In Which a Diversity of Asian Cuisine is Eaten

I didn’t really think about it until just now as I sat down to write this, but I seem to have taken a tour of Asia this week without ever leaving New York. I started with an indulgent three hour Murakami session on a bench by the river in the heat of a Tuesday night. But it wasn’t my usual Murakami, no, this was Ryu not Haruki and it was a whole new level. I would dare to suggest, that Ryu is the Quentin Tarantino of Murakamis, and when the spine doesn’t specify a first name, you may be in for quite a shock. In contrast to Haruki’s bizarre but ultimately delightful surrealism, Ryu is dark and occasionally a bit sickening and scary. It was an interesting three hours and by the end I’d devoured a book whole, a pair of fishermen had cast their rods at least a few dozen times each, and all of the fish in the river had swum away unaffected.

The following day, I took a pivot to Southeast Asia when Chuck and I stopped by the Thai place across from dance to scarf down dinner before I bounded off to Ripley Grier for another amazing class with Karel Flores. There is just nothing in the world half so satisfying as being absolutely destroyed by a dance class, and Karel has an uncanny way of orchestrating just that. Even when the moves are manageable, the speed just takes your breath away, literally. And that’s how I ended up at Westie, soaked in sweat and absolutely giddy. Endorphins are a spectacular drug. So spectacular in fact that I was still bouncing all the way to the train at the end of the night.

Having conquered hump day in fantastic style, I wandered through Thursday and right on into the square to meet Chuck at the library. We grabbed falafel at Mamoun’s and jumped on a train north to the Metropolitan Opera. Uncharacteristically for me, we arrived stylishly not-early and found our seats just in time for the show. Some day I will be comfortable with just-in-time arrivals, until then, I am learning. There were no arias and no sopranos only Tchaikovsky and prima ballerinas. Somewhat to my chagrin, they were not perfectly in synch, but their cannons were divine and dancer who played Von Rothbart had an incredible crispness of movement.

And then it was off to the Heights to catch a few Zs before we finally found our way into Friday. Which brings me to the next stop in my Asian culinary tour on Friday when we met friends at a Vietnamese place near my apartment. We ate cllllllllll the vermicelli and at least a few spring rolls before a change of scenery to the dark and quirky basement bar that is Nitecap. Our waiter was a hipster of the friendly but a small bit odd variety who relished in telling us all about carcinogens and things that aren’t really carcinogens just triggers for a natural predisposition before hurrying off to fetch our drinks which were both equally odd and utterly divine.

My drink was the Rendezvous in Chennai which was somewhere deliciously lost between lassi, curry, and chai. It was also made with gin. I might have fallen in love.

As soon as we finished our drinks we hoped in an Uber to Jersey to chat with another friend for a bit before eventually wandering our way back to the LES to sleep.

Saturday was hot and lazy and I, by some insane fluke, managed to get groceries! I might have bribed myself with dumplings and Doughnut Plant, but I did also buy groceries so I think I get credit for that. Let’s not talk about the rest of the day which I spent lounging around reading.

Sunday followed rather the same mould as Saturday, but by mid-afternoon I decided to get myself out into the sunshine to finally cave and purchase a set of sheets that actually fit my bed. Yes, real adult that I am, I’ve been using queen sheets on a double bed for about eight months. So I finally set out to a home store in hopes of finding affordable black sheets to match my quilt. Pro Tip: Crate & Barrel is not that place. Bed, Bath & Beyond on the other hand, well I now have black cotton sheets with a decent thread count that actually fit my bed. I consider it a triumph despite the amount of sweating that ensued as I dragged my prize halfway across the city after being foiled by a re-routed F train that said did not deign to stop where it normally does.

After a few hours of blessed air conditioning, we headed back into Midtown to meet Heik and his girlfriend for Bonchon and thus rounded out my tour d’asie with crispy spicy Korean fried chicken. We laughed, we chatted, we went to Schmackery’s for giant cookies and then we parted ways and all went home to bed. It was a lovely night.

Today however, I woke up impressively tired thanks to my wroth filled spine and its unwillingness to ever let me sleep. I’m never sure who starts the game but whether it’s my left hip or right shoulder that provokes it, the other always follows quickly and soon I’m a crippled agonized mess. So I finally caved and booked a chiropractic appointment. If I’m still here writing next week, we’ll know he didn’t break me.

So as I sat cursing my ill tempered body at my desk I ended up staying a bit late at work only to find that in that one extra hour it had gone from a perfectly average sunny summer day to an absolute torrential downpour. In the 30 second journey from the door of my building to the subway I was soaked to the skin and deafened by the thunder. When I emerged from the train in the LES however, the rain had abated so I decided to stop by my favourite pizza place for a slice. I was standing in the shop waiting while they heated up my slice when suddenly I saw raindrops and they were getting thicker. I advised the staff that cold pizza was just fine, grabbed the box, and ran. I did not beat the onslaught of water, but I did get in the door before my pizza box turned to mush so I will call it a win.

And now I’m sitting in my room listening contentedly to the thunder with a belly full of pizza. Overall, life’s pretty alright.

Storm watching from a 6th floor window,
The Salsa Girl



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