Basak decided to have her final NYC dinner on Tuesday night at a great Korean-fusion restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. The place is called Danji, and appears to be the sister restaurant of Hanjan — the fairly renowned eatery with a similar Korean, family-style menu. We were joined by the few Parsons classmates that had remained in contact with one another: Alexandra, Eric, Ann Marie, and her husband Scott.
The food went beyond any expectation that I had for what I thought was a Korean barbecue restaurant: each dish was served tapas style, as we opted for the 6-person dinner option that was recommended on the menu. Each dish was beautifully plated, and was presented in such a way that I could have easily mistook it for an upscale, cloth-napkin,3-types-of-
Here is the menu:
- Spicy Yellowtail Sashimi
- Steak Tartare with Quail Yolk
- Fried Tofu with Ginger Scallion Dressing
- Bulgogi Beef Sliders
- Spicy Pork Belly
- Kimchi Bacon Spam Wet Fried Rice
- Soy-Poached Black Cod with Spicy Daiko
- Braised Short Rib with Fingerlings, Pearl Onion & Toasted Pine Nuts
Overall, it was a great, intimate experience with food and drinks that were well worth the $80+ per person bill.
Yesterday, I visited Alex and Michael in Elmhurst, Queens. Nearly anyone who lives in Brooklyn can agree that getting to the eastern part of Queens (namely any of the major post office facilities to pick up missed packages or LaGuardia Airport) know it’s a trek to get there, and it took me a bus ride and two trains to either get to or from Alex and Michael’s apartment. Still, I call it an adventure. My primary agenda in Queens was to talk to Alex about redesigning her video portfolio site, take shots of their dogs for an upcoming Nico video, and talk about their wedding plans (I’m in charge of organizing and designing the decorations for their wedding venue — I guess I can add wedding planner/interior designer to my resume).
We first ate lunch at a local Dim Sum restaurant, which the three of us would agree that it was pretty shitty compared to the hundreds of other Chinese restaurants in the area. Michael, Alex, and I then shopped around the Asian-centric shops of Elmhurst, where I happened to get some Filipino soy sauce (Datu Puti), stainless steel chopsticks, and metal ramen spoons — all for under 10 dollars. For under 20 dollars, I even managed to get a bottle of Kahlua for a dessert I’m planning to make. At that point, I have to honestly conclude that Queens is a hell of a lot cheaper than anywhere in Brooklyn or Manhattan. I keep thinking of where to be after my current apartment’s lease expires in two years, and if I choose to stay in New York, maybe Queens is the best option. Hell, I can probably even get a massive 1-and-a-half bedroom for about the same price I pay now for a small, 3-bedroom railroad apartment I share with Brian and Morgan.
I ended the day with some Matcha Bubble Tea, corralling Alex’s Tibetan Terriers to stand still in front of a green screen, and then searching for affordable wedding decorations off of Amazon and Oriental Trading Company.
As per usual, here are some photos:
I’ve been doing a lot of writing on my subway commute to and from work: I usually just whip out my phone and start typing feverishly on Notepad. When I return home, I send the note to my laptop and do the majority of the editing and posting there.
What I find great about writing in the subway is that I’m doing something. Instead of spacing out and listening to music, or simply reading a book or checking my email on my cellphone, I’m actively thinking and rationalizing as I write — what’s the right word to use? Does that make sense? Does that sentence convey the sentiments I want to convey? I’m definitely giving my prefrontal cortex, frontal lobe, and temporal lobe an exercise, which is more than I give my physical body.
I feel writing on the downest of downtimes properly manages my time. Sure, I want to be creative and have that greatest feeling of “whatever-you-make-you’re-proud-of-accomplishing-something”, but with the combination of work and home responsibilities, it’s hard to find that time to indulge in that productive introspection and, ultimately, narcissism. A long subway ride allows me to both relax and tune out any outside distraction; it’s a perfect time to write.
So in summation: I feel fulfilled putting my words out there and not letting them hibernate inside my head, especially while I’m on the train. Plus, I feel satisfied that I’m using my time constructively.
On Sunday, I met up with Basak to walk and take photos around Williamsburg. We casually explored everything between North 10th/Grand Street and Bedford Avenue/The East River: we ate artisinal ice cream at Odd Fellows (I got Brown Butter Sage), looked at a shit-ton of jewelry at the Brooklyn Artists’ Flea, talked about music at Rough Trade Records NYC (I bought Wolf Parade and TLC on vinyl), wandered listlessly at that Urban Outfitters megafuck cluster store, drank Blue Bottle Coffee, smelled chocolate at Mast Brothers, visited the Sketchbook Project Library, and finally strolled along the piers by the East River.
Yeah, everything about that makes me sound like a hipster, huh?
Well, they’re gone from Williamsburg now. Nearly everyone we passed on the now-crowded streets of Williamsburg fit in one or more the following categories: 1) spoke in a British accent, 2) spoke on iPhones in German, Swedish, Arabic, or French, 3) pushed along a stroller while walking a small dog, or 4) looked like they came out of either a J.Crew or an H&M ad while walking a small dog. I guess I’ll save my Upper Middle Class Gentrification Rant Later, but you should check out this article regarding the economic disparity of Brooklyn, and how out-of-country mega-millionaires pretty much pushed out the slightly less rich from Manhattan and into the Outer Boroughs, which pushed out the middle class and the poor.
Sigh. I wish I was rich.
In any event, it was nice to take some photos with my new camera that was not dog-related, and spend time with Basak before she leaves NYC and moves to Berlin.