New Year’s Eve in Rego Park
The roads to all good things start with sushi. And my recent trip to the city started off with about forty bucks of sushi goodness from Sushi Tei. Well, I mean, if you’re taking the bus, you need a little something to sustain yourself, right? At any rate, it was sushi for two with the hubs coming along, too.
I’m on a scallop and salmon kick. There were two pieces of scallop sushi, two salmon sushi, a salmon roll, a spicy scallop roll (Sushi Tei makes the best spicy anything roll), and gunkan makis with tobiko and salmon roe. Yummy.
Layer two had a white tuna & avocado roll, salmon & avocado roll, and an eel & cucumber roll. So yum. Wish I’d ordered a tad more, ’cause I was just a wee bit hungry after we ate all of this. My sushi tummy is pretty endless. And there was a guy with fried chicken on the bus that smelled SO good, too!
We ate just before the bus took off – a good idea on Albany John’s part. We were pretty wedged in those little seats, and the combination of Albany roads + open container of soy sauce would have seen us painted in soy sauce. This picture looks roomier than it was.
I think taking the bus is so interesting, because you get to see so many different kinds of people. People afraid of other people, people who have no sense of time, people travelling with their kids… greyhound it ain’t.
Any way, we got in EARLY. Did I mention we were travelling on New Year’s Eve? I was paranoid the traffic from Times Square would jam us in the Lincoln tunnel forevah, but we got from Albany to Midtown in about 2-2.5 hours. Crazy stuff.
We quickly hopped a subway to Maka & CVS’s new pad in Rego Park, Queens. And were greeted with thin slices of meat. Yummy.
And omfg, smoked BBQ chicken wings! CVS is one hell of a bro-in-law. I gnawed on these well past midnight and watching the ball drop on TV. Far away from the tourists. I think that’s gotta be a New York thing – absolutely no desire to do things tourists do, like visit sites, or do the New Year’s eve thing. I’m not a fan of crowds.
The next morning CVS made eggs and such. Goodness. One of his friends from Chicago was also in and was jonesing for a New York bagel. You know how it goes – even the so-so ones are amazing when you’ve got nothing back home.
I forget where we got these from already, but it was a bagel shop on Queens Blvd and they hit the spot. A darkly toasted sesame seed bagel with lox cream cheese spread. Yum. Albany John and I split this one. So filled with cream cheese! And lox!
Like my ideal cupcake ratio, this had my ideal cream cheese ratio – lots. Or about 1/4 of the thickness of the overall bagel. Yummmm.
Then since we were out and about, we walked over to the strip area of Rego Park/Forest Hills. Again, I forget where this was exactly since I was happy to trail along like a puppy dog. There was this Mexican place that made amazing drinks, they told me. I was in.
Unfortch, we got there a bit early, so we went to the bar next door before the good place opened up. It was some kind of tavern, and had a bit of a dark and dreary vibe.
We ordered a round of drinks. Drafts were a steal at $6 per pint (eyeroll). And I got my first ever pint of cider with ice in it. WITH ICE IN IT. I couldn’t get my head around that one, and our waitress was acting pretty hungover and put out by our orders. We ordered in two waves, and while there were only five of us, I think it did her a favor because she was hauling our drinks over and thunking them on the tables in threes (someone got a water, too). If she wasn’t hungover as hell, she was doing a pretty damn good impression. God, I hope she was, seeing as how it was New Year’s Day and all.
Thankfully I was surrounded by men willing to step up to the plate and slug down my shitty drink. It kept tasting saltier the more I drank it. Blech. The bartenders pouring also kept over pouring to get foam out. That’s gotta be an industry peeve of mine – pouring too much head in a beer and then having to pour it out and refill. Maybe it’s some kind of showy flare, but to me it’s just waste. You can still get a good head on a beer without overpouring. And then there’s the sticky glasses covered in beer residue. Okay, stepping down from the soapbox.
Thankfully we left after our first round and… HOORAY:
The good place was open! 5 Burro Cafe (7205 Austin Street, Queens, NY). It was a small front, but had lots of decoration.
And a thatched “roof” above their bar! There were only about 10 seats at the bar, and thankfully we got in when they opened and took about half of them.
You guys, it was like a Mexican Tiki Bar!! Thatched roof, drinks with kitchy names – I was in heaven!
Maka told me I HAD to get the frozen margaritas. I got a swirly colored berry flavored one. Yum. She got a lime or peach. I had to mix mine for a while to get the flavors to blend. They came out of smoothie machines, and I think they already had tequila in the ice. Pre-liquored slushies. I need a machine for my house.
These pints of happiness were $8, and packed a bit of a kick to them. Much more worth spending money on than that crappy $6 cider at the other place.
The signs also had stuff on them about a free toy, which the bartender explained some governing board in NYC ruled they could no longer give away. Sadness. Nanny state sadness. If I choke on a toy in my drink, it’s my own damned drunk fault if I already know there’s a toy in it. (I’m guessing the toys were the cute little drink rimmers).
Phew, all mixed up! And they gave us some free salt-less chips. Also some mandate by a governing authority in NY. Really? What happened to the time honored tradition of free salty foods at a bar to get your thirst up? The salsa was good though – mild, but lots of fresh onion and cilantro.
We meandered back home after that round and played some games. I was doing pretty well at getting rid of my cards until one point:
And this was a lighter hand. Le sigh.
We had CVS slaving away in the kitchen while we four played a foul-named drinking card game.
Steaks, twice-baked potatoes, and perfectly steamed broccoli. Yum. Wow, I thought this was a clear picture at the time. I guess that’s what playing drinking games with wine’ll do.
The next morning was a leisurely breakfast involving egg whites, plenty o’bacon, and Gael Greene’s Insatiable. I definitely hit up that bacon.
The book’s been a fun read (maybe a spoiler ahead. idk), a Christmas present from Mama Amherst. I love the meals Gael Greene’s eaten, and her stories are outrageous. The only hard time I have is that I don’t really feel sorry for her when she gets a divorce from her husband and she gets depressed – I mean, she’s been cheating on him for a while. And I mean cheating HARD. But other than that, we’re all human and other than that I frigging want her life. Trips to France to eat all over courtesy of Moet & Chandon? Why yes please.
We finished up lunch in Rego Park with sushi delivery. I think it might have been from a place called Mado, but I’m not really sure. It was delivery, and not too bad at all! And holy crap was it freaking cheap. I guess NYC sushi gets more turnover than Albany sushi. Albany John got a godzilla roll (left), and a salmon & cuke roll.
CVS got some soup and rolls – yellow tail & scallion on the left, and a naruto roll on the right. It’s just tuna & avocado wrapped in thinly peeled cucumber. I liked it. It tasted almost pious.
The avocado in the top piece just slipped out during travel. It was lodged between the pieces below.
I felt like getting something super cheap, so I got the chicken katsu for like $6.45. It came with a soda & california roll and one of those iceberg side salads. Good stuff for seven bucks. I was full when I was done with it, that’s for sure.
I’ve got to figure out how to make ginger dressing. I could slather all of my food in it.
Shortly afterward, we headed out to Manhattan Chinatown to get our bus out. But I wanted a stop at Penzey’s first, so we popped off at Grand Central.
Yay, market. But wait… is that a sign?
OH GOD DAMNIT! What a waste of $4.50. Yeah, I should have called ahead ’cause it was a holiday weekend, but I checked the hours on Penzey’s site before leaving. No mention of holiday hours. Just a little asterisk that the Grand Central location had a limited stock. Le sigh.
I don’t know about you, but if I’m about to drop a load of money on spices, part of me enjoys the tactile experience of smelling them, picking the bags out, and carrying them home. There’s just something so aseptic about buying food online sometimes.
But any way, I’d have to pout later because we needed to get to our bus.
In a stroke of genious, I’d left the “E.” out of Broadway when I looked up the right subway stop to take, and wound up somewhere near Brooklyn. Not my finest moment. I ended up calling Maka & CVS and tried to get them to tell me how to get back. It seemed like a hassle, so I was a lazy New Yorker and called a cab. It ended up being about as much as taking the subway – like $7. Okay, a little more, but we were there in about five minutes.
AAbus, Double Happiness, the Chinese bus. Whatever you want to call it. They weren’t quite on their game Sunday night. The bus we were going to take was cancelled due to traffic out, and they didn’t mention it until after the bus was supposed to be there. There were SO many people there, too. So many. And you know how much I love crowds.
Since we had a couple of hours to kill, we walked around Chinatown for a bit. Would have been better to get stuck on a different night of the week. Sunday = earlier close times for some businesses.
Chinatowns always seem to operate on a cash-only basis. I know there are some places that take cards, but usually cash is easier even if they do take cards. I couldn’t find my ATM, and Albany John and I had about $10 between us.
Luckily we found Hong Kong Station, a cheap customize-it-yourself noodle shop. They were open until 10 PM and almost empty when we got there. It was a nice break from all of the hustle and bustle. I was also ecstatic to take off my increasingly hefty luggage.
I got a green tea smoothie ($3.75). It was creamier than I thought it would be. Next time I’d get a tea or something. Still, worth the price – it was big and rather refreshing with a good amount of green tea flavor.
Albany John got a “side” of noodles with pork and cabbage. I am now afraid of the size of a normal bowl of soup, because that was huge! The broth had a rich flavor. I’d get it again – nice amount of meat and pickle-y cabbage. Especially for the price. So much food! Hooray, Chinatown!
It seemed like a pretty hip little store, too. I can see the Hong Kong comparison. Cheap, a little flashy, open late-ish. A good place to stop off if you don’t want to go home, but just want a little something else that’s non-alcoholic.
We made our bus home. It was packed. One screaming kid, other well-behaved ones, and the guy behind me got drunk on the bus. I’m all for drinking in public, but dude could not hold his liquor. I’m pretty sure he was drinking cheap brandy out of a flask or something, because I got a good whiff of it every few seconds when he exhaled. I felt bad for the kid that had to sit next to him. Guy went from drunk and content to wasted and gone somewhere around exit 20.
I am all for drinking. Especially when you’re not driving and being responsible. And really, what better way to try and pass three hours on a crowded bus? I’m with the guy in that respect. But for the love of god, have some kind of a tolerance. He was grabbing at Albany John’s seat, and then dude hit the next level mumbling to himself about “Some ho! This ho’s not talkin to me!” and then wrapping his arms around the back of my seat. Oh no. Oh hell no, you did not just grab the back of my seat. He got angry squinty eyes and a few inoffensive words from me. I’d like to think that was the moment he realized that sober me was ready to go off on drunk him at any moment, but in all reality I think it was just that he realized where he was.
Albany John was asleep for most of the ride, so I only had my mango mochi to keep me company. I got it at a store by the bus stop before the first bus we were gonna catch was cancelled. I think it was called Lucky Bloop. Hee hee. I want all my bloops to be lucky. They were only $0.80 and rather sizeable. Not a bad bus snack back home.