Archive for March, 2006

Soup dumplings

Photo from Joe’s Shanghai’s Web site

My boyfriend left for Taiwan this Tuesday. Before we left, he hauled me off to Flushing to show me where to purchase calling cards. There I learned a very important lesson that I’m sure I’ll refer back to very often when I finally move to Taipei to join Ron. No matter how fluently Ron speaks Mandarin, people will always refer back to me because I’m the Asian half of the couple. Here’s an example from when we were ordering lunch at Joe’s Shanghai:

Waiter: [to me, in Mandarin] What do you want?
Me: [gestures toward Ron]
Ron: [in Mandarin] We’ll have the crab and pork soup dumplings, shrimp fried rice and an order of your raw crab appetizer special.
Waiter: Okay
[gathers up menus]
Waiter: [to me, in Mandarin] Just to make sure, the raw crab is served raw.
Catherine: [snapped out of hunger-induced revery] Mmm… raw… [drools]
Waiter: [shakes head, walks off]

Anyway, the soup dumplings at Joe’s were great. They look like regular steamed buns, but contain a delicious, meaty broth inside along with the meat stuffing. Eating them takes a special technique: basically, you nip a hole in the bottom and drain the juice into a soup spoon so it can cool while you eat the rest of the dumpling. Unfortunately, I did not know this because Ron failed to inform me (the cad). Instead, I greedily tore away at the skin with my teeth, only to have the broth explode over my hair, half my face, and my sweater before puddling onto my jeans. I was less sad about having to walk around reeking of crab and pork juice for the rest of the day than I was at wasting the dumpling’s yumminess. I did manage, however, to stuff most of the raw crab appetizer into my face. It consisted of an entire chopped raw blue crab that had been marinated in rice wine and served with a ginger and vinegar sauce. It was really delicious, with the delicacy of the flesh mingled with the intense brininess of the roe – imagine the flavor of a cooked crab multiplied by a zillion.

Just cuz


I think it’s been established that it’s currently springtime in New York. Just to reiterate.

Cidade de Deus (City of God)

I just got back yesterday from a ten day trip to Brazil. Even I’m jealous of myself. Marked by both beautiful insanity and ethereal calm, Brazil is a dream with toyland babes and boomerang beaches. Fucking gorgeous. Last time I went it was on some tourist shit (ten American guys in logo t-shirts), but now I have a friend down there so it was a completely different and far greater experience. I’ll share some tales and pics soon enough. I landed at JFK yesterday and came straight into work. My fault. I miscalculated the time difference. Regardless, unbeknownst to I, while I was away my coworkers had an office pool going regarding me and my trip. Below are the following bets where the dollar-action was taken (ED: This is not a joke by the way. I saw the sheet):

1) Michael will not come back.
2) Michael comes back, but with Brazilian bride.
3) Michael will fall in love and cease to talk about anything else.
4) Michael will ask for “long lunch” to go to free clinic his first day back.
4) Michael will get arrested for something both alcohol and female related.
5) Michael will quit first day back.
6) Michael (unfortunately) dies.

The biggest action was apparently on numbers 2, 3 and 4. But as nothing of the sort happened (didn’t even get a kiss) I’m apparently a disappointment to many. The closest to happening was number 6 coming very close to death rock climbing en route to a nude beach. Which totally should have been on the list.

PS: Everybody Netflix Cidade Baixa.


Title of a great film with Adam Sandler, but also what I heard this morning on my adventures in radio scanning!

92.7 used to be an all electronic station until one morning, without notice, (very literally) it changed into an all Spanish music station. I wasn’t as concerned because I had passed my electronica stage at that point, but I was annoyed.

So, since that day like 2 years back, I had not tuned back to 92.7 until thsi morning. What did I hear? English commercials, spanish commercials, Spanglish commercials that mixed both – then came on the traffic report. BQE South is jam packed – (Spanish) – back to some random English and then Reggaeton!

I hate Reggaeton on the hip hop stations like Hot 97 and Power 105.1; it stinks. They even play it on that idiotic Z100 (but not that idiotic because that’s how I get my Kelly Clarkson fix). But the reggaeton on 92.7 was actually pretty good. Instead of cringing and changing the station, I listened to it all the way to work! It’s perfect for those who want to slowly transition into speaking slang Spanish. You’ll hear a lot of traffic directions, yelling, and useless English being jammed along with speedy Spanish. . . and one fine day, you’ll wake up and realize that you know what the word culo means. It will be glorious. I think 92.7 is going to have to replace 103.5 on the 2nd set of memorized buttons.

Nature’s alarm clock

I wear ear plugs to sleep, because the kids in the apartment next door like to yell a lot early in the morning. This morning, the ear plugs didn’t help. My first thought of the day: “It sounds like somebody has a jackhammer right outside my window!”

I was wrong. It was two jackhammers. (The third guy only had a shovel.)


What’s up with the Grupsters

Sorry to rant here, but did anyone else read the ‘Grup’ gruppy, grupster article in New York Magazine?

(Just in case for those of you not in the know, Grup = Grown Up Hipsters)

I read it. And it got on my nerves. Not sure why. Maybe because I live in Williamsburg. I listen to Bloc Party. And I take the L train to work every morning. But just because of that, I don’t think I would qualify as a Yindie, Yupster or a Grup.

I work long, long hours, take few vacations, don’t even hang out with enough musicans, but most of all, cringe at the thought of wanting to look or act like someone else.

This article just reminded me of everything I am against.

First the name-dropping of bands: Franz Ferdinand, New Pornographers, Death Cab for Cutie and Sufjan himself. Big deal. Music is music. Some are better than others (to the listener anyways), but because you go to the shows and listen to the music, it should not automatically make anyone an authority on being cool or hip or whatever it’s called lately.

And the spending of $400 on torn up jeans just to look like someone else down the block wearing the same torn up jeans? I don’t get it.

Uggh. Cry Me a River.

I thought New York was about creativity, individuality, even rebellion and non-conformity. My old vision of hip NY was of people living on the fringes of society, not accepting the status quo and creating something unique out of this urban maze of a city.

Really, it’s not about the music or the clothes or the hangouts that bothers me.

It’s the need to be defined and labeled, to feel accepted and belong in a society, so much to the point where ingenuity, inspiration and originality seems to be lacking.

I just want to go back to the days when being cool was cool. I don’t know. Call me an outcast, a rebel or simply old-fashioned, but please don’t call me a Grup.

Voice Emerged: Lee Stringer


Last night the Small Press Center kicked off its reading series, Emerging Voices: Writers Published by Groundbreaking Independent Presses, with a talk from Lee Stringer, author of the acclaimed memoir, Grand Central Winter: Stories from the Street, and now of a second memoir, Sleepaway School: Stories from a Boy’s Life.

NYC: Best City Prepared for an Oil Crisis

Remember the transit strike in late december last year ??? It did get us all pissed and rankled. But the transit system itself is one of the many reasons that makes NYC the greatest city in the world.

CNN Money in an article titled: Best cities for an oil crisis states

New Yorkers may complain endlessly about the city’s public transportation system, but the network of subways and train lines may be the city’s saving grace in the case of an oil crisis.

According to SustainLane, a Web site that promotes sustainable living, New York is the best city prepared for a surge in oil prices, largely because people there are committed to riding over driving.


Need I say more ???? You may leave the compliments in the comments section below. !!

Feathers Gone Wild

Peck Peck Peck.

Peck peck peck peck peck peck peck.

Fluttering sounds, chirping sparrows, pigeons, something that sounded like an owl?

More pecking. More fluttering, a couple of more indiscernible hoots, not even 6:30 am. 68 degrees in the city today. Not wearing a jacket to work. Being surrounded by happy people; I effing love birds (and spring time in nyc).

How Not To Get Drugs: Part 2


These signs were plastered all over Alphabet City today. Meth–ouch!

If someone calls the number, please let us know what it says!

Previously: How Not To Get Drugs Part 1

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