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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was promised dim sum.