Monday, March 30, 2009

A Saturday in Coney Island

I had heard that the powers that be were closing down the rides at Coney Island, and so I assumed that it would be empty lots or other signs of 'progress' on the water front. It was a breezy Saturday when our friends Paul and Karin asked us if we wanted to trek out to Coney Island. What was curious was that I had the same idea myself when I woke up that morning, but didn't do anything to act on it. So, when we got a call from them suggesting the trip we were happy about it. Last time we went to Coney Island we went with these same two friends and we had a great time, we walked the boardwalk, played video games and snacked on fried foods and sugary drinks...the kind that only taste good when served with the salt air and the incoming tides. But even the ocean seemed resigned to small lap waves, even though there were smatterings of people the place seems like it was just waiting to die. Coney Island has been in a purgatory for quite a while, a cheap popular place for locals, but the stores fronts never seemed to be doing all that well, despite the famous hotdogs and such. I can't say I was surprised at the gates and gaping holes and half disassembled rides, I expected it. I guess I also expected it to have more of an impact on me. I thought I might be sad or a little upset. Instead I found the decay interesting and beautiful. Entropy. The rule that states everything is breaking down, it was interesting to me, because every beginning has an ending. And every ending leads to a beginning, let's hope that this is the beginning of something good for Coney Island...and the rest of us.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This photo begs for a caption

Any ideas?

One reason why Chalupa is better than a baby doll

She loves lying in clothes right out of the dryer. She accompanies me to the laundry room, and plays with her ball or sniffs around waiting for the time when the clothes are ready to be unloaded from the dryer. Then she becomes all business, snorting and softly grunting until she can get into the laundry basket with the warmed clothes. I actually have to stop her from doing this to our neighbors clothes, as they are less likely to let a grubby little dog lay in their clean clothes. Here's a picture from years ago, but I have many many photos of Chalupa as "laundry lint."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A walk in the city

Today we again went to one of favorite brunch places and headed over to the Golden Unicorn for brunch. It was mayhem. I think it was a combination of the nice weather and the fact that we decided to go at prime dim sum time, around 12:30 that made the wait a bit longer than expected. When we walked into the lobby, you are usually greeted by a few people standing around, and you make your way to the woman at the podium, you tell her how many people are in your party and she instructs you to proceed to a floor level. Today, we walked in and there were small crowds of people dispersed all over the lobby, and when we approached the woman she gave us a number. Our number was 59, they were on 54 or so when we first heard her call numbers. But within seconds of our arrival several more hordes of people appeared, and each dutifully got a number then stood around in clumps, trying to be patient. But stomachs were grumbling and more and more people kept coming in, I decided to edge my way toward the podium lady to put a little pressure on her to call our number. We waited patiently enough for about 15 minutes or so, and when she finally called number 58 with no one answering, I mentioned that we were #59. She asked if we were willing to share a table, and we said yes. And got ushered onto the third floor.

Once the elevators doors opened, the real fun began, this was the scene that we know and love. The chaotic frenzy of food carts, wait staff and customers all bounding toward the same goal. There was a couple standing by the elevators, but it wasn't clear whether they were coming or going, and there were the two guys that we were supposed to share a table with chatting to our left. But just when we were about to be seated, a mother and daughter bounded in from the steps to our right and they got seated with us. Those poor guys, if you snooze you loose. But maybe they weren't as hungry as us....or our table companions. For as soon as we got seated we each eyed the food carts desperately. We were there only seconds when the mother of the two, took her punch card over to a cart to order some food, and I took it as a cue that I should do the same. When I did this, it prompted the food cart lady to bring her cart over to our table, where we immediately ordered four dishes. It was down hill from there, we got just about all our favorites, and greedily scarfed them all down. The pork shumai, the spinach and shrimp dumplings, and the chicken steamed rice in the banana leaf did not stand a chance. By the time the steamed pork buns made it to our table I was already slowing down, and looking forward to the dessert rice balls that we snagged earlier. There is nothing like a dim sum brunch, especially when it's a capacity crowd, the energy and frenetic pace make for an entertaining side show, and it's even fun to share a table with strangers. It gives you permission to spy on things that they ordered, they ordered the pickled chicken feet...I guess if I haven't tried it, I shouldn't knock it. They seem to enjoy it thoroughly. After gorging at our beloved Golden Unicorn, we took a nice long walk to Astor place, then decided to walk all the way back to our apartment on 52nd street. It was about a 3 mile walk, and it's just what the doctor ordered.

Insider tip, once you get a number from the lady at the podium, pay careful attention to what numbers she's calling. Sometimes it's very difficult to understand what number she is saying and it's worth it to maintain eye contact with her, as she will most likely just want to get rid of you. Even if you do understand the number she is saying pretend you don't and ask if it's your number.

Bombay Bistro

A swanky new Indian place just opened up in our neighborhood, it's called Bombay Bistro, and it's located on 52nd street between 3rd and Lex. We went in on a whim while we were looking for a good place to eat with no waiting time. The atmosphere of the place is very pleasant, it's nicely designed, with cushy seats and clean modern elegant touches that most Indian food places lack. And the food was top knotch, it's a welcome addition to our neighborhood, because all though we have a few Indian food places around, this is a little more upscale and is generally a nicer place to linger in. They have a small but nice bar right in the front too, with a big screen tv. The food in the above picture looks sparse, but that's just because the waiter very deliberately placed small servings on our plates, we had a lot more food than what is pictured. And they gave us a free appetizer to boot.

Chalupa, the fearless pigeon hunter

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I was promised bubble tea

Anytime JV (or anyone else) mentions bubble tea, in my mind all other words become blah blah blah...then bubble tea. The word floats right up in my mind, beautiful and shiny, like a flower after the rain. Prompting me to annouce that "I was promised bubble tea." If you have never had bubble tea, you should run, not walk to Saint's Alp Tea house. They serve the most delicious bubble tea, not too sweet and in many different flavors and varieties. Bubble tea, is actually sweetened and flavored green or black tea, and the "bubbles" are the big black pearl tapioca that is served at the bottom of the glass. It's either served warm or cold, and if it's served cold they give you a big fat straw so that you can get at all the gummy bubble goodness. mmmhhhmmm....bubble tea, last Sunday we had bubble tea twice! And it was actually JV who suggested it the second time, although we drank the second bubble tea right after dinner and I think the caffeine kept me up a bit. And this second cup of bubble tea we purchased at a restaurant close to us, and the tapioca was still a little "al dente" in the middle, and so not as satifying as Saint's Alp. I recommend the green apple tea with tapioca, large, I like it both hot or cold depending on the weather. Oh yeah, they all serve food, the sweet potato appetizer was delish, and I got the porkchops over rice which was filling, as long as I was careful to pick around the bones. But everyone knows the bubble tea is the main event.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Brunch fit for a cowgirl

Cowgirl is a great place for brunch, but it's super mega busy so come early, make a resevation or be prepared to wait even just for a little while. If you haven't been here yet, it's quite a kitsch scene, it's a fun place with hearty home cooked food. I had the chicken fried chicken which was a little underseasoned but was hot and crispy and slathered in white gravy, with a heaping side of mashed potatoes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

FREE pie at Tekserve pi day tomorrow!

On. 3/14 Tekserve is celebrating Pi day, where they are giving away free pie, and special discounts on round shaped things. (Don't ask me, I'm just excited about the free dessert). Check it out here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chalupa and her milkbone

So I recently ordered Chalupa heart worm prevention medicine from 1800petmeds, and as usual they include a milk bone in the package. I gave the treat to Chalupa the other day, and unlike her other treats, she takes any cookie and carries it around the entire apartment softly grunting and snorting the whole way. She proceeds to hide the bone, then she asks me to get it for her, usually it's in the couch or under a cushion. But she does this endlessly; hiding and re-hiding her precious bone, I find that if I finally break the cookie in half she'll eat it. So, tonight John broke off a little piece for her, and laid the rest of the bone down by her head. She quickly dropped the bite size piece he handed her and snatched the large piece of bone and made a dash for under the coffee table. Where she greedily gnawed away at it. She's always very competitive about food with JV....I think she knows something. I would have included a picture or a movie, but she is very wary of the camera when she is in the business of hiding her bone, after all it's supposed to be a secret.

dinner at dok suni

Dok Suni is one of my favorite restaurants in Manhattan. It used to be my absolute fav, but they've made a few changes and it's been taken down a knotch. (What's with the "Dok Suni" crazy yellow lettering t-shirts, and whose idea was it to mess with the vegetable dumplings??) But I still have a soft spot for it, it's delicious food, and I like the dark, hole in the wall atmosphere. But it's cash only, so be prepared. I recommend the Bimbimbop, hot with beef.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another dinner in Brooklyn

We had a terrific home cooked dinner in Brooklyn by our friends J&J, they have a beautiful cat, who was just stole my heart. She was beatiful markings two little orange tips on her front paws and an orange spot on her head. She is very elegant, and prefers to drink her water out of human glasses, and would defiantly jump on the table to do so. Too funny.

Sunday Indian buffet

We had a great buffet brunch at Bawarchi Indian Cuisine on Sunday, it's was all you can eat for $8.95! The food was delicious, and they even had a little dessert, I've seen much bigger buffets but what they lacked in variety they made up for in quality. Super yummy. And you can't beat the price with a stick. And fresh Naan bread brought to your table is always a sign of a good Indian food buffet.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Gooooorrrrrgeous weather today

We took advantage of the mild temperature and walked down to the Barking Dog, where Chalupa is immediately recognized by the hostess, and so of course we get a primo table. Our "usual" table is right next to a large square plot that has a tree planted in the middle. In the summer Chalupa always sits under the tree for the shade, but since the branches were bare today, she stayed on the cement wall next to our table and buried her head from the blaring sunlight. It's a little freaky the weather is so nice, we sat and ate lunch with no jackets and were really quite warm....what a difference a couple of days make.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

furry chalups

Chalupa in her hippie days.

Alternate universe Chalupa*

Someone on youtube told me that she too had a yorkie/chihuahua named Chalupa, and what is funny is that it looks like our old apartment in Le Rivage, the place we used to live in near Battery Park. Check out the video, the resemblence is uncanny, Chalupa used to look crazy furry like that when she was younger, but maybe not so much black on her back. I'll dig up an old photo and post it. Enjoy!

*So is there an infinite number of alternate universes? "No, just the two." -Professor from Futurama