Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 62: The Texan

Photo of the Day: Cranberries on the Plaza

Today I hung out with a fellow Texas transplant who I met through a colleague from my freelancing days at the Houston Chronicle. My former co-worker heard I had moved east and was gracious enough to get in touch with me and connect me with her network here. She thought her friend Smitha and I would get along well since we are both Texans and Longhorn alumni and introduced us via e-mail.

Today Smitha and I finally had the opportunity to meet up and grab dinner in Hell's Kitchen at a cozy little restaurant called Pure Thai Shophouse, which just opened last week. I ordered a satisfying spicy seafood noodle soup with shrimp, squid, and tofu in a rich tomato broth. Smitha was a wonderful supper companion and filled the evening with interesting conversation about work, family, arts, food, church, school, and city living. She has an incredible personal history since she has moved around quite a bit—from India to Killeen to Dallas to New York—and is very well-traveled.

After our meal, we went to Lincoln Park for drinks with some of Smitha's classmates from Fordham University, where she is pursuing an MBA. It was a homey little place, described by New York magazine as "really a dive under that respectable neighborhood bar sheen." It was nice getting out of the house for the evening and meeting with new and interesting people.

Most of the pictures from today, including the Photo of the Day, are from an Ocean Spray promotional event I stumbled upon at Rockefeller Center on my way to work this morning. I was first drawn in by the free samples of blueberry juice and Craisins they were handing out, but then I looked further and saw the entire bog they created on the plaza. Representatives dressed in waders demonstrated and explained in detail how they harvest cranberries by flooding the marshy fields, loosening the berries with a water reel (more or less a giant egg-beater), allowing the buoyant crop to float to the surface, and corralling them into trucks. Setting up the farm right there in the heart of Manhattan was quite the clever and eye-catching publicity stunt, and of course I always welcome free food samples.

Ocean Spray representative hand out free samples of juice and Craisins.
The bog of cranberries.
This nice lady stopped and talked to me for five minutes to explain how cranberries are harvested.
Cranberry plants prior to harvest.
The Ocean Spray woman in the bog explains cranberry harvesting procedures to tourists.
Ocean Spray conjures up charming, rustic associations with wooden crates, colorful flowers, and pumpkins.
An old-time Ocean Spray delivery truck.
My spicy seafood noodle soup from the brand new Pure Thai Shophouse that just opened in Hell's Kitchen.
I walk by Times Square everyday, but it never ceases to distract me with its flashy lights.


  1. What a clever way to harvest cranberries. It would be hard to pick em one by one, I guess.
    BTW, where's the noodle?

  2. Yup, it was pretty interesting. I guess you can't see the noodles beneath the red broth, and it wasn't a super generous helping either. I didn't spend very much time trying to take a good picture because I was meeting someone for the first time, and I didn't want to seem too weird by taking so many pictures of my food!

  3. Oh so the Ocean Spray commercial is true to life! Cool! I always wanted to go swimming in a cranberry bog after seeing that commercial. It reminds me of a much nicer Chuck E Cheese ball pit.

    Love the times square shot!

  4. Haha, I didn't try it myself, but I bet it's actually really gross down in that bog. I do like their juice I'm craving some, darn it.

  5. So glad you and Smitha had a chance to meet up! :) I love cranberries and am so jealous you got to see that up close! Hope all is well!

  6. Kim, I've been meaning to contact you and say thank you! Smitha is great, and I really do appreciate you going through the effort of introducing us!