Thursday, April 30, 2009

Red Mango coupon - Free Tangomonium this Saturday

Red Mango's unleashing its new flavor, Tangomonium. Get yours this Saturday, May 2, 2009, from 12-4pm, at participating Red Mango locations. The coupon is good for one free small Tangomonium frozen yogurt with one topping.

As always, exercise caution and beware of the Swine Flu.

In Search of...Izakayas, Ramen Joints, Sake Bars

Lately I've been pretty bummed out about job prospects. However, I still find time to dance my butt off! Current faves getting maximum play time include: "Girls on the Dance Floor" by Far East Movement, "Sorry Sorry" by Super Junior and anything by Big Bang and Kero One (I'm in love with "When the Sunshine").

Contemplating on what makes me happy, I realized that my life is marked by moments of poetic lyricism (spoken word, open mics), musical hysteria (from acid jazz to electronica to nu soul) and, of course - FOOD.

Which brings me to my main point. Lately I've been scouting for some quality home-style Japanese curry, authentic ramen bowls and izakayas. Here's a list of joints I plan to hit up in the near future:

273 W 38th St
(between 7th Ave & 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10018
Highlights: All things Curry! Grand Slam ($12.50) - two katsus, two sausages, a shrimp and a boiled egg with rice; Hideki Matsui chips; Free topping every 5th, 15th & 25th of the month. Additional toppings: fukujinzuke (pickle), cheese, natto ($1-2 ea.).

Sake Bar Satsko
Manhattan/East Village
202 E 7th Street
(between Avenue B & Avenue C)
New York, NY 10009
Highlights: Sake bombs; inventive appetizers for both meat eaters and non-meat eaters (edamame, spicy tuna roll, siu mai, gyozas); $28 for the 6 shot sake tasting every Tuesday and Wednesday, which comes with free appetizers.

Ippudo NY
Manhattan/East Village
65 4th Ave
(between 2nd Ave & 8th St)
New York, NY 10003
Highlights: Akamaru Modern Ramen ("the original tonkotsu" with Ippudo's special sauce, miso paste and fragrant garlic oil; slices of simmered spicy Berkshire pork, cabbage, onions, kikurage mushrooms & scallions) and Ginga Kogen beer.

Manhattan/East Village
647 E 11th St
(between Avenue B & Avenue C)
New York, NY 10009
Highlights: Tebaski (Japanese-style chicken wings); rock shrimp tempura; hijikki salad (seaweed and watercress); grilled squid; sake.

Manhattan/East Village
236 E 9th St
(between 2nd Ave & Stuyvesant St)
New York, NY 10003
Highlights: Japanese street food - Okonomiyaki (pancake with savory ingredients); takoyaki (octopus balls).

Manhattan/East Village
229 E 9th St
(between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Highlights: cold buckwheat soba; black sesame ice cream; milk tofu; Lunch box - Nimono (simmered vegetables with soup stock and soy sauce, Dashimaki (omelette).

Umi No Ie
Manhattan/East Village
86 E 3rd St.
New York, NY 10079
Highlights: Goto udon noodles; House curry; Japanese meatball with sunny-side up egg on top; shochu; dry sake; Sapporo reserve.

Manhattan/East Village
536 E. 5th Street
(between Avenue A & Avenue B)
New York, NY 10009
Highlights: Pork broth ramen and Charsu Shoyu ramen.

Have I whet your taste buds enough yet? If you're interested in hitting up any or all of the listed restaurants with me, leave some comments below.

Photos courtesy of Yummyinthetummy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Edward Picklehands

Sweltering days call for barbecues. Or if not that, at least grilled burgers and home fries on the side.

I thought I'd spice things up (not literally) with some Korean appetizers. The mushrooms are my favorite.

And stick them into my burger. (No pics of them together, sorry.)

I present to you....................Edward Picklehands!

He reminds me of a one-eyed pirate or Asian emoticon. Blind-sided by sauerkraut and cheddar cheese. Mmm...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Streetcar Named Desire

Footprints on "GLORIA."

These twins look eerily like another set of twins.

"Kato" (You mean like Bruce Lee?).


"R.I.P." What's the "MORAL"?

Wandering Washington Square Park

Photo montage taken April 18. Washington Square Park, NY.

NYC's Coffee + Tea Fest and Ktown Cool-off

This is how we do.

At the Coffee and Tea Festival, Chloe and I downed tea sample after tea sample, ranging from persimmon to chocolate rooibos and even these goofy-looking organic coffee pouches that made us feel like we were chewing paper. Our collective favorites were Serendipitea and Tay Tea. Try Serendipitea's Buccaneer (Coconut, Chocolate Bits, Vanilla, Rooibos, Nilgiri, Indian Black Tea) and Tay Tea's caffeine-free Better Than Sex ("A sinfully delicious rooibos blend with bits of Belgian dark chocolate and peppermint"). Joe Tea was another winner with their cold Classic lemonade that actually tasted like real, fresh-squeezed lemons, rather than a sugar pill.

I think I would have appreciated the Korean tea brand Hancha a bit more if the green teas had actually been brewed properly. Due to mass production sampling, they left in the teabags longer than originally intended, lending each of their teas a bitter acidity. "Earth," a green tea, had a rustic flavor that almost tricked me into believing I had munched on grass. Not sure if that's a good thing...

Yoon Hee Kim from the Korean Tea Culture Foundation (also the owner of Hancha) demonstrated a Korean loose leaf tea ceremony. Unfortunately, it was hard to see what she was doing since she did not have a raised platform to view the ceremony and instead poured tea from ground level. Kim went into a detailed history of tisane tea and how Korean teas, specifically green tea, are now becoming more popular in other parts of the world. Chloe noted how she kept making eye contact with us (because we're so Korean...actually, we're not).

A scruffy, nondescript guy in a black hoodie and skinny jeans (doesn't this sound like a lot of people?) was peddling his photography. Next to no one stopped by his stand. Tough crowd.

When I passed by the Sacred Rose booth, a woman accosted me with a bottle of what looked like aromatherapy oil. However, upon closer inspection, it was actually rose elixir. She squeezed a drop onto my hand. I thought she wanted me to sniff it, but then she told me, "Lick it." With some hesitancy, I acquiesced. Nothing harmful, but it didn't exactly knock my socks off.

And what is this rose elixir supposed to do again? According to the flyer, it "softens and heals the heart with love to forgive the past pain that women have endured and encoded in their bones." A bit of a stretch, but um, sure.

Other highlights:
Zen Green Tea Liqueur: The suited up Japanese guy manning the booth made cocktails with the liqueur. The zesty, tart lemon-green tea concoction was so invigorating that we went for seconds. We hope Booth Man didn't notice. ("Really, you haven't seen us before. We're all Asian and we all..uh..look alike.") If only he'd given away a bottle of that stuff. I'd readily take up bartending if I had this liqueur on my hit list.

Some recipes:
1 part Zen Green Tea Liqueur
2 parts Skyy Vodka
A splash of Fresh lime juice
Shake and serve in a martini glass.

Zen Saketini
1 part Zen Green Tea Liqueur
2 parts Dry Sake
Shake and serve in a martini glass.

Zen Breeze (Virgin)
1 part Zen Green Tea Liqueur
2 parts White Cranberry Juice
Serve in a tall glass over ice. Garnish with mint sprig.

Zen Milkshake (Looks highly adventurous. Attempt at your own discretion.)
2 parts Zen Green Tea Liqueur
1 part Skyy Vanilla Vodka
2 parts milk
Shake well; strain into martini glass. If desired garnish with a very small scoop of green tea ice cream.

Potential DESSERT usage: Served over vanilla ice cream or used as a glaze over a pastry dessert.

I spotted a woman chomping on a big ole raspberry croissant and followed her flaky trail. I ended up at A Taste of Home and stuck around to joke with the proprietor -

Me: What's the name of this?
Him: That would be a chocolate chip cookie.
Me: (thinking it was going to be some special, intricate name) Ah, I see. How about this? (points to another pastry)
Him: Mm..brownie.
Me: (Chomps on one, feeling stupider by the minute) Oh, they're good.
Him: Would you like to give it a name?
Me: How about Bob?
Him: Sounds good to me. You can name it whatever you want. :winks:

Ban chon. My favorite part of the meal.

Two hours later and all this liquidage has made me uber hungry. While we're not claiming Korean heritage, what do we go for? ......Korean! At Hangang.

It was a hot day - I was wearing jeans and sneakers, and the jeans were starting to stick to the back of my thighs. Gross. Should've gone with a skirt...

Oddly enough, Chloe and I were both craving the same thing, Mul naengmyun: slices of beef and vegetables over chilled noodles in cold beef broth soup. And loads of ban chon to go with it (a salad with ginger dressing and eight side dishes we couldn't finish, though we did our best).

Mul naengmyun, take 1.

Though Chloe says it's not the best mul naengmyun she's tasted, I was just relieved that the cool broth was rubbing off on my internal temperature. Within ten minutes I could feel the positive effect of the ginger-infused soup. Plus, I loved the starchy, chewy texture of the buckwheat noodles. The beef, however, was on the dry side.

Mul naengmyun, take 2.

Charmsoju. How...charming?

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Admittedly, I've never tried mul naengmyun before, so I don't have much to compare it to. However, this cooling soup is the perfect antidote to an overdose of sun exposure. And who can resist the ban chon? My personal favorites are the dried squid and potatoes.

34 West 32nd Street
New York, NY 10001

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dumplings, Boba & All That Flushing

Cabbage, celery and pork dumplings.

Best Northern Dumplings. Impressions: good, but wouldn't call them "the best." But ten dumplings for just $3.25 is indeed a bargain. I prefer the juicy xiao long bao, or soup dumplings, at Joe's Shanghai. I also don't have an affinity for leeks, even though that's a popular ingredient for the second thing on the menu: Leek & Aquatic Food Dumpling.

Quickly Corp.

The sun was steadily melting my face into a hot mess. So what did I crave? Boba, of course! Enter Quickly Corporation: The guy in the white polo is so stiff with his popped collar that I had to do a double take to make sure he wasn't a mannequin.

Kumquat boba.

When I saw the guy behind the counter push down on the yellow syrup container, my heart almost burst. What -- no real kumquat? I guess I was expecting too much, though. For $3.25, this boba is alright but nothing special. At least the tapioca pearls were the right texture...not too hard, not too soft.

Assorted pastries.

Several blocks away, I trucked on over to Grandpa's for some afternoon refreshments and grandfather-granddaughter bonding time. Featured: Chicken pot pie bun from Star Bakery on Kissena, and banana walnut muffin.

Best Northern Dumplings: 4 out of 5 stars. After hungrily downing all 10 dumplings, my head was a wee bit dizzy. Could it be the MSG content? It's good for lunch, but it wasn't exactly quick. I do love the red vinegar sauce.

Quickly Corp.
: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Stick to the regular bubble tea and skip the simple syrups.

Best Northern Dumpling Shop
135-08 Roosevelt Av A4
Flushing, NY 11354

Quickly Corporation
41-40 Kissena Blvd
Flushing, NY 11355

Joe's Shanghai
136-21 37th Ave
Flushing, NY 11354

Mister Softee!

Crisscrossed skylines.

Breaking out.

Tufts of marshmallows - I mean clouds.

My childhood love.

Chocolate milkshake - "The Very Best."

Photo montage taken April 16. NHP, NY.

Ctown: Green Tea Cafe

Appetizer: Egg Drop Soup.

This entry originally took place on April 11.

7 p.m.: It was a chilly, rainy Saturday night when I attended my friend Ada's baptism at Transfiguration Church in Chinatown. But the church, with its high ceilings and paintings of Jesus, was lit up with hundreds of people holding little candle wicks. It was the Saturday night vigil before Easter. The head bishop, a Caucasian man speaking heavily enunciated Cantonese, officiated the ceremony. Five minutes before the actual service started, the church was already so crowded that I ended up taking a seat upstairs in the furthest right corner, next to a man and his five-year-old son who was busy playing cars (vrooom vrooom!) under the pew.

A whopping total of 41 people were baptized that night. Even though I'm not Catholic, it filled me with a great sense of peace that so many friends and family members had come to support the baptized. Since the service was conducted in both English and Cantonese, it took awhile to get to the baptism part, which was at the end.

Fast-forward to the conclusion: It's 10:30 and I haven't eaten a thing for six hours. What to do for dinner?

Tempting flyers.

Figuring I couldn't go wrong with Mott St., I wandered down the block and saw a well-lit cafe, brimming with bobbing heads and young folks in colorful clothes gabbing away. Green Tea Cafe. Couples and girlfriends chatted loudly in both English and Chinese. I saw Tsingtao beer on the menu and automatically thought of Chloe's warning years ago: "Disgusting. It's the worst beer."

Chicken Cutlet with Portuguese sauce.

Beyond famished, I scanned the menu quickly for a meat-heavy dish and settled on the Chicken Cutlet with Portuguese sauce ($6.75). The chicken was HUGE and took up half the plate. Who knew they'd be so generous? I asked my waiter what the Portuguese sauce entailed, and he told me it was made of peanut. My waiter paid attention to my every cue. Whenever I needed something, he wasn't too far away, despite the cafe being packed to the max at 10 p.m.

Hot sake $8.50 for two. All kinds of boba for $4.25. I wanted to try the Kumquat lemon but I was on a budget. Maybe next time.

So many choices...

Ah, dessert. You're probably thinking -- What? This girl's still hungry after eating all that grub? Well, there's always room for dessert!

Mango ice cream.

Unfortunately, my mango ice cream tasted more like a mix of weak sorbet, with a graham cracker texture and only a hint of mango, i.e. not really made of mango at all. It reminded me of my grandma's freezer-burned packages of year-old vanilla ice cream. Not that it tasted awful, it just wasn't authentic. So if you come here, skip the ice cream and go for the boba. This is, after all, a bubble tea cafe.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The appetizing peanut sauce made a simple chicken, rice and broccoli dish memorable. The ice cream could've been better. But my waiter was awesome, and even packed a napkin and fork to go with my doggie bag (I didn't end up eating the whole dish, after all). It didn't hurt that he looked like a cuter version of Shi Yuan Jie from Miss No Good.

Green Tea Cafe
45 Mott St
Ste A (between Bayard & Pell St)
New York, NY 10013

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

(Do Not) Feed the Pigeons

Photo by sparker_rd.

Haven't we all been told not to feed the pigeons? Well, one lady from the Bay is paying no heed to that rule. Moved by the plight of abandoned pigeons, Elizabeth Young started a pigeon coop in her backyard.

"A pigeon," Young said, while holding Kizzie the pigeon in her well-pecked arms, "is no less worthy than any other animal. This may not be a magnificent animal, like a tiger, but it is an animal that wants to live and has a right to be treated with respect."

I'm not sure if I can agree with her rationale. As a hardened New Yorker, pigeons were always deemed a nuisance. They are often associated with terms like "rodents," "pests" and "disease carriers." And they're everywhere. When you cross the street, lounge on a park bench, dine alfresco on the sidewalk - there they are. Over the years, I resigned myself to sharing space with them. I've just learned to adjust.

Note: The picture above does not coincide with the actual story. I just thought it was funny.

Volunteer or Die!

From the New York Times:

"Heeding President Obama’s call for boosting Americans’ engagement in civic service, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Monday a sweeping plan to encourage volunteerism among city residents.

The announcement came on the eve of Mr. Obama’s signing of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act,which over five years will more than triple the size of AmeriCorps, the nation’s civilian service force. The legislation would mobilize volunteers to undertake some of the country’s most urgent social challenges, like shoring up communities hard-hit by the recession."

Seriously? Does it take Mayor Bloomberg to get everyone hyped to volunteer? I can't help but recall a similar call-to-arms by the Brooklyn-based Vote or Die initiative that emerged in 2004. During the Bush v. Kerry election, celebrities such as P. Diddy and Leonardo DiCaprio stressed the 4000+ deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq as a way to get young people to vote against the war.

Increasing voter participation among the 18-24 demographic is a good idea, but no one could give me a clear reason why I should listen to celebrities endorsing bipartisan votership. I mean, why the heck would I get my political information from P. Diddy? Seems like more gimmick than anything else. I'll stick with CNN and the BBC, thank you very much.

Then came the 2008 presidential campaign. With Will.I.Am and other prominent musicians creating a viral trend of "Yes We Can" Youtube videos. There's no doubt that social networking and user-generated video content sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Youtube, are affecting opinions. Anyone has the ability to create a quick video or jump-start trends. And while Vote or Die may have been a means to target the "hip-hop generation," it seems Obama doesn't actually favor the low-slung look himself.

But enough on that. What I meant to say in the beginning is that volunteering doesn't have to be- shouldn't be- a hassle. The public's current fascination with eco-friendly design, sustainable living, bicycling and organic, locally produced food lends itself well to giving back to the community that first nurtured them.

How about some guerrilla gardening? Guerilla gardening, or "making vacant, neglected public lands green and flower-filled," is becoming more mainstream these days. While I'm not exactly endorsing mass takeovers of public soil, some people have managed to beautify the cities they live in by sprinkling seeds over abandoned fields and watching their flowers come to fruition. So go spread some sunshine in your 'hood today!

Some resources:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Caked by Chai

Photo by The Food Librarian.

The Food Librarian's recent foray into baking Sky-High Cakes using Chai Black Tea inspired me to do the same. Her three-inch stack rendition, above. As much as I'm a tea connoisseur, I'd never really thought about incorporating tea into cakes. (Can someone tell me why tea cakes don't actually...contain...tea?)

Oh how I love Chai Tea. I like mine spicy (as I enjoy most things). While I don't mind a cup of Yogi Chai Black or Peet's Masala Chai, nothing beats home-style Punjabi Chai. I had it once in Arlington, Mass. and it was the epitome of Chai-ness. Stash Chai Spice is great for making at home.

I declare Chai Cake as my next experiment!

Masticating Ramen

Photo by toyohara.

Peeped this over at Treehugger and was delighted to find that my dear friend ramen was featured in the slide show, entitled "9 Iconic Foods from 5,000 Miles Away or More." Something about spicy seafood and beef noodles warms me up right away, especially on a blustery, rainy, biting cold day like today. So you may not be overjoyed with the MSG content, but no one said you had to eat it every day. Dieters will rave in shock at this admission, but when I'm craving a late-night snack, Shin Ramyun hits the spot. it.

My other friends, Ceylon tea, and Thai Jasmine Rice, were also featured.

Yesterday while masticating a Mandarin Oriental Chicken Salad at Wendy's, I was reminded why I only eat salads as a side dish and not as the main course. Way to skimp on carbs, Wendy's. What? Not even a slice of bread to go with that? While your leaves certainly are fresh and crunchy, I can't imagine eating this as a reoccurring entree. It's deprivation, I tell you.

Such are the thoughts from a non-herbivore.

Durian - Friend or Fowl?

Photo by Pleasure Palate.

In the Asian world, much ado has been made about durian. Some gripe that one whiff of its smelly, "pungent" odor causes immediate lack of appetite. Others rave that its complex, creamy sweet flavor and smooth texture hit the spot. Whom to trust?

I think it's all a matter of upbringing. Most Westerners can't stomach the strong scent of durian because they have not acquired a taste for it. Durian is one of the familiar fresh fruits offered in Indonesia and Cambodia. Cambodians, in general, like their food to be a medley of sweet, bitter, sour and salty. They adopted Thailand's fermented fish paste (pra hoc), India's curry, France's long bread (baguette) and China's stir-frying.

Tropical fruit is indigenous to Cambodia, and durian is no exception. Along with mango, lychee and a host of other aromatic fruits you've probably drank in the form of bubble tea. But I bet you haven't tried a durian bubble tea. Wait - does that even exist?

Unfortunately, New York isn't exactly known as a hotbed for Cambodian restaurants. Brooklyn-based Cambodian Cuisine closed its doors in early 2008. And Kampuchea Restaurant has received lackluster reviews, deriving from its bland, non-traditionally authentic Cambodian fare. Ah, well. I guess that means another Los Angeles trip is in the works. Pleasure Palate has successfully whet my appetite for (yes) durian.

Happy chomping!

Rip Van Twinkle

Image by Yuriko Yoshida.

This dog is my hero.

And don't you think he has a strong resemblance to Rip Van Winkle? I wonder if dogs really do look like their owners. I wouldn't be surprised...

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Love-Hate Relationship with Starbucks

Iced Caramel Macchiato and foodie zines.

March 31.

Oh, Starbucks. Don't ask me why I keep coming back to your lair. In all honesty, it's not so much for the drinks (meh) or the cheesecake (decent, but not stellar either). Chalk it up to convenience. After all, you're the ideal place to read and get work done in some peace and quiet. Along with Panera, Barnes and Noble and other local coffee shops.

I would probably enjoy your coffee more if it actually kept me awake. Sadly, by Hour 3, I'm already in need of a pick-me-up. Guess the ice in the iced caramel macchiato diluted some of the espresso's strength.

Macchiato and cheesecake.


After doing some freelance writing course writing exercises and scanning the food and travel magazines for examples of good writing, my stomach told me it was feeding time. I went for an Americano, straight-up, and a thick slice of cheesecake ($2.50 with the purchase of an espresso beverage). I should have gone for a double (triple..) shot because although the Americano left me more perky than the macchiato, it still wasn't up to Espresso Royale/Diesel Cafe standards.

Yes, I'm a coffee-tea snob. I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll probably have high standards for my caffeine fixes as long as I walk this earth.

Artisan breakfast sandwich + latte pairing.

April 2.

Back again, this time in Manhattan on 53rd St. After a job interview, I walk two blocks down and sneak into Starbucks to use the bathroom. I end up staying for the breakfast sandwich and latte pairing. Not a bad deal, for $3.95. I heartily bite into the piping hot Artisan Ham, Egg & Cheese sandwich and try not to wince when my fingers dance the jig. Oh the wondrous powers of the microwave. Egg seems pre-made but it's a notch above McDonald's. An air vent blasts me from on high.

Birds and backpackers pass by. Lots of tourists on the street. Europeans, especially. The city seems subdued today, maybe because half of the people are off (Passover and Easter). I like the more quiet, slowed (can I call it that?) pace. It's like how Manhattan used to be, before the massive crowding (a long, long time ago).

Three little birdies sitting in a row on a street lamp blend into the city machinery. And then there were four...

Louis Armstrong's deep, throaty voice sings "It's a Wonderful World." I am transported to a 1940s speakeasy where the jazz band is gearing up to play, three soulful back-up singer sisters lined up before old-school microphones. Hairnets in place. Sheaths draped just so. Red lipstick a la Bille Holiday. All set.

A straight-haired raven twig in all black (go goths!) clicks her heels into Starbucks, shouting to her friend on the phone, "I'm staaaaaarving." Of course you are, honey. You're anorexic.

Birdies are now at five. No, six.

Fuchsia mink cape, light pink loser hat, black capri leggings and bubblegum pink luggage? WHY. Chloe would be appalled.

I still don't understand the Uggs.

Leap Frog.

On my way back to Queens, I accidentally took the C train instead of the E and ended up going all the way up to the 81st Street stop, which is where the Museum of Natural History is located. Swarms of strollers, small children and their parents flooded the platform. Along the way, I found a little frog...

April 9

No picture here, but on my afternoon stroll around the neighborhood, I stopped by (you guessed it) Starbucks. It was a balmy 60 degrees and the sun was just setting. Looking for something thirst-quenching, I scanned the overhead Starbucks menu and chose something new: Berry Chai Latte ($2.80).

From my journal entry:

I'm sipping on an overly sweet Berry Chai Iced Latte and hoping the ice will cut the bittersweet, syrupy flavor. Sugar rush, come quick.

Berry should not be combined with chai. But since I had to be adventurous, I went for it. The scruffy carrot-haired overalls-clad man behind me asked me how my drink tasted. All I can say is: It looks better than it tastes. Beware, there's a spicy kick in the back of this Berry Chai.

I keep running into people I know from high school. I'm not sure whether they remember me, so I try to avoid eye contact, as that can result in awkward confrontations. The jazzy acoustic guitar-laden background music is laced with soothing female vocals that sedate me like a tranquilizer.

A guy whose face is cloaked by his dark hoodie is buried in his two-inch thick book. He is huddled over in fetal position. I take it he is cold. And studying for finals. Now that I'm no longer an undergrad, I've become increasingly unaware of the academic calendar. The constant rattling of the blenders is distracting. Good thing I'm not studying.

An elderly couple hobbles into the store: The man is wearing a grey newsboy and slate slacks. The lady automatically gravitates to the menu board. Her huge menu dwarfs her tiny, petite frame. The old man walks out before the old lady. Clearly they are not together. A heavy, balding man with a stout belly, slick hair and wearing a navy blue suit sluggers in. He has that air of Italian-ness about him. I hope I am not stereotyping him.

Two Gossip Girls stride in with their Nicole Ricci shades, bags draped on their right arm and keys a jiggle-jigglin' in time with their identical steps. Their accents are so Long Island - I wonder how people develop such thick accents.

This Starbucks is definitely not as scenic as other ones, but I have a good seat from the center table. I notice that everyone who comes here jingles their keys. They all drove here by car. Oh, gas-guzzling, environmentally unsound vehicles. BAH!

I am kind of an eco-fiend elitist. In the house, I shut off unused lights and unplug unused fixtures. I insist on recycling my glass, plastics and Styrofoam. I prefer walking or biking any chance I can get.

Towards the bottom of the chai now - it would definitely be improved by removing the syrup. The music just changed to a fast-paced shoobie-do-be-do swing.

"Everybody start to swing," croons the female vocalist.

Tree Hugger Pt II




My Golden Bleeding Heart.