Ruddy Was Here

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The new and charming Mimi Chengs in New York City’s east village is taking over the neighborhood one dumpling at a time. What does it have going for it? Simplicity.

There are only 3 types of dumplings to choose from which makes selection that much easier. The Reinvented Classic, The Mimi Cheng, and The Mighty Veggie. All three look  delicious, but for my first visit I went with the classic which is made with bok choy, cabbage, and pork.

The taste was incredible and the palette was extremely vivid. No boring dumpling here. It’s incredible how much more flavor you can get out of a freshly made dumpling. I actually saw them make mine right on the spot!

The Chengs are clearly experts in making the delectable treats and the family vibe is a major component of the shop. The staff is friendly and the shop itself is decorated and presented in a boutique way that is very appealing. You definitely want to sit there and eat your dumplings.

I’m already looking forward to my return. Next time I will try the steamed dumplings and report back.

Here’s a tip for first timers: Get your dumplings pan fried as opposed to steamed. Just trust me on this one.

Follow Mimi Chengs on twitter and visit the shop at 179 Second Avenue (between 11th and 12th Streets) New York, NY 10003.

Photography by Ruddy Harootian

The Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico city was an unexpected surprise for me. I really had not done any research or seen any images before I showed up.

The outside facade is mostly in the Art Nouveau style, while the interior  (which houses incredible murals by Diego Rivera and David Siqueiros) is primarily art deco. I was just as impressed with the mini sculptures of Chaac on the light panels. The attention to detail was incredible.

Photography is really not allowed (unless you pay for a press pass), but I snuck one in anyway.

Photo by Ruddy Harootian

Macchiatto, let’s make love. 

@ Birch Coffee in NYC’s West Village. 

Photo by Ruddy Harootian

Macchiatto, let’s make love.

@ Birch Coffee in NYC’s West Village.

Photo by Ruddy Harootian

Neveria Roxy in Mexico City was a sort of revelation. When you think of artisanal ice cream I think your mind directly goes to Italy, but this was proof that the Mexican’s definitely know a thing or two about dairy. In fact, there were many dessert stores heavily featuring ice cream or gelato.
These two magical scoops (Amaretto and Turron) were the highlight of my dessert escapades in DF. I was impressed by the selection of flavors and by the fun appeal of the store. This boutique ice cream shop in the neighborhood of Condesa is a must during your stay in the city.
Photography by Ruddy Harootian

Neveria Roxy in Mexico City was a sort of revelation. When you think of artisanal ice cream I think your mind directly goes to Italy, but this was proof that the Mexican’s definitely know a thing or two about dairy. In fact, there were many dessert stores heavily featuring ice cream or gelato.

These two magical scoops (Amaretto and Turron) were the highlight of my dessert escapades in DF. I was impressed by the selection of flavors and by the fun appeal of the store. This boutique ice cream shop in the neighborhood of Condesa is a must during your stay in the city.

Photography by Ruddy Harootian

To say that the street food scene in Mexico City was the highlight of my trip would be an understatement. The entire time I was planning my vacation people kept warning me about the food. Montezuma’s revenge was sure to get me!  What I found was that if you follow the locals lead and mix that with a bit of courage and common sense you will experience some of the best street food in the world. Period. The Mexican food you know is a sham. Burrito? I didn’t see one during my entire trip. 

I never got sick and I never tasted something that made me want to stop eating. I would show up in different neighborhoods for the sightseeing and while there I would stop and look around at the food scene. If I saw a place that looked cleaned and had many customers I would stop and eat there. When you see a little stand with a line forming for the food it means those are returning customers who I’m sure didn’t get sick any of the times they’ve been there. 

There are so many different types of stands. Tacos are the star, but people also sell quesadillas, tostadas, tortas, and all other types of things. One of my favorite finds was Tacos Arandas near the Zocalo. It was one of the best tacos al pastor I had up until that point, but they also had other great things on the menu. 

As long as you are adventurous the city will open up to you and offer it’s gifts. I also had some of the best churros I’ve ever had in Coyoacan. There is amarket by the Frida museum that had pretty much everything. There’s no picture of my dessert because by the time I realized I had eaten the whole thing like a hungry beast. 

Of course, be careful and use your common sense. Only because I was lucky and didn’t get sick doesn’t mean that it won’t happen to you. The advice is to be more open to different things. Simple. Just promise me you won’t go to a McDonalds and we can start off on the right foot.

I won’t name all the places I found because if I give you all the answers it wont be as fun. I don’t want to give anyone a “list”. I want you to enjoy Mexico City on your own terms. Find the things that appeal to you and experience them. All I know is that everything I’ve ever heard about that city was wrong and the only way to see it for real is by going there. It’s one of the biggest cities in the world, so there is definitely a lot to see. And a lot to eat!

Tacos Arandas - Corner of Avenida 9 de Mayo and Isabel la Catolica. 

Photography by Ruddy Harootian

The Soumaya museum in Mexico City holds an impressive collection of over 66,00 works. Some of the most famous artists can be found. During my visit I saw pieces by Diego Rivera, Dali, Rodin, and Van Gogh. The most interesting part of my experience was without a doubt the museum itself, it’s architecture captivated me completely. 

The museum’s name is an homage to Carlos Slim’s late wife whose name was Soumaya. As you may or may not know, Mr. Slim is one of the richest people in the world and this entire project cost about $800 Million to build and organize.

Fernando Romero is the architect and did a great job of evoking a sense of movement. The museum looks like a different shape when you look at it from different angles! 

Did I mention that entry into the museum is free? Score!

Photography by Ruddy Harootian

Anonymous asked: awesome site.. oh, and you're amazingly beautiful!

Thank you for the kind words. 

Street art (or more like road art, since there weren’t really any streets in the part of town I was in) comes out to greet me in Tulum.
This UniWolfCheetah is by Diana Garcia. Follow her on instagram and twitter!
Photo by Ruddy Harootian

Street art (or more like road art, since there weren’t really any streets in the part of town I was in) comes out to greet me in Tulum.

This UniWolfCheetah is by Diana Garcia. Follow her on instagram and twitter!

Photo by Ruddy Harootian

At the CoCo Tulum hotel I have experienced a sort of peace I have never come across at any other beach hotel. The property was full of guests. but I had my own private Cabana on a part of the beach that is very secluded. This place was magical.
It was a bit of a process to get there, having to take two buses and a taxi after a four hour flight to cancun wasn’t what I would call easy breezy. From Cancun I had to take the ADO bus to Playa del Carmen and then another from there to Tulum. When I got to the bus stop I still needed to take another taxi to finally get me to the eco-boutique hotel. 
The payoff was more than what I expected though, and I pretty much had a beautiful private beach all to myself. The hotel houses a friendly staff and a super cute restaurant with a variety of delectable options. The pizzas and sandwiches are very good, but the fresh pasta they make here takes the prize. The space also has a very nice ambiance where you feel you can chill out and have a drink. To get back into town you’d  have to take a taxi back or rent a bike from the hotel and explore.
Since I got there I made minimal contact with the other guests. I thought I’d make friends easily, but there is such a peaceful vibe here that I didn’t want to hinder that. I didn’t want to open the door to distractions. Every morning I woke up to see the sun rise. I would then pick up my book, which I borrowed from the small library the hotel provides, and I read while I laid on the beach. When I got hot I would get into the crystal blue water and let the waves sooth me, their rhythmic timing and sounds hit me like a lullaby. Lastly, I’d take an afternoon nap to then wake up a few hours later and do it all over again.
After coming from New York City, I needed a serious shut down from work and drama. Now that I’ve found it I find my self planning my return. This sort of retreat should be done every year. I did meet a guest of the hotel who said he stayed at Coco last year for three days and now returned for two weeks! 
Coco Tulum was the perfect place to cleanse and reactivate my chi, before heading to Mexico City for 6 days and jumping into what I hear is a beast of a city with so many things to see that 6 days may actually not be enough at all. 
Photography by Ruddy Harootian

I arrived in Tulum on Sunday after anticipating this trip for over 2 months. I had planned a getaway to celebrate my 31st birthday. The entire experience was more than I hoped for, but in such different ways than I originally imagined. It almost felt like a spa retreat.

I barely spoke to anyone and spent a lot of time thinking and relaxing on the beach. After the polar vortex that I endured in NYC this was much needed and I feel revitalized. Tulum really is a magical place and my birthday wish, wich was to forget about everything and enjoy myself, came true. Waking up to that sunrise everyday was a gift that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Photos by Ruddy Harootian

Happy Gay Pride New York City! I’m having way too much fun to walk around taking pictures all day, but this young girls exuberance and energy pretty much sum up the parade and festivities this year. It’s a party! The city has great weather and everyone is having a good time. It’s always so much fun to meet new people and share this special moment with others in the LGBT community.

I came out of the closet when I was 17. It hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world to live my life as a gay man, but there is something to be said for being able to live in a time when I at least have the option to do so. This Gay Pride I’m proud to have made my own path and celebrate the LGBT community who has worked hard for me to be able to live the way I do. 

Photography by Ruddy Harootian

Happy Gay Pride New York City! I’m having way too much fun to walk around taking pictures all day, but this young girls exuberance and energy pretty much sum up the parade and festivities this year. It’s a party! The city has great weather and everyone is having a good time. It’s always so much fun to meet new people and share this special moment with others in the LGBT community.

I came out of the closet when I was 17. It hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world to live my life as a gay man, but there is something to be said for being able to live in a time when I at least have the option to do so. This Gay Pride I’m proud to have made my own path and celebrate the LGBT community who has worked hard for me to be able to live the way I do.

Photography by Ruddy Harootian

The New York City Subway is a place where unexpected things continually happen. it’s a great place to people watch, see art, and also find incredible street performers.

These guys made my night by playing the classic Super Mario Brothers theme. There was a huge crowd and we all participated by clapping and dancing. The performers had  a very fun energy and the song is loved by pretty much anyone that ever picked up a nintendo, so we were all transported to when we were kids and couldn’t wait to get home from school to play with Mario. AMAZING!

Last Sunday I was once again blessed with the task of leading the Mosaic Society of Philadelphia on my NYC Subway Art Crawl. This was our second meeting, and so we explored all new pieces with a focus in Harlem.

I love this group because they are definitely what you would consider mosaic experts and they bring so much of their own information to the table. I end up learning a lot from them and I try to incorporate some of their knowledge into my future tours.

Some of the highlights were definitely works by Vincent Smith, Nancy Spero, Robert Blackburn, and the final piece in the tour by Elizabeth Murray. Murray’s piece Blooming blew everyone away.

Photography by Ruddy Harootian

I went to Williamsburg and this is what I found. But I already knew that Burgers make you sexy. duh.

Photography by Ruddy Harootian