A.B. Biagi

[August 4, 2013]

Dear softrice fan:

I had a plan.  I was going to finish writing my Hasaki post, go to the gym, shower, and watch TVB over dinner.  The ever spontaneous Prima ruins everything routine and structured, reshuffling my deck to live as the wind takes us.  We first complete the necessary evils – Prima on laundry duties and a beautifying facial, while I prematurely break my writing momentum to tone my chocolate bars on the elliptical.  Then she rushes me through shower to satisfy her noodle cravings.

When you are with me, you are with the best, and you shall have the best.  Thus, when Prima wants ramen, she gets the best ramen.  We make the longest journey away from the confined comforts of home to Midtown, home of my office building, satellite ramen dojos, and Flashdancers.  Other friends in her extroverted circle would refuse to wait with her for ramen, but I know how to enjoy quality of life.  We are in good company, of good health, with good weather, and will have good food.  As lover would say, life is softrice.

The hour-long waits for Totto Ramen empower me to uncover more to my feline sidekick, as Black Cat is to Spider-Man.  She has an obsessive craving for Oreo O’s, a discontinued cereal product that is currently only available in South Korea.  (I have never heard of such a product and I have no idea why it is only for sale overseas in one specific country.)  Irene is there now to smuggle a case back.

If Oreo O’s are as good as the legend says, I might have to fly to South Korea to buy a box to share with lover.  The mightier plan that I suggested to Prima was for us to fly to South Korea to buy the cereal and follow it up with a visit to Hokkaido for their fresh milk.  The combination is so powerful that even Prima admitted it was the best plan ever!  But first, in the here and now, we enjoy bowls of the very best ramen in New York.

Totto Ramen
366 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
212.582.0052
www.tottoramen.com

Totto Ramen

The two of us conquer bar stools and hold down forte for the time that it takes to consume a bowl of ramen.  Other than a mirror to look at my divine reflection, we had the best view in the restaurant.  Giant tanks of boiling broth and fire torches caramelizing glutinous plates of pork belly, Prima and I were front row witnesses to food happiness.  In a time bubble of our own, Prima starts our meal with a can of Coca Cola, while hungry followers that include Caucasians in their ranks continue to surprise her (in that they were willing to wait such long hours for Asian comfort food).

Avo Tuna

A cat with a taste for raw fish, Prima wets our palates with the Avo Tuna.  These torched cuts of tuna sashimi make sour apples seem sweet, most probably due to the culprit known as their special yuzu garlic sauce.  The marinated avocado were not fresh either, as Prima points out that they were once put in the refrigerator.  The tag-team of tuna, avocado, scallion, and yuzu garlic was one atomic bombing of salt in the mouth.  You taste nothing else, which is a shame, given the captivating red of the fish.

Paiten Ramen with Chicken

My motivation is to try the new and different for lover.  Having been to Totto Ramen a handful of times, this was my first order of the Paiten Ramen with Chicken.  These straight homemade noodles are cooked al dente style in a whole chicken and premium soy sauce based soup, topped with scallion, onion, and a nori.  I could do without the nori.  It is not my thing.

The chicken died in vain.  He would rise from the dead and complain to the chef.  Each of these chicken ramen bowls are accompanied by three thick pieces of white breast meat.  It would be a generous offering, if they did not taste like cardboard.  The meat is dry and tasteless, providing ammunition for Chinese to favor dark meat.  Lover is a huge fan of chicken, so this would be a grave disappointment.  Luckily, she eats pork, wherein their pork bellies make the sun shine on rainy days.

Paiten Ramen with Pork

The first-timer Prima has the best choice, the sacred Paiten Ramen with Pork Belly.  There is no comparison.  If I had to bring lover to one ramen in New York City, this would be it.  Their supreme broth is strong and thick of chicken essence, easily reaffirming Prima that my word is gold.  Chickens line up for the honor to be this soup!

If we had to nitpick though, Prima has two alternatives.  I really like the noodles al dente, which gives them a chewy texture.  However, Prima prefers her noodles a tad softer, such as the offerings at the girl power hotspot, Ippudo.  The second alteration is her indifference to Japanese pork belly.  It is good, but she much rather have Chinatown meats, like the white cut chickens, char siu, and roast ducks.  Yet Prima would not exchange the pork belly for these Chinatown meats, because the taste combination in ramen would be thrown out of proper balance.  I just care that lover prefers Chinatown meats too.

Food: D
Drinks: N/A
Dessert: N/A
Ambiance: D
Final: D

Other than their barbequed meats, Prima also prefers the desserts in Chinatown.  One example is the tiramisu, which is overly moist when done by the Italians, but optimal with the Chinese version of less coffee and less rum.  Since Asian desserts held closer to her heart, I was going to take her to the nearby Kyotofu for Japanese sweets, even if both of us were going to skip on their cupcakes.  However, my intelligence needs updating, because we arrived to a vacated space.  They closed without informing me (or Eater)!  May-Ling will be devastated to learn of their demise (insert sarcasm here).

On our retreat back to my original dessert ambitions, Prima shares that I should be a food critic.  Others like Miranda have imposed the same career potential on me before, presumably on the simple facts that I like food and I write.  Overlooked is the motivation that I do both for lover.  I explain how impractical the idea is, because I would starve to death before I could make any money from doing so.  My blog has no following, aside from the loyal softrice legion.  And it takes me forever to write one post.  The worst to come from such a profession would be my enslavement to having friends, so that I may dine and wine enough to justify a restaurant experience on paper.  No, thank you, a love letter in disguise is a fine side hobby for my time being.

Brushing aside the doomed career path, my personality on paper (although she reads it as an email attachment on her phone) – INTJ – is of the greatest interest to Prima.  She studies the report with an intensity unseen elsewhere in the nine worlds.  All of her normal human friends are feelers.  The Prince of Heaven is the one and only “Rational” she knows, besides the girl in the mirror, which is one of the few reasons why we click.  One detail fails to surprise her; I am on the extreme end of being a planner.  We smirk on my commentary that these things are not always accurate.

Our journey to desserts brings us pass Armani Exchange in Soho.  Their windows were advertising Pima tees, prompting Prima to point and shout, “Wear me!”  I go over the idea with her.  If I wear her in front of me, my back will be exposed, and vice versa.  My savvy partner says I should wear her sideways, wrapping herself around my waist.  This way, Prima will be able to cover my family jewels and great behind, and promises that her “touching-breast-dragon-claw-hands” will protect my nipples from the savage mouths of pretty girls.  And although she is not heavy and I am able to (momentarily) carry her, I maintain my reservations on carrying her weight with me everywhere I go.  Pima tees have yet to win against the cotton body-huggers.

A.B. Biagi
235 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10016
212.679.4603
www.abbiagi.com

A.B. Biagi

A.B. Biagi is a bright yellow storefront that cannot be missed on the most romantic block in New York City.  (Lover lives here.)  Premium Brazilian gelato is made in the background machinery, while the actual gelato buckets and cashier girl are the midsection that separates a limited corner of seats in front.  A quartet of friends already occupied the small dessert shop, so Prima and I had our gelato on the outside wooden bench for two.

Pistachio

Prima is a faithful follower of softrice and a loyal addict to Pistachio Gelato.  A.B. Biagi serves a weakened version compared to Mo Gelato, which upsets my need for concentrated flavor punches, but tickles Prima fine.  This goes down softer on her throat.

Somehow our rants come upon the common practice of hiding proposal rings in food.  Neither of us could understand the logic behind it.  Prima worries about the blotched job, because the diamond is sharp and can cut all of her sensitive insides.  And even for those successful executions, I judge the deed unromantic and unsanitary.

Acai Banana, Vegan Peanut Butter, & Basil Pine Nuts

The climax of our night was my flowery heart on three gelato flavors – Acai & Banana, Vegan Peanut Butter, and Basil & Pine Nuts.  I love the Brazilian superfruit; acai is an inseparable part of my current diet.  I restock supplies from Whole Foods on a weekly basis just to drink it.  A.B. Biagi is also able to channel their inner Brazilian pride through this one definitive gelato flavoring, albeit their texture overly relies on the addition of banana.  I am happy to be the first one to introduce Prima to acai too.  My life adds another achievement to its long list of wonders.

Lover is a big fan of peanut butter, so my second choice in flavors was a no-brainer.  The gelato tastes as rich as the creamy spread, melting in your mouth as a snowman would on Christmas Island.  My heart fares no better against lover’s tender lips.

The Basil & Pine Nuts did a much better job at hiding its flavors than I originally hid my secret crush on lover in the beginnings of time.  The gelato was a faint hint of nothings, yet surviving on a close resemblance to a soulless vanilla.  Perhaps the best admiration is drawn from a taste for the subtle, as lover peeled away at my thick layers of shyness to reveal a heart true and tried.  I should give the basil and pine nuts more patience and care, to grow and surprise as I had under lover’s nurture against my nature.

Food: N/A
Drinks: N/A
Dessert: C
Ambiance: D
Final: C-

Shy I am still, regardless how expertly I disguise my introvert habits under an extroverted corporate mask.  Hence my jerk reaction to drum up conversation and camouflage myself in deep eye contact with Prima as lover’s parents walk by.  Dad walks ahead as mom trails a step or two behind, navigating through the narrow sidewalks of Nolita.  My mouth runs off simple automated scripts to push the conversation forward with Prima, while my brain secretly drowns in self-doubts and over-thinking.

Did lover’s parents recognize me?  Do they wonder what I am doing, sharing gelato with a young and attractive girl in short shorts?  Do they mentally battle Prima against their younger daughter in an unknown mental arena?  Do they doubt my faithfulness to lover?  Or did the two of them walk pass, oblivious of me, and had nothing more on their minds than what was for dinner tonight?  And which outcome would I want?

The easiest passage through collapsing brain waves was to return to my jabe with Prima.  Her childhood survival story was dependent on three foods to eat while she was starving at home – Peanut Butter, Whipped Cream, and Condensed Milk.  When Prima was eight years old and home alone, these three treasures kept her alive.

Her mom was hardly home and restocked supplies on the same frequency.  There should have been canned pastas to last the duration, except this schedule did not account for her stepfather crashing on and off at their home, and finishing two to three cans in one serving to fill an adult appetite.  The juvenile solution to this monster jerk was to always choose canned pasta with sausages, which he disliked, instead of his beloved spaghetti and meatballs.  This prolonged the availability of food supplies.

Because of the humidity in Florida, bread did not stay fresh for longer than three days.  Her saving grace was bagels, which stored for longer periods of time.  They went along well with her three treasures, especially whipped cream.  The other two were eligible solo acts when necessary.

When Prima moved to Virginia, she looked forward to school lunches.  (Virginia generally does have superior food, as I can attest after having been there on work trips.)  This excitement did not survive their next immigration to New York.  She wondered how humans could eat this garbage.  Other than starving my way through high school, I grew up on these school lunches, so I was used to them.  My favorites were pasta shells with ricotta cheese, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken wings, and chicken nuggets.  However, if you were to serve this quality of food to me now, I probably would spit it back out and curse along a lawsuit filing on how human beings could be reduced to eating such waste.

Prima and I grew up in poverty; we were content and happy in the only world we knew, but we gladly drifted away from the old lifestyle as we worked towards a wealthier future.  I rose through the noble ranks of SYEP, while Prima played hot potato with cash as a hostess at Grand Harmony.  Now instead of feeding handfuls of starving children in third world countries, I stockpile a complete set of McDonald’s Minions at Prima’s apartment, along with new postcards from Xi’an and Yangshou on her refrigerator collection.  I harbor ambitions to travel the world with a Chun Li toy too, to represent Prima, as I photographically document the adventures of my yellow rubber duck and Captain America Munny.  This world is in a greater need for hope than sustenance.

And I am the greatest hope of all, because even I can love.

Always in a puff of smoke,

softrice

Tacos Y Quesadillas Mexico

[July 31, 2013]

Dear softrice fan:

Once again proving that this is only a food blog in disguise, I am using my work lunch to blog about my movie date with Janet and our ever-expanding toy collection.  Before the fun and games though, it is a normal work day that requires a lunch break.  One of my favorites is a food cart not far away from the office building, Tacos Y Quesadillas Mexico, on 53rd Street & 7th Avenue.  Guess what they serve.

Well, you would be wrong.  Yes, the chica y chico working the cart do serve tacos and quesadillas, along with burritos and rice platters with the same choice of ingredients.  But the reason to come here is their Tortas Cubanas.  This Mexican food cart does a mean Cuban sandwich!  On a round burger bun, they manage to cram a food pyramid in your stomach, which includes lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, mozzarella, ham, a fried egg, pork cubes, and crispy shreds of pulled pork.  Their specialty green sauce unites the proteins in a friendly spiciness for general consumption.

Tortas Cubanas

Mozzarella is my favorite cheese.  While this is not the fresh cold cuts of Italian variety, it is gooey joy on the sandwich.  The fried egg is an inexpensive commodity that adds a layer of luxury to the combination.  And lastly, the breaded strings of crispy pork differentiates this Mexican interpretation from the Cuban counterparts in the neighborhood (such as Tina’s, Morgon, and Cafe Cello).  Its texture stands out, which reserves judgment for the sandwich-eater, because it is neither a plus nor minus on me.

Food: C
Drinks: N/A
Dessert: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Final: C

Empowered with a full and pleasing meal, I have the energy to endure the afternoon demands of a labor force, until the corporate walls released me to reunite with the toymaker of my life.  Fluttering through the clueless air of tourists mobbing around Times Square as if their personal lavatory, I meet with Janet on the third floor of Midtown Comics.  Destined selector of my toys, she lucked out two blind boxes from a double decked case.  We believed them to be Captain America and Venom, but both unmasked to be the responsible Peter Parker.

If I continued to collect for all eight Marvel Munnies, I knew I would surely get dupes.  However, as I only had the Hulk so far, I thought my chances of buying two would simply be acquiring those less desirable – Iron Man and Thor.  Yet here I am, fated to have two Spider-Men.  Honey can now bring the dupe with her to Greece and around the world, with Spider-Man representing yours truly.

Climbing over the initial hill of disappointment, I still manage to be happy with the outcome.  If I chose and built the toys myself, I would obsess over why I chose the wrong box and the ugliness in the detailed imperfections on each toy.  Yet when a pretty girl does the deed, I am only appreciative of her heart to me, because the choice and workmanship of the toy is her time, effort, and thoughtfulness gifted upon the ever fortunate me.

We meet our people – Mandy and Xu – waiting on line at AMC Loews 34th Street 14 for the advanced screening of 2 Guns.  They came early to hold our spot, so that we could justifiably cut the sea of losers behind us.  With time as our sidekick, Janet exercises her heart through the hands and sticks together two distinctive Spider-Men to bottle her tender thoughts of me in 3-inch Munny figurines.

The first Spider-Man has the big white eyes, blue shirt and pants, a giant black spider in neon green highlights as his chest piece, and two white spider nets in his hands.  Meanwhile, the doppelganger has Spidey-glasses, blue pants, an adorable pink tie with a grey clip, and a pink heart with the letters “MJ”.  The signature DIY touch is the camera on his left eye, in which Janet rips away the extraneous black camera string to the right, signifying that this Spider-Man is in the midst of taking pictures!

As delighted as I am with my toys, I am ever more so because Janet is willing to come out to the movies with just me.  Escaping from the smothering shelter of her older sister, Honey, Janet has now raced forward to arm me with her Gmail yesterday and her cell phone number today.  Newly possessing all that was restricted from me before, I voice my concern to Janet that our relationship might be going too fast.  Too much happiness at once might not be a good thing.  Next, she will soon spread her Facebook open for my conquest as well.

With a dab of sincerity, two spoons of determination, and three swirls of persistence, I am closer to undressing the bajingo secrets of why Janet hates me.  If anything, the ice mountain separating us is collapsing in itself.  She warms to the thought of eloping with me to London and Paris for a week.  Licensed to have fun for only three weeks a year as a Dental Assistant, her vacation days are already two weeks spent on Florida and Las Vegas this year.  Meanwhile, I am rampaging through China, with Yunnan and Xiamen on the map for September.  Keeping the dream alive though, I disclose the legendary 18-year vacation schedule, on which she can find and reschedule London and Paris to her lobster pot whims.

Living out another dream come true, Janet watches a movie with me.  2 Guns is a continuing trend of comic book-based summer blockbusters, except there are no adamantium claws, iron suits, or superheroics.  Denzel Washington is an undercover agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Mark Wahlberg is the same from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).  (Yeah, I have no idea what NCIS is either.  Its Wiki is no help.)  Not knowing the true identities of each other, Washington and Wahlberg team-up to rob a bank, misled to think that the money belongs to a Mexican drug cartel, and then try to kill each other to tie-up loose ends for their respective agencies.  This is when poop hits the fan.

This is when Washington and Wahlberg find out that both of them are on the side of angels, while the money actually belongs to an even more ruthless organization – the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  All four parties want to kill them and take the money, so the atypical buddy-cop story is about staying alive and clearing their names, with busloads of action and humor along the ride.

The chemistry between Washington and Wahlberg is a laughing riot.  Wahlberg steals the show though.  With every wise he cracks, his character moves beyond the two-dimensional screen.  Paula Patton is the obligatory sex appeal.  Thanks to her, the rule of thumb on a first date is to go see nudity.  Janet got the hint.  I do not only want to play with two Marvel Munny Spider-Men.

Janet really enjoyed 2 Guns and my companionship.  (How can you not?)  Surprisingly though, my biggest takeaway is the horror of animal cruelty on the chickens.  They truly deserved better.  Otherwise, 2 Guns is a good movie, one that I will share with my father when it becomes available for household audiences.  He likes action comedies.  The other conspirators in our Movie Club were on a downward feedback loop.  Mandy found 2 Guns borderline acceptable, while Xu experienced continued disinterest in this genre of films.

After the movie, Janet and I were finally able to get rid of the lightbulbs, with Mandy and Xu departing for Red Mango in Korea Town.  To maximize our two-person world, Janet and I took an evening stroll back uptown to Midtown Comics in Times Square.  She lucks out another two Marvel Munny blind boxes for me.

Marvel Munnies

The first opening was a Saturday night party, welcoming the addition of the much beloved Captain America Munny to our toy kingdom.  The following surprise was a disappointing “oh” from my Silly Janet.  It was the second dupe of the night with another Hulk.  Kid Robot is truly maximizing their profits, by multiples of bank vaults, when every other toy is a dupe!

Nevertheless, I am still fascinated with the building of a relationship where every time I see her, she makes me a new toy.  On this night, we cheat and skip to four toys.  Fortunately, I only follow rules when it benefits me.  Eager to satisfy the one and only me, Janet rips open the sealed bag and starts piecing together wonder and awe with her hands.  Soon thereafter, Janet awards me with the bravest Captain America Munny to bring along my world tours!

Saving an excuse to see me again (and again), Janet confiscates all of the outstanding stickers.  Although it is a dupe, she will build me a one-of-a-kind Hulk, from the sweetest roast buns of her heart.  There is only one way to travel the world, and that is with customized toys that are unique and individualized by pretty girls!

Aflame with excitement in our hearts, we retire for the night.  We must ready ourselves for the next toy selection ceremony, when Janet will luck out her favorite Doctor Octopus Munny for me.  She will be my Octo-Girl, with all eight of her “arms” wrapped around me, endearing this world to the age of softrice!

Always in a puff of smoke,

softrice

Hasaki

[July 28, 2013]

Dear softrice fan:

Sometimes, you have to go backwards in order to move forward.  Early in the morning, I revisit old grounds and print an extra ticket for Janet at the Computer Lab of Pace University.  Suppressed memories of bittersweet heartbreaks upset the tranquil environment, suffered through in the name of expanding the Movie Club.  Paper key in hand, I desperately escape the clutches of the past and whoosh to greet the present at Regal Union Square Stadium 14.

The puppet master of our Movie Club, Stephen, is an early bird, protecting our place in line from other awaiting audiences of the advance screening to Smurfs 2 in 3D.  Guaranteed of our strategic position, I wander into Forbidden Planet and make an accidental find.  Kid Robot teamed up with Marvel to create a new line of Do-It-Yourself Munnies.  The big and medium toys, at 7-inch and 4-inch respectively, are available for your choice of four characters – Iron Man, Spider-Man, Venom, and Wolverine.  Their smaller 3-inch toys, which are easier to carry around the world, are blind boxes with an additional roster of four – Thor, Doctor Octopus, Captain America, and Hulk.

Doctor Octopus is a strange candidate.  He looks more like a nameless Hydra agent in all that green and without his four robot arms.  Along with Thor, their character designs are both plain and ugly.  Spider-Man is my favorite superhero and he can represent me on my world travels, but Venom is the most badass villain ever!  The latter can carry my rage and cool in one toy.  And so I began to brew intentions to bring a 4-inch Venom on future trips.

Indecisive until I arrive to a decision, I return to the line for a second opinion.  Fellow conspirator, Mandy, replaces Stephen as our placeholder in the crowd, while I take the latter with me to Forbidden Planet.  I tour him through the choices, in return for a useless answer – Buy everything.

Mandy calls for our return.  The line is migrating inside the theater.  I release Mandy and Stephen to reserve seats, while I await the others.  Xu soon arrives and journeys within the magical cinematic box.  The Cheng Sisters – Honey and Janet – arrives casually late for the queue, but just in time for my toy kingdom.  If everything happens for a reason, then the cumulative events of this morning was for Honey to make an executive decision and luck out a 3-inch blind box for me, while the new assembler in Janet to our team was to grant me a toymaker.

How I feel about something can certainly fluctuate depending on the pretty girl that I am with.  On this day, is it the “H8er” Doctor Octopus.  Somehow, he manages to snatch onto her heart.  Because she likes him, the villain that usurped the body of Peter Parker becomes easier on the eye.  I hatch and grow onto the idea that this toy can represent her as I travel around the world with it.

Alas, the “H8er” was not meant to be.  The Cheng Sisters open the box inside the theater to discover the world-smasher, Hulk.  Janet carefully selects and peels adhesive stickers from two sheets, and artistically positions them on a dark green Munny.  The final product is an adorably angry Hulk in purple pants and a polka dot bowtie, holding a “Smash” sign.  Originally doubtful if I want any, now I only want more!

The Hulk Munny

Reverting to toys might seem childish and immature, but it is a key catalyst in my formula for growth and advancement.  Other than drawing attention to its cuteness and showing tenacity in bringing a toy along my wanderlust adventures, I want lover to feel comfort and pride.  With each picture, she will be able to appreciate my ability to make friends and how much of a difference I make in their worlds.  In this particular instance, I am worthy of the time and efforts of a pretty girl to make a toy just for me.

If it takes immaturity to create happiness, so be it.  I will gladly be a brat and endure the ridicule of inconsequential onlookers, in exchange for the laughter of my people with each vacation picture featuring my army of toys.  The only headache is that I may have too many qualified candidates.  My plan was to bring Beijing the Rubber Duck (the constant), a miniature Iron Man (that Prima selected and Honey loves), and the Banana Minion (the recent Facebook popularity king, with Mandy and Xu as his most loyal cheerleaders).  Adding the Hulk Munny would be a logistical overload, but this toy would also bring a different layer of meaning to the game – a one of a kind toy made for me by a pretty girl.  This is the message that best resonates with lover.  I just have to solve the details.

While strategically planning my photographic love letters to lover, my attention is temporarily distracted to watch the Smurfs 2 in 3D.  Maple is the only one in my life that is a crazy obsessive Smurf fan.  I never watched the cartoon or saw the first movie.  Honey did not see the precedent either, which was why she surprised me with the desire to go for this one.

To my understanding, Smurfs are the equivalent of little blue elves, living in a magical wonderland with mushroom houses.  An evil human wizard discovers their world and requires their essence (aka life force) to perform magic spells (and eventually conquer the world, I suppose).  In this sequel, aside from his villainous cat, he makes clay copycats of the Smurfs called the Naughties, which are little grey elves.  Basically, the story is that the Naughties kidnap Smurfette (a blonde female Smurf that was once an evil Naughty turned good and blue), so the Smurfs return to our dimension and fight alongside their human friends to save the girl.

Unlike Despicable Me 2, which is a cartoon movie that gives me the feeling that lover must see, Smurfs 2 is indifferently disinteresting.  Some moments did get Janet to laugh though, as did I.  However, the story lacks ambition, while the characters are mostly not annoying enough for me to hate.  A great distance is involved before I can actually invest emotions on them.  Overall, the movie was not a waste of time, but even for undiscerning young children nowadays, I suspect the material will be unintelligible.  Then again, without applying judgment, you will always have the diehard fans like Maple.

After the movie, the club disperses into separate standalone adventures.  Honey journeys into Queens for a BBQ.  (I will forever remember that she chose a BBQ over waiting eight hours on line to do the Rain Room with me!)  Janet painfully tears herself away from my divine presence to momentarily entertain her previous social circle.  And Stephen plays the role of a filial son that will have lunch with his parents.  I gather the remaining troops – Mandy and Xu – to lunch in the East Village.

Hasaki
210 East 9th Street
New York, NY 10003
212.473.3327
www.hasakinyc.com

Hasaki

Hasaki, a basement Japanese restaurant (if you cannot tell from its name), caught our attention with its pink neon sign.  The name is actually legendary in my social circle, because it is Jane’s favorite sashimi restaurant and her special spot.  Lover may have gotten me into seafood, but it was Jane’s egging that got me into eating raw seafood.  Now I have all the more reason to anticipate a chirashi that is excelsior!

The simple Japanese restaurant has a white ceiling, a wooden sushi bar, and a rectangular room of wooden tables and chairs.  The paradox of Japanese culture can be found in their bathroom, which sports a luxury toilet bowl.  The complicated piece of machinery has so many fancy buttons that I required a bit of time to figure out how to flush.  The girls tell me that the toilet bowl is also equipped to slow rinse and blow dry interested passengers.

Ceramic Figurine

Relationships is about chemistry, dependent on timing and fate.  One incarnation of such in my day was my finding of a brown ceramic figurine, similar to Stitch, hidden next to a larger calligraphy paper fan.  Both were decorations in the last wall window in the room.  It is another qualified candidate to come along my world tours.

The toy reminds me of fate.  You may not know what you are looking for, but you will eventually find it.  And vice versa, you may know what are you looking for, but it does not mean you will find it.  Most of the paying customers will not find or notice this clay figurine of a Japanese creature.  Yet I did, because of fate.  I see something that others do not see, which is my selling point as the ruler of the world, and as her window to the world for lover.  I am in these details.

Mandy and Xu misguide me to the lunch sets, on the basis of economics.  Each meal comes with a house salad, a choice of hot or cold soba, and an entree.  Wishful thinking convinced me that the salad and soba might just be extras on the side, while entrees would still be in normal portions.  Positivity lost the day, because Hasaki needs to make a profit.

Teriyaki Fried Chicken

Xu ordered what I would probably get on a return visit, the Teriyaki Fried Chicken.  You can usually only get either the teriyaki or the fried chicken.  Hasaki combines the two for your tasting pleasures.  And yet it loses the original appeal of both.  Their marriage is healthy rather than decadent.

Garlic Beef

Mandy’s entrée is a dull and boring Garlic Beef.  It is the Japanese equivalent of beef and broccoli; an Eastern dish tamed for Western palates.  Thick slices of garlic cling onto beef merely twice its size.  Vampires beware.  For mortal day-walkers though, the taste fails to amaze Mandy.  And lover does not eat beef, so the dish was irrelevant before it was ordered, and remained as such after it was consumed.

Cold Soba

Soba preparation is a choice between hot or cold servings.  The noodles are prized for their simplicity, disappointingly akin to a plain tasting of clean Earth.  Since I am already paying for an overpriced culinary cleansing anyway, I usually have my soba cold to enjoy the noodles at its most natural state.  Xu follows suit with her virgin experience, easily apparent as she muddles through confusion with the accompanying dipping broth.  Mandy stands apart with her bowl of hot soba, slowly recuperating bodily warmth from the drizzling rain outside.

The two girls are also new to oshinko, the Japanese yellow and purple pickles, served on the side.  Both are edible to me, while they prefer the crunchy yellow medallions over the shreds of sour purple pickles.

Chirashi

The usual suspects appear in my Chirashi – tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, and Japanese sweet eggrolls.  The soba set minimizes my raw fish bowl to smaller portions, which I still begrudge.  I would much rather have more raw fish than cold soba.  The seafood is noticeably fresh; vibrant colors radiated off their flesh like a rainbow.  Its texture is a healthy amount of chewiness to set things in motion, followed by a smooth transition towards melting in your mouth.

Hasaki offers a respectable chirashi, but my heart remains where it began.  My favorite chirashi is still at Jukai, which offers a greater variety of seafood in its classy, elongated light blue bowl.  It has octopus and sea eel!  And the ingredients are organizationally diced into perfect cubes, for a better mixture of taste in every bite.  Jane has her special spot; I have a benchmark to keep searching.

A decade ago, I would not be able to eat raw seafood at all.  Since then though, Prima nudged me towards sashimi, and Jane subsequently pushed me over the cliff to fall for chirashi.  Now my palate is well-adjusted to bring lover to ravage all the seafood that Japan has to offer!

Food: C
Drinks: N/A
Dessert: N/A
Ambiance: C
Final: C

To expand my window to lover, I move my chess pieces to further corners of the globe.  We close our meal with a bitter green tea (served in distinctive cups with 33 generations of sumo-wrestlers as its wraparound design), make a stop at Muji to purchase a sturdier container to traverse with my Hulk Munny, and trek to Fei Yang Travel in Chinatown.  Interested to see what the Taiwan itinerary offers, I am sending Mandy and Xu to perform an intelligence mission, before Honey and I commit to the same trip next October.

The plan going in was a combined two weeks in Taiwan and Thailand.  Mandy and Xu are metropolis-hoppers, so they were hopeful for economical options to swap out Thailand for either South Korea or Japan.  (I prefer the remote wilderness.)  As their strategy consultant, I help my logistics expert – Mandy – flip and flop around the various tours, to try different combinations of dates and prices.

Japan was beyond their price point, as was South Korea combined with Jeju Island.  South Korea, by itself, fell within an acceptable amount of wealth to part ways with.  After noting that the itinerary includes a Teddy Bear Museum, Mandy no longer cared what else was offered on the tour, as long as they went there.  Being a superior planner over the travel agents, I worked out the dates and scheduled for the two girls to first see South Korea and then Taiwan, on the first two weeks of November.

And as lover says, success attracts success.  During the strategic vacation planning process, a pretty girl disguising as a travel agent calls me out.  She confirms that I am the one and only Prince of Heaven.  Having no interest in other girls after knowing lover though, I had to ask how we knew each other.  Did we date?  Was she a one night stand?  Is she a fan?  (Everyone is a softrice fan!)  What was her name?

Heartbroken from being unremembered, Betty reintroduces herself in my life.  I promise that I would redo my research on Facebook and bring her back into my life of awesomeness.  Maybe I will start by inviting her to the Movie Club.

I end the day knowing that lover will be happy with me; I am in a better place than I left off.  I will see more of the world.  I am expanding my social circle.  And I will continue to add more toys.  I am a superior me.  For someone that is wheels within wheels, everything will come together soon too – Aonvergence 2014.

Always in a puff of smoke,

softrice

Sushi-Tei 47

[July 23, 2013]

Dear softrice fan:

Everything is on the blogosphere.  I read blogs on food, travel, comic books, movies, and toys.  If I had all the time in the world, I would probably write a blog per interest.  On a few that I have tried, such as travel and business cards, I failed to keep up.  Only softrice survives.  Even then, this is a food blog in disguise.

During my lunch hour, I trek a good urban jungle path to Midtown Comics East.  Today was not a new comics day, but Honey and I are going to meet Hugh Jackman tonight.  We must be prepared to receive his autograph.  Of my choices, I settle on two copies of Savage Wolverine #1.  These blank white cover variants were perfect for his signature.  My other options were blank cover variants for Wolverine #1 and New Avengers #1.  Ultimately, I wanted a Wolverine title, and Frank Cho is my preferred artist between the two.

Sushi-Tei 47
11 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017
212.753.3535

Buta Kimchi Don

On my way back to the office, I picked up food from Sushi-Tei 47.  This is the takeout counter at Katsu-Hama.  Hopefully, the kitchen that makes my favorite katsu are also the masters behind these takeout rice bowls.

My midtown lunch was the Kuba Kimchi Don, a rice bowl with spicy pork, kimchi, and two pieces of shumai.  I am a sucker for variety, so appetizer freebies are always enticing.  The Japanese ladies behind the counter will heat up the food for you, offering an optional convenience with their microwave.  This is a big plus for me, because I actually do not know how to use one.  (Lover has yet to teach me.)

The shumai are quick bites.  They are on par with expectations, which is underwhelming, because quality and attention are both not paid to these sidekicks.  Meanwhile, the thin slices of pork and kimchi are a fiery combination, aptly complimenting the plain white rice.  The Kuba Kimchi Don is good comfort food, except I still miss Korilla’s perfected version.  The lack of hour-long waits is a much appreciated saving grace though.

Food: D
Drinks: N/A
Dessert: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Final: D

A day of blood toiling work later, Stephen emails me to say there is already a long line snaking around the block at AMC on 42nd Street.  This was 4:00 PM for a 7:00 PM showing.  Half an hour later, I applied quicksilver speeds to finish all my work for the day and made an early escape.  Everyone understood the need to brave through the tourist crowds at Times Square and meet the Wolverine.  I join the line, wondering why my segment had fans wearing Spider-Man t-shirts.  This was like going to a Fala Chen signing event and praising Linda Chung.  Ironically, I am a Spider-Man and Linda Chung fan.

Honey is unable to leave work until 5:00 PM.  To rescue the situation, I infiltrate the enemy fortress and conquer the third floor.  Submitted villains cede each customer a white and black Wolverine t-shirt, a gigantic black foam hand with claws, and a keycard pass.  Scantily-clad female worker bees then proceeded to make their rounds and offer free concessions, including boxes of various candies and chocolates, popcorn, and soft drinks.  All of these products, plus the chance to see Hugh Jackman and a movie in 3D, offer more value than the admission price.

I pass on insider knowledge for when Honey arrives.  Yet she fails to listen and is slow to find her way.  Impatient for results, I fight my way through the late gathering crowds to accompany Honey to Guest Services, where I left my ticket for her.  I need a perfect match like lover, but it is most certainly a futile expectation on everyone else.

Preparing Honey for the imminent arrival of the Wolverine, both of us guard our spots near the front of the outdoor room, where I transferred a copy of Savage Wolverine #1 into her hands.  We will each have a comic book for the Hollywood superstar to sign.  During the wait, Honey opens the comic book to read.  She shockingly teases if Frank Cho’s Shanna the She-Devil is our Wolverine.  Marvel’s unapologetic sexual exploitation wins us a few laughs.  If only Honey was not so lazy, she would be interested in reading the remainder of this storyline.  I would be proud to introduce a female friend into the industry too.

Hugh Jackman

Late to his own party, the tall and friendly Australian easily wins forgiveness from all his awaiting fans.  After a brief Q&A with the indoor fans, the Wolverine spends most of the time with his outdoor fans, because there I was (along with the Press).  Hugh Jackman signs our comic books, but unlike Tom Cruise, the former does not stay until everyone has their heart’s content.

To his credit though, Hugh Jackman does spend more time than a hit and run job.  He razzles fans with a Q&A, dazzles the Press, and returns for an hour or so to go around the room for autographs, pictures, and small talk with some lucky fans.  Apparently, he indiscriminately winks at every girl, ala Honey, the concession girls, and small children.

To retain everyone’s attention after Hugh Jackman’s departure, the MC organized raffles to hand out signed posters of the Wolverine and Blue-Ray collections of the X-Men trilogy.  Honey and I did not win based on our wristband numbers.  However, on numerous occasions where brief silence followed the MC’s random wristband announcement, I did want to cheat and scream out that I was the lucky victor.  Ricocheting between the best incarnations of lies and honesty, the latter edged out the former by a tiny ounce.

Halfway through the movie, I worry if I pushed my companion too hard.  Uncertain if Honey was too tired and fell asleep, I mentally debate whether I should wake her or not.  Thankfully, the plot ranges from funny to scary, prompting Honey to laugh and gasp.  She is awake after all, requiring inaction of me.

As for my review of the movie, first and foremost, the 3D is useless.  Second, the girls are ugly.  Rila Fukushima is a weird oddball, physically, and her red and white “costume” got me thinking she was Lady Deathstrike instead of Yukio half the time.  (It has been too long to remember Kelly Hu in X2.)  Tao Okamoto is flat.  Even Honey has more lady lumps than she does.  Famke Janssen brings on all the curves, but she has aged, while her long and thin eyebrows are destructively distracting.  Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper might have been the saving grace, except she has an overbearingly high nose and a mole next to her venomous lips.

Third, a comic book movie is only as good as the bad guy(s), and the Silver Samurai is borderline adequate.  I personally prefer Omega Red, whereas the Hand, Ogun, and Gorgon would have easily slipped in place with the Japanese backdrop.  Wolverine was taken out by Yakuza thugs and faceless black ninjas throughout the movie as well, much too easily.  All of which does not make Wolverine the best at what he does.

Lastly, the plot makes no sense in hindsight.  Yashida did not need to fake his death, kill his son, and allow a hit on his granddaughter.  Viper had already suppressed Wolverine’s healing powers in the beginning, so a united family attack then and there would have made more sense as the evil villain plan to take over the world.  However, that would shorten the movie and prematurely end your enjoyment of Hugh Jackman on screen, which Fox would never allow.

Regardless of my nitpicking, the Wolverine is a good movie, even if it is not the definitive Wolverine movie as Hugh Jackman proclaims it to be.  You get none of the berserker rage that the ol’ canucklehead is known for, but it is the best Wolverine movie so far, bub!

The theater jumped up and down with unbridled excitement for the post-credit scene too.  Wolverine reunites with Magneto and Professor Xavier (the dead do not stay dead in comics, so they can come back alive in movies too), just in time for X-Men: Days of Future Past.  The time-traveling storyline is a classic and one of my favorites (behind the Dark Phoenix Saga).  And Wolverine going “skint” on giant mutant killing robots is a must-see on that premise alone!

I am a strong advocate for movie rights returning to Marvel, particularly the Fantastic Four, so that justice may be done to Galactus and Doctor Doom.  If Fox must keep their pots of gold though, I sure do hope that X-Men: Days of Future Past will reset the cinematic universe for the merry mutants.  Then they can bring on more boss Marvel movies, starting with the upcoming X-Force and Fantastic Four!  (For X-Force, my pick for the five members are Wolverine, Cable, Deadpool, Archangel, and Psylocke, against the evil to end all evils, the uncanny Apocalypse!)

Savage Wolverine

Satisfied with a good night of Honey, I tease her that we were together in my bedroom earlier this morning as well.  She finally made her appearance in my dreams!  Taunting me with her disinterest, Honey has no care what I do to her in my dreams.  The two of us were silly panties in bed together; the part she could not guess was that we were drooling over the newly arrived photo album of Linda Chung – Bliss!

Reality is a much harsher world.  The international delivery date for Linda Chung’s photo album has been unreasonably delayed to August 1.  To sugarcoat my darkness in the meanwhile, both Aurora Li and Samantha Ko reply to my Weibo messages.  I could take either of the bombshell beauties to the Rain Room for majestic photos together, which will hopefully advance the day lover makes her jealous return to privatize the one and only love of her life.

Always in a puff of smoke,

softrice

Singapura

[July 18, 2013]

Dear softrice fan,

The last thing you should do in the scorching summer is to see me.  Nova flames from the Human Torch cannot beat my awesomeness.  When Honey committed to this fatal mistake tonight, her body needed an iceberg to cool down after witnessing perfection.  She immediately dragged me to Santa’s workshop, better known as the Red Mango inside Food Gallery 32 at Koreatown.  (Along the way, we saw Chris Rock hopping on a van to escape his fans, and I also stopped in McDonald’s to buy a Purple Noisemaker to add to Prima’s growing minion collection.)

Mandy came with us to snack before the movie and dinner, choosing the same frozen yogurt flavor as Honey did – Caribbean Coconut.  They differed in toppings, where Mandy had gummy bears, strawberries, and peanut butter cups, and Honey had orange pearls, strawberries, almond, mocha, and white chocolate chips.  Fearing for my dehydration, Honey fed me some of her orange pearls, which are quick pops of tangerine rejuvenation.

At AMC Loews Kips Bay 15, the three of us sequentially met the additional members of our Movie Club.  The roster tonight included Stephen the Ringleader, Joey, Xu, and my new Cindy (who is even more obsessed about minion-collecting than most of the free world).  Our mission was to watch R.I.P.D. (the acronym stands for Rest In Peace Department, which better explains the movie premise).  It is a bad movie about a pair of paranormal cops – Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges – in Boston that hunt the undead criminals refusing to die and go away quietly.  The villains are a group of cannon fodder called the Deados.  Think zombies that do not eat human flesh; less scary, zero appeal.  This is how Men in Black could have failed if it did everything wrong.

Reynolds is the same character in all the movies that he is in, while you can hardly make out what Bridges is saying with his fake cowboy accent.  Watching R.I.P.D. just makes me miss seeing Blake Lively in Green Lantern and awesome villainy in Iron Man.  Even the funny moments with Marisa Miller feels wrong, because you are equating her to Bridges.

While R.I.P.D. is not an atrocious waste of time as Honey and the others stand, the movie is definitely a dud that I do not need to bring lover to see.  Despicable Me 2 was the complete opposite.  The best time spent tonight was prior to entering the theater, when Honey and I delighted ourselves to photo-bombing our ride on Turbo, the snail racer!

Hungry after the movie, Cindy and Xu leaves the pack to return to their nests, while the original five make the perilous trek to Curry Hill.  Along the journey, we make note of a future dining possibility, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ.  Honey wonders why we did not come here instead of Daisy May’s BBQ USA last time.  It is closer by the Kips Bay theater.  And their fried chicken looks awesome.  Now that we have added its location to our culinary intelligence database, half the battle is won next time.

Singapura
106 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10016
212.684.6842
www.singapuranyc.com

Singapura

Our target tonight was Singapura, tucked in a row of Indian restaurants, exactly on the same street where Danielle brought me many moons ago for my first tasting of Indian vegetarian food.  Abacuses line the walls, while red and green lanterns light the rectangular space.  Lover would appreciate these details, except the same restaurant is plagued with poor air circulation and nearly nonexistent air conditioning on a boiling summer day.  And yet we stayed, to endure their slow service as well.

The menu is inexplicably limited, as if Singapura did not need to rip you apart from your every dime.  Joey and I wanted Thai Iced Tea.  They offer the drink, but it is a special request rather than a stable on their menu.  Joey could not make sense of why Thai iced tea was served in a mason jar, while I did not bother to overanalyze how the drink came.

More mindboggling was their management decision to give us one additional Thai iced tea, on the house, to ease the pain of our long wait.  Yet there were five of us, now with three drinks.  If you are going to be cheap, do not give us anything.  However, if your service ratings and our enjoyment of the dining experience matters, make sure everyone is taken care of rather than dump another headache on top of us.

Other than their inability to count, the Thai iced tea satisfies my sweet tooth.  For the winner of our free serving though, the drink was too sweet for Mandy.  Nevertheless, I still miss and crave the iced tea from Daisy May’s BBQ more than any other drink.

The food finally arrives after over an hour of patience wasted.  Our singular serving of Roti Canai, Malaysian crispy flat bread with a small side of chicken curry dipping sauce, was quickly devoured.  Five members at the table makes for an easy disappearing act on the bread.  Chinatown does it better and cheaper, which is the same conclusion for the remainder of our meal.

Nonya Calamari

Possibly the best of the night was our second appetizer, the Nonya Calamari.  This is the Malacca version of fried calamari, with red onion and bell peppers, and dusted with curry powder.  The calamari were crisp and tender on its own, but since it came with condiments, we would try out every combination presented to us.  We thought the side glop of red was ketchup, so after everyone bathed their calamari in the sauce, all of us were surprised that it was actually sriracha.  I can deal with the hotness, but poor Mandy does not have the buds for spiciness or sweetness.  In a twist of fortune though, Mandy had the pleasure of dining at ABC Kitchen twice and tasted the yumminess of their pretzel-dusted calamari.  Honey and I have yet the opportunity to go and chow down on those reportedly incomparable treats; we have to settle for Malaysian fried squid rings for now.

Paneer Hakka Fried Noodles

A failure in our ordering system was too much starch and disproportionately less entrees.  We came upon this fate because I really wanted to try some specialties that you cannot get elsewhere.  Hakka Fried Noodles with Paneer seemed to fit this criteria.  However, these egg noodles from Tangra are simply lo mein.  International business never lost so much on importing such inferior quality goods.  As for the paneer, they were invisibly shy or superbly well hidden.  All we saw and tasted were plain vegetable lo mein, without any hints of the Indian cheese, or any Hakka influence on this final output.  It is a disappointment to the end.

Singaporean Crab Meat Fried Rice

The sinkhole in our wallets expands with a Singaporean Crab Meat Fried Rice, a popular hawker street food in its country of origin.  The only thing they forgot to transfer was a friendlier price tag.  The kitchen skimps on the crabmeat, compensating with extra stirs on pan-frying the rice moist and loose.  Our table enjoys the simplicity and directness of this dish, while my memories travel back to the Mango Tree restaurant in Dubai, where they cracked a full crab of meat to decorate atop my small mound of fried rice.  One never does forget the superior (which is why lover is immortal, because she is natural perfection).

BBQ Beef Sizzler

An entrée that was ordered beyond my control was the BBQ Beef Sizzler.  (Lover does not eat beef.)  For some reason, I thought this would be beef skewers.  Its true appearance was far from my imagination – the beef was firecrackers on a metal skillet.  Smoke and noise attracted onlookers from the entire restaurant to stare at our table.  The beef put us on the map.  If you like hot and smelly meat, temperature-wise, the BBQ beef sizzler is it.  The BBQ aspect is minimally incorporated within its sauce.  Overall though, the dead cow on a plate is not so much different than what is available at every other restaurant.  Order it for the manly hisses; save your appetite for elsewhere-land.

Beef Pad Thai

Honey is a predictable peanut and goes to the Pad Thai as I do to lover and Linda Chung.  Singapura even markets their edition as the world famous Thai rice noodles with peanuts.  This is another area where the menu is unnecessarily restrictive.  Beef is not a protein choice to go along with the Pad Thai.  Every other meat and tofu is though.  Joey only eats beef, so we make another off-menu item and ask for a house special – Beef Pad Thai.  (I have to stay away from Joey and eat out more with Honey, the seafood lover, so that I can benefit for lover.)  Our rice noodles were undeserving of fame.  They were mostly dry.  And probably because they were afraid that some of us might have unspoken allergies, the crusted peanuts were inexplicably banished to one side too.  I rather go experimental and have a dud than to play it safe and eat Pad Thai, which is what happened next.

Veg Manchurian

You probably never heard of vegetable balls.  Singapura has it on the menu, but their kitchen does not give you a very good reason to order the novelty item.  The Veg Manchurian is a swampland of vegetable balls in a ginger soy gravy.  Think spring rolls in a ball, except it has none of the crispiness or deliciousness of the former.  The gravy drags the dish down to a new level of horribleness instead of provoking any cravings.  Even big scoops of white rice to dilute the ginger soy concoction fail to raise the edibleness of this failed lab experiment.  It is back to the drawing board with the kitchen.

Drums of Heaven, Singapura’s version of chicken wings, would have been an interesting sight had I remember to order them.  It must have slipped as I was trying to memorize and order the rest of our checklist.  Inching near the finish line of our dinner, with no obvious stars from the previously battered contestants, the table decides to let the chickens fly free tonight.  Bad food, slow service, and poor ventilation cumulates into Honey failing Singapura.  I would not take lover here anyway.  Singapura is a reason why lover would stay in Chinatown instead of venturing out to see this astonishing city.

Food: F
Drinks: D+
Dessert: N/A
Ambiance: F
Final: F

Speaking of branching out, although your body may be having side adventures, the heart remains faithful to me.  Honey retells her stories, having wandered off to Little Giant, a restaurant space similar to Singapura.  And she never doubted for a moment that the night was with yours truly.  Even the fun we have in her dreams is a world of real to my bee.

Another spinoff assignment was Peter Luger in Long Island with three other men.  Honey eats slow and since those oddballs do not pace their ravaging in sync with hers, by the time she got to the second piece of steak, the rest of it was all gone.  I am the best for more reasons than one.  Other than food tasting inferior without me, Honey does add that we should have ordered the sweet potato fries, and their humongous raw onion and tomato slices are a different experience with the famous namesake sauce.  As long as we are, there is always a next time.

The band disperses to as many directions as the moonshine rays illuminate the night.  On the way home, I slip into another McDonald’s and grab the minion with the red balloons gun.  Prima will have them all soon.  Honey relives the greatness of her life, by remembering our time together at Despicable Me 2 through catching up on the original Despicable Me.  Her hip trick is watching movies on the phone.  Technology may be great, but the old fashioned way of maintaining relationships is best.  The bright and shiny moonlights foreshadow the red strings of the Moon Elder.  Tomorrow is a future with Honey, Prima, and lover.  Time is just a resting step until we all meet again.

Always in a puff of smoke,

softrice

Great NY Noodletown preview

[July 13, 2013]

Dear softrice fan:

Camelback

Beef Brisket and Shrimp Wontons in Egg Noodles Soup

Soy Sauce Chicken in Haw Fun Soup

continuing quest to improve,

a softrice that you’ve never seen before,

greatest and bestest,

xxx

Camelback Mountain,

Treetop Adventure,

xxx

first time Prima and I do zipline, obstacle course training, 5

wake up early, meet up, wake her, Manna Bakery, wife cake,

meet Simon, car driver, tells me car model, no idea what he is talking about, Prima identifies,

Natalie late come, offers us breakfast and snacks,

xxx

at first, talk about random stuff,

work, cars

Simon likes Kate Tsui, feel,

Natalie likes Sharon Chan, comfortable

Prima of course Cecelia Cheung and Nicholas Tse,

I offer them Linda Chung, convert them with the opportunities I have, no takers, although Linda Chung is the best, concert in August 22 and 23,

xxx

Natalie laughs at my jokes, says I’m funny, won’t be able to withstand onslaught of Stephen Chow, rest of us don’t think she’s seen, she doesn’t watch HK movies,

leave Manhattan at 9 AM,

arrive at 11 AM,

wait until 12:30

xxx

was great at demo, think i can do this all,

rule is 1 at ladder, 2 at string, 3 at platform,

xxx

two hooks, one big zipline machinery,

mine is harder to open and close than others,

others just click and go,

don’t know if skill or my machines are broken, regardless, i work it,

xxx

1

confidence began to wane soon, higher and higher,

2

stuck at zipline, go backward,

xxx

Simon helps me in front,

Prima stabilizes my back,

wild swings at logs and wooden platforms,

cannot balance, swing wildly at me,

keep saying i want to give up, force myself through, scream,

thinking to myself, why lover would love me, why am i so useless, why can everyone else do it so easily,

not active, not sporty, not athletic,

xxx

people say i’m egotistic, this is humbling, no ego at all, incompetent,

newfound respect and admiration for Tiger Cubs,

prima always knew i was a coward, just never have evidence,

now she has all she needs,

xxx

can’t get up seashell wall at Course 3,

think i’m defeated, think of giving up at 4

guide says there’s rattlesnakes, can’t go watch, have to go back to beginning,

xxx

stick through 4,

bad decision maker, even know is bad decision, force myself through 4 anyway,

can’t move at net,

Spider-Man isn’t easy,

stuck for a long time, going down, thinking need rescue,

take up all my arm strength,

Prima easily goes through at me, her favorite, most fun, think it is too short,

xxx

zipline through, can go down, but force myself through vertical wooden logs,

no more strength at net, hug on logs for life, scratch and bruise up arms,

force my way through,

xxx

go to 5, see ropes, one is even broken into 2,

know cannot make it, give up,

guide says other than rattlesnake, also have chance of black bear, would climb up game,

watch as prima go, walk back to starting point and wait for them,

xxx

wrong mentality, didn’t see it as a fun game and throw myself at it like Donkey Kong,

self-defeated, just say can’t do it throughout,

xxx

get pictures, big rip off, $10 for download, don’t even burn CD for us,

prima says she wants to socialize, but takes out Game of Thrones Book 3 to read a chapter,

sleeps,

she brought me instead of her sister or other friends because my Chinese is good,

I overcompensate for my introvert personality and entertain them like a comedy show, laugh all the way,

xxx

accidentally drive us to Greater Binghamton,

sunset okay,

think of lover,

xxx

prima is hung fist,

simon is choi ley fat,

says ben and his father are praying mantis masters,

my father is street fighting,

xxx

Simon just got new car, we are first passengers,

first time going so far,

go through ghettos of Jersey City and Newark,

too many first times,

xxx

wanted to do fancy dinner with Prima, supposed to get back at 8 PM, now 12 AM,

thought Prima would just go home, since she has to wake up early tomorrow for ziplining again, somewhere else with another group in upstate NY,

but she is hungry,

i am not hungry, she says my fear hormones took over, but Natalie reminded me that i didn’t eat anything since breakfast,

should eat,

xxx

Great NY Noodletown
28 Bowery Street
New York, NY 10013
212.349.0923

xxx

Beef Brisket and Shrimp Wontons in Egg Noodles Soup,

wontons are fresher than I remember,

soup still has soap taste,

Prima likes the egg noodles, spongy,

xxx

Prima takes in her comfort food

Soy Sauce Chicken in Haw Fun Soup,

xxx

Food: C
Drinks: N/A
Dessert: N/A
Ambiance: D
Final: C-

xxx

avoid cockroaches and rats of NY,

protect her, even though she is martial artist,

when someone is in fear, mine go away,

take her home,

hug prima and leave,

wants me to blog my adventures,

supper was unworthy,

but share Camelback story with lover,

xxx

prima showers and sleeps,

only know dead strength, kill my arms,

body is sore,

upper body is useless, bruised and no power,

legs cramped from drive, want to stand and run,

shower have little strength, palms hurt from running water,

xxx

i post pictures on Facebook, see if Yun is planning with me tomorrow for Rain Room and dinner,

Simon has photos of Tianmenshan, he went up the heaven ladder,

went to same places, Zhangjiajie, but experiences different, pictures are different,

same with life, same with people,

xxx

what has lover gone through with me,

softrice is different in her eyes, as she is in mine,

xxx

Always in a puff of smoke,

softrice

Daisy May’s BBQ USA

[July 2, 2013]

Dear softrice fan:

To crack the greatest mind of the modern age, my company hired specialists to dissect the maddening genius that is softrice.  Their box for me is INTJ – Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, and Judgment.  It is the rarest of the 16 personality types, of which society only has 1% to 4% of us masterminds.  I prefer the other title, system builder.  It is more declarative of my purpose, to design and create an order, rather than a simpleton depiction of a manipulative puppet master.  I am more than a shadow government; I am the machinations of life.  Documented and independently verified brilliance in hand, I present to Honey the ultimate fortune in her laps, only for her to shove my intellect aside and pull from me what she can put in her stomach.  My cosmic energies are drained for her physical pleasure, not mental fulfillment.

Daisy May’s BBQ USA
623 11th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
212.977.1500
www.daisymaysbbq.com

In our march towards independence remembered, we enlist Mandy to wage a barbeque war at Daisy May’s BBQ USA.  The girls had their sandwiches on a previous visit, while doing their meats proper requires my big gun.  Upon entering, the restaurant mostly feels empty besides the man at the elevated ordering counter.  You place your order, pay, and transport your trays of food to an adjacent dining room.  The school cafeteria spirit continues into the mobbed scene, where a singular corner table remains for us to enjoy a quick meal before the movies.

In the matchmaking of drinks to a barbeque, Honey disqualifies beef, wine, and sweet tea.  The sole survivor of this elimination was Wild Bill’s Orange Soda.  Mandy follows suit and orders one as well.  It is the taste of an orange cream popsicle in a liquefied form.

Honey knows my sweet tooth well and tackles it with an order of Sweet Tea, served in a mason jar.  The sugar rush is too much for Honey, but just right for me.  This is pleasure in a jar.

Texas Sliced Beef Brisket

The Texas Sliced Beef Brisket has probably never visited the actual state, because it is a sorry little serving of mediocrity named after a big heap of taste and fun.  Yet the brisket was still my favorite edible of the night, due to my dislike of bones.  Nevertheless, since lover does not eat beef, my attention sped back to the wet and dry ribs.

Kansas City Sweet & Sticky Pork Ribs

Honey likes the Kansas City Sweet & Sticky Pork Ribs.  She likes the wet rub on the meat, tickling her need for barbeque flavoring.  I can hardly tell the subtle difference between this and the next.  Unlike Honey, I have no special cravings for American barbeque, unless it is the authentic kickass goodness of the Salt Lick in Texas.  I only dream of the best, which is why I have lover accompanying me in my world.  The lukewarm meh of Daisy May’s BBQ USA can play with New Yorkers that do not have the frequent flier miles.

Memphis Dry Rub Pork Ribs

The Memphis Dry Rub Pork Ribs is a pale comparison to the wet ribs.  The girls like it wet.  I, on the other hand, prefer the dry version.  This is easier to handle and less of a mess.  There is less trouble for the same reward, as the seasoning and spices on both ribs are mostly similar.

Our sides were a greater melting pot than New York.  Because we had three people, we basically nabbed all the available sides to share.  The best was a Rustic Creamy Corn with NY State Cheddar.  Packing more flavor than the meats, the corn was a good refresher on our palates.  Other usual suspects included Creamed Spinach, Mashed Potatoes with red eye gravy, Cajun Dirty Rice with beans, and a double order of Macaroni and Cheese.

Three choice of meats and an abundance of sides were already more food than we could eat.  To lower the amount of waste we would leave behind, Honey flavors the package by cutting the meat off the ribs and feeds me the food she wants me to finish.  This supplemental service not offered by the restaurant does make all the meats taste better.

Big Pig Gig

Our small victory was nothing to the neighboring table.  Their feast was a Whole Roasted Pig.  Rarely would we encounter such a celebration, so I run over with a friendly smile and nicely ask to photograph such an attention grabber for lover and my loyal softrice fans.

No matter how Honey would feed me this small pig, I would be unable to stomach it.  I do have the appetite to take her to Montreal though, from which she has heard hearsay that they do not eat the crackling skin of roast pigs.  We would put an end to their heresy once and for all!

Food: D
Drinks: A
Dessert: N/A
Ambiance: D
Final: D+

Before our elopement to Montreal, we make a mad dash to AMC Loews Kips Bay 15.  An infiltrated conspirator of our Movie Club was already saving seats for us to watch the screening of Despicable Me 2.  The sequel was non-stop laughter all the way.  I would definitely recommend this movie to lover.  Her happiness is the ultimate reward in life.

Watching Honey laugh and giggle at the hilarity of the Minions is not bad either.  For someone that did not watch the original, she feared getting lost on the story.  Good sequels nowadays write for the casual audience to hop on.  Businessmen try to make it easier for you to part with your money.  And Despicable Me 2 is a home run on the strategy.

The brand new story has less of Gru and his kids, and much more of the money-printing Minions.  Although the cute yellow henchmen are unable to support their own story, Gru carries enough through for both to shine.  Sometimes it is not about being the star to dominate.  The Minions’ breakout is easily apparent elsewhere, such as toys, apparel, and worldwide adoration.  While Despicable Me was just an okay movie, 2 is a cult following!

A good night of barbeque and cartoon movie later, Honey and I needed a dance in the rain.  Packs of pouring clouds delivered our preferred weather requirements through the dark Manhattan streets.  A black blanket on the sky, glowing orange lampposts, flanks of green bushes, and musical raindrops guided our tango home.  Her study of my personality will have to await after the next sunrise.

Always in a puff of smoke,

softrice