Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Teaser

Mister Softee to the rescue! But where are the children?

Slow down, it's a Deaf Child Area.

Puddles of...bifurcated tree trunks.

Not a happy camper.

This doggy's tail wagged back and forth like whiplash. His owner, singing a throaty Italian number, scurried indoors, leaving doggy none too pleased. Doggy made a sad face when I continued walking down the block. Perhaps he would have preferred a game of fetch.

What does SCS stand for?

All photos taken around the neighborhood.

Quail Eggs, Kumquat & other Asian Gems


One of the reasons why I love coming to H Mart so much is for the vibrant produce. Check it.

Yes, those are Quail Eggs.

Kumquat, my sour pucker of choice.

Scanning the leaning tower of Fuji.

Pineapple (Express?).

Beyond Turkish Delights: Coffee and Tea Festival NYC

Coffee and tea lovers UNITE! This April 18-19, the Metropolitan Pavilion is hosting NYC's annual two-day Coffee and Tea Festival. In its 4th year, the festival's schedule is brimming with plenty of classes, contests, coffee and tea samplings, and lots more! Learn the art of the Korean loose leaf tea ceremony, create snazzy tea cocktails and discover the rich culture of Turkish coffee. To register, click here. If you type in the promo IMBIBE, you'll receive a 50% discount (that's a mere $10). All proceeds go to Cup for Education, a non-profit committed to building schools in coffee growing communities in Central and Latin America.


This entry originally took place on March 27.

Friday night delight: When I'm craving big, home-style platters of meat, rice and beans, Dominican Restaurant in Uniondale hits the spot. The restaurant shares the same vicinity as Hofstra University and concert-friendly Nassau Coliseum.

The butter just melted on our soft-to-the-touch bread. Its texture reminded me of the homemade slices of garlic bread Mom used to make for me as an after-school snack. Limes on the side garnished our ice waters.


Fresh greens, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes in my salad. The crunchy "snap" of the cucumbers, mixed with the balsamic vinegar dressing, had a satiating effect. So did the refreshing Presidente ($4), a bitter- fizzy beer from the Dominican Republic. You can get them for $1 - $1.50 in the mother country, but it was still refreshing. Otra cerveza, por favor!

Mom's roasted chicken was tender in spots (thighs), overly fried in others (wings). Some of the chicken pieces pulled apart at the slightest touch. I relished the lemon-garlic flavor.

Dad's steamed red snapper, bathed in oils and herbs, stood out the most. Moistness defined.

Behind us, a table of three teenage girls giggled and chatted with their father. Two curly-haired waitresses holding a chocolate cake drifted toward their table, busting out the "Happy Birthday" song -- first in English, then in Spanish. Our waiter, a balding older gentleman who's our usual server, was a bit more brusque and tired than usual. Despite his curt manner, I'd still go for the heaping platefuls of meat, rice and beans -- not to mention the crunchy tostones (crispy fried plantains).

Beef stew.

See that pile of rice and beans in the back? I could come here for that alone. Peas are sprinkled throughout the yellow rice, and the sauce is addicting. The red beans are typically seasoned with thyme, cayenne pepper and bay leaf. Try it for yourself! Dominican Restaurant also sells an excellent oxtail stew.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The service isn't as cheerful or accurate as I remember (our waiter forgot our tostones), which could be due to a number of factors. But kick back with a bottle of Presidente and you'll feel alright again.

Dominican Restaurant
1019 Front St
Uniondale, NY 11553

Day 7: In the Mood for Mango

This entry originally took place on March 25.

Wednesday, March 25: I took the 1 p.m. Fung Wah bus from Boston to New York. When I emerged from the heat-regulated bus, it was a sunny 50 degrees. I couldn't have picked a better day for arrival. The sun covered my back. Everywhere around me, friendly smiles greeted me. People's faces seemed to glow from the touch of spring. Boys played ball in the park and passersby reclined on benches in the nearby park, watching the children hoot 'n holler.

Back to Century Cafe. (I'll locate more local cafes/bakeries in Ctown next time I'm not loaded down with three big pieces of luggage...) I was in the mood for mango and pointed to the mango boba. The counter lady informed me that the cafe had run out of boba. RUN OUT OF BOBA??! How does a full-service cafe/bakery run out of boba? Beats me. In any case, I settled for the mango slushee instead, which only put me back $2.50.

Happily sucking mango icies through the tall straw, I am happy to report that the slushee was made of real mango and not...sickly sweet sugary syrup. I sat next to an uncle in a black puffy coat. Peeking below the table, I noticed he was wearing black-and-white checkered pants. The soaring strains of David Tao's "Melody" played softly in the background, followed by James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" and a smattering of Jay Chou ballads. Go Mandarin/Taiwanese Pop!

Oh how I love you, New York. Just when I think I've had enough of your windy 20-degree temps, spring comes and smacks me upside the head.

Then I headed underground. Pick-up point: Kew Gardens. After emerging back into the light, I was thirsty again. All that human contact in heavily congested subways while heaving around luggage had sucked the strength out of me. Enough weightlifting madness. As if I hadn't had enough of my mango quota (haha, you can never OD on that stuff, so says I), I ordered Starbucks' Vivanno banana-orange-mango smoothie. Almost too thick for a straw, but chock full of vitamin-infused fruit.


Rachel gave me her special stash of tea from her spring break Hong Kong trip. Her aunt packed me all that berry goodness. Fortified. Now the only problem is finishing my already bountiful tea collection. I counted 25 varieties in the pantry last time...I only wish I was joking. Well, if all else fails, I'll open my own tea-pothecary. After all, sharing's caring!