Sunday, August 16, 2009

Brother Visiting!

My brother is in between terms at Colorado Mountain College, so my Mom booked him a ticket out to New York for four days. He got in late Friday night, exhausted. While he actually got here earlier than he was planned for, it was because my Mom put his name down wrong, as Matt S--- Douglas, leading to a huge mess that proved difficult to change because she did it through Expedia.

He finally got here around 11, and we went to Corner Bistro, where we split a Bistro Burger and had a couple McSorley's. Matt's not 21 yet, but he has a fake ID, which apparently was in our home in Seattle. A week before he came, I called up my Mom and asked her to send it to me so we could go into bars, etc. She did so readily, which Matt and I both thought was hilarious. That would NOT have flown when I was twenty and three-quarters. We went to a Belgian Beer Bar, Vol de Nuit, in the Village after, and kind of ambled around looking at all the drunkies.

The next morning we went to Murray's Bagels, then walked down the High Line (which I LOVE). We then proceeded to walk all the way to the tip of Manhattan via the Hudson River Park, in ninety degree heat. I can't believe we did it. I was surprised that Matt was able to stand it, because most visitors aren't used to walking so much and get tired more quickly than the "natives," but Matt's been walking up some big hills, he doesn't have a car, and he's at 6,000 feet, which definitely prepped him for the walk. I checked later and it was about 3 miles--I figure we walked about 4 including our roundabout way and a couple detours.

We then took the Staten Island Ferry, which I had never done before. It leaves every half hour, which is quite convenient. The 3:30 pm ferry was packed with a million tour groups. We had to fight to see the Statue of Liberty. We decided to walk around a bit on Staten Island, but that was a mistake. There was nothing there. He wanted to get a drink in this one pub, a sketchy old man bar, but I knew the Lower East Side awaited so I steered him away. We took the 5pm ferry back to Manhattan.

As I was contemplating how we were going to take the subway to the Lower East Side (there's no direct way), I suddenly saw a sign for the M15 bus, and in a stroke of genius realized it would take us where we needed to go. Fabulous. The cold air zonked Matt out. We grabbed a couple mojitos and some chips and dip at Le Cubain, which just opened, and then Rita arrived just as we were leaving. We decided to go do some more happy hours and then head up to the sushi place by Anna's old apartment that I had never been to but was touted as "good and surprisingly reasonable." We went to Pianos, which was a bit too loud and Matt & Rita accidentally ordered a beer that wasn't in happy hour, that took a couple of tries before the waitress fixed our bill (The magic words: "I think there was a miscommunication..." which I think worked because I didn't assign blame). We then went to Iggy's which was amazing. We had a hilarious bartender (who later gave us his "card") and Rita made friends with the Jewish couple next to us. We ordered some weird shot that the bartender described as a "Red Headed Slut but with x instead of y" don't remember exactly, and Rita was joking that there should be a shot called "Big Jewish" something or the other. They met on Fire Island years ago, and told her that she should go there for the day, at least. We had a few drinks/beers/shots each, and the bar tab was on the high side for my eyes, but I am trying to be better about spending money, so I signed away. We then went up to Sapporo East on 10th and 1st, but first made a detour into a liquour store (my idea...maybe after looking at the bar tab??) to buy some SoCo, and then we bought some cokes at a deli next door. We went into an alley to fill them up. It was amazing. Drunkenness: accomplished. We had to wait about a half hour for a table, so it was good we had some drinks to sip on. We ordered some pretty good rolls and this creamy, warm crab and avocado appetizer thing. I was drunk, happy, and now full. Though I normally cab it or take the subway from there, for some reason all three of us walked home. Rita had forgotten her keys so she slept over. I drank lots of water (It didn't entirely work...).

That morning, at like 8, I looked over and Rita was gone. I thought she was in the bathroom. But then a half hour passed and I realized she went home. I called my phone from Matt's phone, found it, then texted Rita to see if she was okay, to which she responded "No one home but safely eating a sammy in the park." I thought that was ridiculous, and said so. Then I went back to sleep. I woke up a couple times, and eventually realized that we would not be making the 11am tour of the Lower East Side. I eventually roused my brother out of bed. We went to La Bonbonnerie for brunch, a diner that I adore for its surroundings and service more than its food. I ordered the Challah French toast and two eggs (the latter were a little excessive, but I like to get my protein). It was delicious. We then took the A train to Jay St./Borough Hall, and got out and walked to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was so crowded and soooo hot. The views were beautiful. I was pleased that I got to do some new things with my brother--the ferry and the bridge--because as much as I like showing people around, I like doing new things too. We got off the bridge and I got us slightly lost before we veered into Chinatown.

Matt got some inari sushi, which was surprisingly delicious (it's also really cheap--bean curd with rice inside). I got my coconut water, and we got some starburst-like chinese candies that my brother really likes. We wandered into this park in Chinatown that I had never been to before that was really cool. There were a couple bands of musicians playing on all their Chinese instruments. In the park there were all these people playing this game with checkers-like pieces and boards of dots connected by lines, and groups of people would gather around to watch the game. It was about 90% people who live in Chinatown, 10% tourists with guidebooks. Considering Canal Street is about the reverse proportion, it was refreshing to get a sense of this community in an entirely different light. I went to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory to get some red bean ice cream (pretty good, slightly bland), and then we scouted out for bathrooms and settled for a nasty McDonald's. I took Matt to Joe's Shanghai, where I also brought my parents, and we ordered some Soup Dumplings. They seat you at tables with other people you don't know (something that freaked out my Mom the first time we were there). We were sitting with a couple and this single army-looking guy, when a single tourist was seated at our table. She seemed very confused about why she wasn't being seated at an empty table, and introuduced herself and apologized for interrupting. We explained that we all didn't know each other. It was nice to know the rules and be able to explain them--I also like that this place is so friendly to single diners.

It was soo hot, and we were nearing the end of our adventure. We walked up Little Italy briefly, then over a block, where we stumbled upon this Banh Mi place I had heard about but never been to. It's in the back of a jewelery store, and the sandwiches are huge and $3.75 and delicious. Matt and I split one. Mmmm. We then took the subway back, where my brother has proceeded to fall asleep for the past three hours. Mad Men starts in 45 minutes. I can't wait.

Matt leaves Wednesday morning--we're planning on going to a Mets game and spend another evening hanging out with my boyfriend, who was away this weekend at Phish shows. It's supposed to be over 90 again the next couple days. Argh.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mid-weekend Hoegaardens

This is my favorite beer:

I have been drinking it all summer it seems. I have always been a fan of belgian beers, and especially sweet hefeweizens. I'm kind of a Blue Moon person, but I don't like that it's owned by a big brewery (coors). Hoegaarden is the real deal. I just had three in Central Park, courtesy of a $14 deli 6-pack. We went to this free 200 guitars show, but it was so crowded we couldn't even get close enough to see the 200 guitars so we decided to go drink in Central Park on a giant rock. After three beers, I really had to pee, so I also did my first au naturel pee in Central Park. Considering I chased a rat away from that park last week, I didn't feel so bad about peeing underneath a pine tree, especially given Joanna's go-ahead.

Yesterday we went out for happy hour on Smith Street in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. The first bar we went to, in particular, was great. I had an excellent $3 hefeweizen and a $5 moscow mule, which was ginger beer and vodka. We went to a tiki bar afterwards and split a scorpion, which I love because the center lights on fire. Then we went to Gowanus Yacht Club (the name is ironic...) for a final hefeweizen. I hadn't eaten dinner and I got home and ate homemade hummus and leftover microwaved thai food and felt too full (much the way I do tonight, after finishing the rest of the hummus).

I slept almost 11 hours--I think I was a bit sleep-deprived--and hung out, trying to get rid of my headache, for a couple hours. I ate some yogurt and honey and had a fake-bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on wheat bread, along with some iced tea. That started to do the trick.

When I went for a run it was kind of a fail. Turns out that my normal run route was covered with fire trucks, police vehicles, and the like, because a plane collided with a helicopter in the Hudson. Before I left my roommate told me about it, since they had been on the High Line some time after it happened, but I decided to go anyway. I'll admit I was curious about what the rescue operation would look like, and the press, etc. It made for an interesting walk, but my run was cut slightly short.

I also went to the light choice (TLC) for the first time today, and their soft serve is sooo good. I definitely will go back there, especially now that I have subscribed to their twitter feed to get additional discounts. I am such a nerd.

Also, today I bought antlers. I was walking back from my run and one of the brownstones on my block was having a stoop sale (think that's what they call them here). I had just seen an interior design piece that featured antlers, and there was a pair. They were A DOLLAR. I had her save them for me and went back to the apartment to get my wallet. They are now sitting on my shelf, and look so cool!!! She called them "quirky" and they definitely add an unusual feel to my bedroom. Since it's so girly, I think it looks cool to have a slightly masculine accent. And I feel okay about the animal thing since I certainly didn't kill the animal, it doesn't look endangered, and if you do kill an animal you might as well make use of all of it.

Tomorrow I don't have much planned--but still enjoying this fabulous, rather mild August weather.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What would the Central Park rat say?

I just finished one of those fabulous, New York City weekends, the kind where you look at yourself from afar and think how you could be a character in one of those chick lit books or, of course, SATC. I think this was mainly because I managed to maintain a pretty upbeat mood throughout the weekend, and get drunk three times, including twice in one day. Friday I went to my friend Max's birthday party at 675 Hudson, which is in the Meatpacking District, an area I normally avoid due to the preponderance of Jersey girls in stilettos tottering through the streets and a general aura of tooliness. However, this place (the basement of Vento), was trying to be a Lower East Side dive bar. Styled in the same manner as a 1970's rec room, with little alcoves where you could play connect four or board games, it was a fun, chill place. I liked that the alcoves were quieter so you could talk, and then the main area was louder and allowed for some dancing. Despite only know a couple of people, I managed to talk and chat until Julia and her boyfriend and roommate showed up drunk and two and a half hours after I got there. They bought me a drink and I rallied. I made friends with this hipster DJ who lives in Bushwick and had to fend off his advances and let him know I had a boyfriend (He still asked if I wanted "to have some fun.") Silly boy. We ended up the night at around 3 or 3:30 am at Park, another place by me that proved much nicer than expected. It was just the sort of night I would have if I were single, and it was nice to know I could still do that and enjoy it even as part of a couple.

Saturday Jess, Evelyn, and later Julia and I went to Central Park. I brought some hummus and cucumber and a bottle of prosecco, Jess brought wine, and Evelyn brought ciabatta and brie. The hummus was really spicy (Sabra supremely spicy--highly recommend) and it was hot out so I kept on having to drink more wine to get rid of the spiciness. All in all, I ended up quite tipsy. I also successfully chased off a rat--it literally jumped and scampered back into the bushes. Take that, rat. I had never picnicked in Central Park before and I definitely plan to do it again.

After rehydrating, we ended up going out later to Rusty Knot (fake, nautical-themed dive bar--by me :) ) and Tortilla Flats. Fun.

Today Rita came over and we played cards, got bagels at Murray's, and walked on the High Line (LOVE). I went for a run this evening along the Hudson River that left me feeling tired in that really good, refreshed way. I am so happy that this weekend I spent a lot of time with my friends (I love you all!). I've come to realize that I'm a more social person than I thought, and I start to get depressed if I have too much time to myself. Friday night I was not in the mood to go out, but it ended up being so great--I think I need to push myself more to meet up with friends. I'm so lucky to have a manageable work schedule, to the point where I can have more alone time than I want--or time with television/movies/books. I'm seriously getting so bored and sick of all these STORIES. Maybe because it's my job, but I find that I have NO attention span for television or movies (books, more so). I can read newspaper articles still just fine. All the stories can depress me--make me feel like I'm living and experiencing all these other lives when I want to be experiencing MINE.

Eric is coming home tomorrow, so I get to see him after my screening of Julie & Julia (a movie I am quite excited about!)