Spring Feasting

It was spring break a few weeks ago. I didn’t go to any exotic locales — I just went home and did nothing.

It was glorious.

In bed by 11pm, out of bed at 10am at the earliest. Resting, eating homemade food, recharging. It was a much-needed respite.

But that doesn’t mean nothing exciting happened over break. In fact, it was the opposite. There was lots of good food to be had, of course!

Festivities began Friday night after class.

V is my best friend from high school, and it was lovely to find out that our spring breaks overlapped. (It was only by a day since she had to go back to Boston, but a day is better than nothing!)

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We met up at an old favorite: the Meatball Shop. This place is just as it sounds. They serve meatballs…and a few other things. But it’s all built around the meatball. And what a glorious meatball it is. Plump, filling, flavorful. And all different kinds!

We split a carafe of sangria. I went for spicy pork meatball with pesto, with risotto.

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I will not deny that I cleaned that plate up. The risotto was gloriously cheesy. The spiciness of the pork paired with the kick of the pesto made out to be a wonderful pairing.

I think it’s safe to say that we enjoyed our food immensely.

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But we didn’t just stop at the meatballs. Oh no, we were going for more. We also got ice cream sandwiches dessert.

Choose your cookie (brownie walnut for me, chocolate chip for her), and your ice cream (espresso), and you get yourself a monstrosity of a pudding.

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Was it overkill? Potentially. Were there regrets? Absolutely not. Was it the stuff of all our dessert dreams and more? You bet. Did we demolish this thing? Perhaps.

V went back to Boston that weekend, but my eating adventures didn’t stop there.

The next day, my parents and I were decidedly cultured and had a night at the opera.

We had pre-theater dinner at an old favorite, Tony’s DiNapoli.

An appetizer of burrata with prosciutto — refreshing.

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A shared platter of veal stuffed with spinach and cheese, served with carrots and redskin potatoes in a light tomato sauce — hearty and delicious.

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And then we embarked on the most well-dressed subway ride to the Met Opera. Looking around, it was evident that a bunch of opera-goers all decided to take the subway at the same time to the same destination. It was an excellent way to not get lost!

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We saw Le Nozze di Figaro. The music is truly divine, and the singing was superb. I regret to say that we didn’t realize until the end that translations of the Italian libretto were available. So, we may not have understood every word of what they were singing, but we got the gist and enjoyed the show anyway.

If you are ever interested in having a fancy night out, do check out the Met Opera. I was able to get tickets that were not expensive. And it is a perfect excuse to dress up!

That night was so much fanciness that we had to take a little break from it all. (And by “little break,” I mean lots of sleeping in and quality time with my pajamas.)

But I broke that laziness streak in the best way possible: Sushi Yasuda.

This place is easily the best sushi I’ve had in the U.S. The fish is incredibly fresh. The chefs are stern and not talkative. The staff is similarly brusque. But the attention to detail is incredible. My chef saw that I was a lefty, so he made sure to place my pieces of sushi at an angle that would make it easier for me to pick up my fish. In between the meal and dessert courses, we were given scented warm towels and a new cup of slightly stronger tea, in keeping with Japanese custom.

I was lucky enough to score a reservation a few days in advance (far shorter than the two weeks recommended on the website), and at the bar. We were told to be on time since they can only hold seats for 10 minutes. Clearly, other customers also got the memo; we arrived to find a line outside.

The exterior has no sign proclaiming the name of the restaurant, just a sign with an illustration of a fish. The interior is minimalist and almost all wood. There is the sushi bar, tables, and some private rooms in the back. For me, the most exciting place to sit at any restaurant is right by the chefs and being able to watch their action. The same goes for a sushi restaurant. There’s also the added benefit of being able to order more without needing to flag down a server; you can tell the chef yourself!

I was a bad blogger and only took a picture of the last pieces of sushi. The firefly squid (right) was so light and so refreshing, while packing in a ton of flavor. The uni from California (left) was rich and creamy and delightfully fishy.

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But trust me when I say that the parade of sushi we received were all sorts of delicious, and served expertly. Trust the order the chef gives the pieces to you; they make sure the beginning pieces are lighter, and the later ones are heavier. That way, you can taste each piece perfectly.

The freshwater eel was fatty and tender. Papa Teng is usually not a fan of eel, but even he raved about it. The sea scallop was unbelievably fresh, and it was perfectly accented with a sprinkle of sea salt. I may or may not have gotten more of the sea scallop.

One of the best parts of the meal was watching Papa Teng enjoy it so much. Mama Teng and I were fortunate enough to have eaten at sushi counters in Asia (Taiwan for Mama Teng, various places in Japan for me). Papa Teng love sushi, but did not have the chance to experience it like this. Seeing him captivated by the motions of the chef, dumbfounded by the quality of the fish, and savoring each bite — that made the lunch at Sushi Yasuda even better.

We walked off the lunch at the UN and at the Met.

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I am not exaggerating when I say that the Met is one of my favorite places in the world. I have been there plenty of times, but it never gets old.

I will forever be in awe of the Temple of Dendur, with its flood of natural light and view of Central Park and Cleopatra’s Needle.

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I will forever marvel at the fine details of sculpture. (In my opinion, sculpting is the most challenging of art forms, because you’re given block of marble and need to create a detailed and precise statute out of it, by just chipping away.)

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And I will always love resting in the American court and watching the light and people pour in.

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We ended the day with a late and satisfying dinner at Wu Liang Ye, an old family favorite.

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But most importantly, we ended the day with priceless memories full of laughter and joy.


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