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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~*~

 

 

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Something Rotten

(in the state of Broadway)

somethingrotten

I had the privilege of seeing Something Rotten on Broadway recently, and it was fantastic. It was more than fantastic, it has probably shot its way up there to become one of my favourite top five shows; mainly due to the fact that it’s a mishmash of fantastic things – a.k.a. Shakespeare and Broadway and jokes! *breathe*

Everything about the show added to the experience of the show. From the set pieces, to the wonderful and often hilarious costumes, to the absolutely remarkable musical numbers – not to mention the numerous mentions of other musicals, the show keeps you enthralled from its first note to the very last.

My favourite number was “A Musical” which was packed with so many references (both visual and audible) that I wasn’t able to catch them all! But, I did find a handy video from WSJ explaining all the references afterwards, and I’m happy that to report that I picked up quite a few of them.

Broadway week is happening right now, so if you do have  a moment, I’d highly recommend going to see this hilarious show.

Did I mention it has musical references, fun costumes and Shakespeare?

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.

~*~

Matilda: You will soon C there’s no escaping Trage-D

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Matilda: The Musical has a cast of extremely talented kids, a catchy score and a story that will touch your heart. 

The first time I felt the urge to see Matilda on Broadway was when I saw the cast perform Revolting Children on the Tony Awards. I did some Youtubing and found some videos of other bits from the show then I did some Spotify-ing and listened to the soundtrack, I was hooked! I had to watch this show.

Finally, I got the chance! The cast is mostly children and they did an excellent job acting and singing. There was definitely a lot of energy to the show and Miss Honey and the Trunchbull were excellent, though I think my favourite adult actor in the show was the Librarian, she was so funny!

The set was decorated with letters and sometimes had some amusing bits (“Soot” in the fireplace). The kids did a lot of the rearranging of the set, moving props on and around the stage. I think my fave part was the school gate when they sang the School Song and stuck the letters in the gates. That’s one of my favourite songs in the show.

I can go on, it really is one of the cutest shows on Broadway. And can I add that they made a Doctor Who reference? Awesome! 🙂

[Image from broadway.com]

~*~

Something has changed within me, something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game. – Elphaba; Wicked

I wanna Rock!

Rock of AgesRock of Ages was one part unpredictable and all parts spectacular. You don’t have to be a fan of the eighties to love it, but it wouldn’t hurt.

The story follows two young, fame-seeking kids trying to live out their dream on the strip. Drew the singer and Sherrie the actress meet at The Bourbon Room, a place where they both work while trying to realize their dream. There is the usual falling in love and miscommunication that leads to the ultimate breaking apart, followed closely by the realization that they were both wrong. However, the way Rock of Ages presented it is so fresh and fun that it’s easy to overlook this formulaic love story and enjoy the show.

Lonny – the narrator and part owner of The Bourbon Room – is quite hilarious. Regina, a protestor who is trying to save the strip from being torn down by a pair of German developers, also helps to bring a comedic element to the show. Her and Hans were probably my second favourites after Lonny.

The music was great! I loved the way they sung the 80s rock songs, it was edgy, but also a bit classical. The music wasn’t overwhelming, nor did it feel forced. Everyone in the cast did a great job on the vocals and I was blown away by Drew’s voice. I absolutely loved that the band was on the stage and at some points participating in the act itself.

The set was pretty simple, nothing splashy; but I loved the touch they added with the 80s Las Vegas strip memorabilia that hung on the walls.

The ending was the best, make sure you get an orchestra seat because you don’t want to miss the glittering confetti!

Rock of Ages is definitely Broadway’s biggest rock party. Check it out while you still can!

[image via Broadway.com]

~*~

Five Things (1)

Oftentimes it’s difficult for me to keep resolutions because, despite the plotting and scheming to get things done, the change I want is frequently so tremendous that I become disillusioned when I can’t obtain my goal (or close to my goal) within 30 days.

I want to say that I will blog more, that I will talk more about what I observe in the city I call home, but the truth is, I don’t like sharing my thoughts and emotions with everyone. Blogging will always be difficult because of this; while I love the idea of the world wide web and the connectivity we have online, I will always prefer the casual anonymity of being a browsing wallflower.

In an attempt to write more and be more thoughtful and expressive, I’ve decided to start with a small step in blogging – I will record 5 things. And, keeping with small steps, these 5 things do not have to be recorded every week, but, I must records 5 things at least once a month. I’d like the things to be positive things, because life is too short to settle on the negatives. Maybe they’ll be things of interest to me, I don’t know what they will be, the only thing they cannot be is negative.

So … without further ado, here are five things.

— Thing One —

After the downer called 2012, the year started off on a great note when, while texting that my service ended late and that I would probably be heading home, I found out that my friend proposed and his girl said yes! It was such great news to hear at the onset of a new year. Thankfully I got to see them for a bit and express the full extent of my excitement for them.

— Thing Two —

I saw a swift answer to a prayer. Without getting into too much details online (but, you can ask me about it offline, I’d love to share), I found myself in a tough situation and I sent up a desperate cry for help and it came, in the form I requested. It was just the boost I needed and I’m thankful for the reminder of the all-knowing God that I serve.

— Thing Three —

Earlier this week I went to Carnegie Hall for the first time. I am constantly astonished by the culture that oozes out of the pores of New York City. Where else can I see Wicked on Broadway, then take a train north to the Met and then go a bit west to find Lincoln Center and see an Opera? I love that it’s brimming with art in its many forms.

I am often surprised by the inner workings of humans as expressed through the things they build so, when John and Hank Green were hosting a Night of Awesome at Carnegie Hall, I hopped online to get a ticket. They entertained a sold out hall, just two brothers from the middle of nowhere, one a bestselling author and the other an internet intellect. Both brothers started a community called Nerdfighters through their Vlogbrother YouTube channel.

Now, before you think that this is too geeky for your tastes, the core message of the Vlogbrothers is being true to yourself. I would rather my teenagers watch their channels as opposed to the constant barrage of low level entertainment that forces them to be something they are not – to confirm to a societal norm. The fact that they sold out Carnegie Hall is astounding in and of itself. This means that there are enough young people in New York City (and those who have access to NYC) who have been influenced by these guys, enough to sell out Carnegie Hall. For me, this is mind-boggling.

These guys are the influencers you want to pay attention to.

— Thing Four —

On the same vein of expression in arts, I also saw a ballet at Lincoln Center this week! They were presenting Tchaikovsky/Balanchine pieces. Tchaikovsky is a great composer who composed the famous Swan Lake piece and Balanchine is a famed choreographer. I actually read the biography of Gelsey Kirkland, Dancing on My Grave, for a Ballet class that I took in college, and since then, I’ve always been interested in George Balanchine pieces.

It was a beautiful night, first they did a shorter version of Swan Lake, the ballerina was amazing and I was very impressed with her cavalier. The second piece was the  Allegro Brillante, the lighting on this piece was pretty neat and I loved the costumes on this piece the most. Finally they performed to Suite no. 3. During this piece there was a little fumble, a company dancer got in the way of the male principle and I thought, for a moment, that they were about to do a lift (which was confusing as I’ve never seen a female lift a male). However, they had a speedy recovery and the show carried on.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience. I’m such a fangirl of the Lincoln Center, I love the complex, love the theater, love every bit!

— Thing Five —

Another yes! Or two! This weekend has been packed with surprises and proposals! First, my lovely friend, J, was proposed to on Friday night. Then, on Saturday I found out a college friend proposed to his girlfriend, only to discover that the girl was a friend from my old High School in Guyana. This world is such a small one! Overall, a wonderful end to a lovely week.

Well, that’s five, it’s late and I’m falling asleep…

~ * ~

Street Lights, Big Dreams, All Lookin’ Pretty

Time Square. Any time I think about heading to Time Square I shudder. With so many people, it can be a daunting task for an introvert (and generally shy person) to make her way to Time Square. However, I’ve been visiting Time Square at least once a week for the past five weeks, so I decided to look at it as a tourist would. What draws people to this place? What’s so fascinating? What makes them stop suddenly on the sidewalk just to look up, causing you to walk right into them because they didn’t think about the fact that a TON of people are also trying to walk on the same pavement? I digress…

Is it the policemen on horses? Or the generally friendly New York Police who aren’t shy to pose with tourists?

Is it the bright lights and the flashy ads that all vie for your attention, each one trying to outshine the other?

Or is it the themed food places with their overpriced, yet enticing food and drinks?

    

Perhaps it’s the excitement, the talent and the wonder of a spectacular show.

I’m not sure what the reason is, or why people flock there, but my guess is that it has to do with one, or all (and then some) of the above. It’s a place that can be exciting and intimidating. A hub of activity, a place for memories, a place built on dreams.