Monday, August 27, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
We'll start with Jaci's bicep. She competed in the Danskin Triathlon on Sunday, and here are her results:
107th out of 3496 and 21 out of 481 in the 35-39 age group.
My friend is impressive, for sure. I've attended two triathlons this summer (Lake Padden, afternoon and sunny, Danskin, EARLY and WET) and at both I hoped to be inspired to participate in one some day, but that didn't happen.
I do, however, take a killer circuit training class at Anderson's, and Cris, the trainer, is as energetic as five "energetic" people combined (unless you know Jaci, then it would be more like two energetic Jaci's combined.)
Well, this morning, he asks me, "Hey, when does school start?" (because he is as nice as five nice people combined) and my tone is really edgy when I answer, "WHY does EVERYONE have to know when school starts? Why is THAT INFORMATION so important to everyone?" And poor Cris, he is just baffled at my bitchy response. So I apologize and explain that I just get really depressed when I have to say goodbye to summer.
"Clinically depressed?" he asks.
Well, not clinically. But that got me thinking about what I could do today that would ward off the dread a bit. And then I thought of my brother's comment from a few days ago when I suggested a taco truck contest.
He said: "Oh, I'm too scared to put my taco truck up against yours; I haven't eaten there for 5 years. I don't even know if it's still there. But I would drive to Seattle in a heartbeat if your adventure could include tacos and humbao..." Which can be translated into "I love you and I understand what makes you really happy."Taco trucks make me happy, and so do food missions.
So I came up with a plan to ward off depression while preparing for my brother's humbao visit: a little lunchtime humbao research before my haircut appointment (which was close to the International District). I have to admit, I have been a little stand-offish to my city since my return from New York. Like, I didn't really feel like talking to it since it didn't have a subway when I first got home, and I was like, "you're so small and not all that cosmopolitan." But I was wrong to treat my city that way, because it has been very good to me and it does the best it can being so far west and having such a small harbor (in comparison) and so I thought I would try to work on our relationship by ending the silent treatment and actually doing something active with it by conducting a little humbao research, even though I would have to drive my own car and park, and pay for parking, etc.
Here were my rules:
1. I had one hour to complete my mission, paid for at the Uwajimaya parking lot.
2. I would taste as many humbao as possible within this one hour time limit.
3. If the humbao wasn't good, I would throw it away (waste of taste and calories).
Before leaving, I googled "best humbao, Seattle" and the Honey Court Restaurant on Maynard came up...perfect place to begin. They were serving dim sum for lunch, and the humbao only came in orders of three. I thought of Elsa freezing her humbao for lunch, so I agreed and paid the $2.25. Getting humbao kind of blind is exciting...you just don't know what is going to be inside the sweet, puffy dough. It could be ground pork, could be barbecued pork, or it could be a hunk of Chinese sausage and a hard-boiled egg. You just don't know. But I love the Door #1 and Door #2 kind of excitement. The Honey Court buns were sweeter than usual because of their custardy-sugary coating (they were baked, not steamed, as is the classic). The pork inside was nice and barbecue-y and it would have received an excellent rating had it not been on the "luke" side of lukewarm. Certainly not bad enough to throw away, however. Probably much better steamed at home, which I will try later.
Across the street was the Purple Dot cafe, and though they did not list humbao on their menu, when I asked, the woman removed three traditional steamed buns from her dim sum cart and charged me $2.13 for them. I could find absolutely nothing wrong with these buns. They were hot and delicious. How is this for a close-up? Across the street from that, I went to the huge China Gate restaurant and purchased three more buns, which were almost exactly the same as the Purple Dot steamed ones, and they are pictured at the top of this post. If you were to ask which ones were better, I would have to say the China Gate bao were and if you were to ask me why, I would just say "I don't know why."
A few places after that were so crowded that I couldn't even get in the door to ask about humbao- like Shanghai Garden and Imperial Palace. Some places didn't have humbao, like J & L Cafe. The woman at the counter there pointed at her wrapped banana leaves tied with string and said these were the equivalent, but with sticky rice. I've had them before, and thought I should try them for my brother since they are an "equivalent" to his favorite.
"Peanut and pork, or mung bean and pork?" the woman asks me. I choose the peanut and pork, and a man sitting at a table near the counter can't help but interject why he likes the mung bean and pork ones better.
"OK, the mung bean and pork one, then," I say to the woman.
The man rolls his eyes a bit and says, "Oh, you've got to try both of them. They are only $2 a piece!" Like, you aren't buying two cars, lady! Obviously he didn't know that I had six leftover bao in my bag at that moment and was planning to buy more, but I gave into his bullying because it was food bullying and that kind of bullying I can respect. Here is a picture of one of them, tied up so neatly.
But by that time, I only had twenty minutes left on the clock, so I decided to wait to open the sticky rice surprise since it was cold, anyway, and I had to run to Uwajimaya to buy $7.50 worth of stuff to get my "free" hour of parking. I bought some origami paper and made my way to the food court, where I purchased my last humbao, from Yummy House Bakery. It was bigger and much more expensive, at $1.25, but it was nice and the pork was shredded and there was lots of it. This one was also baked.
When I got to my car, I unwrapped the banana leaves and took a big bite of the sticky rice, which was a mistake. I don't recommend biting anywhere near the leaf, because it doesn't smell very good. I decided to save it and heat it up later (which I did and it was excellent).
While getting my hair cut, I reflected on my humbao mission. Here I had taken an hour to reconnect with my city and had eaten so many good humbao, but I had to admit that I still had the memory of that humbao spot on Mott street in New York (the one where I took that rushed blurry picture because I was so hungry). I can't explain why, but it was better...so much better.
I knew what I had to do. I knew a place in Seattle that did something better than New York, for sure...Bubbles in West Seattle makes the best avocado bubble tea. In New York they just didn't get it quite right...maybe not cold enough, maybe too much sugar...I just couldn't get it perfect (and don't try it on Queen Anne, either....ewwww it was bad and ruined my perfect record of recommendations to Dennis). So that's how it all connects, see? And that is the end of my story. Thank God Cris asked me the dreaded question this morning, and that I have tools to work through my depression, and that he works us out hard enough that I can go on these kinds of missions without doing too much damage.
And I am back with Seattle.
Oh, here is the sticky rice package when I got it home and away from the smelly leaf and heated it up: I loved it.
Brian, when are you coming down?
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Fortunately, I can always find reasons to go to Columbia City, so I pretend it's not just about the truck, but really it is. I just buy cute clothes at Andaluz and go to my fruit and vegetable stand to add legitimacy.
But for me, Mexico=Happiness, and this taco is Mexico, so twelve miles to happiness is not bad at all...
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Maybe the rest of you didn't play the game because you thought I wasn't serious about the prize, but here is the proof. And I think Karyn is enjoying her mole (again, a mixture of chiles, almonds, raisins, chocolate, pronounced "mo-lay"), which is covering a pasilla green chile stuffed with black beans, rice and cheddar cheese. I'm including a picture of the food-- even though it really doesn't photograph very well. She also tried beets for the first time, but I will let her comment on those when she returns from Chicago. (I can tell you, though, that she chose a chocolate croissant over a picked beet for dessert).
This is only the second time I have met Karyn. She is my brother and sister-in-law's friend and somehow she became my #1 fan. Which is funny, because she is another one who should be on Broadway (she sings, dances and acts), and her husband is down in LA as we speak, hoping for a record deal (is it still called a "record" deal?) which will enable him and his band to carry on and transcend the spirit of the 90's Seattle music scene. So, actually, I should be their #1 fan.
Brian, maybe you should have tried harder on the quiz...? You've been wanting mole for a long time. But, anyway, thanks for providing me with my #1 fan - I really like having one and would like some more.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I can't stop taking pictures of my green and red garden food. Here's a caprese salad with a deep red heirloom tomato, and open-faced BLT's with a mixture of tomatoes on grilled panini. I think I could eat green and red food all summer.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
OK, and the MEN at the roof party all requested this recipe. Ahem...
So, scrub them, cut the tops and bottoms off so they sit firmly in a 9x13, then fill your pan with about an inch of water. Douse them with olive oil and a bunch of red wine vinegar because they will soak it up and their sweetness...well, that's all the beet is ever asking for--to be able to soak up other flavors and to be amazing. So just let it. Cover with foil and roast at 350 for about an hour, until a knife slips in easily. I put on rubber gloves and peel them right away because if you wait, the skin is harder to remove. Either way, you will have a bloody mess when you are done with the whole thing. Beets are high maintenance, but don't be like everyone else and just give up on them. (That bright magenta color looks good on everything, too!)
Anyway, here's the blog recipe I use:
For the dressing, I used mostly apple cider vinegar and then threw in a T or so of balsamic, which tasted great. I love how you get to mix and match fruits and nuts with beets in this recipe. For the salad in the picture, I used blueberries, dried cranberries and figs; last time I used dried apricots and fresh strawberries. I think any combination would be fantastic. I have also used pepitas and goat cheese instead of almonds and feta. I tell you, you can't go wrong. And the avocado? I know it doesn't seem like it would work, but it really does.
BTW, I didn't mean to dis the pickled beet above. My grandma makes them best, and here is her recipe:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cups water
1/3 cups cider vinegar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves and salt
Bring to boiling, add two cups sliced beets and simmer five minutes.
OK, beet, you are going to share your post with Henry and his red wagon (which he and Casey pulled five blocks to get here...it was filled with salads made from organic produce from the Phinney Farmer's Market and beer) and the Women of Meadowdale on the Roof (I'm still one).
p.s. Casey (pictured below: Rita, Julie, Natasha, me, Casey)just sent me some "Beet Poetry" by Tom Robbins, so it has to go on the post:
the beet is the most intense of vegetables
the radish admittedly is more feverish
but the fire of the radish is a cold fire the fire of discontent not of passion
beets are deadly serious
the beet is a melancholy vegetable the one most willing to suffer
you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip . . .
the beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime
the beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot
the beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon
bearded buried all but fossilized
stitched with the veins of primordial plasma
the kite string that once connected the moon
to the earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
This is my detox plan: I got up and went to circuit training at Anderson's (after getting home at midnight--3 NY time, wore my "Columbia" t-shirt and felt very smart), then straight to PCC to get a bunch of organic vegetables, free range chicken and fish, then came home and made this salad. Some details: cucumbers from my parents' garden, heirloom tomatoes (which should give anyone a reason to live and which are pictured here with the ceramic turtle one of my students made), red onions, kalamata olives, fresh feta and chicken marinated in fresh oregano (2tbs), one lemon, a few T of good quality olive oil, salt and pepper and a bit of garlic powder. This dressing is so good, I have to share the food blog I got it from, here it is:
I was in heaven eating this (I was eating it for weeks before I left, too). I walked by every chocolate bar (even the organic ones) and packages of (healthy) chips and red licorice at PCC without experiencing any desire whatsoever. I am having nothing to do with any of it for at least a week. OK, I did just gaze across the street and dream for a moment about the Honey Walnut Shrimp at Chef Liao's, but that will be there next week after I drop the five pounds I gained from eating chicken and waffles and junk on the plane.
Two days at the airport. My plane last night...it taxied for TWO HOURS before taking off! But the day was good. I found a soul book, called The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky, which is a "great tale of the growth of (New York) as seen through the rise and fall of the lowly oyster." Really entertaining (Like, Broadway fans, did you know that "the long path through the entire length of Manhattan used by Indians delivering fur pelts was called "Beaver Path" but once it was broadened, it was changed to 'Breede Wegh'- or Broadway.")
Then I went to get a salad ("No guilt grilled chicken with low fat dressing") at Chili's before my plane boarded and the table next to me was so close that the couple there asked me to just go ahead and join them. They had just spent a week in NY and they were beginning their detox plan with this salad, too. Shamus and Athon are lawyers from Ireland ("it's not as bad to be a lawyer in Ireland" Athon tells me) who flew to NY to get engaged at the Rainbow Room. I thought it was pretty cool that I had just been there, too, and I learned that the cocktails cost $22 each. I didn't know this because Jon bought drinks for both me and Kristin and he didn't even flinch when the bill came. Impressive. Anyway, we had a great lunch. This is what I love about airport days...you are trapped so you may as well be trapped with a good book and meet the people coming and going.
One thing my mom asked me last night: "You never mentioned making the dumplings. What happened to that?" Oh yeah, I meant to tell all of you that the Dumpling Maker left for China on vacation and they couldn't replace him. Oh well, I didn't even notice it until the last week. Actually, I already know how to make dumplings anyway.
So now I am home doing laundry, catching up on Entourage (don't judge me), listening to Lyle Lovett (good for any mood or transition), discovering what kinds of treats my angelic renter, Elaine, left for me this time (five kinds of gourmet cheese, tapenade, nuts, pomegranate juice), figuring out my finances (I made so much money on this summer!) and plotting my next three weeks of break. Interesting, last night was one of the first homecomings I have had that I wasn't completely relieved to come home. I think it's going to take a while.
I'll leave you with a few things: up above, a picture of St. James Cathedral, just a block or two from Columbia, and the mission statement of I-House. I talked about it kind of negatively, but really it is a great dorm, and I liked this plaque. Every day in the elevator I heard different languages and stories about where people were from and what they were doing in NY.
And, finally, I loved this reminder I got from my Aunt Lyda yesterday, on the subject of mice. I remember hearing my grandma tell this story, and I think it's why I'm OK with mice:
Your Grandma Glady taught in a small country school
in North Dakota. She told about when she would pull
out her lunch, there was a little mouse that would
come out and she would share it with him or her.
Anyway I guess it was her lunch partner for the
So, I am gathering the Shaw family from the airport
and Holland tomorrow night. I wish all of you could
have heard their stories, too! Bug Casey about it so
she will blog next time.
Monday, August 06, 2007
This seems to be my travel pattern: not a glitch getting to where I’m going, but coming back, it’s always tornadoes or liquid terrorists. I was supposed to fly out at 7, but now it looks like 10:30, and they keep moving the time forward in increments of thirty minutes.
So, anyway, here is my true New York goodbye story: I gave my air conditioner to Elsa (we didn’t realize that the $200 we paid bought them) and she called this morning and said, “I’m taking you to Chicken and Waffles.” Again, do I need to tell you why I love this girl? So we (along with Lorena and Noemi, the last survivors of the program) took a cab to Harlem where Amy Ruth makes them best, according to Elsa. A few more details about Elsa: the other day when I tell her how conflicted I am over not making it to Ellis Island, she shrugs and says, “Oh, I haven’t been there, either.” She’s lived here for years...born in Taiwan, raised in Southern CA, but went to school at Cornell and now teaches near Chinatown in a dual English/Mandarin school. She hasn’t been to Ellis Island, but she knows almost every eating establishment in Manhattan, which seems so much more relevant to life. The other day, Noemi (born in the Philippines) is describing a place where she ate oxtail in peanut sauce (“it’s pretty true to the real stuff” she says) and Elsa literally jumps out of her chair and says, “Let’s GO. Right NOW. C’mon everyone, let’s GO!” So, the chicken and waffles? Yes, go to Harlem just to eat at Amy Ruth’s, and go with people...remember it is wrong to go alone. In fact, try to go with Elsa. Look at Noemi's face and you will see how good they are:
Here are a few more stories to introduce you to people from my program:
I took a cab to the airport with Lorena from San Diego, and here is the story she told me: She was raised in a very traditional Mexican home where she was expected to stay until she married, which is exactly what happened. She was married young, at 22 or so, but she told her husband that they would not have children until they traveled to Europe. I love the way this idea got placed into her head...from Madelaine books. I only have a slight idea about what a Madelaine book is, but evidently this character travels all over the world, and Lorena could see herself in Paris and Madrid--anywhere Madelaine went. Anyway, she went to school, they worked, and they never got to Europe. At seven years, "he got the seven year itch" and told her he was leaving just a few months before her 30th birthday. A hard few months, yes...but what did she do? She booked a trip to Italy for her 30th birthday. “The first thing I ever did by myself.” And ever since, she has traveled, just like Madelaine.
Another one: Bec from Raleigh, North Carolina. You met her at her 24th birthday party during the first few days of the program. I thought of a great way to describe Bec the other day...seeing her walk into a room is the equivalent to entering a room full of balloons. Colorful balloons. She has only taught for two years, and has not only completed this NEH program, but also went to China on a Fulbright last summer. She is sharp, and fun. She didn’t sleep the entire month. I'm pretty sure she took taxis to class on more than just a few occasions, but she never missed and was never late. If Elsa was the restaurant resource, Bec was the wine bar expert. We even made her into a verb. “To be Becked” is to be taken out and dragged from bar to bar until early in the morning with class the next day.” One night I was becked to The Knitting Factory to hear a reggae band because she had met one of the band members at another concert and he had invited her. “Which one is he?” I ask her. She looks all of the band members over for a long moment, then says, “I think it’s him,” and she points to a dark, Dominican looking guy. “Wait, though.” She looks them all over again. “It may be the guy in the gray shirt.” The guy in the gray shirt is white. Granted, it had been dark when she met him, and she may have had a few beers, but isn’t that a beautiful story? It was the Dominican one. Another time, at a blues club during the band break, the saxophone player tells her he likes the way she dances and asks if she is going to do some more sexy dancing. “Oh, no, I’m more just awkward and cute.” Which is the best response to an uncomfortable advance I’ve ever heard.
We came up with other verbs, too. “To Melissa” is to ask a very good question right before the break that elicits a twelve minute answer from the speaker. And “To Gordo” is kind of like “to Google.” Gordon knows a lot about New York and we could just go right to him with our many questions. Gordon, are you still reading? “To Jane” is to turn every sentence into an innuendo. A funny Jane story...we had a speaker in who was talking about the Chinese calendar. “Do all of you know which animal you’re compatible with (animals correlate to the year you are born)?” she asks, and Jane, also from North Carolina, with bright red hair and one of the veterans among us, says, “I know who I’m not compatible with. I’m not compatible with rats, dogs, or roosters.” Her answer was so quick, it was true comedic timing. Jane, evidently, has been married to three incompatible animals.
Another story about good timing: Jon from upstate NY, Kristin from Cambridge and I are all dressed up, walking from the Latino film festival to the Meat Packing District...remember, the place I felt very uncomfortable even though I was dressed up (by Seattle standards). We pass a stairway full of homeless men and one of them who is standing in front asking for money says to Jon, “Now this is bad luck. Here you are with two beautiful women, and I’m standing on this corner holding a cup.” Jon does not miss a beat and answers, “And this is a slow night for me, too – usually I have three or four with me.” Again, timing. His audience on the steps laughs and applauds him; I think a few of them even give him a standing ovation.
I just talked to my friend Dennis, who made me a little self-conscious about my blog. He said, “I know you enjoyed the food, but I have no idea if you enjoyed the program.” Dennis wrote me one of the recommendation letters, so I think he feels that maybe I didn't deserve the high quality education or something. Like he can talk, hello...refrig
erator story~. I loved the program, Dennis. It was well organized, thorough, filled with excellent speakers and activities. I’m coming home with tons of ideas, etc, etc. But I don’t know, I guess I wasn’t inspired to write about it too much. Now, be honest, don't the rest of you feel like falling asleep just at the thought of reading my thoughts on China lectures?*******************************************
Venue change: I am now at The Ramada Inn, lying in a Queen sized bed (no plastic) with Conan on the TV, free wireless internet, and....this is the best part...a BATHROOM about ten feet from me. I have gotten out of bed about five times already just to go and stand in the bathroom because it is there. This toilet doesn't flush randomly. And you know what? I don't have to wear flip flops in the shower tomorrow morning! And I have also just made $400 and spared my good parents from a three a.m. airport run.
Yes, I got bumped. I had left my mouse friend to venture to my gate only to find chaos. 10:30 came and went and they finally announced that they were taking volunteers to reschedule for tomorrow. I am a great fan of being bumped; I have gotten business class
back from Europe, extra nights in Vegas, Amsterdam and Switzerland and a few flight vouchers. Tonight I got a $400 dollar voucher, a night at the Ramada Inn and three meal vouchers. When they announced this opportunity, the only thing that made me hesitate was that I really wanted to brush my teeth and didn't have toothpaste with me, you know, because they will throw all liquids away. People were all yelling at the poor counter guy, saying "Who the *&^% allows you to overbook flights?" "Who can we blame...the government? The city? The State?" I kind of felt like saying "Blame God" but instead, when the guy asked for the third time if anyone would volunteer, I raised my hand from the back of the line and I think he thought I was an angel in my white Columbia sweatshirt by the way he looked at me (not one other person volunteered). Since I knew I had a lot of leverage, I was going to barter for the addition of toothpaste, but chose to just be an angel. The only bad part was that I had to stand next to a wailing man from India while they worked out the details, who was crying and whispering, "I cannot go tomorrow, because tomorrow will be too late" since he missed his flight. He wailed for an hour before I discovered that his mother was on her death bed and he feared he would not get to see her alive again.
To transition from that I will just say that I did get toothpaste and a toothbrush here at the front desk, so now the $400 is really worth it. All I have with me is my pillow (thank God), an orange, and my laptop. Three essentials.
Dispersed among my above ramblings are pictures of the whimsical benches that circle the entire back of Grant's Tomb, right behind the I-House and in front of Riverside Park. I love the contrast of stately Roman columns with funky mosaic. The picture at the top is graffiti right next to Amy Ruth's in Harlem. And here is Grant's Tomb (I thought it was part of Columbia when I first got here, so it ended up in the Columbia University post).
Good night, my comfy bed is luring me to sleep! Oh, but did you all realize that my brother posted the last one...I don't talk about myself in third person!
"Really?!" you might ask, "How would I know to look for it??"
Eliminate the fear, folks, of missing a future post by Marjie! Now there are two ways to subscribe to her blog:
To the left you will notice a "Subscribe" section with two links in it. One allows you to subscribe using an RSS reader, which is a great way to keep up with subscriptions from multiple places.
But if RSS sounds unfamiliar or frightening, there is also a new link to an email subscription service that will send you an email when ever Marjie posts a new entry! Just click it and fill in the simple form and that's it! Even Blackberry users should be able to do it!*
* The author of this post does not guarantee compatibility with Blackberries, would-be-Broadway-stars or people easily frightened by RSS Readers.
I saw plenty of Broadway.
I didn't see enough Broadway.
I ate my way through New York.
I didn't eat enough in New York.
I learned a ton about China.
I still know nothing about China.
I hate my little dorm room with the bathroom down the hall.
Dorm life twenty years later has been more than "fun."
See? I can't answer it.
I have had the last two days to myself because the people in my program have trickled home or off to somewhere else. Originally, I had a list of museum-y, Ellis Island-y kind of things to accomplish. But what I really wanted to do, I realized, was walk...just like I did my first two days here. Fortunately, my feet are broken in, because yesterday I started at 122nd and walked downtown all the way to 1st. There's a math problem I can do: 122 blocks ("gorgeous blocks" for you Holden fans).
I knew my final destination because two weeks ago when I was in Alphabet City (East of the East Village) I planned to come back to see more of the community gardens and to eat at this cute little Italian place called Max at 51 Avenue B. In between I walked fifty or so of those "blocks" through my favorite place, Central Park, did a little shopping at the street fair and ate a few treats, (which, of course, I will explain in a second) and ended up at singer/songwriter night at The Bitter End-- a full twelve hours of walking. OK, the food:
This is an Indian Roti Roll, filled with spiced potatoes and sweet peas and topped with cilantro sauce and yogurt. Really greasy and good. I also splurged with a sushi stop: before I left, I found this very cool "Sushi Spreadsheet" - made by a New York lawyer who eats sushi every day and listing his top 100 recommendations: :http://www.epicurious.com/images/sushispreadsheet_epicurious.pdf
Well, the other night I tried the lobster roll at Neo Sushi on 83rd and Broadway (best on the Upper West Side according to the spreadsheet) as just an appetizer before heading to the Village for dinner, which just made me want to see what more this place to offer, so I stopped in again for a few (extravagant and expensive) tastes. Now, I have had some great sushi experiences, but these pieces were worthy to be called the best of my life so far. Neo doesn't even place soy sauce on the table, which I love because I just don't understand the soy sauce need with good sushi. Pictured here:
Left to right: Yellowtail with tofu sauce and avocado, kumomoto raw oyster, salmon miso and eel tempura. I also had four more which are not pictured, but I chose this picture because at the end, I had to get one more salmon miso and one more of the oysters. After each bite, I just sat there for about two full minutes tasting. Truly amazing flavors.
Oh, and the dinner at Max was great, too, but it was just ordinary Linguine with meat sauce, so I don't need to describe it.
Friday night was our final ceremony and it was held at The China Institute, which is on the east side. Everyone dressed up and they had drinks and appetizers and closing words, but the highlight, by far, was the music. Bonnie from Indiana surprised everyone with her bluegrass guitar (I don't know the name for it) and haunting mountain songs, and Craig backed her up with his saxophone. What a treat, and what a great group of people.
So, yes, I am sad to leave. How lucky can a girl be, anyway, to get this, and then to return to beautiful Seattle summer for a good solid three more weeks? I am excited for my bed and my kitchen, friends and family. Thanks for tuning in to my summer, and a special thanks to everyone for participating on the blog because that was really fun for me. I think I have one more post in me when I return, so tune in in a few days, too.
Oh, one more note for Seattleites: the other night we were heading to the train and a group of people were setting off fireworks yelling something about "A-Rod" and ".500." They were BIG fireworks, too.
And one more Imagine photo, from yesterday (see the John Lennon glasses in the middle?):
See you at home!
Saturday, August 04, 2007
It was really nice meeting you in Chelsea a few weeks ago. Right after you left the Market I tried the yogurt flavored gelato and that was really great. Thanks. Then I caught the train to Chinatown because the way you talked about Wo Hop dumplings was so inspiring. I got distracted by some other dumplings that I recognized from my past, though, so ended up bringing some friends back a few nights later and we waited in the long line up the stairs in the sweltering heat to get in. I'm a little confused, though, about The Wo Hop. Our food was very ordinary, so I wonder if I heard you correctly about what exactly I was supposed to order. Since that time we have seen many people wearing Wo Hop shirts, and a guy even told us that when he went away for college, his parents sent him Wo Hop food. So I know you meant well.
Anyway, yesterday my friend Elsa took me on a tour of Chinatown, and I thought I would let you know what we did in case you and your partner-with-the-pen plan to intercept more people in Chelsea and send them to Chinatown for dumplings. I think it's a really good thing that you do (many of my friends practically fell in love with you when I told them about our encounter) but maybe you could use some of her ideas, too. Here is where she took me (the order is very important, Elsa says it's "geographical"):
1. Vietnamese dessert. The green balls in the middle of the salty, sweet coconut milk are the consistency of mochi, which is rice beaten until it's really chewy, and they are filled with mung bean paste and then topped with peanuts and the whole thing is heated up. This reminds me of the banana cake in coconut milk dessert I love at The Tamarind Tree, but this dessert cost only fifty cents. We also had a drink that was ice, coconut milk, long stringy green jelly and more beans. That was good, too, but if I were you, I would suggest the green mochi balls to the people in Chelsea.
2. Humbao: My brother will love what comes next, because he is a humbao freak. These four pork and dried mushroom filled buns were a dollar, and they were perfect...kind of crunchy on the outside and the sweet dough was light around the filling.
3. Doughnut Plant. I would never think to follow buns with doughnuts, but Elsa is worthy of complete trust. Between Chinatown and the Lower East Side resides The Doughnut Plant, and many people swear that these cakes are the best in the world. I am not a fan of doughnuts, but after tasting both the tres leches and the sweet basil varieties, I am really glad that I don't work between Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
4. The Pickle Guys
It may seem rather strange to you (as it did me) when Elsa revealed our next destination. The Pickle Guys are right across the street from the doughnuts, and though Elsa doesn't like pickles, she said we had to go. Look at all of these barrels...we tried okra and red pepper, and of course I tried a sour pickle. It was fantastic, as far as pickles can be fantastic. And New York delis pride themselves on their pickles. Yum...good doughnut chasers!
5. Dumpling House. I bet every New Yorker has his own idea about where the best dumplings are. A few doors down from The Pickle Guys is a place we got four dumplings and two kinds of pancakes: one sesame and one egg batter. All of this cost two dollars, and the dumplings were just as good as my favorite little stand on Mott Street, and much better than Wo Hop dumplings (sorry).
6. Hong Kong Station. By the time we got here, I was full. Being full in New York is such a great disappointment. But when I come back, I will definitely eat here. You choose from about five kinds of noodles ($1.50 each) and all the toppings you want to mix in for $1 each, including beef, fried tofu, egg rolls, etc.
Well, I hope that this list has been helpful. Keep up the good work in Chelsea.
p.s. We were also wondering about all of the head shots covering every wall at the Wo Hop. We had a lot of time to look them all over, and we didn't recognize one single person. Who are all of those people?
P.P.S HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANGIE!