Vegetarian Dim Sum House – Chinatown, New York

Vegetarian Dim Sum House - Chinatown New York

Vegetarian Dim Sum House

Chinatown, New York City, New York

This night began earlier when my hostess, bartender extraordinaire Miss Chockie, took me to La Maison Cointreau for an evening of booze-soaked education and history of Cointreau. A handful of drinks with just enough small bites to keep me upright later and it was time for real sustenance. My hostess and I grabbed a cab from Greenwich Village to Chinatown where we met up with Jake, Miss Chockie’s vegan fiance. Admittedly, when I’d been told we were heading to a vegetarian dim sum restaurant I was worried. Not just the usual omnivore-who-is-desperately-in-need-of-meat kind of concern, but the legit concern of someone who is soy sensitive due to a wonky thyroid.

Chockie reassured me….well, at least I think she did. To be honest, this night is kind of hazy in my memory and my phone with all of my notes died approximately five days later. In my hand. While I was on a hunt for bagels and Indian food. I found both, thank goodness, but getting to Philadelphia the next day proved to be a feat I’d not prepared for since before the dark ages of not owning a cell phone. Dark days, my friends, dark days.

Continue reading

A Taste Of: The High Line (New York City)

View from High Line Park - Chelsea, New York City

On a surprisingly warm October Saturday in New York City, I met up with my friend Jen at Penn Station, squealing as I ran to her, uncaring of the stares as this was the first time I had laid eyes on her in over six years. Jen is the kind of friend one happens upon under the most unassuming, random circumstances in life – a reoccurring theme for my closest kinships, truth be told:
KD – A friend I made in first grade when she, a shyer than most girl, uncharacteristically approached me to play a game.
Annie – We had mutual frenemy who dragged Annie over to my place, only to drag us both out to accompany her on errands.
Steffie – I stole her lunches. In high school. She just kept feeding me, as if I were a wild squirrel.

West Chelsea Traffic - Manhattan

Jen and I met via fandom, and though she was not the first nor the last friend I made through mutual geekdom, she remains the only internet-pal turned traveling companion sight unseen. Yup. We trusted one another enough not to be middle-aged sexual predators luring the other into an After School Special trap. Not only were we not preying on the other, but we got along splendidly and had a grand adventure. By “grand” I mean “dove head first into international travel with as little know-how as possible”.

Manhattan Street Art
Street Art by Kobra

Flash-forward to that ecstatic moment when we were finally reunited. We had already decided on The High Line for our Saturday excursion, though we weren’t precisely prepared for the droves that had the exact idea. My photos, alas, suffered a bit from the crowds in that I could not successfully snap a single photo of the High Line interior as the swarms kept photobombing me. Originally a rail yard erected in the 1930s, 30 feet above pedestrian level to eliminate dangerous train traffic from the street, The High Line is located in the now fashionable Meatpacking District / West Chelsea / Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton neighborhoods. Exactly that I imagine a true urban park to be, The High Line offers visitors a narrow walkway along the old railway tracks, now overgrown with grass and wildflowers. There are wide wooden benches and lounges to take a rest, vendors hawking food (I recommend La Newyorkina Mexican frozen treats), reflecting pools, musicians and wide, sweeping views of the surrounding area – which is what I am featuring here. Enjoy!

West Chelsea flowers

The High Line

Current Hours: 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Phone: (212) 500-6035

Subway Routes to The High Line:
L or the A / C / E to 14th Street & 8th Avenue
C / E to 23rd Street & 8th Avenue
1 / 2 / 3 to 14th Street & 7th Avenue
1 to 18th Street & 7th Avenue
1 to 23rd Street & 7th Avenue

Smoking and dogs prohibited

Travel: New York City on Instagram

While New York recovers from Hurricane Sandy and learns to rise on its feet and dust itself off again, I thought it was high time to share some of my pictures of America’s greatest city – taken shortly before the hurricane swept in. As those of you who follow me on Twitter may know, my phone passed away while I was mid-vacation, leaving its earthly bonds the day before I left NYC for Philadelphia. That being said, only a baker’s dozen photos made it up to Instagram throughout my NYC trip anyway because I had a few cached in my general photos folder that just never made it through to the final process. Oh, well. Without further ado, here are my New York City Instagram photos in what I would like to call: “Handheld Blackout: An Ode to the Samsung Gravity Not-So-Smart”.

First ride on the M train

Heading out from Brooklyn to Manhattan mid-afternoon, I thought the initial feeling of being overwhelmed would stick with me throughout my trip; with all of the confident directions of – “Take the M to the A, get out on 34th Street – oh, but not on Saturday; you’ll have to take the J towards Chambers, pick up the Q at 57th and take it to 34th Street.” Crazy signs telling me I’m heading Uptown, Downtown, to Jamaica, Union Square, Times Square, Herald Square — AHHHH! However, it goes without saying that twelve years of mastering public transit in my own city came significantly handy and within a few days time I was maneuvering throughout the city by my lonesome and felt confident enough to ask locals when I wasn’t exactly sure where I was heading. ProTip: Buy a weekly pass for $30. Though mine was only in use for six days, it more than paid for itself as one-way rides are $2.25. Also, locals are friendly and the transit was efficient. Los Angeles, you might want to send some Metro reps eastward and take some notes.

Bacon in the Cone of Shame

This is Bacon, my cat away from cat, in the cone of shame for scratching a wound that needed healing. He is a chubby cuddle-bug of a cat, but still as devious as the two I left home as I would find out on my last day when I discovered Bacon had gnawed off a button from a relatively new shoe I had purchased in Ireland. Bad kitty is bad.

Walking along 34th Street

The significance of walking down 34th Street did not hit me until I found myself parallel to Macy’s, seen above. Though I was in a terrible rush to get to Penn Station and meet up with my friend Jen, whom I had not seen in six and a half years, I forced myself to stop and snap this picture to accompany my Tweet, revealing I am an unabashed Miracle on 34th Street fan. One of my favorite annual must-view films, Miracle on 34th Street is for me what “It’s a Wonderful Life” is for others. Walking down 34th Street and spying Macy’s signaled the onset of the upcoming holidays.

The American National History Museum

The NHM was the one museum I told myself I would not miss out on; film notwithstanding, I’ve been a fan of natural history museums since childhood, and considering the amount of animosity I formerly held in my heart for museums (they were BOR-ing! says 8-year-old Rachael) this is quite a statement. From Los Angeles to Columbus to San Diego to Pittsburgh and now Manhattan, I never fail to have a great time and learn something new. My hostess, Chockie, was able to be my guide this day and share her extensive knowledge on cultural anthropology, particularly of Native Americans. It was a great day and hey, I even got to walk just a smidgen through Central Park.

On the subway

This is my impression of all of the “hardened New Yorker” stereotypes I have been fed since my brain first began to absorb media subtext. Shoving my hair back, giving a confrontation stance and stare, toothpick twisted in my scowl – yeah, I think I nailed it.

Mushroom & Tofu Crispy Noodles

To be honest, I’ve no idea what the real name of this dish is called except that it was my favorite at the vegetarian dim sum joint I ate at with my hosts. My hostess and I were in much need of solids as we had just drank a rather generous amount of booze at an invite-only event she’d managed to get me into. It was an awesome night and perfect for greasy, saucy Chinese food to soak up all of that Cointreau and sugar.

Touching the Sky

No filter alert, I am pleased to say. Having heard, “You should move to NYC!” more times than I care to count (a typical reply when someone learns I do not drive) I kept the thought: Could I live here? in the foreground of my mind throughout my stay. When I talk about Manhattan with SoCal friends and family whom have visited the city, I have encountered a reoccurring theme of claustrophobic feelings; looming buildings that eclipse the sky, crushing walls of people, a thorough lack of personal space and inability to breathe. My friend Jimi in particular has a particular fear concerning the conclusion of college, as NYC seems to be the most prosperous area of employment in his field. Only time will tell, and I do sympathize. Humans can contort and adjust to an exceptional amount of various conditioning, though, and I think if push came to shove I could live in NYC. That is, if the cost, cold and humidity weren’t enough issues to keep me snug and safe on the west coast!

At the National History Museum

The plaque on the wall said it is the skull of an Ox, but frankly, I think it is scientific evidence of satan.

Sparkly Gold Shoes

These jazzy shoes were strategically placed throughout Forever 21 in SoHo, catching my eye and making me long for more room in my suitcase and budget. Even when I look at them now I sigh longingly, and wonder about my life in a parallel universe filled with sparkly gold shoes, top hats and jazz hands.


Another no filter picture, my best one to date. Just look at it; that gorgeous architecture of New England cities will take my breath away every time.

Thanks for hosting me, New York.