Tag Archives: new york style

A visit to Central Park

My hands are all “wired out” and that’s in the literal sense.  I have been practicing working with household wire which have strained my hands no end over the last couple of days.  I just had to give it up … Continue reading

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Just had to share..taken during a rainy evening drive home..

Had to snap up a pic of this.. and yes, it’s a McDonald’s ad along Queens Boulevard not EDSA.

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The Colors of Spring

We’ve been experiencing some horrible weather here in New York the last couple of days and the sun was taking a peek behind the cloudy skies this morning, but it was dry.  So I thought I’d take a moment to stop by Bryant Park before heading to work to take some pictures of the tulips that deck every nook and cranny of this 42nd street patch of green.  There are days when I get so tempted to do just that but I often find myself rushing up to the office.  Not today.  I took a walk around the park and caught the newly planted bulbs.  I’ll be back when they’re all in bloom.  What a treat for the eyes — even after things turned gloomy and the rain started to fall.


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Au Revoir, Cendrillon

It has been 2 weeks since we found out that Cendrillon, located on Mercer Street had closed its doors after 13 1/2 years of being a part of the LES (Lower East Side) restaurant scene. We were going to have brunch there  hoping for some Beef Angus Tapsilog, and looking forward to some Ukoy when we realized the signage hanging in front of the restaurant was missing, and upon walking up to the facade, we were greeted by this sign.

It wasn’t surprising, but it was a very sad moment, as Cendrillon and its proprietors, Chef (Mang) Romy Dorotan and Amy Besa had been part of many fond memories at an establishment that made us proud as Filipino New Yorkers. With all that has happened in the last couple of months, we have seen so many casualties of this economic crisis we are all current suffering from.

I remember some of our first few dinner dates here after I moved to New York in June 2000, and the many celebrations had there with family and friends. I had proudly brought visiting family and friends to dine here, warning them that it was Filipino cuisine with a twist. Some looking for good old Filipino homecooking were sometimes disappointed by the variation on old favorites, but to me, those very twists to the cuisine I grew up made it a novelty of an experience worth stopping by for in Manhattan.

Mang Romy and Amy usually hopped from table to table talking to their patrons whenever they could, making friends among their many loyal customers.  They cheerfully shared stories and got to know the people who trooped to their doors.  They featured artists, known and otherwise, lending their walls to showcase talent.  

Sometime after 9/11, Alan and I had talked to Mang Romy and he shared with us how the Cendrillon family agreed to cut salaries and hours to survive the scourge of those days when they were cordoned off within the so-called no man’s land, a very trying period for many establishments.           

I’d like to think of this as but a new chapter in the ever-evolving repertoire of Chef Romy Dorotan. It is heartening to know that they are building yet anothe restaurant, Purple Yam, which will be opening in Brooklyn sometime in May 2009.  The restaurant is still under construction and will be in a area where there are other similar restaurants serving a wide variety of international cuisine.  Alan and I are waiting for that opening excitedly, and looking forward to seeing our favorite restaurateurs churning out Filipino fusion cuisine once again.

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Jollibee in the New York Times

While some may think it’s overrated — and part of me will agree with writer Matt Gross that their burgers can be aptly described as “forgettable” in the land of burgers and fries in every form, size and shape that New York is, I must say his description of my favorite Spaghetti (Jollibee style) was on point: “frighteningly addictive.” 

Check out the full article Jollibee Brings a Filipino Addiction to Queens” which appeared in the March 11, 2009 edition of the New York Times.

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Braving the cold

Forget that it was 31 degrees Fahrenheit with a real feel of 12 degrees — I shed my gloves and took out my camera, finding what could’ve been the traffic light box on one corner and I rested it there to capture a breathtakingly colorful Empire State Building tonight.

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New York Style: The Jollibee Experience

We finally decided we’d try and get some Chicken joy tonight and while the line outside is not that intimidatingly long, it looks like I’m going to be here a while. A man walked up to me as I fell in line and handed me a ticket stub — I didn’t even know I had to get one.

So Alan wants some chicken and a burger. I’d settle for a champ but am hoping they’re offering peach mango pie. We were fortunate to have found a parking spot just before 62nd Avenue, so the boys are warm and snug in the car.

I’m glad Jollibee chose Queens instead of somewhere in New Jersey which means it’s just “in the neighborhood” and easily accessible. Just as the better Filipino eateries are a few blocks away, this is right by the 61st St local stop on the 7 train. I’m around 50 people from the door, and it appears they let the people in in batches. So when it does move, I expect I will move up by around 10. I’m already hoping they are offering Peach Mango Pie but I don’t see it in the marquee above the counter.

It’s a tad bit cold but it could be worse. There is a slight breeze but no strong winds, and we wouldn’t have gone tomorrow where there’s a forecast of rain mixed with some snow. Anything for a taste of home… The line, as expected is all Filipino — undaunted by the news of long lines wrapping around the corner. I didn’t get quite that far but I have yet to move.

Whenever we’re in Manila, we make it a point to eat as much Jollibee, ChowKing and Max’s Fried Chicken — these are simple and ordinary treats back home which are indulgences for us here because it takes effort to get to where the outlets are. And sadly, there are even times when the outlets here fail to measure up to the original franchise. (Like the Goldilocks pastillas here is a far cry from the pastillas sold back home — perhaps due to ingredient substitutions.)

But is it any wonder that there’s a queu to get in considering even back in Manila, the lines for the counters are always long. The guys in line behind me appear to have arrived from New Jersey. Quite a trip for some goodies, but one I can completely relate to.

Such is the draw of craving for a taste of home. It’s something we can never quite forget, and something we keep coming back for. I’ve moved around 10 feet now, almost half an hour into standing in line. I’m at the halfway point of the line from where I started out — and I can already taste my Champ and Filipino-style spaghetti. You can’t quite smell it out here probably because of the cold, but seeing the familiar decor inside already makes your mouth water at the prospect of Jollibee for dinner.

I’ve posted my status on Facebook and I’ve already gotten two comments from friends — I wish I could “share the joy” but I haven’t even gotten to the front door just yet. This is the latest craze among Pinoys here in the East Coast. No wonder there is a sign outside that even if the store is open until 11pm, the line closes at 8pm. (Take note…Touted as Winter hours.)

Someone just drove by asking how long is the wait — someone in line shouted back “One hour!” which should be just about right since I’m now halfway through, just a little more than thirty minutes after I got here. The guy behind me is inching his way past me not so much because he’s trying to cut the line but I think more out of excitement to get in. I can’t blame him… (Is he nuts trying to cut the line with Filipinos in front of him? Besides, we’re holding numbered tickets… And you just try to cut the line…)

Jollibee, the mascot, is almost in sight. I almost feel like wanting to have a picture taken with him after all the effort this has taken. I’m 10 people away… Almost there. (An elderly guy asked me if I was texting… I said no, I’m blogging.=).

Some non-Filipinos walking past are probably wondering what’s all the fuss.. Two ladies actually stopped and asked what they are selling here. The Fil-am guy behind me said “Filipino delicacies, snails…” — all in jest, but I quickly said “good burgers and chickens.”.

So what’s your favorite treat at Jollibee? Mine remains to be the Sweet spaghetti..it’s something I try to mimick for Alan’s benefit, but still a far cry from the real thing.

This is not for the faint of heart. An hour and a half into this, I’m still feet away from the counter and I’m hearing there’s a wait for the chicken. I already know I’m waiting because I’m not leaving this place without it. The chicken is available in original and spicy recipe and in 2 ($5.99, or $7.19 with 2 sides), 3 ($7.79 or $8.99 with 2 sides), 6, 12 pieces. Instead of the famous Champ, they have the Heavyweight Yumburger ($4.99 or $6.39 with French Fries) and the Amazing Aloha ($6.29 or $7.69 with French Fries). would you want your burger with bacon and a slice of pineapple? (Alan is brave to try it but I’m sticking to the Yumburger.). They have the standard Spaghetti ($4.49) and Palabok Fiesta ($5.79) of course, and yes, the Peach Mango Pie ($2.29). (I’m happy.) There are Salu-salo Family packs which are platters going for $17.19 for the Palabok and $13.99 for the Spaghetti.

When I finally got inside, it took another half hour before I finally gave my order.  It might seem insane to others for us to have spent two hours for a simple Jollibee meal but if you ask us, it was well worth it.

Jollibee is at 62-29 Roosevelt Ave., nr. 62nd St.; Woodside, Queens

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Jollibee in Queens!!!

Happiness is knowing Jollibee is just a hop, skip and a jump away (and maybe a few more bumps on the 7 train) in Woodside. 

I’ll let you know when we finally get to go.. I think I’ll try and avoid the long lines expected this next couple of days..  Read the New York Magazine write up here.
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Fashion Week in NYC

Bryant Park  and all of New York City is all abuzz with ther Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2009 Collections.  I’m just a spectator from afar — no passes or special invitations.  Just another one of the regular things here in the big apple.  Who knows?  I might get lucky and snap a few pics of some celebs this coming week.

Fashion Week 2009 in Bryant Park

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Snowy NYC

We got ample warning so we came to work prepared.  Alan and I were unanimous that it was best that Angelo stayed home.  I would actually have worked from home had it not been that the boss’s holiday luncheon was scheduled for today.  Miss any party BUT that!  (Try disappearing when it’s a party of 10 and you happen to be the Executive Assistant to the host.)  But an hour before when the snow was falling full force, she asked me to poll the other people joining us because she was afraid to impose on anyone when people might’ve preferred to head home.  The decision was to cancel.

After wrapping up at work, I picked up a small cup of soup to have on the bus ride home.  I didn’t want to waste any time eating lunch when I could be heading to my part of Bayside.  The snow was falling heavily and I didn’t want to get caught stuck on the bus crawling through the highways.   I couldn’t resist walking up to snap some pictures of my beloved Bryant Park.  Walking back to line up for my bus, I couldn’t help but think about what an adventure it would be to photograph Central Park in the middle of the storm.

The way the wind and the snow changes the landscape in big bold strokes during a storm, playing up light and shadow as it coats the things that stand in its way can be mesmerizing.  More so when you’re used to viewing the landscape a certain way, and you see it differently when it’s coated in white.

I stood under my umbrella, parying the strong winds and the heavy snowfall.  I was bundled up and my pants were tucked inside my boots but it still felt cold.   The usual one hour trip just took a little under an hour and a half, as the bus was understandably cautious in the slippery mush on the roads. 

I like freshly fallen snow.  Virginal, some would say — when your feet are the first making footprints in that smooth carpet of white.  It’s nice to look at, but walking on snow can be difficult when it’s thick enough to affect your depth perception.  Imagine yourself walking in floodwaters guessing where the sidewalk begins and ends.  I finally got home and have been keeping warm indoors.  It’s just the start of a stormy weekend.  I spent the afternoon just enjoying Angelo.  I worked part of the afternoon in return for the consideration extended by the boss, letting us off early when most of the company stayed for the rest of the workday. 

Dinner tonight is adobo.  Plain for my mother-in-law and spicy adobo flakes for Alan.  Tonight, I’m finishing my Christmas cards.  (That’s another blogpost altogether.)  Stay warm…

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