We decided to head down to NYC because Cute W had to go, anyway, and the girls didn’t have school. We really didn’t have a specific destination in mind. I listed off possible attractions, and the girls said things like, “Those all sound good.” Which isn’t very helpful. M’s one strong desire? “Not Times Square.” Too touristy. Then J came up with Ellis Island, which was a great idea, actually. We decided that that would be our Wednesday outing before heading back up north.
As for Tuesday, Cute W and I started out by trying to figure out where we should eat, then I planned to just sort of wander around the Village or maybe Central Park with the girls while Cute W went to his work thing. It turns out that one of M’s friends and her mom were going to be there, too, so we made plans to meet up. This wasn’t exactly ideal for J, but since J had picked our Wednesday destination, I figured she could just come along for the ride. Plus they were all enthusiastic about tasty and different food.
We arrived and checked into our hotel early, then went on a bit of a trek to our lunch spot. While I had been poring over Yelp trying to choose someplace for dinner that would be a nice sit-down destination for us four and my brother John, I found what I decided had to be our lunch destination, Taco Mahal. It’s the most irresistible combination available on Yelp: a single $, five stars, and lots of reviews to back it up. Plus, hello? The concept is Indian tacos. That’s a combination of two of our most favorite foods ever.
It turned out to be a journey. We arrived at the restaurant about ten minutes after it was supposed to have opened for lunch, but it wasn’t open yet. We were bummed out and headed to a possible second-choice destination, which also didn’t work out. Eventually we circled back, and we were glad we did. The Indian tacos were awesome! The “taco” part was naan (you could also choose roti), and then you could pick your filling (everyone wanted their favorite, Chicken Tikka Masala, but I chose Chicken Curry just for variety, and Cute W was sweet enough to go half-sies on each with me). Then they threw on some cabbage and cilantro and chutney. Those Indian tacos were really good.
We also ordered chip-and-dip sides. The chips were broken papadum and the dips were mint and tamarind chutneys. Yumma. I did not get a picture because it was all just a blur of grabby hands.
Meanwhile, Cute W had also been checking out Yelp, which meant that soon after lunch we were headed to some dessert at NY Frost Factory. I had never had shaved ice before, and frankly, the concept didn’t really call out to me. I mean, why would you want shaved ice when you could have ice cream? But the Yelp trifecta (one $ + five stars + lots of reviews) struck again, and we had to go. I’m so glad we did. I (foolishly) had the snow cone concept in my head, but this was completely off. The shaved ice was fluffy and creamy. We ordered mango because we all love mango.
Then we also ordered chocolate because, hello, chocolate is chocolate. We figured that a third order would be plenty, and we decided to go with whatever the server suggested. But then the server suggested taro flavor, and we said hell no.
. . . .No we didn’t! We said, a shaved-ice confection made from a root vegetable? We said, hell, YES! We said, yes, PLEASE! We said, and what would you recommend in terms of a drizzle? Because apparently the cool people get their shaved ice with a drizzle of something-or-other, and also it’s free. So we ended up getting what she recommended, condensed milk drizzled on the mango and taro and raspberry drizzled on the chocolate.
Whoa, it was really super-delicious. Even the taro. Possibly especially the taro. It might have been our favorite, but really it was tough to choose.
We walked the girls to meet our friends in Washington Square Park, then said goodbye to Cute W and let the girls wander some shops. They kept accidentally getting sucked into chain stores, though, so we headed for the subway to walk around Central Park. We lucked out in the subway because they were doing maintenance work on the card machines, so the dude just let us scoot in for free.
J was excited to climb around and explore the big old glacial rocks, and we grown-ups ambled around a bit and chitchatted on a bench while the girls explored. Then we headed down Fifth Avenue to Rockefeller Center, at which point Cute W, his duties discharged, met up with us again.
This time I took no pictures because I was too busy being social, but we loved Thai Villa. Seriously, everything about it. The service was awesome, the decor was gorgeous, and the food was great. Besides just hanging out with my brother, it was good to go out to eat with someone different because we tend to get in a rut (hello, chicken curry), and we ended up ordering the tremendously delicious Crispy Catfish Salad, which I never would have picked up on my own. But it was a fabulous citrus explosion and a great balance to our other dishes, which could be called “the usual”: curries and pad thai.
After dinner we walked around a bit with my brother, but the kids were pretty wiped out. Cute W had had aspirations to go out to get a late night slice of pizza, but we were all too sleepy. And full.
I’d highly recommend all of three of these places.