Got your walking shoes on? First stop... Chinatown.
Jean and Nhi live in Virginia and were visiting NYC for the first time since they were kids. Even though I might now be considered an out-of-towner, it was my pleasure to show them around town.Unlike years past, it is now perfectly safe to watch the Chinese New Year parade. You no longer risk your clothes catching fire or going deaf from the constant explosions of several tons of fireworks.
Fireworks, traditionally tossed from rooftops and windows onto those below, are now outlawed. Really! There wasn't a firework in sight. The mini explosives have been replaced by poppers which quietly spew colorful confetti into the air.
After watching the parade for a while, we headed across Chintatown to meet up with my friend Chitsou and have dim sum. Born in China, Chitsou is my local dim sum expert.
Dim sum is served for breakfast and lunch in numerous Chinatown restaurants. Golden Unicorn, a three-floor mega-restaurant, is my current favorite. It is known for serving a huge assortment of steamed buns, noodle dishes, braised veggies and authentically-prepared seafood. The offerings, served from rolling carts, change every hour or so. The servers shout out what they have on their carts in Chinese.
Nhi, who is Vietnamese, and Jean, who is Korean, quickly mastered the “peek and point” technique to get the tiny dishes of dumplings and other fare they desired. When Chitsou showed up, however, there was rapid fire conversations, which yielded a few especially tasty specialties along with delicious chrysanthemum tea.
After brunch, with Chitsou as our interpreter, we went shopping and each of us found exactly the Asian ingredients and housewares we were looking.Around 3 PM, we crossed Canal Street and wandered into the Little Italy section of lower Manhattan. Since it was a chilly day, we stopped at the Ferrara Café for cappuccinos .... and some of their legendary Italian pastry, of course.
A few calories later, we headed for Soho, where expensive restaurants and shops selling luxury goods have replaced many of the art galleries.
Eventually, I journeyed back to the hotel where I changed my clothes and went right back out. It was time to meet yet another group of friends for a late dinner!
Fish, a seafood restaurant on Bleeker Street, was my destination. I ordered a salad (I was still full from the morning’s munching) but enjoyed checking out the fabulous seafood specialties that shared the table with my greenery. The blackened, grilled, and fried fish all looked wonderful.
After dinner, the guys (I was the only female this evening) wanted to go to a café for dessert. We strolled along Bleeker Street checking out several quirky clothing shops, a few restaurants, a luxury pet boutique pet, and a used CD store before arriving at Rocco’s Pastry Shop. The gang drank exotic coffee creations and ate pastries while we argued about politics. Having finally reached my limit… I ordered a mint tea.
MYSTERY PROJECT UPDATE: A new annotated outline is due tomorrow. Once it gets approved by the publisher, I will begin work on the second draft. The major changes are that the 900 some odd word Introduction that I wrote has been divided into a Foreword, which will be signed by the designer and an expanded Introduction. The chapters have been slightly rearranged in Part 1 of the book and certain ones need to be expanded, too. Looks like March will be a very busy month for me.