Thursday, June 24, 2010

Culinary Delights in Jackson Heights

I have a shameful, shameful secret
before yesterday the only Indian food I had ever eaten
were run of the mill samosas with cooling yogurt sauce
out of greasy paper bags while walking around the
empty streets of Woodside,
that all changed yesterday
when I went to the famed Jackson Diner in Jackson Heights
Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake
(great, amazing book, please read it)
inspired me to look at Jackson Heights differently
to walk out from 74th street train station
and not just focus on the bus I always have to catch
but instead, to emerge from the F train
to confront all the sights, the sounds, the pleasant congestion, and the assorted aromas
and watch the way the gold embellishments on saris
are complimented by the yellow of traffic lights
the way their jewel tones glint in the sunlight
and how the blaring Bollywood tapes and the clank of yellow-gold bangles
contrast the sounds of traffic, and the hurried conversations
so, out of the many days I spent in Jackson Heights
yesterday was the most special, because I was the most aware of its
raw, almost foreign beauty, although I had walked those streets
a million times
now, to the food,
anyone wanting to try deliciously authentic Indian fare
Jackson Diner is the place
I loved the eccentric array of plates, from rainbow ceramics to metal bowls and trays
I died for the cilantro and tamarind dipping sauces
and was literally eating spoonfuls (and fingerfuls)
of sauce between courses, not very ladylike
but who gives about manners when food is so delicious
I enjoyed vegetable pakora (battered & fried)
and malai kofta, croquettes in a curry sauce
which was more like a stew
a deliciously thick hearty bowl of everything amazing
and the rice, with its long, sticky grains,
topped with the dal (lentil stew)
was to die for, and let me tell you,
this Puerto Rican girl knows good rice & beans
anyhow, the best part of the whole day was dessert (of course)
and I enjoyed some burfi from Delhi Palace, a sweet, creamy,
neon pastry of milk & sugar
I picked it because of its beautiful florescent color
and found that the it tastes just as good as it looks,
I'm totally addicted, and it helped cool my mouth down
from all the preceding spicy greatness
all in all, it was a culinary adventure, in a familiar place: the best kind.

rows of beautifully bright pastries
obsession worthy burfi
pakora nom nom
I could eat this malai kofta every single day, more croquettes please!
such authentic presentation
it felt so homey, warm & comforting
I'm so smitten.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Coney Island Photo Diary

There's something so blissfully nostalgic about Coney Island
and thankfully, I found out that Luna Park had not changed a thing
there was still that smell of fried food and saltwater, heavy in the air
and the man screaming "ice cold water bottles, one dollar"
still greeted me as I walked towards the boardwalk
the men sketchily selling Coronas out of their backpacks
still trudged slowly through the sand
and the women selling hand peeled, sliced mangos were still at it
Luna Park did not take away that old-school, rickety glory of
Wonder Wheel park
the same rides that I went on as a kid were still standing
the Tilt-a-Whirl still spinning, creating blurs of primary colors
the Thunder Bolt still blasting cheesy pop music,
candy apples were abundant, their hard cherry shells staining my lips
but most of all, I hoped that Ralph's Italian Ices would still be sitting
under that recognizable white tent
over a dozen flavors that I had loved since childhood
like the pink bubblegum, with tiny chiclets inside that streaked the ice
the brightest of blues & oranges
and Ralph's did not fail me
a Pistachio & Cookies n Cream icee was all I needed
ah, sweet euphoria.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cookie Time

I'm crazy for cookies
especially when they are colorful
and bursting with
sweet noms like raspberry & ice cream
here are some of my favorite
rainbow cookies from Rocco's on Bleecker
& cookie sandwiches from Milk & Cookies on Commerce Street
why are the best treats born in the West Village?
under the canopy of fire escapes, quaint buildings, and brick-face
Milk & Cookies is my favorite
because of the cute, warmth of the place, tucked in between old brownstones
the glass, communal water pitcher,
the cups full of brown sugar cubes and thick golden honey,
the happy array of flowers that greet passerbys,
but most of all, I love the cookie sandwiches and the love with which they are made
the perfect way that a scoop of creamy, dense ice cream is placed between
two huge, soft, cookies
and pressed to perfection, to make that ice cream spread all over the cookies
just 5 bucks of pure lusciousness
my particular ice cream sandwich love letter
was strawberry ice cream & macadamia nut cookies
it was a delicious masterpiece.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hi Summer, I promise to cherish you.

To make a long story short
let's just say, I finally got my life back
and thank god because I recently suffered a rude awakening
when I received a picture message from my brother
of a Vassar bug that had come to wreak havoc in my apartment
with its long, spindly, abundant legs
rapid movements, and general fear inducing grossness
technology never fails to (literally) disgust me
and it took me back to those nights where whilst I screamed & cowered
my roommate would calmly attempt to trap these horrific bugs and get rid of them
and sadly I remembered the night one of the creatures fell into my bed,
never to be found
how this monstrosity ended up in my apartment, hours away from Poughkeepsie
still baffles me
but it was an omen, that bug said "oh hey gurrrrl,
your summer is flying by"
Sophmore year is soon approaching, love life while you can"
I'm quite thankful for the bug (I never got to actually witness it)

I miss the summers when jobs didn't matter
and on my little street in Astoria someone would open the fire hydrant
sending a gush of frigid water that all the kids on the block
could run through, cooling down, filling up empty Poland Spring bottles
to spray at each other
and kids from other blocks would come
excited by the impromptu & illegal sprinkler
we would block traffic, squirting water guns and screaming
and on the days where the sprinklers didn't come to us
the days were filled with big boxes of sidewalk chalk,
hand-scrawled hopscotch boards with pebbles sprinkled on the numbered squares
while eating italian ices, that never failed to drip cherry red all over our t-shirts
there were the countless hours spent riding my Yaak scooter
(Razors were just too expensive)
rolling down the small grassy hills of Astoria Park and
playing with my Skip-It, watching the numbers on the dial
hundreds of revolutions, and I would be worn out
I can't find my Skip-It, so now, a decade later
I settle for sweet picnics,
I abandon the age old pb&js for brick oven pizza,
the frozen Capri Sun pouches for Arnold Palmer Arizona
letting the smell of the grass, and the cherry juice that stains my fingertips
incite my nostalgia.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Street Art

I already have a torrid love affair with the city
but now that I'm an intern
I love every single minute I get to spend outside even more
working in an office
is actually quite alienating
maybe it's just the sociology major in me
or maybe its because the light in my nook is out
but this weekend, I got in some much needed QT time with the streets
and encountered some street art that really made me happy
anything might be beautiful after staring at an Excel workbook for 7 hours at a time
but this stuff is actually great.

This sexy man inspires me.

Gotta love some divalicious attitude & a bit of scandal

Gritty High Renaissance in the big city? yes please!

Trifecta=new best word.
I wish there could be a pizza place, Thai restaurant & Cold Stone all in one,
that would be my dream trifecta.

No words needed. This speaks the truth.

This truck couldn't have been in a better place. Love dollar stores, forever.

LES masterpiece.

My fave.

Cake & Shake

Although I am super sleepy, not to mention worn out
I mustered up the strength to bake a banana cake
because I had some leftover homemade cream cheese icing in the fridge
can't let that go to waste can I?
I was feeling like a fun-loving, risk taker,
so I decided to add Nutella filling
because what could be better than banana and chocolate hazelnut?
nearly nothing, so I took a baby spoon and dropped a dollop of nutella into each cup of batter
I was totally inspired by this treats truck that was parked outside of
Washington Square Park called
Cake & Shake
I'm such an ice cream purist, I don't really drink milkshakes
but the cupcakes were really delish
and I'm a super picky when it comes to cupcakes
(I know where my loyalties lie)
I got the Heaven Split
caramel buttercream, banana cake & chocolate hazelnut
it was an artisan cupcake, ruffled liner
textured, piped creamy icing,
yummy dense cake, and a chocolate surprise on the inside
pretty doesn't always win with me, but this was nom
I think I might need to stalk this truck.

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