Friday, December 26, 2008

Lifting Your Spirits

Our family had a lovely Christmas, I hope that yours did as well!

After a truly beautiful Christmas Eve dinner at Five Points (this really is the best possible parent restaurnt in New York by the way...gorgeous, mellow, reasonable noise level, polite waiters, wonderful food, not offensively expensive) we all wandered for a bit, taking in the Christmas-y-ness of New York.

We eventually ended up by Washington Square Park where everyone stopped to check out the menu at Babbo, as several family members seemed to have heard of this guy named Mario and wanted to check out his place. In fact, they were so engrossed in the menu that they completely missed Brooke Shields and her family on their way in, despite my discreet punches to their arms, to which my mother responded, "Oh honey, I'm sorry, am I in your way?". Oh well. Onward.

We're not a religious family, but we couldn't resist stopping in at the University Parish of Saint Joseph for some caroling (do not fear, despite the very Jewish last name, we actually are not far as we know anyway). This beautiful little church put on quite the show, with fabulous soloists (to the man who sang O Holy Night, sir you have the voice of a god), some of our favorite Christmas carols, and a crazy, seriously off-key homeless-ish woman sitting next to Robin thrown in for good measure. As lovely as the service was, we left before we could "get sucked into sitting through long prayers" as my mom put it. (Actually, as she points out, she wanted to leave before the mass started so as not to disturb the religious service)  Paul, who was raised by a devout Catholic mother, was suitably horrified when I relayed the story to him.

After a bit more wandering, we cabbed it back to my building, where we all tucked into bed in anticipation of the magical Christmas morning to come.

And come it did. We opened presents in the soft glowing light of my little tree, and ate poppyseed bread until we could eat no more.

It was probably the best poppyseed bread ever. At least, since the batch we had last year.

As I continued to eat, my sister decided to do some yoga.

As you can see in the background, the rest of us decided to watch TV. I believe it was a DVD of Robby Coltrane's show, Incredible Britain.

Then, after packing up the parents and taking a short stroll around, Robin and I packed them onto the subway to JFK. And then proceeded to be sad that they had left. On Christmas Day. Something about anything after Christmas morning being depressing and they might as well spend the time traveling rather than moping.

So Robin and I were left to our own devices to entertain ourselves for the rest of the evening. After attempting to find a movie to see in Union Square and failing (plus which Robin had forgotten her glasses so wouldn't have gotten much out of her $12), we opted to walk around the East Village for a bit.
On the way over, we passed by the most charming little Korean place on 9th between 3rd and 4th, called Su Ra. As it was cold and we were depressed, warm, spicy Korean food sounded perfect. So we went in.
And thank god we did. Sweet waitresses, beautiful place, excellent food, and oh so cheap. Now that Seh Ja Meh has vacated the storefront across from my building, I needed a new Korean, and I'm telling you, this is the place.
Our lovely, very stylishly displayed kim chi amuse bouche:

Robin with her kimchi and tofu stew, and my kimchi and tofu and pork stew in the foreground:

Those stone pots were so hot that the stuff was still boiling violently when it came to our table. Utter pleasure. And my giant piece of chestnut cake with whipped cream wasn't so bad either (although obviously not as transcendental as the main courses, which were several notches above good, and many many notches above what you get generally in New York).
The food lifted our spirits a bit, which were promptly crushed as we walked back downtown and realized that, based on the multitude of darkened windows in all of the apartment buildings we passed, that everyone had left the city. We were the only non-tourists in a five mile radius!
But we got home safely, comforted ourselves with several episodes of "The Secret Diary of a Call Girl", and all was pretty much well again.
I recommend this exact order of things...Su Ra and TV if you ever are feeling despondent, depressed or beat down. Or even if you're in a fantastic mood and just want some great Korean food.

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