Friday, July 10, 2009

Full at last

My mom calls it the hungry horrors. That hungry feeling that lingers even after you have snacked. And snacked again. I get it once a month, and when it is that time of the month, I don't fight it. I need the extra chow to get through my thingy without breaking down. But the rest of the month? I really need to drop a few pounds, for my health, and I wouldn't mind looking a little better. So how to feel full (enough to get my mind back on work)?

When at Mitsuwa, we ate at a shop called Katsuhana, apperently named to remind folks of the the name Katsuhama, THE katsu house of Manhattan. It was pretty durn yummy despite the accusations of impersonation. Along with your slab of fried meat comes a haystack shaped pile of green cabbage slaw. You add your own dressing at the counter. The hunk of chicken was split between us, so it didn't go far. What is really filling is the stack of cabbage. So once back home in MA, I tried my own Japanese cabbage dressing, based on this one I found on the Internet:

1/4 c Safflower Oil
1/4 c Sesame Oil
1/4 c Rice Vinegar
1/3 c Sugar
1 tb Soy Sauce

I also added sesame and poppy seeds. The trick is, I think, that you don't add the dressing until right when you are about to eat the cabbage. Don't let it sit and marinate. About a cup of shredded cabbage tossed with a couple T of that dressing made the most filling snack. And I was at last undistracted enough by the "Hungry Horrors" to sit and blog today. Should I add a picture of my snack to complete this entry? Maybe I will... later.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NYC Part Two

You may think that the "Japanese aspect" of the trip I was talking about in part one was the trip to Nintendo World. At that store, yes, there are the original hanafuda cards that were the start of the Nintendo empire and a GBA SP signed by Shigeru Miyamoto (Google it) in the "museum" on the second floor of said store. No, the true Japanese-iness of our trip, of every trip we make to Edgewater, NJ, in fact, is due to the proximity of Mitsuwa Japanese marketplace to our hotel. There is nothing else like this place in the Eastern US. It is so awesome. It is all full of imported Japanese products, and the food court is full of authentic Japanese cuisine.

The window displays, the meticulouly wrapped foods and sweets, the adorably kawaii kiddie treats... we spent an hour there on the 5th and two hours there on the sixth. I took so many pictures, I was asked to stop. We just love this place, and we are all so lucky that it is right in between the hotel we use and Jason's mother's home. Samantha especially loves this part of the trip as she has quite a case of Nipponophilia!

NYC Mission

I chose to accept the mission: Pack myself and two kids with my husband into a car for the 4 hour trip to West New York, NJ, to see MiMaug (Grandma). iPods: check. Video games: check. DVDs and 2 TVs mounted to headrests: check. Snacks and drinks: check. Kids sent to bathroom: check. OK. Wait. I have to use the facilities, too! OK!

We are so spoiled. My parents had nothing to distract us from long trips, and long trips were torture for all of us. For our trip, I packed equal weights of clothing and toiletries and of electronic devices. And it worked great. We stayed in the Comfort Inn in Edgewater, not glamorous, but very pleasant, and spent the days in West New York at MiMaug's high-rise. July fourth was lazy and easy. We ate and waited for fireworks comfortably, at home. The Macy's show was right outside! Private balcony seating! Easy.

It was the 5th that was hard. MiMaug wanted to go to Manhattan. 70 years old and she walked us into the ground! First we took a bus through the tunnel to Port Authority. Then we walked. MiMaug does not believe in taxis, not even the "Cash Cab". We took the kids to the Sanrio store, then walked to Rockefeller Plaza to see the Nintendo World store. MiMaug, Samantha, Auntie, Uncle and cousin all walked through the street fair on the way to RP, but not me. Avery and I were ready to sit, so we walked with Jason to Nintendo World, and sat. And then we sat some more. Avery got his picture taken with Mario and Luigi (yay!) and bought a T-shirt etc. He never got bored of that place. When the rest of the party arrived, we stayed long enough for the girls to enjoy the store, then WALKED to Dopo Teatro. Through Times Square. On a Sunday. (ugh!) We sat in the Secret Garden room and were attended to by Alexander, a lovely lad. Water trickled down the wall (a fountain, not a leak) and it was cool and quiet. (Ah!) It felt like we had been transported out of the city! The food was lovely. I fell asleep in my seat. After a cup of coffee (I skipped dessert), WE WALKED BACK TO PORT AUTHORITY.

Now y'all may be thinking, what is the big deal with the walking? Well, when you have kids to watch, and they aren't city savy (Avery and I nearly got clipped by a minivan because we waited for a light one step off the curb) and you have to carry all the things kids need to remain hydrated and comfortable on a long urban hike... it adds up! And I was pooped. But... the kids had a great time, as did the Queen (my pet name for my mother-in-law) so it was all worth it.

Our reward for all the hard work: One full night's sleep before we had to pack up and drive back to Massachusetts. The kids played "Kirby" all the way home, and I slept. Once home, Jason layed on the bed and passed out. We were all exhausted by our easy, spoiled travels. Boo Hoo!

There is more about our trip, the Japanese aspect, but I will save that for part two.