Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eat Your Way Through the Heatwave

So it's 34C outside (sorry I'm still not familiar with the imperial system...that's like what, 100F?). It's scorching hot, inside and out, and I'm sitting here in my kitchen updating my blog. Also sorry to my avid fans for not updating this past week.

In order to celebrate the pre-Independence Day weekend, my Mom came over and I took her around town. On Friday, we went to check out Times Square, which was crowded with tourists as usual. Funny thing happened because on our way to Dean and Deluca's for lunch, my heel suddenly broke as I was crossing the street. So I was walking and wondering why my right foot felt so airy. Then I looked down and found that I was missing a 3-inch heel!

Well that's a rather telling indicator of the quality of shoes from Daffy's, eh? Luckily, there was a Payless across the street, so I got some shoes that I could at least use for the rest of the day. 

There was nothing too special going on at Dean, so we went to a deli/gourmet food place a block over. We ordered the Health Chicken Special with a side of fries and salad with vinegraitte dressing. We waited for 10 minutes for the food, while overlooking people order delish and robust-looking paninis with a side of pickle and chips. It's a pretty popular place, guess because of the quality and the amount of food you're getting. They also have a pretty wide selection of brekky items, Mexican fast foods (I really wanted to try to the quasaedilla), sandwiches, burgers, pastas, and even stir-fry. 

Hot & Crusty

The order came from a nice man who kept on checking up on my order for me. The chicken was marinated and spiced Caribbean-style then grilled until smoky. The chicken was tender enough to flake off with your flake, with the flavor seeping through the tender meat. 

Health Chicken

Munching our way through...

See that generous drizzle of ketchup?

(Actually to be honest, I used up 1/4 of their bottle of ketchup hehe =).

Yum Yum

So Mom and I did quite well - we cleaned up our plate, though our bellies were about to explode. (But as we glanced over to the next table, a lady was eating the exact same herself). The meal gave us enough energy to brave on through the heat to Herald Square, where we shopped around for the afternoon. There are some awesome stores on 35th and 8th Avenue, and I picked up a Kate Spade jacked for 1/4 of the regular price!

 Later on we went home, brushed up a bit, and headed to the Lincoln Center to watch Swan Lake.

Lincoln Center

The place was packed when we got there, full of people dressed up to the nines. This poor man stood outside with a cardboard sign saying "One Ticket Needed". Guess all the seats were sold out. The seats we got were in the Family tier, which was quite far away from stage. But our trusty little binocular did the trick. 

The female principle who played Odette-Odile was wonderful - her gracefulness matched her solid techniques. Everything about her lines were elegant, and her footwork was clean and sharp. It's too bad she's not a regular at the ABT. The Prince was also very graceful and elegant. Surprisingly, he's from South Dakota, which really stood out from the rest of the Russian/Eastern European-origin cast. But my favorite was the Queen, whose royalty-esque quality exuded through her every movement. Though she didn't have to do anything technically challenging, her acting was spot on.

What I didn't like however was that the place sounded like a baseball game every time someone completed a technique. Particularly because there were a lot of students who cheered and squeamed until my eardrums were blasted. Unfortunately, it really snapped you out of the story and the mood of appreciating the dance. 

During intermission we checked out the orchestra pit, and much to our surprise, one of the violins was doing a crossword and a trombone was reading a book! Honestly, is it that boring playing in an orchestra?

We should have went for a post-theater gelato, but there were too many people lining up outside. So we went home to eat our Starbucks coffee ice cream instead =-)

The next day, after I made Mom a power breakfast of spring onion omelet, we went to Midtown to return the sub-par shoes I broke. Thankfully, the store let me return it and gave me a gift card, which we used up right away.  

Originally I wanted to take Mom to Bi Lokma, a Turkish place that I found on New York Magazine. But it was closed for the weekend (shoulda figured this from the ghost-town feel of Midtown), so we went to Maharaja, an Indian joint near Grand Central. Apparently it's also called "Hurry & Tasty Curry" .

Indian Guard (ing the sacred spices?)

There was nothing in a hurry on this particular Saturday. Everything was heated to a halt. We ordered the lunch special, which consisted of one appetizer, a curry and a dessert. It came a good 15 minutes later, after we watched the owner scrub the tables, then use the same mop to scrub the plates and cups. (This made us kind of scared when picked up our water cups >< ). It's a pretty small and dingy place, with one rest room in the basement which was running out of paper. Made us also question the sanitary standards of the place. 

Lunch Special

We got the lamb curry, which came with a side of samosa, some vegetables and sweet rice patty dessert. I really liked the airplane tray that it came in, because it brought back some great memories of my own childhood airplane tray food table that I absolutely adored (I refused to eat anything that wasn't on it). It also came with this trio of sauces in a cool looking sauce serve trio. 

Sauces - tamarind, mint spices, yogurt lemon

We were pretty hungry as our late-lunch arrived, so we dug right in. The samosa was delicately spiced with a flaky crust and soft yellow fluffy potatoes. It tastes pretty good with the sweet tamarind sauce. The other two sauces tasted a little strange to my non-Indian palates, with the yogurt thing being too sour and the minty thing being too spicy (although the owner swore that her dishes are not spicy at all).

The naan tasted absolutely divine! Flaky, chewy and perfectly grilled. It tastes amazing with a slab of the vegetable dish. But the lamb curry was a bit too spicy, even with the jasmine rice. The dessert cake thing was waaay to sweet, even for my liking. My Mom had to finish hers with some of the yogurt sauce.

Post-starvation effect

We really cleaned up our plate this time. Our waitress thought that we were going to order two of these,  but I explained to her that we both had very small stomachs. Even she was impressed at our speediness to clean up the plate. 

Afterwards, we checked out the Chelsea Pier in the Meatpacking District, and nearly fainted from the glaring sun on our way back. We treated ourselves to some lovely Mickey D's dipped cones. A customer beside me ohhhed when she saw it. I couldn't believe that Mickey D's charge so much tax on their food, while clothing stores charge no tax at all!

Chocolate-Dipped Cone

As we were enjoying our cones, it hit me why American clothes sizes are so...well, for a lack of a better word, so large. It's quite possibly because of the tremendous amount of grease in their foods, and the tremendous amount of Mickey D's they eat, and because of the tremendous serving portions. Ah-ya. But alas, as the old saying goes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. 

So next time a heat-wave comes to you, I highly suggest you eat your way through town, grease-and-dirt included. Otherwise, you can opt to stay home and get yourself a 22lb watermelon (a man paid $14 for his at a nearby grocery store), and do this...


Hot n Crusty
**** (4 out of 5)

*** (3 out of 5)
Kids friendly on weekends only

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