it again and again). The thing was huge. It was a dessert fit for four and I really wasn’t ready to face it down so I just ran with my sammich (which was pretty good and satisfying). Sadly (or not?), I was going to go back for the FHC on Thursday after class, but stopping in my room first I saw on the news that they had been shut down due to flies, mice, and roaches. I’d seen nothing when I was there, but my eye was sort of caught by the lovely décor (decked out for the holidays) and the crazy big desserts they were serving up. I hope they can get their stuff together. I like the style of the place with all it’s Tiffany Lamps. The worst things I could really say (given the limited tasting of their menu that I had) was that the place was super crowded and cramped and seemed pricey to me, but most of New York seemed pricey to me so what do I know. Anyway, I had my lunch and left.
After that I walked right past Dylan’s Candy Bar and Bloomingdale's and started to head downtown to unload my stuff back at the hotel. Bloomie's and Dylan’s could wait. I had three more nights in the city and would, in theory, make it in. If you’ve been reading this whole travesty then you’ll have spotted the pattern. I did not make it back. I didn’t make it in due to a combination of Serendipity3’s infestations and my love of Michel Cluizel who I’ll talk about more in the wrap-up sometime in the next couple of days.