It’s My Birthday And I’ll Do What I Want To

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I knew exactly where I wanted to celebrate my 27th birthday.

NYC.

I purchased our plane tickets 4 months ago and had been counting down ever since. Now that it’s over, I feel empty inside and have nothing to look forward to until our snowboarding trip to Utah next March. Le sigh. #firstworldproblems

To save money, I took a chance and booked a room for Henry and I at the Verve Hotel. The hotel received great reviews on both Yelp and Trip Advisor so it made my decision a little easier to make. The Verve Hotel is located across the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City and is within a 5 minute walk of 3 subway stations: Queens Plaza (E, M, R), Queensboro Plaza (7, N, Q) and 39th Ave (N, Q). By staying in a hotel one subway stop from Manhattan, I saved us about $600. Awesome, right? I saved us even more money since we took the AirTrain/Subway instead of a taxi from JFK. The AirTrain cost $5 and took us to the E line (Sutphin Blvd/Archer Ave). From there, we used our unlimited 7-day Metro pass and took the E line to Queens Plaza. A taxi ride would have easily cost $50+.

As with all the trips I plan, this one revolved heavily around food. I shouldn’t even say that anymore since it’s basically a given.

Our first meal in NYC was chicken and rice at halal cart (53rd and 6th). It has NEVER, EVER disappointed me. I love it so much. We even picked up two plates on our last night to bring home!

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mmMmmm… white sauce

We also had a delicious brunch at Shopsin’s, a little shop located in the Essex Street Market.

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Tip: The menu is HUGE so look it over online and have a general idea of what you want before you arrive at Shopsin’s. Oh, and taking pictures is frowned upon (yes, the cook actually shook his head at me), but I did it anyway.

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Oyster scramble (CS10) and Blisters on my Sister (Mexican)

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Mac and Cheese Pancakes w/ Bacon .. UHHHMAZING

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do was ride a bike around Central Park. I guess the 4th time’s the charm since the weather finally cooperated with me!

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We rented bikes from Bike and Roll (Columbus Circle location). A full day rental costs $44 and a “day pass” costs $49. With a day pass, you are allowed to return the bike at another Bike and Roll location. This was a great option for us since I wanted to bike down to Battery Park City.

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A quick pit stop at Luke’s Lobster for lunch…

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… before riding along the Hudson River and finding this …

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I really thought the obstacle course was drawn by Bike and Roll! It was actually for a kid’s event the previous week. LOL! 😀

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After a 14 mile bike ride, we treated ourselves to gelato from L’arte del Gelato. SOOO GOOD!

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Mokaccino, Mascarpone, Pistacchio

Since we’ve already visited the Met and AMNH, we decided to check out the USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

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Our day passes from Bike and Roll were also good for $5 off the All-Access Pass ($35) at the Intrepid, which included general admission, audio tour and 1 simulator ride (general admission itself is $24). Head sets were not provided with the audio tour. Instead, you held up the device to your ear and listened as you would with a cell phone. Some would probably find this tiring and annoying, but I didn’t really care too much. I only felt inconvenienced when I wanted to listen and take pictures at the same time.

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Did I mention that I love planes?

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TBM-3E Avenger and FJ-3 Fury

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Flight Deck

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F-9J Cougar and F-11F Tiger

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F-14 Tomcat and A-12 (precursor to SR-71 Blackbird)

A birthday trip wouldn’t be complete without a birthday dinner, right? Well, make that two.

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Marea and Eleven Madison Park

Thanks, Henry! ♥

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NYC Eats & Activities (+our verdict):
Verve Hotel, 4/5
Halal Cart, 53rd & 6th, 5/5
Shopsin’s, 4/5
NYC Bike & Roll, 4/5
Luke’s Lobster, 4/5
USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, 4/5
L’arte del Gelato, 4/5
Doughnut Plant, 4/5
Laduree, 4.5/5
Shake Shack, 4.5/5

I eat: Burma SuperStar [1],[2]

The first time I dined at Burma SuperStar, I waited 2 hours for a table. The meal ended up being worth the wait, but I was determined to not let that happen again. Unfortunately, I wasn’t more prepared my second time and it was another 2 hours spent waiting around. Sorry guys! 😦

Tip: Burma SuperStar allows you to call in and place your name on the list – when a table is ready for you, they’ll give you a call to let you know. Make sure you’re around the area.

I decided to combine the pictures I took from my two trips to showcase a variety of dishes.

My FAVORITE items were:

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Braised Pork Belly

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Tea Leaf Salad

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Garlic Chili Shrimp

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Garlic Noodles with Duck

The pork belly was melt in your mouth UHMAZING and I loved the different textures in the salad. Being such a big garlic lover, the garlic shrimp and noodles were perfect choices.

The other dishes I’ve tried were delicious as well!

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Moh Hinga (catfish chowder)

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Nan Gyi Dok

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Spicy Chicken with Mint

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Burmese Style Curry with Beef

You must order rice with your meal! It’s totally necessary.

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Half Tan Poi and Coconut Rice

And if you still have room (which I highly doubt), I recommend this for dessert:

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Banana Spring Roll with Coconut Ice Cream

I have a love/hate relationship with Burma SuperStar. I really love the food, but the wait is ridiculous. I’ll make sure to follow my own tip next time.

Verdict (1 & 2): 4/5
Burma SuperStar
309 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118