Archive for NYC

Review: Ramen-Ya

I needed to celebrate being done with midterms this weekend. It was either going to be ramen or trekking to NJ for Mitsuwa. We didn’t want to go to Sapporo again (I’ll write them a review eventually) since we’d been there a bunch of times, and didn’t feel like going to Jersey, so we decided to try Ramen-Ya, a new place we read about somewhere online, or maybe a friend posted pictures of their food on facebook and it made me hungry, I’m not that sure now…

Shio Black with Chicken

Shio Black with Chicken

I got the Shio Black with chicken, and Scott got the Shio Spicy with pork. We also had some tofu vegetable gyoza but we were too hungry at the time to remember to take a picture. The gyoza were probably the best vegetable gyoza I’ve had, granted I haven’t had vegetable gyoza from too many other places. The edamame in them was especially nice. But let’s get back to the ramen.

Shin Spicy with Pork

Shio Spicy with Pork

We both opted for Shio because Scott said he heard good things about it. The pork version comes with thin noodles, the chicken version comes with thick egg noodles. The thick noodles that came with mine were really good, the broth was also really flavorful and good. The only topping I wasn’t crazy about is the egg, but I’ve never been a fan of hard boiled/poached eggs in ramen anyway. I also wish it came with bamboo shoots and that you didn’t have to pay extra for them. I also wasn’t exactly full when I finished my ramen, Scott was good though. I can’t talk about his noodles since I didn’t try them, but I did try some of his broth, it was too spicy for me. I also tried some of his pork chasu, it was nice and tender, and easily fell apart, but doesn’t beat Sapporo’s in my opinion.¬† I almost wish I opted for the pork version since I liked it better than the chicken chasu I got. I just wish there was some way I could get thick noodles with pork. Maybe if I overcome some of my social awkwardnesses I’ll be able to ask when we go back sometime. Scott said he loved his choice overall, that the broth wasn’t too salty, and that he loved how tender the pork was.

As far as the location goes, it was pretty small. We got there shortly after they opened so it wasn’t too crowded, but can see it getting pretty cramped when they’re busy. Still can’t wait to go back there again for another relaxed quiet ramen date ūüôā

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Review: Potatopia

The other week when Scott and I saw The Tale of Princess Kaguya we had trouble deciding where to get dinner, then I got lucky and remembered Potatopia. I had heard about this intriguing place on the news some years ago. I remembered it being a build your own potato place that was relatively inexpensive for the area. And I remembered that I really wanted to try it.

Here’s how they work. First you pick your style of potato, they have options like baked, curly fries, au gratin, and more that I’m not fully sure of. Then you get to add unlimited veggies, two types of cheese and two sauces (or maybe more, I forget) to your potato. If you want some kind of meat (bacon, shrimp, vegan chili, etc), you pay extra depending on what kind you get. They also have prefixed menu items but I don’t see how that’s fun when you can build your own perfect potato.

Pictured below are the potatoes Scott and I got.

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baked potato with butter, shrimp, garlic, onion, scallion, broccoli, mozzarella and pepper jack cheese with chipotle sauce.

I tried some of his. It was pretty damn good. Here’s mine.

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baked potato with bacon, extra broccoli, scallion, red onion, garlic, corn, pepper jack and cheddar cheese with sour cream.

Mine was also really good. I forget exactly how much we spent, it was around $8+ a person, so it wasn’t cheap, but not too bad for the area. If I really felt like being cheap I wouldn’t have ordered the bacon and just loaded lots of extra veggies onto my potato, and potatoes are pretty filling to begin with, so it’s not like you’re going to leave hungry.. unless you were extremely hungry to begin with. You’re probably better off with Chipotle if that’s the case. And now for…

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Like This

  • It’s in the land of hipsters
  • There’s not much room to sit
  • I have no idea what half of the potato styles are, and they offer no information on them on their website. I like to plan meals in my mind in advance and crave them for days before I get them. That simply isn’t possible here. Having the people who work there explain it to me when I’m under pressure to order because there’s a line doesn’t let me create ideal delicious combinations in my mind. It makes me default to baked potato because I know what that is.

All of those things aside I still want to go back. I just really wish it was easier for me to visualize their damn potato options without having to ask an employee right before ordering.

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Long Overdue Sandy Blog

It was about a month ago, that hurricane Sandy hit. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be as bad as it was. They overreacted with Irene in my opinion, and I figured this would be the same. I thought it was bullshit that they shut down the MTA and closed all the schools. I still believe I could’ve gone to school that Monday, it was just really windy… but what followed Monday night, I was not expecting at all.

I was doing fine, but Minnie was freaking out and Zelda was calm. Zelda usually freaks out during thunder storms and Minnie is calm, but I guess this was different. We had to get a box for Minnie.. she kept trying to hide in the most random places. She liked the box for a while, then left, then liked it again.

 

I couldn’t sleep because of the wind, and my dogs walking around so I stayed up pretty late. I started freaking out when news reports came in of trees killing people in Queens. Then a tree fell and took out half of my block’s power. My mom forced me to sleep in her room since my room had risk of a giant tree falling on it, I obliged, but didn’t get much sleep that night.

Next morning was time for the surveying. It turned out two trees took out the power on my block, one fell on top of the other. I guess you could say they’d been staring at each other for all these years and one finally decided to hug the other ūüėÄ ¬†There were a lot of other down trees. It would have been amazing, but I had already seen stuff of the like when we had that¬†tornado¬†a few years ago. I like to think the damage in Manhattan is their karma for not giving a shit about Brooklyn and Queens when the¬†tornado¬†destroyed a few of our neighborhoods (and in only 15 minutes, not 30 hours like it took Sandy). ¬†Here are a few pictures, if you know me personally, you can see the rest on my facebook.

it’s hard to see, but these are the hugging trees

Things were ok, but then Halloween came, first they said they were postponing the parade. I later learned it was canceled for this year ūüė¶ ¬†But I had no school, so I happily carved my pumpkin. Then sometime in the middle of the day we lost power. We had half power, and it was pretty awesome. We had internet and the¬†refrigerator which was more than enough for me. But then Con Ed decided to shut everything off. And day 1 without power began. (rest of this post is gonna get long, but it’s an accurate description of post-apocalyptic hurricane life)

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Prosperity Dumpling

I’d been meaning to blog about this place forever, but I had fallen out of the blogging habit. Now that I’m back in it, this place is getting the bets review ever.

Ladies and gentlemen, do you like dumplings? Of course you do! What kind of fool doesn’t like dumplings? Do you like delicious cheap food? If you don’t, get the hell off my blog and out of Chinatown.

Prosperity Dumpling, located on 46 Eldridge Street (take the ¬†B or D train to Grand St and walk toward Chrystie St. until you hit Eldridge), ¬†has the best cheap food that I know of. ¬†I was getting my lunch here every day when I was working in Chinatown this summer. It’s just so delicious and so cheap, there’s no way I couldn’t eat there at every given opportunity.

Note the A rating in the window

When I say cheap, I mean that two people can eat a filling meal here for under $10.  The most I ever spent on lunch was $3. I am not fucking kidding, look at this menu.

click to enlarge, those prices are no joke.

This isn’t really a place you can sit down to eat in, there are a few stools and counters against the walls but you’ll be better off taking your dumplings to the park across the street and eating it on the benches there. Normally they’re just used by people pouring the complimentary soy sauce and sriracha sauce¬† on their dumplings before taking them elsewhere. And the sriracha sauce doesn’t make the food taste good, it’s delicious on it’s own, it just makes it better. ¬†Prosperity Dumpling is definitely a hole in the wall. But we don’t care about that, I’ll get to talking about the food.

They’ve got three wok’s running at all times, one for fried dumplings, one for boiled dumplings and one for a Chinese pancake (more on that latter).

Fried Dumplings (5 for $1) 

These are usually the quickest thing you can get. If they’re ready in the wok, you’ll get them right away, if not, you have to wait for them to cook. But really, how can anyone argue with that price?? They only offer pork/chive dumplings fried. These are delicious, when you bite into them, they are full of delicious juice that will fall out if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Boiled Dumplings

They use another wok to boil dumplings, they change the water out after each batch or so that’s ordered. You can get 10 pork/chive or pork/cabbage boiled for $2, 10 shrimp for $3 or 8 veggie for $2.50. All of these are delicious. The pork ones again have that delicious juice inside them. In some ways I prefer them to the fried ones, but you always have to wait for boiled dumplings. The veggie and shrimp ones are great too, but they’re less filing. I don’t understand how the veggie ones are more expensive than the meat ones, but they’re ¬†still damn cheap. I’d say the veggie ones are my favorite. They’re probably vegan, but if you’re a crazy vegan you probably would want to avoid this place since they do boil the veggie ones in the same wok pork ones have been boiled in. If you’re vegetarian you should probably be fine with them.

Sesame/Chive Pancakes 

I have always meant to photograph one of these but I always eat them before I remember. ¬†It’s not a normal pancake, it’s more like a piece of fried bread they make sandwiches with. You can get it plain ($1), with veggie ($1.25) or with meat and veggie ($1.75). I’m not sure if they use egg or not, so I have no idea if the first two options are vegan, they’re¬†definitely¬†vegetarian though. But if you’re not a veggie and are gonna go for the meat, don’t waste your money on the chicken or pork, get the peaking duck. It’s amazing. Not as filling as 10 dumplings, but it’s one of the more unique things you can get there that you can’t get anywhere else. This is also something you can get very quickly, unless they’ve run out of pancake slices. But they’re always making more pancakes so that’s not really an issue.

Frozen Dumplings 

Now if you find you love their food so much, but can’t keep¬†trekking¬†to Chinatown, they sell their dumplings frozen. On my last day of work I bought 50 veggie and 50 pork frozen ($20 combined) because I knew I wouldn’t be going back there for a while ūüė¶ ¬†They taste good at home, but not as good as they do when you get them from the shop. Maybe they need to be boiled in a wok? Who knows? I’m not a¬†culinary¬†expert XD

In the End…¬†

The only downside to going to this place is that it will make you a cheap ass. I used to not mind spending $5-6 on my lunch, and not being completely filled up by it. Now it pisses me off. If I can get something so delicious and filling in Chinatown for $3, why should I have to pay twice that for a meal that won’t even completely rid me of hunger? ¬†Also since going there I bought my own bottle of sriracha sauce and now I’ve been putting it on everything (pizza, sandwiches, potatoes, etc.), I think it may be developing into a problem. Oh, and this place dashed some of the hopes I had of going “more” vegetarian. I love their veggie dumplings the best, but I need two orders to be full and that’s $5…. I don’t want to spend $5 damnit!!

I give this place 4/5 stars. The reason it’s not 5/5 is¬†because¬†they don’t offer fried veggie dumplings. Also their pork buns aren’t that tasty. I don’t¬†recommend¬†them.

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Nintendo, I am no longer disappoint.

Now you may remember, a while back I wrote this post about how disappoint I was with Nintendo’s event in Times Square promoting the new Super Mario Bros. game.

Today I went to an event at Nintendo World, the Legend of Zelda:¬†Symphony¬†of the Goddesses, to be precise. The event didn’t start until 6pm, but we got there around 12. I guess I’ll divide this into two parts, the waiting on line, and the main event.

The Waiting On Line

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I must say, the organization was pretty damn good. They had barriers, they gave out numbered wrist bands and keepsake tickets to the people on line, the Rockefeller Center security guards were present. It was wonderful!

When we got there, there weren’t that many people ahead of us, but in the end we still didn’t get the free stuff because we weren’t among the first 25. I was number 39. At least that doesn’t hurt as much as being number 26. That aside, we talked with some cool people near us on the line while we waited. My¬†street passes¬†from New York greatly outnumbered my¬†street passes¬†from Jersey ūüôā That was the good part of being on line, the bad follows.

We forgot to bring a blanket, so we sat on the ground for the most part, but that was the least of what went wrong. For some reason Bronies decided to have a meetup at this Nintendo event, and they congregated near us. They were annoying as hell. The best way to describe them is socially awkward nerds with my little pony buttons all over them. Listening to their conversations was almost unbearable. There were also a fair¬†amount¬†of n00bs. One guy started asking Scott if he lived “near here” and if he could help him beat Skyward Sword. Seriously? Get on game FAQs.

The Main Event

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They let us in around 6:15 or so. I bought a symphony of the goddess t-shirt, they sold out of ocarinas very fast. I was pretty disappointed the Link cosplayer had the Skyward Sword outfit on, but it turned out to be a girl cosplayer, and since I have no sexual attraction whatsoever towards Skyward Sword Link, I became okay with it. They had some presentation by an ocarina player about the instrument’s history and how to play one, but we didn’t really hang around for that. We watched the concert, which was great. I believe they had a violin, a viola (or a second violin, I couldn’t tell), a flute, a bass and a Lyon and Healy (for those who don’t know, L&H is pretty much the top harp manufacturer). There were no seats, I assume to fit more people in, so we sat on the floor.

The guy who did the arrangements spoke before the concert and trolled us, said he worked with Koji Kondo up until around noon and that he said hi. Made me think Koji might show up for a minute or two. Oh well. The music was great, except for a few assholes who were talking. My only complaint about the music was that they had everything connected to amps. I never like hearing acoustic stuff hooked up to amps, it takes the vibrations away. And the room wasn’t that big, if everyone shut up they may have been able to get away without using amps.Or maybe if they just had amps playing the music for the people downstairs.

After the concert was over they were doing a meet and greet/autograph session. Instead of hanging around I opted to take my picture with that Link cosplayer because the line was shorter.

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awwww yeaaaaaah gangnam style!!

My Final Thoughts 

It’s pretty obvious to me that they did this just to hype up the Symphony of the Goddess concert that’ll be in Madison Square Garden on November 28th.¬†Originally¬†I wanted to go, but after seeing this I’m not sure that I am. I know that it’ll be all amped out at MSG because that’s the type of venue it is. This type of concert would be much better suited for¬†Carnegie¬†Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, or even the¬†Metropolitan¬†Opera House.¬†Acoustic¬†music doesn’t feel live if you can’t feel the vibrations, and amps totally take that away. Not sure it’s worth blowing $50+ on. ¬†I also regret not asking if they’d be using a Steinway.¬†Defiantly¬†not worth blowing $50+ on if they’ll be using a Yamaha.

Seriously Nintendo, the concert halls I mentioned were designed to amplify, yes they are smaller, but why not just play for 2 or 3 nights? *sigh*¬†I guess they’re just catering to the videogame crowd ūüė¶

Oh well, you can enjoy this hilarious photo Scott managed to get

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SOON

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I Wish It Was October

Living in New York, I’ve learned that there aren‚Äôt many constants. Even in the outer boros, they‚Äôre hell bent on developing neighborhoods and destroying the character they once had. You find places you used to like go out of business or move or something else. There‚Äôs hardly anything you can get attached to without having the fear of it being ripped away. I know, there are countless things and places I’ve seen vanish, but I will not dwell on them now. But there are a few constants, each has a dear place in my heart, one of them, is New York Comic Con.

Any comic convention is a place of safehaven for nerds. They‚Äôre places where you can be whatever you want to be and for once feel like you truly belong. But NYCC has a special extra factor. Friends and acquaintances a like go, seeing the flood of facebook statuses leading up to the event build the anticipation. It‚Äôs our local event, I guess you could compare it to your home team (but we hardly have that in NY, seeing¬† as how many Queens people I know that support the Yankees), it doesn‚Äôt just bring one boruough together, but the whole city. Sure hoards from Jersey probably go, but that is beyond the point. It’s a reunion for geeks and more than that. Even if you don‚Äôt see all of your friends there you look though each others facebook photos, it‚Äôs like going to the convention for a second time.

Then there‚Äôs the magnet effect. I love leaving the house in cosplay to take public transport there. Getting on the bus I get stares, less on the first train, even less on the second train. The closer you get to the Javits center, you see other people who you know are going to the convention. Even if they aren‚Äôt in costume, there‚Äôs something about their state of dress‚Ķ not even, you can just feel it. It‚Äôs one of the best feelings in the world. After you emerge from the subway, there are way more people in costume. It’s great, if you forget your way to the convention, you can always just follow people that you *know* are going.

Now of course the convention is totally disorganized, and people are assholes and it gets way overcrowded, but even I have hope that they’ll improve. They seem to be trying to compete with SDCC, and they’ll have to get more organized in order to do so.

I love NYCC, the things you can see there that you can‚Äôt see anywhere else. The only downside is that it comes but once a year and post convention depression always follows. ¬†Of course, that depression fades with anticipation for the next convention, where ever it may be. But there’s nothing quite like riding the subway in cosplay, and overcoming the awkwardness and feeling more empowered than you’ve ever felt before. I wish it was October.

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Review: The Amazing Spider-man

Disclaimer: You should know I find problems with everything, but seeing as I’ve actually read these comics and am a die hard fan, you should expect me to find A LOT. I also think I did a pretty good job with keeping this spoiler-free.

Where do I even begin? I guess I will tell you what I enjoyed.

Stan Lee had the most awesome cameo ever. I love him. Also, they did a great job with the Lizard, and the Lizard was an excellent choice of¬†villain. Flash Thompson was in this movie which I liked. They also get props for getting a skinnier guy to play Peter Parker. Also they fixed the problem the last movies had with the web-shooters. I’m not totally happy with it, but it is much more acceptable.

Now for all of my problems. And I’m not even going to touch scientific inaccuracies.

Problems With the Origin: 

I knew I would find problems, but I still had to see it because Spider-man. The *very* first thing I noticed were the liberties they took with his origin story. What was the most irritating was the “new” stuff they added in, and their rewriting of how Uncle Ben died. And of course they *had* to rewrite the spider bite. Because a nerd going to a museum to watch a radioactive laser by himself is too lame.

Problems with the Characters:

They got a smaller guy to play Peter Parker which was a plus, but they made him, well, hipster like almost. They made him a cool nerd that started off wearing contacts who’s into photography. There’s really no mention of him being into science, except for when he comes off as a “cool” techie.

Aunt May and Uncle Ben were crummy. The last two were better. They even had Uncle Ben slip in some liberal agenda about how if you have the ability to do good for others, you are morally obligated to do so. Ayn Rand disagrees.

J.J.J was completely absent.

In the first movies, it would have made more sense to use Gwen Stacy since the Green Goblin was the main¬†villain.¬†In this movie it would have made more sense to use Betty Brant because the Lizard was the villain. Goblin kills Gwen, Lizard kills Betty’s brother.

Problems With the Setting: 

In general, the movie didn’t have a strong New York City feel like the comics always did, but let’s talk about Queens.

Wherever Peter lived did not look like Forest Hills. Hell, they only even mentioned “Queens” once. In one scene he was riding the Q train home, that train does not go to Forest Hills, that train goes to Astoria. Yes, he could have transferred but given his state at the time I don’t think he was capable.I have always taken great pride that Spider-man hails from Queens and these idiots had to ruin that. It’s almost like he’s one of our local wackos, sort of like the Flushing Pimp (R.I.P), or that gay old rainbow guy with the poodles who shows up at every parade in the city, or the happy train man in Brooklyn, except that Spider-man is sane. Maybe that wasn’t the best example, but as those wackos are a part of the city, Spider-man is a part of the city in my heart. I am honored we are natives of the same borough.

I honestly do not think the people involved with making the movie came from New York, or were die hard fans of the comics, if they were, shit like this wouldn’t happen.

Problems With Everything Else:

I saw this movie in 2D, because 3D is stupid, but I could tell which scenes were supposed to be in 3D. Some of the action parts may have looked cool, but they went overboard with the 3D science hologram computers. Seriously, they aren’t that cool.

There was also a part of the movie towards the end that was *really* contrived. Won’t go into detail because it is a spoiler, but when you see it you will know because it’s really damn contrived.

And That’s it.

Now I’m just left with a hole in my heart, mourning the fact that they will never make a Spider-man movie set in 1963.

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