November 28, 2010 A constant state of fullness
… is what I’ve been experiencing this whole Thanksgiving long weekend.
It all began Wednesday afternoon, after my morning class and finishing up an assignment due that day. Yufei and I headed downtown for lunch at Pommes Frites, a tiny little place in East Village that supposedly serves up excellent Belgian fries. Armed with a coupon from KGB deals, we arrived at the shop, where a line had already formed outside the entrance.
We waited for about 15 minutes before we were inside and had our orders taken. We got 2 regulars and 2 sauces, one sweet mango chutney mayo and one curry ketchup especial. The fries were nice and thick, freshly fried twice, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, served up in a paper coane. The regular size was pretty big, definitely enough for a meal. Their sauces, of which there were many (nearly 30), were also delicious and went perfectly with the fries.
We were lucky enough to get seats inside, and leisurely enjoyed our meal. I also liked the fact that we could see the entire process of how the fries and sauces are made, from the potatoes getting peeled, cut, and fried, to the sauces being processed in blenders. In addition to their regular fries with sauces, they also serve poutine. The Québécoise inside me has always loved poutine, and I’ve yet to find a good place for it in NYC. I think I might have to come back to try it here.
After lunch, we walked around a bit, found a Salvation Army thrift store, where we marveled at a fully functioning old school cash register and a early 90′s word processor, and from where I bought a Banana Republic skirt in great condition for only $5. After that, we found a Best Buy and played games on the iPad for about an hour. Then we finally got to where we were supposed to be – the Union Square Holiday Market. After looking around all the booths filled with all sorts of trinkets and treats, I finally decided to buy a lavender scented sea salt scrub for my mom. Of course, we also got more food at the market: a Belgian waffle from Wafels and Dinges! Soft, warm, with hot fudge on top – it was delicious. Who knew one could have so much Belgian food in a day?!
By the time we finished strolling in the market, it was still too early for dinner, so we found a Barnes and Noble nearby and went inside to read (you know, bookstores are excellent places to kill time). Then finally the time came for the dinner I’ve been anticipating all semester – authentic Sichuan cuisine at Szechuan Gourmet! We ordered eggplant with garlic sauce, Kung Pao chicken, and spicy dumplings. Everything was absolutely delicious. The eggplant was amazing, exactly how it’s supposed to taste, made with real doubanjian!
The chicken was also excellent. You know, Kung Pao chicken is such a simple dish, yet very few restaurants I’ve been to get it right, and this is one of them. It’s almost exactly the way we make it back home, except we put green peppers in it just to add some veggies.
It was such an awesome meal; I wish I could eat at that restaurant every single day. Sigh.
The next day, Thanksgiving day, we went to a brunch held on campus for those students who couldn’t make it home. A lovely meal consisting of turkey, stuffing, and all the traditional Thanksgiving fare shared with friends, it was a great meal. Once in a while, you get the feeling that Columbia may love you after all.
Then on Friday, a potluck dinner had been organized by the unofficial Canadians at Columbia group. I decided to try out a recipe I’ve been wanting to experiment with for a while now – Oreo truffles. It’s super simple to make, all that’s needed are a package of Oreo cookies, cream cheese, chocolate chips, and optional sprinkles. It’s basically powdered Oreos mixed with cream cheese, rolled into balls, then coated in melted chocolate. So easy to make, but they look totally gourmet and taste amazing.
It was a big hit at the dinner, but I found them just a tad too sweet for my taste, though still delicious. Will definitely make more over winter break (perhaps with dark chocolate to lessen the sweetness a bit?)!
Then came Saturday, and for dinner I decided to cook and made cola wings according to my own recipe. I think it was the best it’s ever turned out! So good. And now I just came back from lunch at my favourite Thai restaurant uptown, Wondee Siam V. Had my favourite thai dish, chicken pad kee mow, and fried coconut ice cream as dessert. They lit the ice cream on fire at our table! It was really cool and tasted great as well.
Ahh… just thinking about all the great food I’ve had this weekend makes me happy :) I hope everyone’s had as excellent a Thanksgiving weekend as I had – can’t wait until Christmas now!