Adventure Time with Kat and Kam: The Ten-Mile Walk Around Manhattan

Filed under adventure time, creepy boyfriend obsession, it's fun to be fat, living in new york is neat

Months ago, my best friend, Tracey and her husband, Dan, introduced me to “Adventure Time”, the most imaginative little 15-minute program on the Cartoon Network. Kam and I started watching it together, and while we were out walking and uncovering unknown parts of the city a couple of weeks ago, we talked about how “Adventure Time with Jake and Fin” should really be “Adventure Time with Kat and Kam”. And at the same moment, we said, “We should probably start a blog for that.” Well, I can’t even keep up with the blogs I have now, so I’ll just try to make it a feature here.

So I present the very first:

The night before our walk, I submitted a plan to trek down 2nd Avenue to Meatball Shop, since Kam had never been there. He objected, citing the fact that we’re trying to live healthier, non-sandwich-oriented lives and blahblahblah. So instead I found us the health food restaurant Natureworks, where he would get something dumb like a Super Salad, and I would attempt to pass a meat lover’s pizza (with low-sodium cheese, Dishy!) off as something one might eat when one is not trying to slowly kill one’s self. And then we would go to my favourite pay-by-the-pound frozen yogurt joint, where I promised I would only get fruit toppings instead of my usual cookie-dough-gummy-bears-Cap’n-Crunch combo. (But I was lying.)

Fortunately for me, Natureworks is closed on Sundays. So instead, we decided to play it casual and look for something delicious on our way to the fro-yo. Thanks to Tasting Menu, Kam’s favourite food blog (other than donuts4dinner, of course), we knew to stop into Kalustyan’s for a falafel sandwich when we came across it, only we were never actually able to locate the falafel counter.

What we did find were rows upon rows of shelves upon shelves stocked with every single spice you have and haven’t heard of. We’re talking twenty kind of cinnamon, beet powder, granulated garlic, five kinds of mustard seed, tomato flour. We saw pickled wild cucumbers, every flavor of honey, canned ghee, every color of salt, nut mixes like you wouldn’t believe, fifty kinds of sugar. Kam was in I-haven’t-seen-this-since-the-last-time-I-was-in-Iran heaven, and I just enjoyed listening to Indian music while I perused.

NYC 10 Mile Walk

Next, we made our way down to Gramercy Park to admire the fine architecture (which still isn’t as pretty as Kamran’s building) and watch a squirrel dig a nut out of the ground (we don’t see a lot of wildlife around these parts, if that isn’t obvious):

NYC 10 Mile Walk

Kam informed me that Gramercy Park is actually private and requires a key for entry. Indeed, we saw tourists leering at locals through the iron bars and watched as one man flounced his coveted key about before unlocking the gate and settling down among the manicured greenery to read his Sunday paper.

We continued downtown and resolutely concluded that it was finally the day that we were to try Artichoke Basille’s famed pizza. Since its launch in 2008, Artichoke has been lauded as one of the best–if not the best–pizza in NYC. You have your Lombardi’s holdouts and your Grimaldi’s hangers-on, but I can tell you definitively and unquestionably that Artichoke is ten times better than either of those.

Let me state for the record that I like a thick crust. I would say that I like Sicilian-style pizza, but that’s not even true, because in New York, they always overbake the crust. The point of thick crust is that it’s bready. So what I’ll actually say I like is an underbaked crust. I don’t even mind if it’s straight up dough in the very middle.

Artichoke is not a thick crust. It’s a thin crust, and it’s a crusty crust, and I should not, therefore, like it. But it was delicious. It was perfect. It could convert me. It was done but not overdone. It wasn’t burnt! DO YOU HEAR THAT, OTHER NYC PIZZERIAS?! IT IS POSSIBLE TO BAKE A PIZZA AND NOT BURN IT.

NYC 10 Mile Walk

We got a crab slice and an artichoke slice, and although you’ll have to wait for the full review on donuts4dinner, I will tell you that the artichoke slice was like eating a piece of crusty bread coated in the Alfredo sauce they serve in the little cup with the pizzas at Olive Garden. I know that won’t seem like a big deal to you snobs who refuse to like chain restaurants, but those of you who have tried the Alfredo will understand, I know.

We also saw what we think might be the tiniest apartment building in NYC. Do you see how thin that thing is? Even if each apartment takes up the entire length of the building, that’s still only . . . 200 square feet? Less?

Next, we went to Porchetta, a tiny storefront where the pig is given top billing, both with the giant stencil on the wall and with the display case full of the most succulent scored pork:

NYC 10 Mile Walk

We took our sandwich to Tompkins Square Park and sat at one of the chessboards to chow down and throw back some ginger soda.

NYC 10 Mile Walk

The sandwich was–to put it lightly–very, very good. The pork juices soaked into the crusty bread and dribbled out onto our fingers, and the moments where we bit into those suuuuuuuuper-crispy bits of skin were truly blissful.

So blissful, in fact, that I guess I sort of audibly expressed my joy. Without realizing that a makeshift soup kitchen had been set up behind me. I had thought it was just a large family enjoying Sunday lunch in the park until Kam told me I might want to keep it down. “Soooooogooooood,” I was murmuring in a porkdrunk stupor as the homeless people behind me were eating what was probably their only meal of the day.

So what did we do to repent for our gluttony? EAT MORE! This time, we went to Pommes Frites, which literally only serves French fries with a bazillion different sauces of your choosing.

NYC 10 Mile Walk

We went with the black truffle mayo, which was delicious but probably too heavy to follow a slice of pizza and half a pork sandwich. Their wasabi mayo or peanut sauce is what you need when you’re already ten pounds heavier than normal due to pig and cheese grease. But we dutifully finished our cone of fries, dutifully scooped the strays out of the bag, and dutifully threw what we couldn’t eat onto the sidewalk for the homeless. And then Kam kicked them around a little accidentally, inciting a deep conversation about how much sidewalk flavor is too much sidewalk flavor for a homeless person.

Are we bad people?

Next, we casually walked through the Lower East Side and realized we were near our very favourite store for discount sweets, Economy Candy. But, you know, since we were eating healthy that day, we popped in for two tiny Cadbury Creme Eggs and popped right back out, no chocolate-covered s’mores in hand. And they were only 50 cents each! Why, that’s what they cost in places like Ohio! Kamran pocketed them for later and proceeded to make incessant testicle jokes.

NYC 10 Mile Walk

I was trying to push Kam to take me to a riverfront park, but the farther we got from the center of town, the shadier things started getting. There were parking lots and people playing Latin music from boomboxes in front of bodegas and . . . OH!

You guys, there was this one dude on the street who was literally just stopped dead in his tracks on the sidewalk with his feet at weird angles and his head lolling to one side. He was clearly unwashed and clearly on a bender, all stooped over with his arms hanging limply at his sides. I swore he was going to reach out and grab me as we passed, but he seemed to be asleep. Moments later, though, we turned back to stare some more, and he was hobbling along the sidewalk. SO CREEPY.

Needless to say, by the time we came upon this GANG GRAFFITI, we knew it was time to hightail it out of there.

NYC 10 Mile Walk

Just kidding! Nice mural, PS 140! Oh, yeah, have I mentioned that the public schools are named by number here? Pretty creative stuff, guys.

While we were down there, we figured, “What the hey, let’s cross the Willamsburg Bridge.” Because Kamran, believe it or not, has never set foot on a bridge in his five years here.

The Williamsburg Bridge is actually quite nice, despite what I’d heard. Everyone says it’s too loud for good walking, and it’s true that you walk alongside traffic for a quarter of it, but at that point, the traffic has continued on straight the whole time, but you’ve been steadily climbing higher and higher above it on the sloped platform in the center of the bridge. Then you run into this lovely sign that I think pretty much embodies NYC as a whole:

NYC 10 Mile Walk

It’s kind of pretty, but it’s also kind of super jacked up, and nobody cares to keep it nice, including the people who are paid to, so the sign ends up reading WI LIAMS U GH BRIDGE. But the nice thing about the bridge is that at the sign, the platform splits into two so that pedestrians get the lane to the right, and bicyclists get the lane to the left. If you’ve ever been almost run over a zillion times by bicyclists on the Brooklyn Bridge (not that I blame them, because pedestrians are always inconsiderate and hog the whole thing), you’ll understand what a good idea this was. Plus, the bridge was sooooooo much less crowded than the Brooklyn Bridge.

And had better graffiti, too.

mouseover this photo for hilarity

The one thing the Brooklyn Bridge has going for it is that it’s not entirely encased by fencing like the Williamsburg is. This isn’t really the best place to get pictures of the city from afar, youknow. But I kinda like ’em, anyway.

NYC 10 Mile Walk

We went halfway across the bridge and then started back, just in time to catch the J train whizzing between us and the cyclists, to find someone’s dropped keys but not do a damned thing about it, and to learn that Vomito loves NY.

NYC 10 Mile Walk

Just off the bridge, we found ourselves on Attorney Street, which was an excellent reminder for Kam that his New York State Bar results won’t come for another month and a half. But look how happy he is still!

NYC 10 Mile Walk

And look how trashy those girls behind him are. Is that a leather jacket you’re wearing backward over your denim jacket, ma’am?

We had been out for more than five hours, and our grocery shopping duties were calling, so we started back toward Kam’s apartment in Midtown. We walked up Avenue B past Luca Lounge, the bar he took me on our first date, lo those four and a half years ago, which has been closed for years but still sits abandoned.

At 23rd Street, we started to feel a little weak in the knees.

At 29th Street, we started talking about how much pain we were in. “But good pain!” we exclaimed, trying to fake our way into fitness.

At 34th Street, we had to sit down on a bench for five minutes.

By the time we got home, it hurt to lower ourselves onto the couch.

By the next day, we couldn’t stand without wincing. Five days later, we’re just now feeling normal again. So maybe we weren’t quite ready for a ten-mile walk. But we sure did have an adventure.

If you’re curious about our path, here’s a glorious map version with all the stops:

NYC 10 Mile Walk


  1. caropal says:

    If/when David and I ever visit New York, this is probably all I’ll want to do – walk around and eat EVERYTHING.

    • That’s what I want to do in every city! Why waste time at a Broadway show or looking up the Statue of Liberty’s skirt when you could be trying thirty kinds of sauce on fries? I think other people actually lose weight while on vacation because of all the walking around they do. It’s my aim to put an end to that.

  2. Serial says:

    Katie, someday I’ll have more than $4 in my checking account, and when that happens, I’m so coming to NYC and making you walk around and stuff face with me.

  3. Megan says:

    so many glorious things to try when i’m there in june. mmm.

    • You just made me think that maybe I should put together a Things You Should ACTUALLY Do in NYC post for people who haven’t been here before. That way maybe everyone will stop going to Serendipity.

      (Of course WE’LL go to Serendipity, though.)

  4. Jessica says:

    I love everything about this! So jealous that you never run out of things to explore on foot where you live. And that food? Amazing!

    • I really would miss that. Every time I think about moving somewhere else like Ohio or Chicago or California, all I can think about is vast expanses of nothingness and how I used to feel unsafe walking down the busiest street in Columbus just because of the empty parking lots and spaces between buildings. But, you know, I miss my car sometimes, too.

  5. Tessa says:

    It’s launch?

    OKAY I AM HORRIBLE and also walking and eating are both awesome, especially to excess.

    • Thaaaaank yooooou. As long as you know it was an accident and not a legitimate mistake I make. Where are my Boston posts of the same nature? I’m interested in Boston times one million. I’d post your post here, if you like!

  6. Lisa says:

    Restaurants dedicated solely to french fries. This is why I need to move to a bigger city.

    • There are also hot dog restaurants, oyster restaurants, meatball restaurants, lobster roll restaurants, and all-dessert restaurants. If you like something, there’s a whole restaurant dedicated to it. So basically, yeah, move here.

  7. Erika says:

    I LOVE POMME FRITES!!! i went there over the summer and my friend and i ate it on someone’s stoop and each got like 4 sauces to share. momofuku milk bar is just around the corner from there, if you ever need to wash down those fries with some cereal milk ice cream!

    • Isn’t it so annoying that they don’t have anything but those two seats outside? Kam and I have always just stood around, awkwardly eating our fries in front of the bodega next door. Clearly you guys were much less OMG-have-to-get-these-in-my-mouth-NOW than we were to be able to carry them to a stoop.

      Still haven’t been to Milk Bar! I know I have to go with as much as we loved Ko and Ssam.

  8. tasha says:

    I heart this post, too.

  9. clubbingdresswearer says:

    I can’t wait for our next Adventure Time in your country! Maybe we should try to have ‘adventure time’ in my country the next time you visit. We could make it into a good 0.03 mile walk, i’m sure :-)

    • We could walk from your parents’ house to my parents’ and see how many times we stop and turn around and go back to DQ. Then we could go to the Subway in the gas station and make some sandwiches for old times’ sake with the proper “first-in-first-out-FIFO-rotation” practices. Then we could stop at the Citgo (which is something else now?) and pick up the napkins that say, “When It Counts: CANDY,” and “When It Counts: HOT DOGS,” and stuff. And finally, we could spraypaint each other’s names all over “Lover’s Lane” before goin’ wadin’ in the “crick”.

  10. Kat says:

    There are few things I love more than walking all over the damn place and eating tons of good food – and you hit so many of my favorite places!

    Also, my work did that mural! If you’d walked around the side of that school by the playground, you’d have seen one that I actually painted.

    • Nooooooo kidding. I can be having the worst day, but the shortest walk through the most boring neighborhood will cheer me up, because it reminds me that you can’t do what I’m doing and see what I’m seeing anywhere else in the world.

      How neat that you actually had something to do with that school! Now I feel especially bad about calling it gang graffiti. :)

  11. Tracey says:

    Man, this walk sounded impressive when you told me about it, but the map makes look even more amazing.

    Also, I really hope you sang the Adventure Time theme song ALL day during your walk. It’s totally stuck in my head after reading this post.

    Don’t forget to print out that cute logo for a pocket in your Project Life!

    • Tracey, we sing the theme song ALL THE TIME. It’s so ridiculously catchy. We sing different words, different keys, different melodies, everything. It’s awful.

      The logo idea is great! I was going to do the add-in pages for the whole adventure and just pick a random one for the actual Project Life insert, but that’s genius! Thanks.

  12. Cassie says:

    I want some Economy Candy.

  13. Dishy says:


    I am in heaven just thinking about that spice shop – and the low-so cheese reference made me spray the computer w/ pound cake crumbs. Pound cake is of course an acceptable lunch on a low sodium diet – b/c without salt it’s darn healthy.

    Good thing I didn’t join you on your walk to Gramercy Park – I might have been tempted to throw something through the fence. Like some choice words, spoken in dulcet tones. I’m crazy like that.

    THAT PIZZA LOOKS SO GOOD I want to snatch it out of Kamran’s hand and gobble it up. He better get his fingers out of the way too b/c I’ve been known to bite. I’ll have to take your word on the Olive Garden reference. I am in no way a chain snob, but that’s another place I’ve yet to try. Technically I went there once, but that was 20 yrs ago, and the only item I tried was a spaghetti omelette. WHICH DOESN”T COUNT.

  14. Megan says:

    i have been to nyc before.. it’s just been so many years. and every time i’ve been, it’s been winter, and too cold to want to do/see lots of things.

    so yes, give me recommendations since this time, i’ll FINALLY be there over the summer. :)

    any rooftop restaurants that are divine (but not terribly expensive, as i’m going with a friend who’s on a strict budget)?