Oh, New York City. The only other time I visited, I was in high school, I was chaperoned by a bunch of teachers, the twin towers were still standing, and MTV was still hosting TRL in Times Square. It’s been entirely too long, and it’s about time that I finally explored the place on my own terms. In short, New York City was amazing. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for New York Comic Con, but I’ll get to that later. Otherwise, first, THE NOMS. OH MY GOD, ALL THE NOMS.
I waited in line at Dominique Ansel’s bakery for the famed (and trademarked) cronut™. The crazy part is that we were running “late” in terms of getting a spot in line (it’s usually recommended to show up around 6 am (bakery opens at 8 am), we got there around 7:15 am. But lucky for us the line was relatively short (RELATIVELY), and two hours later (TWO HOURS, even in a “short” line), we got our cronut™.
Was it good? Yes! Very good! The layers of dough had a slight crisp to it on the outside, and it crackled away to a buttery-soft interior filled with an apple-creme fraiche filling. I still felt like it wasn’t quite croissant-like or doughnut-like enough to be the best of both worlds, but otherwise it’s good enough to at least try it once. Would I get another one? Nope. Again, very good, but if you’re going to try a cronut™ (complete with trademark sign!!), I’d suggest trying to pre-order (I tried, couldn’t get through on the phones), or if you’re lucky enough, get someone to snag one for you. They’re good, but nowhere near being wait-for-two-hours good. HOWEVER, the other pastries at Dominique Ansel’s bakery are FANTASTIC, and I’d go back in a heartbeat for their kouign amann (aka a wonderful cloud of butter with a light crunch of caramelized sugar on the outside) or their canneles. They’re ridiculously good, and you can walk right up to the counter for all the other pastries. Cronuts = good, but not worth the wait, other pastries = absolutely worth trying, wide selection, and no wait required. Dominique Ansel’s bakery is definitely a win in my book, just not for the cronuts.
The other big thing I was looking forward to eating in New York City was the ramen. And sure enough, I hit up THREE ramen places while I was there. ALL THE RAMEN. ALL THE SOUPY, NOODLY GOODNESS. GAH.
Top: Totto Ramen. Bottom left: Chuko Ramen. Bottom Right: Ippudo Ramen.
When it came to the battle of ramen in New York City, Ippudo and Totto seem to be the two big front runners on the NYC ramen scene, but in the end Totto won my heart. Don’t get me wrong, all three ramen joints that I visited were AWESOME, but Totto was so stupidly good that I had to stop and re-evaluate my life after I finished my bowl. I had to wonder how I could possibly go home while knowing that this bowl of happiness was no longer easily accessible to me. Until we can get ourselves a good ramen joint here in Houston, I’ll forever be pining for those perfectly al dente noodles with fatty slices of pork belly nestled on top, all bathed in a hearty chicken broth with a slick of their beautifully seasoned house chili oil. My heart aches just writing all that. Le sigh.
But anyway, on to the convention, no?
The convention itself was…kind of disappointing. I obviously wasn’t expecting it to be anything like San Diego Comic-Con (the big kahuna of geek-cons), but this was underwhelming even compared to the smaller geek-cons I’ve been to, such as Comicpalooza right here in my own hometown of Houston, TX. The biggest thing that disappointed me about New York Comic Con is that there was nothing to do. There were a lot of big-name vendors (Marvel, Ubisoft, lots of major comic/toy/videogame studios), but it felt like unless you were panel-hopping all day, there wasn’t much else in it for us. At other cons there’s usually PLENTY of activities going on at the booths, whether it was giveaways, screening tickets, or drawings for a chance to meet and greet some of the cast members or major artists involved with their projects. It didn’t need to be anything huge, just enough to have the participants come back the next day to be intrigued with whatever product they had to offer. At New York Comic Con, there were lots of big, flashy booths, but nothing to actually make you want to visit. Even at Comicpalooza, which is still in its infancy, there weren’t any big names to the convention (aside from Sir Patrick Stewart being a headlining guest), but they had SO many fun activities that it didn’t matter. Things like improv performances of Star Wars, building an entire city out of donated playing cards called “Cardhalla” and knocking it down with a marshmallow catapult for charity, or the most random activity of all: learning how to salsa dance from the freakin’ ORIGINAL BLACK RANGER. New York Comic Con didn’t seem to offer much of anything outside of the panels. Even the small vendors at New York Comic Con were kind of disappointing…it was mostly businesses reselling items that you could easily find at any other shop selling Star Wars/Doctor Who novelties, or they were reselling exclusive items from San Diego Comic-Con. At Comicpalooza, whatever they lacked in volume in the exhibitors hall they made up for in quality. They didn’t have a whole lot of vendors, but what little they did have were some brilliant small businesses who had high-quality and unique items to show off. Things like custom mini-figs, lots of clever original t-shirts, or even a group who custom-built gorgeous furniture that was specifically meant for geek-goods (with shelves that were specifically cut to dimensions for comic books, playing cards, etc.). Many of these talented vendors were present at New York Comic Con as well (the same furniture building group was there!), but I felt like the number of resellers far outweighed the number of people providing original and unique works. So basically the exhibition hall felt like it was full of lots of big name booths with nothing to keep people interested, or vendors who were selling things that I could’ve bought at a local toy shop or thinkgeek.com. Overall, just…meh. Maybe I expected too much, and maybe I was going to the wrong places, but otherwise there’s always awesome cosplayers to make things fun!
Go on, take your chances…
An AWESOME Vash the Stampede. I haven’t watched anime in a REEEALLY long time, but this was pretty damn cool.
THIS GUY. THIS GUY RIGHT HERE. He f*cking OWNED the convention. He was stopped everywhere he went. He photobombed people and they didn’t even care. This man FREAKING ROCKED NEW YORK COMIC CON.
…see what I mean about photobombing people and not having them care? This group of X-men cosplayers LOVED IT when he popped into their photo.
Sir Ian McKellan, is that you?
My favorite group cosplay out of them all. Everything about this cracks me up. Cyril’s foil swan. Pam’s dolphin puppet. Mallory with a drink in her hand, a smug look on her face, and the hangover sunglasses. PERFECT.
I might have griped about the convention floor itself, but dammit, geek-cons are fun because of the people who show up. And lucky for me, I’m thrilled to report that five awesome people picked up my critters and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them was accounted for! VICTORY!! Here’s the adoption roundup:
- Daredevil: First one to be dropped, and found himself a new home in Attleboro, MA!
- Sister of Plenitude: 2nd one to be dropped, and she now has a new home in Queens, NY! Her new mama also posted TONS of other AWESOME post-adoption photos. I plan on making a separate post, because seriously, she sent me some SUPER fun and cool ones.
- Spider-Man: third to be dropped, and he’s got a new home in Miami, FL!
- The Thing: Number 4…ha, didn’t even realize that would be consistent with him being part of the FANTASTIC FOUR. HAAA! Anyway, he was the fourth critter to be dropped, and he seems to have no problems making new friends in his new home in Edison, NJ!
- Captain America: Last one to be dropped, and he’s also going to sunnier climates in South Beach, FL!
SUPER thanks to everyone who picked up my critters! And don’t be shy about sending me those post-adoption photos! I LOVE seeing my critters take on new adventures, and it’s the biggest reason why I still do these drops. There’s something about seeing my critters out and about that gives me the warm fuzzies every time. 🙂 Otherwise, the quick ‘n dirty review of my trip to New York City:
- The food: AWESOME. OH MAH GAH. I ate my way through the city and it was GLORIOUS.
- New York Comic Con: Only so-so, but I may have been hitting all the wrong spots.
- The critter adoptions: AWESOME. My first time EVER hitting a 100% turnout on a multi-critter drop, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. THANK YOU again to everyone who joined the hunt!
I came, I geeked, I NOMMED. New York City, you can be sure I’ll be back.