Sunday, November 14, 2010

Avenue A

Friday night we had dinner at Tiffin Wallah ( with L and J, who had been tricked into joining us because he did not know this was a vegetarian Indian restaurant. He was relatively good natured about it, noting that it wouldn't harm him to have an occasional meatless meal "once a year or so". Despite the meatlessness of the meal, I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't understand a single thing on the menu, despite the helpful but short glossary on the back of the menu for non-Indian speakers, but I think that just made experience all the more authentic. I just pointed at random dishes and ordered, knowing that if it was vegetarian at least there was no chance of accidentally ordering stomach lining or baby cow thyroid gland. And it worked out well. I cried. Partly because it was so beautiful, mostly because it was spicy

Following dinner, we set off to sample the nightlife of the East Village, deciding on a bit of bar-hopping. Stops included:

•McSorleys, one of the oldest Irish taverns in New York, having opened in the 1860s. Being known for being this old means that you don't have to follow certain rules. Like health standards, because they claim that they have the same cobwebs and wishbones that hung there as the boys left for World War I. And also fire safety requirements, because I'm sure they packed way more people than their maximum occupancy limit allowed. However the law deemed that they must follow human rights regulations and so the bar finally allowed women to enter in the 1970s, being one of the last men-only bars in the city. It seemed like the kind of place you go for the atmosphere and the company (as opposed to the beer, as you only had the choice of light or dark beer), sitting down at tables with random strangers and striking up conversation. J told me he suspects the hat store next store stays open late so that patrons stumble in to use the ATM and be enticed to drunkenly buy hats.

•while we waited for a table to open up at The Bourgeois Pig, we stopped for a drink at Niagara which had a rock ad roll look to it with some not very rock and roll drink prices - but I suppose that's just New York. It was also a very happening places, packed full of girls with tattoos and men in blazers. J's friends arrived and we left him there to move on to the next stop, me and O and L (the three Korean musketeers)

•Although the prices at the Bourgeois Pig ( were no better, I really enjoyed the decor of this place. With its grand chandeliers and candelabras, plush red chairs and antique glasses, I really felt like I was in turn-of-the-century Paris, waiting for the burlesque dancers to come out. In fact, I really was waiting for the burlesque dancers to come out, because it was really the only thing missing. We ordered a champagne cocktail called the Marie Antoinette and drank from our cups with pinky fingers lifted, mentally appraising the antique decor. You don't mind paying such jacked up price so much when you're in a fancy schmancy looking place like this. It was a big tightly packed though.  By the end of the night there, O and I realized that we had both been accidentally playing footsies with man at the next table, thinking it was each other's foot.

•the final (commercial) stop of the night was a bar with the odd name Drop Off Service, a former laundromat converted into a bar. It had an excellent selection of beer (including Belgian Deliriums and Québécois Fin Du Monde - really !) and equally excellent crowd. Several drinks in, we three Korean girls felt no qualms about plopping ourselves down at a table where a punk couple had been enjoying their date and asking them endless questions about the best place to get a tattoo in the city, and theoretically, if we were going to commit a series of thefts (hypothetically), whether they approved of our plan of execution.

In the end, we did not get matching tattoos at midnight and instead we went back to O's house where the only theft we ended up committing (officially) was O's roommate's ichiban ramen noodles. That, washed down with a bottle of Prosecco, allowed us to fall into a deep slumber that was surprisingly comfortable, despite having to fit three (small) Korean girls in one bed. We slept until noon.