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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
So it began; with metro card in hand, we rode the orange line to East Broadway and found ourselves at Lam Zhou.
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.
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.
A 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.
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.
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,
P.S. you’ll still supply my Chai Latte from time to time, right?