When Kåre and I stepped off the Staten Island Ferry, we decided to take in some of the Staten Island sights.
OH YEAH, CHECK OUT THAT SKYLINE!!!
But the most fun we had (or was it just me?) was when we took advantage of the beautiful clear blue sky, the lack of human interference, and the abundant space by shooting jumping photos.
Kåre went for the cannonball look.
I went for the "MRAAHAHHHAHHhhaa ahhh!" look. (It looks like I'm jumping higher than I actually am. Spring-powered legs, I do not have.)
Actually, there is a nice September 11 Memorial up the water's edge. It kinda looks like wings. Or envelopes. Or both. Inside the "wings" are silhouettes and descriptions of September 11 victims. I didn't realize how depressing that was at the time, but it's kind of like being in a graveyard without the bodies. Damn.
I hope I didn't ruin it too much for you.
Back in Manhattan, we walked to the southernmost tip of the island through Battery Park, which was prettier than I thought it would be. (I had only been there once before. In general I have low expectations for New York City parks because I fell in love with Parisian parks, which probably isn't a fair comparison because parks in Paris are manicured to perfection.) Although impersonal skyscrapers tower over the north side of the park, the south is unhindered with only water as its boundary. I preferred to ignore the north side. And if I squinted and concentrated really hard, I could 50% almost pretend that I was dreaming about being in Paris.
We walked up to the World Trade Center (a big hole in the ground, basically), through the Financial District, and up the eastern edge to get a glimpse of the Brooklyn Bridge and the no longer running waterfalls.
But the main reason I wanted to take that route wasn't to look at the bridge but to introduce Kåre to a taste sensation unseen in Bergen: bubble tea. We stopped into Ten Ren for the standard cold, sweetened black milk tea mixed with marble-sized tapioca balls.
After getting over the strangeness of every sip through the fat straw being interrupted by soft, chewy blobs, he decided that he liked it. Victory! He liked it so much that he bought a bag of tapioca balls later that weekend. What's next? A Bergen-based bubble tea chain?! ...Probably not.
I also wanted to feed Kåre an egg custard tart from the Egg Custard King Cafe across the street, but decided to hold off so that we could eat dinner without wanting to throw up.
Dinner at Sonia Rose
For dinner, Kåre and I met up with Kathy and Greg at Sonia Rose in the Lower East Side where our friend Alice was waitressing. Specifically, I wanted her to be my waitress. One of my friends said she'd feel weird in that kind of situation—being served by a friend—but I knew with Alice, there wouldn't be anything weird about it. It would be like any other time hanging out with Alice, except...with her serving us food. And that's pretty much what it was like.
To celebrate its opening, Sonia Rose featured a three-course prix fixe menu (with amuse bouches) for only $20.08. Aside from having Alice as my waitress, this was the other reason I wanted to eat there; otherwise, I'm sure it'd be beyond by budget. It's too late to take advantage of this special price, besides that the chef we had may have already left the restaurant, but I'll show you the food porn anyway. Because that's my job.
Brioche buns and butter sampler: The soft, light bun wasn't a typical brioche, but it was brioche-like. Less egg? More sweetness? Butter flavors were jalapeno, cherry, and sweet.
Creamed spinach in puff pastry things (amuse bouche): The puff pastry was so airy and crisp that it exploded/melted as soon as I bit into it. It meltsploded.
Seafood corn bisque soup (appetizer): This was my favorite dish of the meal. Creamy, sweet corn soup with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and—most importantly—FRESH CRISPY CORN NIBLETS! I said niblets. Heh.
Fettuccine with shitake and balsamic reduction (appetizer): I only had a little bite of this, but it seemed nice. Kathy approved.
Grilled hangar steak (entrée): With swiss chard, port wine reduction, lil' tomatoes, and maybe mashed potatoes but my memory is fading by this point. I rarely eat steak because I'm not a big fan of it. Why did I get this? DUNNO. Because I didn't want the other two choices. Ever since I was little I've found steak to be too tough to be completely enjoyable (my preferred meat consistency is found in slowly stewed beef or braised pork, that is, requires very little chewing) and methinks I still feel that way.
Roasted breast of free range hen with portobello truffle sauce (entrée): I probably would've liked this better, but then you never know when poultry will be "meh." Brussels sprouts are a plus though.
Dessert sampler: Apple pie, chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream, key lime bar, MINT LEAVES. While I was initially excited by the prospect of getting a bunch of desserts in one go, I was so freakin' full by this point that I had trouble eating this. My favorite part was the ice cream, and then I kind of picked at the other three desserts while moaning, "Uuunnnggg.". I ate the whole sprig of mint without trouble, aside from the laughter around the table for my unconventional hands-free eating method.
Greg: Did you just inhale the mint?
Me: Huh? No, I gradually ...uh...chewed it into my mouth.
Greg: It looks like you sucked it up.
Me: Like, [imitates sucking motion] "shoop"? That's not what I did! I SWEAAAR.
Greg: That's what it looked like.
My conversations usually dissolve into pure emoticons.
Blood orange and chocolate sorbet: Kåre was the only one who went for the sorbet sampler. I probably should've gone for this too. Doh.
Pecan sandies: Unexpected, more desserts came out. These little pecan sandy-like cookies were actually nuggets of butter barely held together by flour, sugar, and pecans. They were goooood. But I couldn't tell how good because of that "stomach was 110% full" problem.
Chocolate-dipped strawberries: I didn't even touch these, partially because I was sleepy and food coma-ed out, more so because I don't like chocolate-dipped fruit. I'm okay with ice cream and nuts dipped in chocolate, but fruit (dried or fresh) never does it for me. I can't be the only one.
Our meal unexpectedly lasted about three hours. The food was a little slow coming out (it was a busy night), but it was easy to pass the time with three other friends and the best waitress ever. The best waitress who, I now realized, probably didn't feel the effects of our larger-than-usual tip because the tips get split between all the waiters, but I make it up to Alice in other ways. By loving her!!! Doesn't love count for something? No? Uh.
On the way back to my apartment we met up with Alex, thus ensuring that we would have a most awesome Saturday.
74 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002