Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 102: The Plant Buddy

Photo of the Day: Flower Girl

Good food, outdoor market, hot chocolate: what more could you ask for in one night? After a successful Japanese work lunch (see Day 66: The Katsu) several months ago, my friend and I decided to step it up to a full-fledged dinner, this time at Oh! Taisho off St. Mark's Place. Since it was one of her favorite standbys, my friend took care of the ordering with kawa yakitori, salmon onigiri, and supa tuna don. Though they required a bit of soy sauce and pepper to add that much-needed kick, the dishes were superb. My favorite by a mile was the yakitori: skewers of fatty, deep-fried chicken skin that crunched and crackled with pockets of sweet greasy goodness. The supa tuna don—tuna tartare with raw egg, seaweed, and rice—was also a new experience. It was delicious, but after a while, the simple, fresh flavors got monotonous, and the high carbohydrate content was extraordinarily filling.

I wasn't quite ready to go home after the early meal, so we walked Broadway to the Union Square Holiday Market. I really love the outdoor holiday markets in New York City, even in the bitter cold, because they have genuinely interesting and usually local vendors with unique merchandise. The twinkling lights and jolly Christmas energy certainly don't hurt either. As we exited the maze of kiosks, I decided a cup of hot chocolate would be a perfect way to escape the biting chill we'd endured, and a chocolate shop from the internationally-renowned Max Brenner chain was just around the corner. My friend and college roommate Jonathan has been singing its praises since returning from his study abroad trip to Australia in 2005, and I finally got the opportunity to try it. I'm no connoisseur, but my mocha hot chocolate was rich and phenomenal, though that may be just because I love chocolate in all its forms.

With the evening still young, we swung around the block to Whole Foods Market: certainly nothing new for a former resident of Austin, where the company is headquartered, but it was still nice to drool over the overpriced organic and gourmet snacks. We didn't end up getting any food, but a small display of miniature white flowers caught my friend's eye, and we wound up each buying a pot. Perhaps an unnecessary expense, but they were cheap and festive, and they do make me unreasonably happy when I catch sight of them perched now on my windowsill. Yay for plant buddies!

All that, and still got home early enough to relax, put on some Christmas music, and enjoy some solitude in front of my laptop.

Some supa tuna don (spicy tuna tartare with raw egg, rice, and seaweed) at Oh! Taisho.
Yaki Sake Onigiri, a rice ball filled with salmon at Oh! Taisho.
Chicken skin yakitori (skewers) at at Oh! Taisho. So amazingly tasty! I could feel the little pockets of greasy goodness popping as I chewed.
Aychia fashions a chopstick stand out of her wrapper.
I cannot resist taking a picture the beautiful Grace Church, glowing like a beacon as we stroll down Broadway.
Aychia sitting pretty in front of a Christmas vignette at the Union Square Holiday Market.
Spices and herbs for sale at the Union Square Holiday Market.
Buying Christmas presents at the Union Square Holiday Market. Shh! Don't want to spoil the surprise!
These adorable knitted ornaments were handmade by women in Kazakhtstan.
Plush magnet for the quirky intellectual in us all.
Freudian slippers! Get it? Har har...
A sudden spotlight fall on Aychia. Literally, I was like, 'Where is that light coming from?'
Vintage locks: a relatively useless purchase, but somehow still really cool.
Vibrantly painted ceramic bowls.
Elegant lanterns illuminating through colored glass.
Christmas lights embellished with airy, diaphanous leaves made of organic cotton.
Aychia smiles amidst the delicately diffused twinkling of Christmas lights.
Aychia is very proud of her lovely hat. She knit it all by herself!
Aychia and I spotted these tiny flowers at Whole Foods Market and each decided to buy one pot. Now we're plant buddies!
Kayla is very captivated by the dainty blossoms.
Of the many photos I've taken of Kayla, this is one of my all-time favorites.
Kayla sporting some radical shades.

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