Seven more days until my friends get here.

I’ve spent the day cleaning up my place. Not that it was very dirty, but I do like to put extra effort for when I have visitors. Still, that didn’t keep some of my friends here (who know how my apartment usually is) from making fun all week of me and my “neatly organized, no mess, no dust, with everything in the room thoughtfully placed” home (direct quote from Ethan). Which might not be an exaggeration considering it took me 7 hours to clean a place that wasn’t that unclean to begin with. But hey, everything is sparkling now.

I’m checking the extended forecast every day now in order to form a plan of visiting – sunny days for walking the city, rainy ones for museums – but so far it changes every time I look. First there was sun next Saturday, then rain all weekend, this morning it was sun, and now there’s rain on Fri and Sat. So much for weather forecasting.

I’ve also started to fill up the fridge and pantry with all the necessities. Which would be candy, chocolate, ice cream and snacks. They used to raid my pantry when they used to come over back in the day in Romania so I’d figured I’d be a bad host if I wouldn’t give them the opportunity to do it again. I’ll probably regret this.

Stuffing the Chicken

No you pervs, the title isn’t some sexual reference, I’m talking about actual stuffed chicken here!

It all started with a friend’s post on Yelp (a review site on almost anything, but mostly restaurants and bars) that mentioned a place in Flushing where they served chicken wings, stuffed with all kinds of interesting things. The post included this link (warning, clicking it will get you hungry!), which was all I needed to convince me I have to try it.

After almost two weeks of bugging the hell out of her, we finally managed to get a group going to the place. And it was well worth it…

There’s no point describing how good everything was since there’s nothing I can say that you can’t see in those pictures I linked before. I mean, chicken wings, broiled (I assume), stuffed with veggies, kimchi and shrimp(!) and covered in spices. What more could you possibly want? Add to it a slushy alcoholic drink – Soju – which I had for the first time. And second time, since we didn’t stop at the first pitcher (strawberry) and we ordered another one (apple).

We have some pictures, courtesy of Helena. Definitely a great place, I will go there again. Hopefully in a couple of weeks, when my friends from Romania will get here.

Last Days of Summer

Friday we got off early from work (since Monday is Labor Day) so we filled up the extra free time by having a Wii party at my place. I bought Wii Sports Resort and 3 extra MotionPlus controllers (damn you, Nintendo) so we can have proper 4-player matches. It was fun – it’s a good game to play with friends over. We finished the day with a small stroll around the neighborhood and dinner at Plaza Lounge.

I woke up pretty early on Saturday and because of that I found myself falling asleep after noon. Around 3 PM my nap was interrupted by the gentle sound of a drill-hammer right outside my window. A ConEd truck was parked in front of my building and the guys were breaking up the pavement (later I found out it was about replacing a leaking gas pipe, so I guess it’s a good thing they’re doing it). I took it as a sign to get out of the house and enjoy the rest of the day out.

My plan was to go to Central Park and do some reading, but first I took a quick detour to Chinatown for some bubble tea. There was a place I haven’t been in over a year that had some great mango tea and good, cheap food – even by local standards (there’s cheap, and then there’s Chinatown cheap). I ended up paying less than $10 for food that could have easily satisfied 2 people, plus my mango bubble tea.

The “quick” detour ended up to last about 2 hours, with me walking afterwards from Chinatown up to Union Square. There were a lot of street fairs along the way, on Spring street, Prince and a bigger one on 4th avenue. I left the latter with a corn on a cob, which for some reason reminds me of my childhood summers at my grandparent’s place.

Around 7 I finally got to the park and camped on a bench close to a cross-street. Which made for an interesting experience, since I could overhear the horse-and-carriage drivers telling NY stories to the tourists they were carrying. I learned a few things about the park’s history and some of the many movies it’s been in. I left a little after 8, since it got too dark for me to read.

Back home the ConEd workers were still there, still noisy. It looked like a good time to pay a visit to my cousin, who keeps asking me to come crash at his place in Jersey for a change (he comes to Astoria almost every weekend). So I packed some extra clothes and headed out.