Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 2012 Wrap Up

It honestly pains me to write this post simply because the month has passed by so quickly. January has truly been a very restful month because of winter break and the lack of hours at my part time job as retail is slow during January and February. Unfortunately the start of February means I'm back to the daily grind of being a full time student and all the rest of it. Enough complaining about the upcoming months and let's get on with the wrap up!


My first outside meal of the year was at Schiller's Liquor Bar located in the Lower East Side. I opted for the homemade vegetarian pot pie which was very welcome due to the bitter cold weather that evening. The pastry was light, flaky and all kinds of perfect. The vegetable innards were not my favorite as it was a bit bland and nothing worth trying twice. But the service was tremendously slow and by the time the food arrived I was so hungry I gobbled it all up without a second thought. The atmosphere of Schiller's is a little retro and very diner-esque. If you ever go, definitely pay a visit to the restroom because I was definitely surprised when I opened the door to what I thought was the ladies room. My friends thought it wasn't too special but there is a communal sink for both ladies and gents instead of separate washing areas for each restroom.


The following afternoon I had brunch with my closest high school girl friends at Cafe Orlin, a much raved about brunch destination in St. Marks. I decided to try something out of my usual comfort zone and went with the Middle Eastern Breakfast which they describe on the menu as "two eggs any style with organic Labana cheese, topped with zaatar, served with Israeli salad and pita". All of the eggs they use are organic but they all taste the same to me so the eggs were just any old sunny side up eggs. The salad was tangy and refreshing and paired well with the muted flavor of the cheese. I loved the pita dipped into the cheese but I could probably eat the pita plain and be happy. I love my carbs. The cafe was comfortably full as there were many other customers but the noise level was just right. Our party of four was seated promptly and the service was fast. Overall this is a quaint and dainty place to have brunch for a special occasion.


As a child I was never really fond of animals unlike all the other kids who all fantasized of being veterinarians. But in the last few years I have definitely grown to enjoy the company of the other creatures who inhabit the earth along with us. My boyfriend lives quite close to the only farm in New York City area so we make it a point to visit at least once a season. Several class field trips from elementary to middle school were to this same farm and it never seems to change much. Nonetheless, it never loses its charm.


One of the goats seemed to take a liking to my boyfriend. All of the other goats ignored us but this light brown goat definitely likes people because he immediately approached us as we walked toward his side of the fence.


Some of the chickens and geese seemed to be sharing a pen but they didn't seem to be great pen mates. This particular pen held two pigs last spring but this time around we could not find the pigs anywhere. Perhaps it's too cold for them and they live inside a barn somewhere....


This sign was unusually funny for some odd reason and I was excited to see alpacas because they were not here last spring. I wonder how they rotate their animals on the farm because last spring there were ponies and this winter they did not have them.


At first the alpacas totally ignored us and went on grazing in the middle of their enclosure. We were about to give up and move on but I started making clicking sounds which I usually do when I see a squirrel. Amazingly it worked and the alpacas came right up to the fence and let us pet them! Now a lot of people think alpacas and llamas are the same thing but trusty old Google taught me that although the two are from the same family, they have distinctively different features. Llamas are larger and are used as pack animals whereas alpacas are groomed for their fibers. There are more differences but my point is not to teach you about llamas and alpacas so I'll stop with this ramble. Oh and yes I am bumming it with my ponytail, glasses, and makeup free face!


The cows mostly sitting and standing being just cows but it was amusing when a lone sheep wandered in and got the stare down. That just about sums up our time at the local farm which I never get sick of visiting! I did some research and found a place called Farm Sanctuary where they take in abused farm animals, nurse them back to health, and teach visitors about the cruelties of modern day factory farms. I desperately want to visit the farm but the nearest location is five hours away in upstate New York.... I somewhat convinced my family that we should go during the summer so perhaps it might happen! There are two other locations in California as well.


My boyfriend passed his driver's test last summer so now he (very) occasionally picks me up for dates. I don't know how to drive yet so all I have to do is sit in the passenger's side and look pretty :P


For the best quality, affordable Asian food in New York City, you definitely have to go to Flushing. I have been going to Flushing at least once a week for pretty much my entire life and although it gets boring, the food is always good. My boyfriend and I went to grab a quick bite at a Taiwanese family owned restaurant which unfortunately I do not know the name of. That's usually my problem when I go to eateries that I'm so familiar with that I don't actually know the name of the place.... It's on Prince street between Roosevelt and 39th avenue near Sentosa if anyone is interested. The left wall of the resturant is a mirror if that helps.... Anyway, pictured above is their salty soy milk which my boyfriend ordered. His mother loves it as well but I'm just not used to the taste. I much prefer regular sweetened soymilk without anything inside. 


My favorite dish from this place is their scallion pancake. Asian pancakes are salty and savory unlike Western breakfast pancakes which are typically sweet. I believe one order of these scallion pancakes is less than $5 (don't quote me on that though) and you get enough pieces for a family to share as an appetizer. The pancake is the right balance of crispy and chewy and the salty flavor is concentrated in little pockets so that in certain bites your taste buds can just surrender on the spot. So... good....


My boyfriend actually prefers omelets wrapped in scallion pancakes so he got a dish of those all to himself. They also make a pancake with oysters which is also quite yummy.


I also couldn't help but order a dish of rice cakes stir fried with some veggies, mushrooms, and chicken. I actually ordered the wrong kind of rice cakes as I wanted it only with this special kind of white cabbage and pork but this was good as well. You get a ton of food and Asian dishes are always best for sharing and eating family style.


Right after our very filling meal we ran to the movies theater because on Tuesdays they have movies for only $7 for the entire day. Usually the shows before noon are $8 and after it's around $11. The tickets definitely cost a lot more in Manhattan and I believe I've paid at least $15 to see a movie before.... Ridiculous. Anyway, I dragged my boyfriend to watch The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because I was obsessed with the books last summer. I had heard many good things about the American release so I was excited to see for myself how well it compares to the novel. The movie was decent but nothing worth raving about. I felt that David Fincher's other films like Fight Club and The Social Network were more enjoyable (although that might be because Brad Pitt and Andrew Garfield starred in those movies respectively...). Perhaps I already knew what was going to happen in the movie for once so nothing came as a surprise and I could not fully enjoy the story. I am still looking forward to the next two films as I found those books in the series to be even more entertaining and thrilling.


To finish off the evening we had a light dinner of noodle soups. I am usually a rice person but it's hard to eat rice when it's only two people because you can't order as many dishes to go with the rice. Noodles are convenient because it's an all in one meal although I only prefer a few types of noodles.


One of my very close friends is leaving in a few weeks to go study abroad in Seoul for four months so we made sure to meet up and have lunch together. Somehow we ended up choosing Korean food even though she will probably be eating similar things to this for the next few months. The restaurant, called Chom Chom, is located on 56th street between 5th and 6th avenue. We opted for the lunchbox sets and I chose the kalbi set which came with some fried chicken strips, salad, spicy cold noodles, and sushi. I wish it came with some rice as the kalbi was a bit too salty on its own. The meal was good but like I said before, the best affordable Asian food can be found in Flushing. This lunchbox costs about twice as much as it would cost in Flushing.


I seem to eat out quite a bit in these posts simply because I show what I take pictures of. In reality I eat at home a lot and I rarely buy lunch. Unfortunately I have poor cooking skills and I can only make the simplest of dishes so far.... My boyfriend and I made guacamole and used it to top off our tortillas with melted pepperjack cheese. Easy peasy and very yummy!


I finished two books this break (even though my goal was three) which were An Education (not pictured) and Atonement (excuse the tattered edges as this was a library rental). Both books were later made into films which I both saw awhile ago and enjoyed. An Education by Lynn Barber is a memoir and I was surprised that only the first third or so of the book made up the entire film starring Carey Mulligan. The middle portion of the novel somewhat dragged along although Ms. Barber's sense of humor and honesty permeates throughout her account. Atonement had an extremely long beginning portion but the last half was engaging and heartfelt. Ian McEwan's use of language is simply beautiful and the love story is understood yet controlled so that it is not cheapened by any means. Blatant romances aren't nearly as captivating as unrequited passion. I currently have three more books lined up to be read so hopefully I can manage them before school becomes unbearable and before the library demands their books back. If you haven't figured out already, I try to take full advantage of the public library because books these days are incredibly expensive and I have no room to put them.  


My parents and I went to watch The Lion King on Broadway on Chinese New Years Eve. My mother has been wanting to watch this show for years so we finally bought tickets and went to see what all the hype was about. I have been to a few Broadway musicals and several more off Broadway shows and they were mostly quite good. I can enjoy theater when I'm there but I rarely have a strong urge to see a show. The Lion King fell short of my expectations because for some reason I imagined the venue to be a lot larger. The acting, singing, and dancing was impressive but I thought something was missing.


This year Chinese New Year was in January (it can be in January or February) so that meant lots of food and red envelopes! Chinese New Year is always a festive time spent with old friends and family. It actually lasts for 15 days so it's going to end in February!

That about wraps it up for my month of January. Even though it went by too quickly, I felt like I got a decent amount done and it was very relaxing and enjoyable throughout. I hope February is a great month although I imagine it will be much more hectic than January....





7 comments:

  1. wow all that foood look soo yummy!!

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  2. what an incredible round up. Queens has a zoo????? hahaha the restaurant you went to but you don't know of it called King 5 Noodle I believe. Is it the noodle shop with the yellow walls?? I love the stir fried rice cake something my bf introduced me to >< damn
    My bf and I make guacamole at least once a week we loooooooooove it! thanks for sharing i might go to the cafe in St Marks one day!

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    1. It's more of a farm than a zoo because they have farm animals and crops :) I think zoos are more centered around animals and educating people about those animals and their environments. I think it does have yellow walls! I call it "the Taiwanese restaurant" when I go with my parents and "359" with my boyfriend and his family because they're friends with the owners. Good to know the real name now! I hope you like the cafe if you ever go! I heard that their dinner isn't very good though :/

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  3. OMG you live in college point?! o_o
    I love eating flushing! my bf got me obsessed with taiwanese fried porkchops. soo gooood *q*

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    1. I don't live in College Point but I go to the movie theater there a lot :) I've been eating in Flushing my whole life so it's basically comfort food for me haha. Yum~ porkchops :D

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  4. The food looks delicious,as usual :P Times like this when I wished I lived a little closer to Flushing...
    I didn't know there were Alpacas in NYC!

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    1. I didn't know they had alpacas either until I went! They were so cute but I don't know how long they'll still be there!

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