Monkey-ing Around

Happy Year of the Monkey to you all! Make sure to celebrate with food, family, and love 🙂

Some tips:

  1. Don’t consult online horoscopes
    If you were born in the year of the rooster, like I was, your lucky color this year is gray.
  2. Celebrations last for 15 days, so it all ends on February 23, 2016. Make sure to eat lots of sweet stuff during that time…and always
  3. Sport red

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The days leading up to the new year were most certainly filled with food (and drinks). Saturday began with a brunch that was all sorts of amazing. (I use “began” lightly because brunch came closer to noon.)

N and I made the brisk walk over in the deceptively-sunny but very chilly day, arriving with freezing hands in need of a warm mug.

That’s when we discovered that Cafe Gitane provides complimentary dark chocolate with their coffees and hot chocolates (complete with paw print decoration)

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For a Saturday brunch so late, I was flabbergasted by how crowded this place was. N and I were able to get a corner table immediately, but that was pure luck.

We shared Brie and apples. Brie is truly lovely cheese. It’s got a very distinct flavor, which makes it memorable and unique. Pairing it with crunchy apples and herby focaccia was very good.

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(She got an avocado toast that was hearty, tasty, and fully-‘grammable, but I resisted.) I got baked eggs with smoked salmon and capers. I love baked eggs, and this did not disappoint. The yolks were perfectly runny for me to dip my bread into. The flavors all mixed together very well.

We discussed classes, professors, our love of London and traveling and museums, graffiti art, Trevor Noah, and the virtues of brunch. It’s safe to say we left in a very good food mood. Not even the chilly weather could get us down.

That tame morning/afternoon was followed by a tame night.

AB, S, and I made a plan to go to Raines Law Room — what would be a better place for three law students to visit on a Saturday night? The story behind the name is a little wild too.

But we discovered a line, so we put ourselves on the waiting list and bided our time. At two other bars.

First was Rye House, right down the street. Cozy, casual, and a good bar that’s classier than your typical college fare. Great drinks too.

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After an hour at Rye, our table at Raine’s still was not ready. So we traipsed on over to the Flatiron Lounge. Again, classy, but definitely buzzy-er than Rye House. It took a few minutes and some determined eye contact to catch the attention of the busy — and skilled — bartenders. But watching them do their thing and make the drinks was entertaining in itself.

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To be honest, I was ready to call it a night. That is, until S got the fateful text from Raines that our table was ready. After waiting for two hours for this, I sure wasn’t going to give this up now.

And good thing I didn’t. The inside is cozy (seems to be a theme here), but secluded. There are booths with sheer curtains, with the bar in the back. And the drinks are wonderful.

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Sunday was full of work, until dinner.

The CNY-eve dinner is meant to be fish, to symbolize luck and fortune. But here’s the catch: there has to be leftovers to bring in the new year, to symbolize abundance and freedom from financial worries.

I did a twist on that with sushi at Tomoe. This place looks small and unassuming, but it hides some really great fish oozing freshness and flavor.

I proceeded to order enough for two meals to ensure leftovers.

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Una-kyu (eel and cucumber), sake (salmon and avocado), ikura (salmon roe; very juicy) and uni (sea urchin; so creamy). It was all incredibly fresh and delicious. (I ended up bringing half of the spread home.)

I then polished it off with red bean ice cream.

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And then in the morning, the first thing I ate in the new year was a piece of dark chocolate. You must eat something sweet on the first day, to ensure lots of sweetness and happiness in the following year.

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The actual day was spent hanging out with Justice Sonia Sotomayor and esteemed faculty, and some personal celebrating as well.

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And next week, I’ll be going home for the long weekend.

Happy Chinese New Year to all! 🐒


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