August 27, 2014
I'm not one to demand recognition for my accomplishments, but there is one prize I deserve with utmost fanfare (a nice horn quartet ought to do it). That prize is an oversized gold chalice engraved with "Most Easily Surprised by Surprise Birthday Parties." Under that in a smaller font, "It's Crazy, She Just Never Sees Them Coming!" Under that in a smaller font, "How Did She Make It This Far in Life?"
Here's what I've learned over the last five years of being surprised/fooled by friends in New York City. This isn't a handy-dandy universal guide that lists all the steps by any means; there are other resources for that. It's not rocket science, nor a less impressive science. I'm just sharing my experiences to give people ideas. Use this knowledge wisely on your most unsuspecting friend who enjoys being surprised. You might make her feel like the luckiest person on earth to be blessed with such a thoughtful circle of friends...and after a few years, fill her with self doubt about her ability to think critically about anything.
In this post I refer to the surprisee as a woman because I have lady parts. But you can also surprise guys. It works on them too, probably.
Hijack the Birthday Plans Your Friend Has Already Made
Instead of planning a surprise party from square one, it might be easier and less suspicious to tack the surprise onto plans the birthday girl already made, if her plans are easily malleable. I've been that girl multiple times. I LEARN NOTHING.
Posted by roboppy at 2:24 AM |
July 10, 2014
When I visit a new city, I like to glom onto a good, local friend (like a human lamprey but without the jawless mouth hole full of pointy teeth and nightmares) who can take me around the city and show me the best places to eat, shop, and look at important historical stuff, all while filling me in on interesting facts and details about what we're eating and looking at, all while having fun, all while retaining positive feelings about me and the future of our friendship after the day is over even though I drained them of all their energy and they're sick of looking at my face.
Posted by roboppy at 1:52 AM |
June 7, 2014
Late last Friday at the Serious Eats office, I gathered up all my remaining personal belongings—books and pictures, mostly—and left my set of office keys on my desk before heading home. While waiting for the subway, I realized, "Oh crap, I forgot my leftover pasta in the fridge. The pasta I wanted to eat for lunch tomorrow." On any other day I could've walked back to the office for the pasta, but for the first time in seven years, I couldn't go back. No one else was in the office, and the door was locked. The forsaken pasta bummed me out (it was from Osteria Morini; you'd be bummed, too), but more saddening was accepting that the office was no longer my home away from home.
I've spent the last week trying to figure out how to do justice to my seven-year tenure at Serious Eats using the power of the keyboard-tapped word. (I wrote a bit about it in last week's This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters, and Ed wrote me a farewell post last Monday. I'm really pulling up the rear now.) But after many stretches of staring blankly at my laptop screen alternated with staring blankly out my bedroom window, underscored by my internal soundtrack of a drawn-out "bbbbbbeeeeeeeeeuuhhhhhh" (imagine Hypnotoad with roiling indigestion), I've decided there's no way I can do it justice. Somewhere deep in my brain meats is a pile of useful words getting flaccid and crusty in their stagnancy, like a sloppily stacked, ever-growing tower of forgotten luncheon meat. ...So now that I've accepted that, I can write this overdue post.
Posted by roboppy at 11:55 PM |
May 19, 2014
Q: How do you make Japanese curry taste even better?
A: [Invoking the manic spirit of Craig] YOU CAN'T, IT'S PERFECT, HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST OTHERWISE.
B: Add more curry.
C: Stick it in a casserole, top it with a raw egg and grated cheese, and bake it until the egg is set and the cheese is gooey and crisp.
It's a trick question, because all of these answers are correct. ...But especially C. Just look at this thing:
This is the baked curry from Curry-Ya in the East Village. Before I tried the baked curry, I thought of Curry-Ya as the place to go to if I wanted to ladle Japanese curry out of my own personal cast-iron pot onto my rice/meat however I please. This desire rarely presents itself. As much as I love being the master of a mini ladle—don't we all?—I'm quite content with eating curry that is already portioned out as a brown pool touching a mound of rice.
It wasn't until this past February when my friend Christine shared her baked curry with me that I found the real draw of Curry-Ya. For an extra $3.50, Curry-Ya will top your curry and rice with shredded cheddar cheese and a raw egg and bake it all into a mini-casserole of gooey-and-crisp, cheesy, eggy goodness. It goes a little something like this:
Posted by roboppy at 1:31 AM |
April 28, 2014
Janet: [In the living room] I made some apple crisp if you want to eat some!
Robyn: [Me, in my room] Oh yay! Thanks!
J: It's not great. I forgot to add flour, so it's watery.
[Both go into kitchen, inspect crisp]
J: Yeah, it's...loose.
Posted by roboppy at 3:41 AM |
March 19, 2014
I love a good welcome sign. Something that declares more than the name of the town/state you have just entered/left. Something with personality. Something unique. Like Delaware's dual achievements of "THE FIRST STATE" and "Home of Tax-Free Shopping."
- Tamsui welcome sign uploaded by yawei2009 on Flickr.
The welcome sign for Danshui (or Tamsui, but I prefer the former) is a sign to remember. If you drive up to Danshui from Taipei City, you'll whizz by the sign, which is painted on the side of a wall hugging the main road. The wall is some meters high and the sign runs...[counts on fingers]...many more meters long. But as you're probably driving past it quickly, that doesn't give you much time to process it. I'm guessing I mentally responded with something like, "Did that sign say...what?...wait... [turns] oh shit it's gone now." I would've forgotten what the sign said if I hadn't tucked away a mental note to myself that I had to look up the sign online because something about it made it worth treasuring forever. Thanks to Flickr member yawei2009, I can recount what the sign says:
Welcome to Tamsui!
Don't Do Drugs
Don't Drag Race
That sign is just one of many things I came to treasure about Danshui.
Posted by roboppy at 3:44 AM |
March 9, 2014
I biked more during my one week vacation in Taipei than I have in the last three years of living in New York City. It's not a tough record to break—I haven't used my bike here in, um, at least three years. During the summer of 2009 when I lived in a first floor apartment I'd ride my bike out to Prospect Park at night with uncharacteristic enthusiasm, largely because I was disgustingly drippy with summer sweats and hurtling myself through the air was the best way to cool off. But about three years ago I moved into a second floor apartment. Second floor. You expect me to carry my heavy folding bike down and up one whole flight of stairs? Nah, I'll just marinate in a puddle of my own sweat.
I'm just as lazy in Taipei, but Taipei offers a few incentive to getting me off my butt that New York City doesn't: picturesque mountains and rivers in tandem. Mother Nature dealt Taipei a good deck. If you ride along the Keelung River Bikeway in the northwest outskirts of the city, as my dad and I did this morning, you'll be treated to well maintained bike paths with lovely scenery far from the din of the city.
Posted by roboppy at 6:01 AM |
February 14, 2014
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.
Lee Greenwood's patriotic crooning doesn't often pop into my head, but when it does, it's probably not for any reason Greenwood had in mind. Unless he wrote those words to behold the majesty of a sub roll stuffed with three different kinds of fried foods. In that case, I totally nailed it.
That fried food-stuffed roll is just one many members of the fat sandwich family. A fat sandwich is what you get when you cross a burger and/or a cheese steak and/or a gyro and/or bacon and/or eggs and/or dump on a sports bar appetizer platter—namely mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, and fries—and douse it all in a sauce or two. It sounds like a monstrosity from Pawnee, Indiana,* but luckily for us non-fictional folks it hails from New Brunswick, New Jersey, where grease trucks at Rutgers University have been slinging fat sandwiches since the '80s.
* "First in friendship, fourth in obesity."
Posted by roboppy at 12:38 AM |