As I sit here on the couch watching the newest episode of “Project Runway” between two handsome men, it strikes my conscience that it is imperative to update my blog sometime soon… Part of me fears that my mother’s excellent new blog will soon catch up to the number of entries I have accumulated, provided I continue my streak of not writing, and she continue hers of updating daily. In this spirit, welcome to 2008 of “Ash in the City.”
I have been busy lately… VERY busy. Following a busy week of holiday celebrations and theater events, I flew home to the Bay Area and enjoyed a very relaxing week of family and friends in Alamo, California. I was so excited to see my friend Jeff Lum, back in the states from Thailand after a year of reigning as “Thai Pop Star!” One of my most exciting moments, however, was having the chance to drive again… It was so gratifiying to get back in the driver’s seat of a manual car and zoom around town – it had been over four months! (Though I cannot complain, because I so enjoy not having to deal with traffic and rising gas prices!) After a fabulous, yet quick, trip home – it was time to return to the East.
My good friend Matt Maimoni and I headed back on Delta flight 101, and returned to a very chilly New York City. Our first evening here was a celebratory meal at Justin Timberlake’s restaurant “Southern Hospitality” with Brian. Good times, good beer, good BBQ. Our first full day, we metro-ed down to 34th street and walked up Fifth Avenue to view the amazing window displays of all the department stores. Matt also snagged a few pairs of jeans and other goodies during our shopping extravaganza. We decided that since it was our first real day in Manhattan, we should treat ourselves to a fancy dinner at an Italian restaurant in the East Village called “Paprika.” My friend Alexa just started waiting tables here, so she had mentioned to me that the menu was incredibly delicious and unique. We were not disappointed. And I’m talking about Matt and I – two people who love food, but are both pretty picky with our taste buds. We started with a bottle of Italian Chardonnay, then Matt and I each had delicious salads, followed by salmon over spinach for Matt, and fresh gnocchi for myself. To finish up, it was espresso and lemon sorbet. Delissima! It was truly an excellent dining experience – I can’t wait to return sometime soon. Our most intense day was Sunday – spent bird-watching in Central Park, then to “Young Frankenstein” in Times Square, followed by an evening at my very own UCB, to see “Asssscat 3000.” Our highlights of the day were taking a picture with Megan Mullally, and then spotting the actor that plays Ando in “Heroes” in the audience of UCB. By Sunday night, I realized that Matt’s visit to NYC was truly turning myself into a New York City tourist! Monday, we prepared for the New Year’s blowout by heading down through the park to the Empire State Building, but then decided to spend our money on appetizers and a beer tasting, rather than spending nearly $20 to ride an elevator to the top of the Empire State Building. We popped back home and then prepared a delicious dinner of steak tips, roasted potatoes, salad, and brie. After our previously planned NYE plans fell through, we decided to cough up $55 for an open bar at Gael Pub on 3rd avenue. Matt and I dolled ourselves up, then met with Maureen and others for our fantastic evening of fun. The next morning was low-key, but we managed to head down to Times Square in an attempt to win tickets to Wicked. After our unsuccessful attempt, we opted to dine at Carnegie Deli and purchase a teeny tiny cheesecake. To work off the calories, and start our new year right, we walked all the way back (forty blocks) through Central Park, despite the very chilly night. Today we ferried out to Liberty Island and saw the lovely lady, then boated over to Ellis Island. We realized (a little too late) that 29 degrees and windy is not a good combination when you lack appropriate head and ear coverage. When we arrived back in Manhattan, we immediately ran to Century 21 (incredibly cheap department store) and bought hats, earmuffs and gloves. After viewing Ground Zero, we rode up to Chinatown and scored some delectable (and spicy!) Orange Chicken. Another freezing cold walk, and we made it to “Fuerzabruta,” which was basically INCREDIBLE. I can’t even begin to explain what this stupefying show was about, so instead I will just post this clip for you to view. http://www.youtube.com/v/taBAtxasWto&rel=1
Quite a day, mostly filled with shivering, so now we are back in the apartment catching up on rest. Tomorrow, sadly, I need to go back to work, and back to reality. I apologize that this entry was mostly filled with tightly-packed info, but hopefully the pictures will guide your imagination! Happy New Year!