I make these all the time -- only at a higher temperature. The result is less consistent, but I like the combination of crunch and tenderness.
Usually, I bake them for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees, and then flip/rotate them in the pan and cook for another 3-5 minutes, depending on doneness.
I've never tried using togarashi powder (or bacon salt, for that matter) -- will give that a try next time. Usually, I use a combination of salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and garlic powder.
Monin syrups seems fairly prevalent in gourmet shops, but I'm having a difficult time finding the Teisseire brand anywhere. Does anyone have a retail suggestion on where I might find this available (esp. the "green mint" variety)?
I'd prefer somewhere in downtown or midtown... but would head uptown to find it. I know it is available online from places like Amazon, but I'd rather purchase it locally so I don't have to pay for shipping.
Times Square is tough. There are several places that might fit the bill, but they tend to be more "expense account" dining than "non tourist" fare... i.e., Le Bernardin.
9th Avenue (Midtown West/Hell's Kitchen/Clinton) is definitely walkable, as is some of Midtown East and the Lincoln Center areas -- there are a few decent places:
Chez Josephine. 42nd Street btw 9th/10th Av. Lovely, quirky French fare.
Hell's Kitchen. 9th Av at 47 St. Nouveau Spanish. Slightly more casual, but might be good for a 1st Anniversary.
As others have said, don't be afraid of looking further afield. You're likely to find a perfectly lovely place. Depending on exactly where you are staying, you're bound to be within a 5-minute walk of the 1/2/3 (red line), A/C/E (blue line), B/D/F/V (orange line) and the N/R/Q/W (yellow line). Taxis are plentiful, quick and relatively inexpensive.
What about McNulty's on Christopher Street? They're definitely of the old-school-New-York variety -- they've been around since 1895. They're incredibly helpful in selecting a blend from the the variety of beans they have. Even their (gasp) decaf varieties are pretty good.
Having said that, I've heard good things about Stumptown. Mud Coffee is also a perennial favorite in the East Village.