A Post in Pink

We #fancy #teampixel

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More #fancy

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Hidden messages. #peterpan #nevergrowup #teampixel #litcube

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Pictures taken at Mother’s Ruin, NYC.

Ring in the last picture was from my July (2016) Lit-Cube box, from LindaMunequita’s Esty shop.

~*~

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Restaurant Week by Pictures

Park Avenue Winter

The decor in Park Avenue Winter was fabulous – I wish I took a photo. The food was wonderful and eating in such a beautiful environment only made it more gratifying.

For dinner, I ordered the Crab Cake, the Short Ribs and the Gingerbread Pudding. Everything was delicious, but the star of the meal was the Gingerbread Pudding. I was expecting the creamy sort, but instead it as the cake sort and it was delightful (and delicious) surprise.

Crab cakes #foodstagram #concretejunglewheredreamsaremade #mynewyork

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Short ribs. #foodstagram #restaurantweek #mynewyork #nofilter

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Gingerbread pudding! #foodstagram #restaurantweek #mynewyork #thiswasquiteatreat

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Vandal New York

First off, I would completely miss Vandal if I wasn’t paying attention. The front looks like a store that sells plants, and the name is nowhere to be found. While waiting for my friends, there were a lot of confused people who stepped in, then stepped outside again, looked up to see what the sign said (there wasn’t any) then walked in again.

The decor inside is beautiful. There are different themes scattered throughout, the table where we were sitting had photos on the wall from when they were decorating the interior. We sat under this lovely lamp.

Vandal had some unique light fixtures.

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I would call the food a fusion of many different cuisines. For example, I ate the Korean Rice Cake dish for appetizer and Churros with Spicy Chocolate for dessert. For the main course, it was steak on top of fried rice, topped with an egg. Everything was tasty.

Get in my belly!! #restaurantweek

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#teampixel #restaurantweek oh, hello steak!

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Churros! #teampixel #restaurantweek

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~*~

 

 

Snow. Five Things (17)

Miles ran: 17.1 | Miles cycled: 0 | Steps: 258,297

— Thing One —

On Friday night, a light snowfall began. The light of the moon reflected off the tiny flakes causing an ethereal glow. Have you ever considered the beauty in freshly fallen snow?

Of course, 24-hours later, back and shoulders burning from shoveling thrice in the same spot to see the ground, I considered a snowblower. The snow threw me off my running, but today I ventured out again, happy to see at least three other people running in the park with me and no snow/ice on the path.

— Thing Two —

Being stuck indoors can be a drag, but I’ve recently picked up my reading again and managed to finished two books while stuck indoors. The Malediction Trilogy was recommended by a reliable reading source, and it wasn’t until book two in the trilogy that we both realized that book three will not be released until May!

It’s nothing entirely different from the typical YA fantasy lot – curse, creatures with magical powers and a protagonist who isn’t aware of their special abilities – but what did make it stand out from its compatriots was the lack of the dreaded love triangle and insta-love that seems to plague the shelves and turned me off of YA fantasy for a little while.  After finishing the second in the series, I started looking for other reads and have since pre-ordered four books (book three included). One of which downloaded this Thursday and which I have already finished.

— Thing Three —

I have also been catching up on Doctor Who. I have two episodes (excluding the special) that I need to watch, but I’m afraid to finish watching them because I’m so sad about what happened in Face the Raven.

— Thing Four —

In other attempts at being healthy – or eating well – I have joined Blue Apron and received my first package this week. It was a bit of an inconvenience – the address mix up and all – but I finally got the box delivered to my home and made two meals from the three.

If there is one thing that Blue Apron teaches you, it’s that cooking isn’t difficult and making delicious dishes isn’t a hard task.

— Thing Five —

I helped a friend out this week, and it involved taking out my guitar – which I belatedly realized needing its strings changed, badly! That night, I felt a strange buzzing energy pushing through my weariness, it has been a while since I played/lead in this way, and it felt really good. Coming from a period where I have contemplated quitting, I think this was the best thing that could have happened. I have to think on this more, but it’s quite a thing.

~*~

The Great Dumpling Showdown*

This week, a workmate (who shares my love of dumplings) and I decided to have dumpling taste test for lunch. There were three places that we heard of that were all referred to as “the best dumplings in the city”, but we were skeptical, we had to stack them up against each other to see who really deserved the title.

Vanessa’s Dumpling House on Eldridge Street was my secret favourite. I have been dropping by there at least once a week for a month now and I absolutely love their dumplings.

Prosperity Dumpling on Clinton Street was recently featured in the Gothamist’s The 10 Best Cheap Eats in NYC and tried it but couldn’t really decide if it unseated my favourite.

And finally, late entry to our showdown was, Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle on East Broadway. We were going to this one on the good word of a friend; I had no idea it existed1 until the previous week when I was told this was the best dumplings he ever had.

Any good showdown needed a report card, so we came up with four categories that were important to us, each category graded out of 5:

  1. Quality of Meat
  2. Quality of Wrapper
  3. Meat to Wrapper Ratio
  4. Holdability2

So it began; with metro card in hand, we rode the orange line to East Broadway and found ourselves at Lam Zhou.

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There was no counter, you sorta ordered by this little passage-way into their kitchen3, there were no stuffing options, it was just fried or boiled. Since we both liked the fried better we decided to judge on that.

For $3 you got 11 dumplings, which sounded a little overwhelming at first. They came out and the first thing we noticed was that the wrapper was thin, so that made eating eleven dumplings not seem as bad after all. However, while thin, it wasn’t flimsy and allowed you to enjoy the stuffing which was really good! Quality of Wrapper: 5

Of the three we tasted, Lam Zhou’s stuffing had the most unique flavour, while Vanessa’s and Prosperity were very similar in taste there seemed to be more chives in Lam Zhou’s. Quality of Meat: 5

Being so thin-skinned, the meat was not lost within the wrapper which was great, but that did cause some of the meat to slip out of the wrapper a little too easily (and on to the counter) so we had to take a mark off for that. Meat to Wrapper Ratio: 5; Holdability: 4

Lam Zhou received a 19/20.

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Next we took a walk up to Vanessa’s where we ordered the Chives & Pork dumplings at their long counter. You get 4 fried dumplings for $1.25 here. I was looking forward to this one, but what I noticed right away was that Vanessa’s wrapper was very thick. Next to Lam Zhou it was a lot of wrapper. However, it was not overwhelming, which we appreciated, and we liked the crunchiness the thickness added.  Quality of Wrapper: 5;  Meat to Wrapper Ratio: 5

Now, it could have been that Lam Zhou’s flavourful stuffing was still in our mouths, but we found that Vanessa’s was slightly less outstanding when compared to the other two and meat is important to making a dumpling, so we had to lower its grade. Quality of Meat: 4

Finally, for some reason none of the meat wanted to stay in the wrapper so we ended up eating half of the dumpling together and the other half having to place the meat on top of the wrapper. Holdability: 3

Now, I still love Vanessa’s but when you stack them up with the other two their overall grade was 17/20.

20141112_134940A short walk later found us at Prosperity where we ordered 4 Chives & Pork dumplings for $1.25 (and a bottle of water for $1 each).

Prosperity and Vanessa’s meat are similar, but I thought that Vanessa’s was just slightly bland when compared to Prosperity. Quality of Meat: 5

I also noticed that while their wrapper was also on the thick side, it was slightly thinner than Vanessa’s and I appreciated that quality of thickness, but it was a little too crispy. While Vanessa’s had the perfect crispy for its thickness I felt that Prosperity’s was very crunchy. Quality of Wrapper: 4

However, leaving crunchy aside, it held up the best of the three dumpling places and they were not shy on their stuffing. Meat to Wrapper Ratio: 5; Holdability: 5

On a whole this gave them a 19/20.

And the Winner is4

It was a tie between Lam Zhou and Prosperity, but in the end it all comes down to your preference. If you like the thin wrappers and can have 11 dumplings in one sitting, then go with Lam Zhou. If you like slightly thicker wrappers then head on over to Prosperity.

Vanessa’s isn’t without its good points though. If you have a larger group, they have more seating and more choices of the three.

My preference is thinner skinned so I think Lam Zhou has become my new favourite dumpling place!

—–##—–

* Well, the showdown only happened between three dumpling places because we had limited time. They were also within walking/subway distance from the office.
1. We also had no idea where it was and it was quite an adventure finding it. Keep your eyes peeled because you might walk right by it!
2. The ability to hold a half bitten dumpling, for the final bite, without everything falling apart.
3. while we were waiting, one guy who was seated for lunch yelled back to the kitchen that he wanted some more dumplings, a few minutes later they brought some out.
4. AKA the TL;DR for those who just want to get to the point.

~*~

Dear Ceci Cela

We have a problem.

You see, since I came off of the Daniel Fast I’ve tried to avoid consuming too much diary, particularly milk. So I’ve been staying away from my daily Skinny Caramel Macchiato and when I find myself in the mood for a hot frothy drink I try to use almond milk. And therein lies the problem.

I started out drinking Chai Tea Lattes with soy milk even though I am not a fan of soy milk, but Starbucks offered no alternative. Then, one fated lunch, when I sat in your cafe with a friend and saw Chai Latte on the menu and asked if you had diary alternatives and heard you had almond milk. I decided to try. From the moment the mixture touched my lips I was hooked. And that’s the problem.

I want more than anything to commit to you long-term, the only other place I’ve tasted such great Chai Latte was at Mud but, long distance relationships aren’t really my cup of tea and you, you are right there, just two blocks away, always ready when I drop by. But I can’t commit right now. I’m not in a place where I can call you my own. I’m not ready, I’m just getting over the soy milk at Starbucks. The thought of a serious commitment makes me break out in hives. The timing isn’t right, and you know what they say, even a good thing at the wrong time is a bad thing … or something like that.

So, I’m sorry. It was a wonderful time but we must part ways. At least for now, maybe down the road we’ll see each other again. Maybe then I’ll be ready. Maybe you’ll still be waiting there for me.

Lots of love,
Me.

 

P.S. you’ll still supply my Chai Latte from time to time, right?

 

Five Things (12)

This post is brought to you by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – particularly the part where Hermione accidentally put cat hair in her polyjuice …

Next month is NaNoWriMo and I’m probably not going to do one of these Five Things posts … unless I’m in procrastination mode, then I’ll probably do quite a lot of them! 

Harlequin Teen Rocks!

This was my second Harlequin Teen event and I feel so privileged to be a part of their community! I got the opportunity to attend a wonderfully bookish event at Trump SoHo where we had a spectacular view of lower Manhattan as we heard about some new releases and received news of Julie Kagawa’s new series! I absolutely love Julie Kagawa, so being one of the first to hear the new of her new series was exciting.

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Wedding, the Last

The final wedding of the season! The music was fun, the friends were awesome and the couple was radiant! I’m so glad I got to witness the joining of these two! Woot! 🙂

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Oysters taste … slimy?

I tried raw oysters for the first time! I won’t call it slimy, though that’s the popular opinion, I think silky might be a better word. It was a fun experience and I loved it so much I went again the following week!

My friends and I went to the Mermaid Oyster Bar in SoHo, they have a happy hour menu and their oysters were fresh (and delicious!) I tried both the East and West Coast types… I don’t think I have a specific preference, the west coast was meatier, so perhaps more filling.

Mermaid Oyster Bar also gave us a cute little chocolate pudding dessert and a Fortune Teller Fish when we received our bill. The chocolate pudding was made with dark chocolate and was delicious! A perfect end to the meal.

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Hiking! 

I went hiking twice in October! I love walking so hiking is pretty much one of my favourite things to do. The first hike was pretty easy, we went to Mohonk and took a wrong turn and ended up at Mohonk House – which is beautiful. The second hike was Breakneck Ridge and is more rock scrambling than hiking, that was awesome!

They were two very different hikes, the first one was more relaxed pace and you could chat the entire way. The second, while you could make stops along the way took more concentration as you had to figure out how to get up and then back to the road. Both completely different, but both lovely. 🙂

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Cinderella!

The San Francisco Ballet was touring NYC and performed Cinderella – I got to see it! 🙂 It was fun and sassy! I especially loved the carriage scene – great concept!

Chistopher Wheeldon's Cinderella

image via Daniel Brodie

~*~

Five Things (8)

These five things are brought to you by the sunny days of summer!

— Thing One —

I took a plane to Canada for my cousin’s 30th (again) surprise birthday party. His wife put it together for him and he was very surprised! It was fun hanging with my family for the weekend. I don’t get to do to Canada often because the price of tickets are often ridiculous – I mean, the flight is not even an hour, do I really need to pay 400$ for a round-trip? – and when there are folks driving up I usually cannot go due to work.

I had a great time there, the birthday was fun and the food delicious but, the best part was the cake! Not only was it delicious it was a beautiful thing to behold.

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— Thing two —

I went up to a retreat at Nyack college. First off, that campus is AMAZING! The views from the campus are spectacular, the grounds are quaint and quite beautiful and the buildings are fun! The retreat was also AMAZING. I had a great time and hung out with friends and met some lovely people. It was rainy the first night, but the next day the weather was perfect. A few of us went into town and the stores in the town were so adorable! There was a bookshop called Pickwick (I know, cute!) and I wanted to go in to see if they had any Dickens. Such a lovely place, I’m so glad I went away for the weekend.

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— Thing three —

I was at a conference where the speaker was talking about the power of word of mouth advertising and he mentioned a speakeasy that exists in New York where you enter in via a telephone booth inside of a hot dog shop; when I heard this I knew I had to go visit!

It was definitely an experience. They took reservations on the day off, but you had to call after 3pm! I called about 10-15 times before finally getting through and making our reservation. I think it’s a great spot for a small group of friends to relax and have a good time. I loved that it wasn’t crowded and that we were able to hear each other talk. It was strange, but it was really peaceful, I’d go back again!

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— Thing four —

I have a set of pink clubs, I haven’t taken it to out in about three years – since my black car! A weekend ago I did take them out, I went with a friend and her hubby to the driving range where I attempted to teach him how to hit a golf ball. For me though, the best part of the trip was seeing that I was better than I expected. I hit the balls about 95% Of the time and got it out past the 100 mark most of the time – which is pretty amazing since I only recall barely making the 75 mark. There were a few times where I even hit it past 150! I was shocked!

I forgot how therapeutic hitting a golf ball was, I think I’ll have to do it again!

— Thing five —

When you get the right group of people, the right music and the right mood, Karaoke is pretty awesome. I definitely had the right group of people this past Friday. I loved it! We wanted to go for an hour more, but alas, the rooms were all booked!

You know, I really love New York. It might not be as old as European cities but there is a lot of history here. I also enjoy the cultural mix. The fact that I can go to a speakeasy one night, Karaoke the next night and if I want some Korean food with girlfriends, I can find it if I just walk down a block or two.

shanella_karaoke

~*~