January 2016 Winter Blizzard

Earlier, 6:55 PM:

So, we’re moving into a blizzard weekend. Two weeks of laundry to do, groceries to get. I thought we had until tomorrow afternoon, but now I’m checking the weather channel (online of course) and I see that we’re going to start getting snow around 11:30 PM here. Whiteout conditions, until sometime tomorrow. 24 hours of snow. 14 inches of blizzard apocalypse. Can a guy get laundry done during a blizzard? I wonder what things will be like on Sunday?

I have to prioritize food. I don’t want to rely on food deliveries that might be cancelled tomorrow. I don’t think we’ll be going anywhere either. Maybe we’ll just lay around and watch TV. That’s not so bad, as long as the heat stays on.

Now, 11:51 PM:

Going to the grocery store was like walking into madness. It looked like everyone in the neighborhood was jammed into Key Food on 172nd Street. We got there just in time to grab a jug of water. They ran out while we were in line. We figured it would be best to stock up, just in case a pipe broke and repairs couldn’t be done for a while. Mostly we just got regular food and some snacks. The lines snaked around to the back of the store and people were constantly squeezing past each other or bumping into each other. Something that we noticed was that no one was losing their temper or acting crazy, though. Everyone was pretty friendly, in fact. Camaraderie in suffering, I guess.

Anyway, we’re home now, relaxing, and ready.

A case of Stella Artois.
Stella Artois

Excuse Me. Have you seen these droids?

Stormtrooper Mask at Toys R Us
Have you seen any droids around here lately?

The missus and I have been so busy over the last few weeks that it seems like we’ve hardly had a moment to just sit down and stare relax.  I think about it sometimes.  Just going out to the park, sitting down and watching people walk by, watching the squirrels, and enjoying the sights and sounds of the city.  I think fondly about the time we spent wandering around in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  But then, I start thinking about the long list of things that just have to get done, and I put aside thoughts of having fun and relaxing for another day.  Except for last Saturday.

Last Saturday, we decided that we needed some time to just relax and have fun, so we went to Times Square, stuffed ourselves with the all-you-can-eat shrimp dinner at Red Lobster and then spent about two hours wandering around in the Toys ‘R Us store, also in Times Square.

It was a lot of fun!  Some of the toys were pretty cool, like some Hex Bug things I saw.  If I had the time and space, I wouldn’t mind setting up one of those tracks myself.  Some of the toys also sparked some good conversations, where my wife and I reminisced about the toys we had as kids and how they’ve changed.

I’ve always enjoyed games, puzzles and video games.  That was a great way to spend the afternoon.

As for the picture above of me in the Stormtrooper mask, well, I put it on and asked a store employee if he’d seen any droids in the area.  He said it was funny, but his eyes weren’t laughing.  They should have been laughing.  No, seriously though, he didn’t seem as amused by my lame joke as I was.  That’s ok, though.  The joke was more for me anyway.

The Limelight Market

The Limelight Market, New York City

The Limelight Market, New York City

The Limelight Market, located at the corner of 6th Avenue and 20th Street, is a pretty interesting place, but mostly because of the building it occupies.  As you can tell from the exterior, this building used to be a church.  When you get inside, you’ll see that the chapel has been converted into a series of small stores.

A yogurt shop, inside the Limelight Market, New York City.

This is a yogurt shop.  I didn’t try any, but there was a constant stream of people going to the counter, so it must be pretty good.  Around the corner to the right is Jezalin’s, where I got the kopi luwak arabica.

Inside the Limelight Market, New York City.

Turn around the other way and you see one of the boutiques.  I didn’t pay much attention to what was being sold in the boutiques.  It all looked a little too pricey and useless for my taste.  Through the door in the back there I think there was a pizza restaurant.

Inside the Limelight Market, New York City.

If, from where I was standing in the previous picture, you were to walk forward and go to the left you’d wind up in this area, which looks like it used to be the main sanctuary.  You can walk up onto the second level using stairs hidden away on the sides.  There were more display cases up there and what looked to be a coffee bar that had shut down.  I have a feeling the rent in this place is pretty high, which might be why Jezalin’s was trying to drum up more business by offering the Groupon discount on their kopi luwak.

Stained glass window in the Limelight Market, New York City.

I couldn’t get a straight on shot of the stained glass window because the area was blocked off by a register and some merchandise.  There were smaller stained glass windows in some of the stairwells, but they weren’t completely viewable.  The railing they’d built into the original structure to support the second level and the stairs blocked the windows partially.

Like I said, this isn’t the type of place I’d shop at for myself.  I’ll probably go back just to look around again, and maybe to get another cup of that coffee.  For me, the real fun was waiting outside:

The Rescue Rover, parked outside the Limelight Market.

I love when I see these vehicles, because it’s an opportunity to go inside and play with cats!

Rescued cat, looking for a new home.

Rescued cat, looking for a new home.

I wish I could take them all home…

Man selling rice in Antipolo

The Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines Wet Market

The last time I was in the wet market in Antipolo I didn’t take a lot of photos because I was worried about offending the stall owners.  Well, that and thieves.  The place was really crowded at the time.  On our last trip I realized I had my camera with me and the place was relatively quiet, so I started snapping photos.  The reactions were different from what I expected.  A lot of the girls behind the counters smiled and laughed.  Then the guys started laughing at them for getting so excited over a picture being taken.  It was fun!

Rice in the Antipolo Wet Market
Rice in the Antipolo Wet Market

We don’t normally get our rice inside the market.  We go to a stall just outside it.  I haven’t checked to see if the prices are any different, but my wife’s family all buy rice from the same guy, so it just seems natural to go there as well.  Besides, the stall owner is always smiling and seems really pleasant.

Man selling rice in Antipolo
Man selling rice in Antipolo

I can’t remember if I posted the photo or not, so I’ll post it again here!

Antipolo Wet Market

Pig feet and intestines

Pig feet anyone?  No?  How about those intestines?  Nothing goes to waste in the Philippines and every part of the animal gets put on sale.  Someone must be buying it…

Longganisa at the Antipolo Wet Market

A Filipino type of sausage called longganisa.  We bought the redder looking kind on the left and had it for breakfast.  It was a little sweet for my tastes but it was good anyway.

Fish at the Antipolo Wet Market

Fish, crab, shrimp… You can get almost every imaginable seafood here.  I think I even saw some sturgeon for sale.  I noticed that there were a lot of very large bangus (milk fish) for sale.  Some of them were as long as my arm.  My wife said that after typhoons the milkfish swim closer to the shore so it’s easier for fishermen to catch them.  The prices were low too at 40 PHP (about 0.95 USD) per kilogram.

Vegetables and cooking supplies at the Antipolo Wet Market

A row of stalls selling vegetables and random cooking items like oil, spices and sauces.

Going to the wet market is always interesting because there’s so much activity and so many people wandering around.

Old Spaghetti House at Galleria

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Yesterday afternoon, after a day of running around trying to do job interviews and visit the GSIS office for my father-in-law, we stopped by Galleria on our way home to have dinner.  I wasn’t sure what to eat, but I was in the mood for something Italian, so my wife recommended Old Spaghetti House.  I’m glad we went.  The food there is great!  It’s not fine dining per se, but it’s well worth the money.

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I went with the Vietnamese garlic spaghetti with shrimp.  I’m not sure if it’s actually a popular Vietnamese dish.  It tasted really good though!

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My wife decided to have their puttanesca, which is translated literally as “whore’s spaghetti”.  There are conflicted theories about the origins of this dish, but the more colorful one is that it was a dish that prostitutes in Italy’s state run brothels made for themselves out of the odds and ends in their larders.  As a condition of working in the state run brothels, they were only allowed out one day a week, so they were often low on supplies and this light sauce made from few ingredients was the result of their attempts to get by.  More information can be found in the Wikipedia article.

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After dinner, I finally got the chance to introduce my wife to funnel cake.  Funnel cakes are popular at fairs in the US, but they’re pretty rare in Asia.  I don’t recall ever seeing a place with this on the menu in Singapore.  She loved it!  You can see in the photo that they don’t add quite as much powdered sugar as they do in the US, but it came with a choice of toppings which made up for it.

Speaking of Singapore… it seems like you can’t get away from it over here.  I found this stuff on the menu:

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I don’t care for the original Tom Yum soup, so I really don’t think I’d like the way it tastes as a pizza or spaghetti.