Dumpling Birthday to me, Dumpling Birthday to me…

Since my last post I have done the following things: met my cousins for margaritas at Blockheads, moved into my sublet, eaten taco truck, drank Pinnacle Whipped vodka with orange seltzer water, and had a birthday. This post will cover the birthday. (Because honestly, the above list is pretty comprehensive when it comes to the interesting things I’ve done in the last few days… I’ve been boring.)

This morning I got up and rehearsed with the band for Blood. It felt less like work and more like we were just a bunch of friends geeking out in someone’s garage… Oh wait. That’s exactly what it was. Rehearsal space is tough to cone by in this city, so we used Nora and Michael’s garage in Astoria. Everyone schlepped their gear over and we jammed. There were kids in the alley riding their razor scooters who thought we were the shit. Hopefully people who buy tickets are equally impressed!

Then I headed down to Sarah D. Roosevelt park for the dumpling festival!! Got on the train in Astoria, switched at Herald square and when I got to my stop I was in Chinatown. I didn’t realize that’s where I was going, so it was interesting to walk out of the subway and be surrounded by that neighborhood. I met my new friend Chis (met him at Kim’s wedding in Alaska) for coffee and then we headed on over to get dumplings! My cousins Nate and Mary Katherine have written a book about Chinese cooking and their travels through China (check it out HERE). They were there taking videos/photos for their blog and networking with the people in charge of the event.

Dumplings. Who doesn’t like them? I mean, come on… Dough that’s filled with stuff. Covered in yummy sauce. If you don’t like dumplings, then you should stop reading this because you’re probably not my friend. We ate Chinese dumplings, fried dumplings, pierogies, steamed buns, potstickers, wontons, eggrolls, lamb/potato puffed pastry pockets… So many dumplings, so little time!! We also took some pretty great pictures…

(Chris and his pierogies)

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(Ready to devour)

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(Fried dumplings. Not as good as my expression would lead you to believe.)

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(But these ones were awesome!)

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(Spicy kimchee! Forked!)

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(Om nom nom. I will eat every dumpling.)

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(Hawaiian dancers like dumplings)

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(Giant Dumpling! Attack!)

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After the festival, Chris took me to Houston (pronounced House-ton) street. When the city expanded from just the lower part of Manhattan, Houston street was called North street, because it was re northernmost street of the city. When they made the plan for the expansion, the grid began at Houston (then spelled Houstoun). Eventually, the spelling was changed because of Sam Houston, but the pronunciation didn’t change. So there. Now you’re smarter. And you won’t mispronounce Houston street when you go to New York. Anyway, there is a small Jewish community left there, and so we passed landmarks like Russ & Daughters and Katz’s Deli.

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Then we made our way to this great bakery called Babycakes that I have seen on the food network. They specialize in vegan, gluten free, nut-free, no refined sugar baked goods. Basically for very picky and/or allergic people. I have heard that their donuts are great, so we got in line and picked our what we wanted. I got a salted caramel donut, Chris got an agave sweetened brownie bite and I took home a red velvet cupcake. A minute after we got inside, Elizabeth Reaser came in behind us! For those of you who aren’t fans of Twilight, she plays Esme Cullen (Robert Pattinson’s “mom”) in the movies. I had a mini freak-out in my head, and then when we left, I told Chris. I’m a huge weenie when it comes to talking to celebrities, though, and even though she passed us on the street three times, I couldn’t muster up the courage to talk to her. Ugh! I’ve got to get over that.

(If you look really closely, you can see a sparkly vampire inside the bakery)

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Chris and I parted ways and I headed back up to Astoria to get ready for the party that night! One of the gals from The Sterling Renaissance Festival was having a reunion party and I was invited by Nora. It was fun! There were some great people there, and they even had a cake!! No candles though, so we just stuck matches into the cake and lit those. At 10:45, we headed out to New World Stages, where they were hosting NYMF’s Next Broadway Sensation. At first, they wouldn’t let us in without paying, even though we told them we were part of the festival, so we went to a smaller bar upstairs, where they had people singing. There was this one bartender who was incredible – she sang Defying Gravity right when we got there. One of the original cast members of Wicked was there… I think he sang too, but I’m not sure. There was also a very obnoxious, poorly dressed and made-up drag queen acting as emcee. Not sure why he was there or who he was, but I wasn’t a fan. His jokes were bad and he made fun of the audience. The rest of my crew was going to leave, but I wanted to stay. Then, the guy in charge of NYMF finally let us in to the main event downstairs, NYMF’s Next Broadway Sensation. It’s kind of like American Idol for the NY Musical Theatre Festival. People sing for three judges, and are critiqued. Then the judges and the audience vote to advance people through to the finals. We got there for the last four singers. Alex Gemignani was a judge, and since I worked with him at Next Step Prep I really wanted to stay and talk to him. Everyone else went back to the party but I stayed and watched until the end. Then I mustered up my courage and went and talked to him! I gave him some stuff about our show, and went home, proud of myself for going out on a limb.

I woke up this morning with a super sore throat (noooooo sickness!!!!) so I stayed in bed forever. I finally rolled out of bed, got ready and went into the city in search of soup. My search ended at Whole Foods (how unoriginal of me) where I got some aromatic butternut squash soup, a tasty salad, an “everything” roll and a green tea. I know I should have gone and tried something a little more adventurous, like, um, a real restaurant, but I’m tired and sick. Now I’m sitting in Central Park, soaking in the last few minutes of the afternoon sun. It’s actually a little chilly, and I’m wearing a sweater. It’s a pretty glorious thing, as I’ve been sweating like crazy since I got here because of the heat and humidity. I think I’m going to go find yet another corporate institution, Pinkberry, and get some frozen yogurt to soothe my throat further. Judge all you want.

P.S. Visits from anyone would be welcome. I’m about to hit the two-week mark and loneliness is beginning to set in.

(True Blood graffiti. Bad. Ass.)

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