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