During Saturday's mission to roam around aimlessly with Tristan during his short stay in NYC (after taking a vacation in HAWAII...that bastard!), we took the 6 train up to the northern tip of Central Park just for the hell of it.
"Have you been to that part of Central Park?"
"Nope." [Keep in mind I've seen maybe 1% of the monsterous park.]
I was expecting to go to the park and move my usually sedentary limbs while inhaling slightly cleaner air than what's found in the rest of Manhattan when we came across a most welcoming awning.
"TRISTAN! BAKERY! GO! MUST! ...LET'SGO!"
Indeed, I do sound that crazy.
The first sight after you enter the sliding door doesn't tell you much in the ways of baked goods since the shop sells an array of Mexican products, but unless your sinuses are full of mucus there's no way you can miss the sweet sweet smell of bakery. It's heaven, basically. (Which makes me wonder what heaven's bakery smells like. It would probably be sensory overload.)
Besides the smell, the open doorway to the back of the shop reveals mobile racks containing trays upon trays upon trays upon trays (annnnd so on) of freshly baked goods. And then you turn to your left.
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WHAT IS THIS. (When one of the shopkeepers saw me taking photos through the glass door, she opened them for me. I thought that was sweet.)
Obviously, I don't get out enough, nor do I have enough experience with Mexican bakeries. The only one I've been to is the shop on 9th Avenue near the Port Authority (I'm sure there's only one) where I left empty handed after staring at the golden dough chunks long enough to burn the images into my mind. Tristan had once stayed in Mexico with a host family for a few weeks and thus already had a memory bank labeled "Mexican baked goods" that would help him choose what to buy. I, on the other hand, just stared at all the goodies going "WHAT'S THAT" and "OH THAT LOOKS GOOD" and "UHHH...THEY ALL LOOK GOOD, THIS IS NOT FAIR." Tristan ended up getting some kind of light, pillowy soft bun while I went with a dense, coconut-flavored scone-like bread chunk (top shelf in the third photo) and a tender, crackled, pale yellow cookie (second shelf in the third photo).
"I noticed that you did a happy bakery dance."
I did a...what? I have a bakery dance? Well. Sure, why not. :) I felt even happier upon paying only $0.60 per baked good. $0.60! Now everything else feels like a rip-off.
We sat on a spot of grass by a lake with a tiny beach and dug into the goods. The lightly coconut flavored (with dried coconut shavings thrown in) sconey thing was much more filling than it looked. I happily stuffed chunks into my mouth and force-fed Tristan, who doesn't eat a whole lot more than I do despite towering over me by a foot...or two. I liked the cookie even more. Its deliciousness was apparent in the grease stain it left behind on the bottom of the paper bag. Mmm...window of faaaat. The cookie had the tenderness of shortbread, but with a grittier and somewhat crunchy texture. I loved whatever the unidentifiable nutty flavor was. TELL ME YOUR SECRETS, OH FATTY COOKIE OF YUMMINESS! (If anyone can give me more info about what I ate, please tell me!)
We passed some funky gnarled trees. Not tasty. But kind of pretty!
Although we felt like we had walked around for a long time, north-south wise we found out—as we lazily (or in my case, wheezily) consulted a map stuck to one of the field's fences—that we had traversed a grand total of 10 blocks at various elevations (not that Central Park is exactly mountainous; a little hilly?). However, we also walked from the east side to the west side, adding about another 10 blocks to the length of our walk. ...Which is still pretty damn short. Of course, it was better than sitting around and doing nothing, for how else would I have found that bakery?
Before heading to Central Park, we shared some Chinese food in Washington Square Park. However, this Chinese food was tainted with the spirit of an evil panda-demon.
That's a panda-demon, right? Don't even think of stealing the panda-demon: that shizz is trademarked. Its eyes are excessively shiny and its nostrils are eerily pronounced. DEMON MARKINGS, I SAY.
After our encounter with the demon-panda, we walked up to the Union Square farmer's market. Of course, my real destination was the new-ish bakery, Tisserie. I didn't try anything (which is probably a good thing, as I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as what I got from the Mexican bakery), so I'll just do this retinal-pleasing thing:
Thai and Indian food under one roof; it's just what I wanted!
Kailash is a restaurant in Ridgewood that specializes in Thai and Indian food. Separately. When I told my brother what they served, he imagined fusion, not two different menus splodged together. Since I don't know much about Thai or Indian food, I can't accurately assess how "authentic" their food is, but it tasted good to me. The restaurant has been around for a while, so I imagine that other people think the same thing. The first time I went there was probably four years ago.
My mum, brother and I shared the spicy grilled calamari salad (methinks that falls under the Thai category) as an appetizer. Since we love fried calamari so much, we figured that grilled must be pretty good too. And...it's fine, but nowhere near the tastiness of fried. Not even in the same galaxy. Just distant siblings who want nothing to do with each other. Chewy, unfried squid rings just doesn't do it for me. Thankfully, no more squid made its way into our meal and we polished off just about everything else we ordered.
I think this is lamb madras, but if not then at least I can say with 100% confidence that it's something with tender chunks of lamb cooked in a savory curry sauce. Yes, this is as descriptive as I get. I'd have to be smarter to be able to identify what spices were actually in it (or take notes off the menu).
Even better than my lamb was my brother's chennai chicken (which came with a side of dosa). It's spiciness was more subdued than in my lamb dish and it had a sweeter, creamier taste. I'd want to eat this again.
My mum's crispy duck (Thai, in case it's not apparent) arrived at the table in a violent state of sizzling and smoking. I'm not a big fan of duck, partially because of the fatty skin of which there was much in this dish. My mum managed to eat most of it while my brother picked at whatever meat was left.
Aside from all the meatstuffs, we were also give two plates of rice (white and yellow). By the end of the meal after blindly eating everything on the table, I felt like I was going to explode. Really. In the car ride home I think I sat at an odd angle and hugged my belly as though that would somehow affect the digestive processes going on beneath the skin. Did I really eat that much? I think something's wrong with my digestion, as I've had a similar feeling after every eating excursion I've gone on with my mum and brother (they, of course, emerge unscathed). I guess overeating is a bit of a problem when you're constantly presented with copious amounts of stuff that tastes good.
The next day while driving to the train station my mum said that she liked Kailash more than Mela (another Indian restaurant in Ridgewood) partially because Kailash served larger portions. I don't know if I really want more food. Many times I wish restaurants would serve less so that I'm not as compelled to eat it all. (Yeah, I know no one is forcing the food down your throat, and there is such a practice of taking home leftovers, but...um. I have a tendency to ignore the sensation of being full. Yes, I should do something about that.)
...Unless it's dessert. That should come in larger portions.
129 E 110th Street
New York, NY 10029
22 Oak St
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
and for something random
Mm, weegie food. I sure like me some geitost. The brown color comes from the caramelization of the milk sugar, which results in a sweet taste in comparison to other cheese. I'm not sure what other popular uses for the cheese exist besides eating on bread, but I ate a few slices by themselves out of pseudo-hunger and I found the flavor too strong. The only places where I've found brown cheese around where I live are at my local Whole Foods in the "fancy butter/cheese" section (as opposed to the regular cheese counter or the dairy aisle) and Nordic Delicacies in Brooklyn.
In reference to my title: yup, I'm still wheezy. But it's not very surprising considering what I'm eating, so...I guess I'm just screwed for now.