You’d think that after three days off from work I might be relatively well rested and together, but unfortunately, you’d be wrong. Instead, I’m nearly no longer sick, not entirely exhausted, and somewhat sort of together? I mean I did one country’s worth of taxes? So it’s not been entirely a bust. That said, it has been a long week with a lot of time spent trying desperately to recover so please bear with the boring bits.
Tuesday was the usual rigamarole of work topped with a neuroeconomic colloquium on morality and a stumble home to bed. I acquired a rather pathetic habit this week which you’ll probably hear entirely too much about this blog, yes, I got home from the talk and fell straight into bed and out of consciousness for over an hour. And that was about the size of my night.
The following day I finished up work, spent an hour and fifteen working with a rather more uncooperative than usual student and then stumbled home for a quick nap before dumplings and dance. It has been ages since I last took part in one of the pre-dance dumpling adventures so I decided to wrangle up some people and pull another one out of the hat. We ended up mowing through mountains of dumplings before grabbing bubble tea and heading up to dance. Perhaps unwisely for the slowly dying creature that you see before you, I stayed out until the very end of the night before dragging my sorry butt home for entirely too few hours of sleep before the morning came.
Thursday saw me returning to the ultimate in blasé as I followed my chiropractic appointment up with a very unceremonious collapse back into bed to rest, read, and faff about on the internet. I know, so exciting.
Come Friday, I powered through another work day and headed for the train only to experience one of those wonderful idiosyncratic New York moments. Yes, the entire transit system was crippled by a dog on the tracks. Yes, a dog had escaped from it’s owner at York St and had stopped three subway lines dead in their tracks while the MTA switched off the power and the NYPD went down into the tunnels to try to find and rescue the little rogue. You’ve never seen so many New Yorkers turn from dog lovers to dog loathers in the course of mere minutes. Fortunately the mischievous mutt was eventually corralled and the trains trucked onwards with only about an hour’s delay.
I skipped hip hop to take another nap before schlepping my butt up to 46th St for another westie night. It was a competition night so the all stars were all out to judge which made for some very excellent dances and conversations. We will not speak about how late I stayed out but only say that when it came time to head to my boss’s daughter’s bat mitzvah the next morning around 9am, I was not exactly the brightest eyed or bushiest tailed. But I made it up to the synagogue in stockings and a dress so I considered it a win. It was my first experience of an actual Jewish service so I was up for anything. It ended up being a lot more musical than I’d expected. In fact almost the entire service was in Hebrew and almost all of the Hebrew was sung.
After the approximately 3 hour service we then headed down to the reception room for a kaddish lunch and holy Jewish food was it ever delicious. Between the diversity of preserved fishes, potato salads, and sweets and the absolutely perfect blintzes? I could have eaten forever. I also found myself at a table with some very interesting folks that drove shop talk all the way until 1:30 pm when I finally excused myself and headed home to, wait for it, yes, to sleep. I probably didn’t keep my eyes open for more than 30 minutes at a time for the whole rest of the day and I didn’t even ruin my night’s sleep. No, I dozed from 2pm through about 9pm before passing out completely until 8am the next morning. I might have been really sick or something? It’s unclear.
Sunday morning I started slow, tackled my American taxes, and eventually decided that 24 hours in my room alone was probably not the healthiest way to spend a weekend. I was still feeling too weak and sickish to handle contemporary so I badgered my friends until they caved and agreed to join me for tea which turned into an entire afternoon/evening of adventure. Yes, Jessie and I started at Radiance tea on the Upper East Side where we ate some beautiful dim sum and drank heavenly oolong tea. We had shrimp and spring green dumplings that could have made me cry. They were so delicate and tender and fresh. The greens tasted like they’d just been picked and the dumpling wrappers were unspeakably tender. And then there were the duck spring rolls. They were crispy morsels of perfection with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce. We rounded out our dim sum with some scallion pancakes and then turned to tea. I described my oolong dreams of light green mainland China heaven to the waitress and she immediately recommended the High Mountain Oolong. I trusted her assurances and had no regrets. It was exactly the light, fresh, green oolong that I remembered from my time in China and the refills were bottomless.
Somewhere around pot number 4, we wrapped up our meal with a trio of gorgeous mochi. I’ve never been all that fond of mocha before and I usually hate red bean paste but Jessie is a mocha lover so I tried to give it another try. These mocha were so much better than anything I’d ever tried before. The glutinous rice exterior was so very soft, tender, and fresh, it melted in your mouth and the fillings were divine. The peanut and sesame were stunning, and the red bean paste was so utterly inoffensive that even I, hater of all things red bean, enjoyed it. Suffice to say that Radiance Teas is a purveyor of only the highest quality East Asian delicacies. I’m a convert.
After tea, we wandered out into the world to do a little shopping, or rather to do a little trying on–we didn’t end up buying anything before finding our way into a very charming little speakeasy. New York is simply obsessed with speakeasies but I’ve not actually been to that many of them, I tend to avoid the trends. That said, this one came highly reviewed and it was only 140yds away so we wandered over and thank goodness for Google maps because we’d’ve never found it otherwise. The only signage was a name on the mailbox and the entry way was empty. We found no one at all until we traipsed upstairs and finally found the bartender and server who set us up with the most decadent of drink menus. I dove into the gin menu while Jessie headed for bourbon. Can I just say that I’ve spoiled for cocktails in this city? The creativity and the craftsmanship of New York cocktails is far above and beyond anything I’ve experienced anywhere else in my travels. This time I began with a gin, rose, and grapefruit foundation and ended with a swizzle that savoured strongly of caraway and genepy. It was the best kind of tipsy gossip sesh and, as if we hadn’t already been decadent enough, we ended out evening at the beloved Sticky’s Finger Joint for fried chicken and the most unlikely fries.
Sticky’s is a classic with all the best (and craziest) dipping sauces. We got some chicken poppers, two kinds of aioli, and a honey mustard sauce and then we got silly. We tried the smores fries. They are exactly as insane as you are imagining. Picture the most gorgeous, crispy french fries topped with chocolate sauce, marshmallow fluff, mini marshmallows, and graham cracker crumbs. It was a heavenly marriage of salty and so sweet. 10/10 would eat again. I think we both rolled home.
This morning, my well fed tummy and I woke up and set out in search of coffee. I was all out of coffee grounds and it was a holiday so my usual port of call for coffee beans was closed. Fortunately, there’s a fairly solid roastery kitty corner from my apartment so it was just a hop, skip, and a jump to a bag of beans and a beautiful mocha.
Once fed and caffeinated, I caught up on some letter writing and life admin before heading up to the Met for a little time amongst the modern artists. On the way home the trains decided to play up again which lead to a very full 4 train where I nearly had the chance to experience one of New York’s unnervingly frequent subway slashings. One man backed into another which lead to the latter accusing the former of touching him and very swiftly escalated into the former threatening to pop the latter in the kneecap just as soon as they got off the train while the latter screamed obscenities into the face of the former. Fun fact: I was the nearest adjacent human being and there was absolutely no where for me to move to. Fortunately they parted ways one stop later and I didn’t have to witness any bloodshed but it certainly added some frisson to my afternoon.
When I finally made it home, I treated myself to North Dumplings and Doughnut Plant and decided to reserve dietary virtue for the weekdays. And thus you find me here, tapping away on my keyboard and trying not to pass out again. I like to believe that I’m on the road to recovery but my current exhaustion might suggest otherwise.
The Salsa Girl