Monday, March 28, 2011
First of all, we had the sweetest and most adorable server, like, ever. His name was Dan and he gently and patiently guided us through the restaurant's over 120 different teas. "We do tea tastings as well. If you're interested, I can take your email and send you information about it". Well, yes, I was interested. We chose a tea called Tropical Escape - a blend of black and green teas, pineapple, papaya, and kiwi bits and marigold. It was presented in a beautifully hand-painted kettle and cups and was playfully fruity and complex. I had a fresh avocado, asparagus, tofu, and shittake mushroom salad and Hiatt munched on perfectly prepared vegetable dumplings. The thing that became apparent was that the hustle and bustle that occurs in most restaurants was completely absent here at Radiance. The servers and people preparing food behind an open counter moved quickly, purposefully, and most astonishingly, practically silently. I noticed that Hiatt and I were speaking in slightly hushed tones to accommodate our surroundings and that I could still hear the tinkling music and (somewhere in the distance) running water. I looked across the room at a wall of kimonos, tea kettles, and other intricately crafted things for sale. I read that they hold private Chinese and Taiwanese tea ceremonies. This place was, in a word, precious. I felt like a little girl having tea with her dolls. Except Hiatt swears more than my dolls ever did.
We finished eating and I found myself longing to linger. I could feel the stressful pulse of the city encroaching upon me. Much like a last day in Bermuda or a kid in bed on a school day morning, I wanted to roll over, turn off the light, and pretend I didn't have to go anywhere. A call from my agent broke my stupor and Hiatt and I headed out into the fray. I said goodbye to our new friend, Dan, and hustled out into the mess of 55th street with a full belly and a slightly calmer disposition. I headed south, passed Elmo, and gave him a "wassup" nod. You never know, maybe that was all the action that costumed character would ever get. You know? It's amazing what a civilized cup of tea can do to one's perception of this raucous place.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
St. Patrick's day. Celebrated in America by the Irish and, well, everyone that has ever heard of the Irish. A holiday that commemorates the life of Saint Patrick, a widely successful missionary in Ireland in the second half of the 5th century. How do we Americans celebrate the holiday? Drinking alcoholic beverages and wearing green. And . . . well, that's about it. I'm sure that the folks over in Ireland who are celebrating their RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY are appalled by America's choice of celebratory traditions, but it's true. That's what we, as a country, do. I mean, there's a parade or two, but that's it. Drinking beer and wearing green. And sometimes drinking green beer. And what place is more appropriate to do these things than New York City, a city that has the second highest number of bars per square mile (Athens, Georgia is first - who knew?). So, in honor of blogging about New York's St. Patrick's Day celebration, I headed to the city's epicenter of celebration - Times Square. Yes, folks. I did it. Now, ask any sane New Yorker and they will tell you that this is the LAST place any local would want to be on March 17th. But, I braved it. And, actually, it wasn't so bad. For a while.
And then I headed off to my 4pm obligation. On a side note, if you were wondering why I haven't been blogging so much lately, I have a fabulous new internship at TVI actor's studio. (Incidentally, if you're an actor or an aspiring actor, they have tons of great classes with awesome agents and casting directors. Seriously - that's why I'm interning there - fab.) Anyway, I was inside from 4-8pm and then headed back out to spend some more time observing my fellow cheerfully green-clad Americans in Times Square. Um . . . a WHOLE different story. The first thing I saw was two women on the corner of 46th filing some kind of police report - both were wearing green feather boas and one was bleeding from the head. I crossed the street and a small dodgy-looking character walking with one eye open nearly missed knocking me out with a shamrock-shaped bag. I high-tailed it across Broadway and picked my way through a group of girls that were SITTING on the disgusting sidewalk. One was sobbing, one was asleep, and the other two were trying to console/keep seated the other two. Ew. Wait. This wasn't cheerful and fun anymore. You know when you're out dancing at a club and they turn the lights on full blast and everybody that was once really hot suddenly look sweaty and busted? Yeah . . . like that. I walked down 8th avenue and stepped over a puddle of puke. Yes, human vomit. Orange, chunky human vomit. And, incidentally? That was not the only vomit I had to circumnavigate in my short 8 block walk to the bus, that was, of course, filled with loud talkers, heavy sleepers, and people that I was genuinely afraid would produce still more vomit. Okay, that's it. Done with St. Patrick's Day. I hopped off my stop in New Jersey and was VERY thankful to be at home. And wearing purple.
The moral of the story? St. Patrick's day should only be celebrated in the daylight hours. The end.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I have lived in New York for almost ten years and until recently, if you had asked me where Koreatown was, I wouldn't have been able to tell you. Chances are, my response would have been, "Um . . . somewhere south of 14th street?" Yep. I would have been wrong. Try closer to Herald Square, Michelle. Apparently, I know nothing. So, in the spirit of exploration, Rachael and I headed to Koreatown's main drag (32nd between 5th and 6th) to check it out and soak up a little culture.
Juvenex, one of the nicer 24-hour spas, into my blackberry contacts. You never know when you're going to need a sensible 24-hour spa in midtown. So, now I know where Koreatown is. And I have a new favorite dumpling shop. Mission: accomplished.