05
Jan 17

NYC Adventures: 2016 Holiday Edition

While last year I went out of town, this holiday season out-of-towners came to me, which meant I got to see some New York sights I’d never seen before, and a few I hadn’t visited in a while.

The United Nations

United Nations

[Photo by Paul VanDerWerf, CC BY 2.0]

I worked near the United Nations for 10 years but never went inside. Last week was my first time. My friend Motoko from Tokyo and her son wanted a tour, and Ellen, my buddy in Boston, was kind enough to arrange it and to, of course, join in on the fun.

You have to go through quite a bit of security before getting inside. No wonder they ask you to get there an hour before your tour time. You check in at one location, wait in line at the main location, then put your stuff through metal detectors and go through a full body scan, just like at the airport. It was so similar, some people were about to take their shoes off.

Once you get inside, it’s worth it. The lobby is beautiful. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures. That’s what I get for not having much memory on my phone.

The tour was interesting, but because I was sleep deprived, I didn’t retain much of it. What I do remember was the guide was credentialed up the wazoo. She spoke three languages (English, Japanese, and Spanish), had a master’s degree in international relations, and was fluent in English despite having come from Japan just two years ago.

She was also nice enough to translate for Motoko’s son, although that wouldn’t have happened if Motoko hadn’t noticed her Japanese name, or if Ellen hadn’t asked her to translate in the first place.

Grand Central Oyster Bar

I’ve been to the Grand Central Oyster Bar a couple of times before, but it’s been several years since my last visit.

The Oyster Bar, Grand Central Terminal, New York City

[Photo by Jazz Guy, CC BY 2.0]

That’s not my picture of the bar although we sat at the bar.

What I love about the place is that it’s a mixed crowd. You have tourists but you also have working stiffs who want to get away from their desks for 40 minutes and enjoy some delicious clam chowder.

Which is what I had. Tasty and filling and only $7.

The Met

Of course I’ve been to the Met a hundred times, but what I’d never seen before was a line that long. How long? It went out the door, down the stairs, and onto the sidewalk. It was a perfect storm of the early afternoon, the holidays and a chilly, steady rain.

Little do the hoi polloi know, there’s a semi-secret side entrance which is a million times less crowded. Another friend showed it to me and Ellen long ago, and it’s the only entrance I’ve used ever since.

Still, that didn’t keep the rest of the museum from being mobbed, especially the Impressionist wing. Our guests lasted half a dozen Monets, Degas, and Seurats before we took refuge in the cafeteria.

Peter Luger Steak House

A great thing about out-of-town visitors, besides the company of course, is that I end up doing things I never would have on my own. Such as dinner at Peter Luger.

If you want an old school New York experience and don’t mind spending a little dough, you’ll love Peter Luger. Perhaps its Brooklyn location has something to do with it, but I felt like everyone — the managers, the waiters, even the other diners — had walked straight out of some movie about NYC.

And the food was good too. We started with sliced tomatoes and onions, which is literally just that. What makes the dish is their sauce, similar to cocktail sauce but not tomato-y. We also got a single (massive) slab of bacon.

Unfortunately by the time our 16 ounce steaks came, I wasn’t that hungry, and could barely make a dent, although I had no problem finishing off our sides of creamed spinach and German fried potatoes, which were similar to hash browns.

It came out to about $80 per person including tax and tip, which may seem steep, but with all the leftovers and the experience itself, it was worth it.

Corner Cafe & Bakery

I’ve been wanting to try this place since I moved into my neighborhood little more than a year ago. New Year’s Eve morning, I finally did, and it didn’t disappoint.

I got the Southern breakfast.

A photo posted by actung9 (@actung9) on

That’s three eggs, bacon, potatoes, a corn muffin, and fried green tomatoes with remoulade sauce. A delectable way to finish out 2016.

InterContinental Barclay Hotel

Something else I don’t usually do is go out on New Year’s Eve. To me NYE is basically SantaCon without the Santa suits. But this year I found myself out and about, and I have to admit, it was a nice change of pace.

After helping Motoko pick up some provisions for her feverish son, Ellen and I ended up spending a relaxing afternoon at Motoko’s beautiful hotel.

While we charged our phones at the bar, we each got an old fashioned.

A photo posted by actung9 (@actung9) on

It was very well made, and I got sufficiently tipsy. Plus the bartender was very nice and didn’t make us feel rushed.

I’d definitely return to the InterContinental Barclay bar just to have a drink and hang out.

Times Square on New Year’s Eve

Our relaxing afternoon came to an end when we headed out to meet our friend Aki. She and her boyfriend had a party later and were staying at a hotel for the night. Unfortunately that hotel was right near Times Square.

Getting from Midtown East to Midtown West on New Year’s Eve was like trying to climb over the Berlin Wall. But climb over it we did, mostly due to Ellen’s persistence. Like Aki said, I was about to call it a night when Ellen finally found a cop who let us through the barricades.

The hotel itself was pretty relaxing. We ended up eating discounted happy hour snacks in the lounge instead of trying to find a restaurant. The food hit the spot. Wings, pita and hummus, quesadillas, and a pizza-like flatbread.

At about 8:30 I made Ellen leave. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in that part of town close to midnight. We walked Aki and her boyfriend partway to their party and grabbed a cab at Columbus Circle. By nine, we were in PJs and watching Orange Is the New Black, my kind of NYE. I was happy that Ellen was so accommodating.

Pure Thai Cookhouse

The next day we headed back to the west side and had our first lunch of 2017. Pure Thai Cookhouse was an Aki find. It was packed but didn’t seem touristy, an excellent combination.

I got the special, a beef dish in a mildly spicy curry paste with a fried egg.

A photo posted by actung9 (@actung9) on

A yummy start to the new year.

Here’s hoping that every day of 2017 is as delicious.


25
Sep 16

Paris 2016: Food and drink

Neck and neck with my obsession with museums when I travel is that with food. Maybe especially food at museums.

Museum cafes

It all started with my best high school buddy. We had traveled together in China, but it was in Amsterdam that we started hitting the museum cafe before the actual museum. I remember waiting in line for the Rijksmuseum to open, dying for coffee, and making a beeline for the cafeteria. Soon it became a tradition.

Nowadays the museum cafe isn’t always first, but I usually end up there at some point.

During our first visit to Palais de Tokyo, we just had some drinks. I was craving an apple juice, and struggled with asking for one. Luckily the girl behind the counter spoke a little English and was able to explain that the drink was almond and apple, as well as carbonated.

“Carbonated,” she should have said. It was extremely subtle. The almond was less so but it was delicious all the same.

We returned to Palais de Tokyo because we were in the area and to partake of their photo booth. This time we had lunch. I was looking forward to a jambon beurre (not that I hadn’t had a few already). But they didn’t have any so I settled for tuna.

Which was really good. That and British salt and vinegar chips, and a fantastic vanilla panna cotta made for a quick yet yummy meal.

Next, the Musee D’Orsay. Last time when we went, I didn’t enjoy my sandwich. The bread sucked, surprisingly. This time we had already eaten so I just got a chocolate-caramel brownie. Holy cow. It was almost like flourless chocolate cake. Delicious.

The only museums I didn’t eat at were the Cartier Foundation (I wasn’t hungry for a change) and the  Musée Jacquemart-André. The restaurant was more upscale than I wanted. So instead we went to…

Random places

this place. We had passed it on the way to the museum, and we figured since we might not be getting a lot of fresh vegetables during our stay, it would be a good choice.

And it was! It was a bit like Chop’t only without the chopping. I got an Asian type salad with tuna, which was tasty and filling. My only disappointment was my “dessert.” I got a fromage blanc, which was definitely not dessert-like, at least not to me.

Another sort of random place we ate at was a cafe not far from the Catacombs. A couple of my friend’s friends happened to be in town, and after a visit to the boney undergrounds, we stopped for an impromptu, al fresco lunch.

I had a little arugula salad and the “hamburger,” which came without a bun and lots of fries. So good. Complimentary were little glasses of red wine mixed with soda (at least I think that’s what it was). Delicious all around and lovely to eat outside and enjoy the day.

Soya

One of the few vegetarian places in Paris, Soya is one of our favorite haunts. Vegetarian, you might be thinking? But I’m a total carnivore. That’s true, but my friend isn’t, and the food at Soya is really good.

We were introduced to it by a friend of a friend during our first visit. At that time we had a very angry waitress who practically threw a water bottle at us. Since then the waitstaff has been very nice.

This time I think I might have gotten the same dish as last time. A vegetable masala curry. The sauce was amazing and the vegetables very fresh. it was quite filling. For dessert we got lemon and fig tarts. I wasn’t in the mood for fig, but the lemon was delicious.

Eating our way through the 2nd arrondissement

I had two things I wanted to get: a Paris Starbucks mug (which I got on our first day) and nonnettes au miel. Last year I randomly bought a package, needing a gift for my parents, and they turned out to be amazing. The ones I got were orange flavored, and that combined with the gingery, delicate cake made me want more. The thing is they’re so French you can’t even get them off Amazon.

I thought during my walks I’d discover some little shop with my beloved nonnettes. No such luck. I didn’t think we’d ever find the original store, but of course my friend had noted the name during our last visit. It’s actually a wine and liquor shop with a limited selection of foods. They didn’t have any nonnettes unfortunately, but I picked up some hazelnut and chocolate wafers.

The block was full of little food and beverage stores. While my friend paid for his purchases (all sorts of interesting flavors of tonic waters), I popped into a coffee shop next door — and guess what, they had the nonnettes! I bought two packages, one for my parents and one for myself, along with a pound of Cuban coffee.

For lunch we at at Kapunka, a Thai place. I had a beef curry dish. While the sauce was really good, the meat was a bit tough. Probably should have gone with the chicken.

After that it was dessert at L’Eclair de Genie, which we had seen earlier.

Éclair selfie obligatoire. #éclair #LÉclairDeGenie #selfie #aGaymericanInParis #cremeCenter

A photo posted by yonkey (@yonkey) on

They were smaller than eclairs in America — in other words, the perfect size. I got a super-chocolately one, and it was super-good.

After a bit more walking around, we popped into this cookie shop, Jean Hwang Carrant Simply Extraordinary Cookies. And guess what, Jean Hwang was there and she turned out to be a Chinese American from Kansas! We had a nice little chat with her. I got the last of their best-seller, black sesame, which was very subtly sweet, just the way I like it.

Grand Train

The one Saturday I was there, we had the chance to go with my friend’s friend to this place called Grand Train.

Grand Train is a former railway station with a variety food and drink kiosks and counters. It’s also a place where people, including families with little kids, hang out, talk, and, because this is France, smoke.

It’s very popular and there was a huge line when we got there. Luckily my friend’s friend was already there so we didn’t have to wait long. I didn’t try any food although we did get a bottle of white wine. It was sweet, the way I like it, and I drank too much too quickly. While tipsy, I felt perfectly fine — that is until we were standing in line for my friend’s pizza. Suddenly I felt, let’s just say, unwell. But with some deep breathing and a fruity lozenge, I was okay.

Next up: random sights!


13
Jan 16

NYC Adventures: Ramen

Only second to my obsession with museums is my obsession with ramen (as evinced by the many noodle photos in my Instagram feed). Since moving back to New York, I’ve had the chance to sample a lot.

Zutto Japanese American Pub

I welcomed myself back to New York with some spicy miso ramen at this Asian-fusion place in Tribeca.

ramen_zutto

While the flavors were good, the broth was only warm instead of piping hot — maybe because it was a sweltering August day. But even in the heat and humidity, I like my noodle soup to be hot hot hot. Plus at $14 it was a little overpriced.

However, my dessert, a mochi tempura (with red bean mochi and green tea ice cream) was delicious.

ramen_zutto_greenteaicecream

Recently, I went back a second time and asked for my tonkatsu ramen to be “extra hot,” and it came out much better.

Ramen Setagaya

I used to go to Setagaya regularly when I lived on the Lower East Side, and it’s still one of my favorites. This past summer I paid it a visit and had the spicy miso.

ramen_setagaya

It had a lot more flavor than the spicy miso at Zutto, but it was a lot saltier than I remember. Or maybe I’m just older and can’t handle so much sodium anymore.

Ramen-Ya

A find by my friend Aki, who’s a whiz at sifting through Yelp reviews to unearth good restaurants. We tried the West Village branch, where I had the shoyu ramen in pork broth.

ramen_ramenya

I don’t know if it was because I was starving, but it was one of the best bowls of ramen I’ve ever had. The soup was very rich and flavorful without being crazy salty, and the pork was melt-in-your-mouth.

Naruto Ramen

After I moved into my new place on the Upper East Side, I noticed that there was always a line outside this place. Partly that’s because there’s only counter seating, but I suspected that wasn’t the only reason.

Finally, one day I decided the wait would be worth it. However, luckily for me, a seat for one opened up just as I got there.

I knew I should have probably tried the classic Naruto Ramen, but the Tan Tan, ground pork in a spicy sesame broth, sounded really good.

ramen_naruta_tantan

And it was. So good that I had it again the next time I went.

The third time I was with Aki, my partner in ramen. I decided to change things up and got the curry ramen. Again, delish!

ramen_naruta_curry

Naruto also has a spicy ramen which you can get mildly spicy (1) all the way to burn-your-face-off spicy (5). My first visit, the large Korean man next to me got the level 5. He had no problem scarfing down the whole bowl although he was sniffling and sweating the whole time. My second visit, a skinny white dude tried to order the same thing.

“It’s really spicy,” the waitress (who was Asian) warned him.

“I know,” the guy said.

“I mean, REALLY spicy.”

“I know,” the guy said, more weakly this time. “I eat spicy things all the time.”

I felt kind of bad for him, but I knew what she meant: this was not white person spicy. It was Asian person spicy. It was make-a-large-Korean-man-sweat spicy.

In the end, he relented and got the level 3. I didn’t see how that turned out.

Jin Ramen

Another Aki find. I thought the ramen at this spacious Upper West Side restaurant was quite good, and we liked that they offered a “less salty” option, which we both got.

The only downside was that the place felt crowded and super-busy. I guess I prefer counter-only seating, like Setagaya or Naruto, or just a few tables, like Ramen-Ya.

Totto Ramen

The chicken logo should have been a dead giveaway.

My friend Ellen and I had just finished seeing An American in Paris on a chilly night so we thought this popular Hell’s Kitchen joint would be the ticket. I was dismayed to see the broth was chicken only, but thought I’d give it a go. After all, I love chicken soup.

We had a short wait, but the restaurant utilized our waiting time efficiently by taking our orders while we were still in line. I got the chicken paitan with pork.

ramen_totto

Looks amazing right? Well, it was only so-so. First of all, it wasn’t just not-hot, it was lukewarm. In fact, the middle of the egg was cold, and the yolk was hard instead of soft-boiled. And while the pulled char siu was yummy, the slices were dry and, again, almost cold.

The skinny? I would go to any of these places again, except for Totto unless I were desperate, in which case I’d go out of my way to ask for “extra hot.”

 


03
Jul 11

The weekend thus far

Yesterday I was very blah for some reason.  Coffee didn’t even do its trick!  I ended up spending most of the day aimlessly surfing the internet, playing Words with Friends, and reading.  The only productive things I did were yoga, reading and commenting on a couple of Nervous Breakdown pieces, finally getting together a free memoir shipment I still owed, as well as a submission to a magazine that accepts previously published works.

Here are a couple more exciting highlights.

More crazy Chinese mom craziness

In the fall I’ll be participating in a couple of readings in conjunction with this anthology I’m in.  Exciting, right? So I shared the news with my mom during our call yesterday. But it wasn’t so easy.

Me: Remember that book I told you about? With my essay about Puo-puo.

Mom: Yes, yes.

[Thank God she remembers] Me: Well, the editor lives in Sonoma.

Mom: I don’t understand.

[Here we go] Me: You know what an editor is? The woman who put together the book. Well, she lives in the San Francisco area.

Mom, hesitatingly: Okay.

Me: Well, she arranged a couple of bookstore readings for those of us who also live in the Bay Area.

Mom: Okay.

Me: You know, a bookstore reading? We go to a bookstore and read from the book.

Mom: Okay.

Me: We go to a bookstore and read ALOUD from the book. To an audience. It’s like a speech, or a presentation. Except we’re just reading.

Mom: Oh! The whole book? That will take a long time.

Me [about to lose it]: No, Mom. We each get five minutes.

Mom: Oh. With a microphone?

Me: Why does that matter!

[At this point, MB comes in the room and wags his finger at me for being impatient with my mom]

Me: Yes, with a microphone.

Feeling bad, I called her back a few minutes later, and it turned out, my mother STILL didn’t get it.

Me: MB says I was too impatient with you.

Mom laughs: I never went to this kind of thing so I don’t know.

Me: I know, I know.

Mom: So you guys won’t go.

Me: Huh? Of course we’re going. I’m IN the reading, Mom! I’M one of the people doing the reading!

Mom: Oh! I thought you said the editor was.

Me: No, she’s just arranging it.

Mom: Oh! [Now she sounds excited.] That’s very good!

Yeesh.

Then I get this email from my dad:

Happy to know you’re gonna do a live presentation of your article.

First of all, since when does my father say “gonna”?  Secondly: sigh.

I know, I know, they’re both very cute and sweet, but – SIGH.

SPICY!

Early yesterday evening MB and I decided to take a walk to lower Haight and check out Rosamunde Sausage Grill.  He’s eaten there before and thought I would like it.  And I did.

I got the beer sausage and the chicken habanero, and FUCK were they spicy.  I expected them to be white person-spicy (ie, not), but they were killing me.  My nose was running, and while I tried to be paleo and not eat the bun, I just had to or else die of spiciness. (Plus it was tasty.)

We had a very nice walk too.  It was in the upper 50s, low 60s, and windy in some parts.  It’s crazy that it’s July, and we were wearing jeans and jackets.  Love Bay Area weather!


Today so far I’m feeling much more energetic.  The coffee is working!  My main project is to finish this next section of my novel.  Must do it!  It even takes precedence over working out.


12
Apr 11

Pseudo-paleo

If you follow my Tweets, you may have noticed that I sometimes mention that I’m “eating paleo” or, more often, “failing to eat paleo.”  I’ve been meaning to blog about it, and when Wyn asked, “What is paleo?” I thought it was time.

First and foremost, I’m nowhere near true paleo, and I’m not saying the paleo diet is good or bad.  I’m just using some of the guidelines to eat better.

Several months ago, I went low-fat, and while I successfully lowered my cholesterol, I didn’t really lose that much weight.  Namely the five pound roll on my stomach, because while I was eating low-fat, I was still eating a lot of processed carbs and sugar.  For instance, in addition to a healthy lunch, I’d have a handful of pretzels or cheddar bunnies.  Then again after my yogurt in the afternoon.  At night I’d have some kind of low-fat dessert (Skinny Cow ice cream, or  graham crackers, or fig newtons).  If I had the night-time munchies for something salty, I’d attack low-fat chips or crackers.

With paleo, you cut all of that out.

Continue reading →


16
Mar 10

I miss Pick-a-Bagel

Today for lunch I was really craving a bagel with tuna salad, a staple in most New York delis.  When I lived on the Upper East Side, I’d get one from Pick-a-Bagel or the more expensive Sable’s, if I felt like splurging.

There’s no Pick-a-Bagel around here so I popped into a nearby cafe which makes a big deal about serving organic, fair-trade coffee.  But they also have sandwiches and, yes, bagels.

I said to the girl, “Could I get a bagel with tuna salad?” to which the girl replied, “Tuna salad. . .on a BAGEL???” like it was the weirdest fucking thing she ever heard.

“Yes,” I said.  “Tuna salad on a bagel.”

“So, like a sandwich, but with a bagel?”

“Yes.”

She bent over the cash register, trying to figure out how to ring me up.  “That’ll be $10.95.”

WHAT?

She explained that the sandwich platters came with salad, hence the ridiculous price.

“All I want,” I said, “is a bagel with tuna.  Like instead of a bagel with butter, imagine a bagel with tuna.”  I didn’t say “imagine” but really wanted to.

She finally figured it out.

I mean, I know it’s not so common around here, but you have bagels, you have tuna salad – voila, you have a bagel with tuna salad.

Voi-fucking-la.  Dumbshit.


26
Dec 09

Two french hens

MB and I had a lovely Christmas.

Christmas Eve MB made a yummy pasta dinner with a spicy puttanesca sauce and spicy Italian sausage.  Afterward we just bummed around.  Watched a few episodes of the Ghosthunters marathon, as well as The Empire Strikes Back and part of Return of the Jedi.  Too much TV! MB crashed around one, but I had had Vietnamese coffee in the afternoon so I was up till almost three.

In the morning, we called my parents.  My mom liked the Snuggie though it’s a bit big for her, and sounded happy and not worried for once.  My dad thanked us once again for the wine, then kept MB on the phone for quite a while, just chatting, which makes me laugh because he’s not usually a big talker.

I was also delighted to find out that my father is reading my copy of The Secret History.  I was surprised since he doesn’t usually read contemporary literature.  Such a good book!  He said at first it was boring, but now he’s very interested in unraveling the mystery.

In the afternoon MB and I saw Sherlock Holmes at the Sundance Kabuki theater.  It was packed!  I guess the movies is the place to be on Christmas Day.  The movie was fun but not amazing, not like Avatar.  Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law were great, as were the sets, but I didn’t find the storyline too exciting.

My popcorn was delicious though.  Splurge!

For dinner MB cooked up a couple of cornish game hens.  They were smoked but he also bisected them and fried them in peanut oil.  As well there was wild rice and shitaake mushroom stuffing and a lovely arugula and tomato salad.

christmas dinner

Everything was yummy.  Those little hens have a lot of meat on them.  I was only able to eat half of one.

Later in the evening, we wanted some dessert.  We expected to find nothing open, but quite a few restaurants were, surprisingly.  We stopped at the Vietnamese place near us – where we get our evil and delicious cafe filtre – and MB got fried banana a la mode.  By then I decided to be healthy and just had some yogurt instead.

Today most places are open again.  I worked out – yay! – then we had lunch at Mel’s, this kind of cheesy, ’50s style diner on Van Ness.  The food was decent though.  I had pancakes, a fried egg, AND bacon – oink!  Now we’re back at one of our favorite cafes, Wicked Grounds.

I applied for a job this morning.  This art school is looking for a marketing writer.  The idea of doing marketing again isn’t ideal, but it’s writing copy as opposed to developing bullshit strategy.  I’m also going to apply for a temporary librarian job at SFPL.  That may be a better fit for me: it’s no more than twenty hours of week, and I’d be filling in at whatever branch needs a substitute.

Today I need to:

Revise Corporate Celebrations article – For my freelancing gig.  After several years of scheduling a variety of celebrations at my old company, I have plenty of material.

Revise “The Beautiful Girls” – For The Nervous Breakdown.  It’s about my junior high/early high school years, and the friends I had then.

Revise/submit “Buzzed: My Love Affair with Coffee in Nine Parts” – For another publication.

Getting to work!


16
Nov 09

Posers

Between NaNoWriMo and feeling a bit under the weather last week, I didn’t get out of the house much.  I didn’t even get to the gym!  But by the weekend, I was feeling better so MB and I made sure to get out of the house.

Saturday afternoon we went to Wicked Grounds, cafe by day, S&M dungeon by night, supposedly.   There’s artwork up of people in various (tasteful, if there’s such a thing) bondage positions, and some evenings they have events like “bring your human pet night” and “steam powered vibrator demos” (I can’t imagine how that works).

As a cafe it was pretty nice.  There were lots of tables, and the chairs were super comfy, opulent and nicely cushioned, though I’m sure a bitch to clean.  The menu is rather limited though that may be because they only opened in September.  Regardless, my steamed hazelnut milk was tasty.

Inevitably some of the clientele was annoying.  When we came in, there was this couple at the counter, a kind of dumpy guy way too old to be wearing a backwards baseball cap, and his half-Asian girlfriend with her standard issue hipster-girl glasses and, get this, cat ears.  Why was she wearing cat ears?  Halloween is over!

I wouldn’t have cared about them except the girl gave us a very weird look when we walked in, like, What are you doing here? and then was hanging all over her boyfriend at the counter, getting in the way of other customers (like me).

Then later I felt like they kept staring at us, but all they wanted were the ropes hanging off our table.  She came over and took one without asking (how did she know we wouldn’t want to use them?), and then the guy showed her how to tie knots for the rest of the afternoon.

Also, the boyfriend made it very clear that he was chummy with the proprietress – who was super nice by the way – making comments and talking very loudly to her while she tried to work.  Yeah, yeah, you’re an insider, we get it.  Now STFU.

On Sunday we went to MB’s co-worker’s house warming party in the Haight-Ashbury area.  It seems to be mostly residential, except of course for Haight Street itself.  MB’s co-worker has a very cute apartment, nice and big with hardwood floors and good light.  It’s cool to see what places are like in other parts of town, though that would be a bit far for MB to get to work.

After the party, we walked on Haight Street a little.  It definitely has a different feel at night.  During the day, there are tons of tourists, but in the evening, all the druggy scrubby kids and weirdos come out.  There were people singing on street corners and the smell of pot everywhere.  I don’t think it’s that great.  I love street musicians but ones who are actually good, not some stinky kid pretending to be homeless while Mom and Dad sit at home in Palo Alto.  And if you’re white, you should not wear dreadlocks.  You really really shouldn’t.

We thought about eating in the area, but the only place we wanted to go, the Pork Store, was closed, so we just headed home instead.

Since next week is Thanksgiving, I’ll have to work double time this week with NaNoWriMo.  My book is moving forward though I’m not sure if it’s any good.  Trying not to think about that right now.


06
Oct 09

What I *will* miss about New York: Spoonbread

Last week YP and I had dinner, and he asked me where I wanted to eat one last time (at least for a while) before heading out west.  I immediately thought, Spoonbread.

Although I went to college in the area, I never heard of Spoonbread.  It wasn’t till YP took me there two years ago that I was introduced to its delectable Southern eats.  Just a few days later, I met MB and found out that Spoonbread was also one of his favorite restaurants from when he lived on the Upper West Side.  That, and his cuteness, helped seal the deal.

Whenever I go, I can’t seem to stray from my favorite: Uncle CL’s Short Ribs of Beef, cooked what better way than “falling off the bone.”

While still delicious, the portion seems to have gotten smaller over the years.  The first time I had enough for two meals; now I can polish off the whole dish.  Or maybe I’m just  piggier.

The dish is a bit overpriced at $16.95, though it includes two yummy sides.  I always get the mac ‘n cheese and this time went for the spinach, while tasty left a funny feeling in my mouth as spinach sometimes does.  Perhaps I should have given into my desires and had mac ‘n cheese AND french fries, a true meat/cheese/carb fest.

Of course no Spoonbread meal is complete without their famous Spoonbread Punch.

Described as “with fruit juices,” it seems to be an iced tea/fruit juice concoction.  Tart and not too sweet, it’s a refreshing companion to the hearty Southern fare.

And finally, to top off a nearly perfect meal, dessert!

My choice that night was the red velvet cake, irresistible with its cream cheese frosting, though their peach cobbler, heated up, is always tempting as well.

The only downside to Spoonbread is the slow service and the attitude, at least from the waiter who kinda looks like Lafayette from True Blood, though he makes up for it with a booty you could bounce quarters off of.  Our server this time was very nice, but took forever to bring water as well as dessert, which presumably should be fastest since all they have to do is slice the cake.

But it’s a small price to pay for a little piece of New York that I’ll miss a lot.


29
Sep 09

The Marina and tacos

The weekend in San Francisco was really warm, like in the 80s or 90s, perfect weather for a walk around the Marina and tasty tacos.

Sunday we ate a new place, at least for me, Nick’s Crispy Tacos.  It was sooo good.  Usually I don’t find tacos filling at all.  I eat two and I’m still kinda hungry but in that yucky, fast food way.  But the tacos in “Nick’s style” – with cheese and guacamole and wrapped in two tortillas, one fried and one soft – were completely satisfying.

365/71: nick's crispy tacos

I had one carnitas – the pork tender, lean, and juicy – and one fried fish, which was doused in a deliciously tangy lime sauce, and was full about halfway through the fish, but ate it all anyway.

Plus the decor was really cool, like something out of the Rat Pack era:

I could imagine Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Ava Gardner lounging in their tuxes and furs in one of those red booths, with taco juice dripping down their chins.

Afterwards we walked out to the Marina area.  What a great day to be near the water, though I resisted walking on the sand, which in retrospect I should have because the callouses on my heels could have used a good scrubbing.  We had fun watching the dogs play on the beach.  I find it hilarious when they roll around in the sand.

As we were strolling, we saw the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.  “Let’s walk across it!” MB said.  The bridge seemed pretty long to me, and I wasn’t sure if people actually walked across it like they do the Brooklyn Bridge.  But sure why not?  Then as we kept going, the bridge hardly got any closer, and we realized it was much farther away than we thought.  Ah well, next time.

On the way back, we ran into the Palace of Fine Arts.  It was really pretty!

We saw a bride and groom having their pictures taken.  The bride looked pretty, but the groom was wearing one of those tacky white tuxes.  Plus he looked so not thrilled to be there.  Then again, when does any groom?

Walking back home was a challenge because of all the hills.  I kept thinking, How are these hills in real life and not part of some extreme gym workout?  We were so pooped, we had to stop in Japantown and see a movie (Surrogates, wait for the DVD).

Now it’s back to packing and organizing.  Soon it will be over!