A weekend without a moment spent in Manhattan. I think I’ll call Queens home now.
Friday night, we (me, Melanie, Andy, Reggie, and Anna) decided to patronize the local restaurant scene and opted for Mundo, a hip Turkish/Argentinian joint on Broadway and 32nd Street (no, not the K-town spot, but an Astoria address). The food was unique, the wine was cheap (and tasty), and the service was excellent. I enjoyed the crabmeat and asparagus dip, the Turkish meatballs, the shrimp casserole, and the Turkish dumplings. Highly, highly recommended.
Saturday was a very busy day. We worked hard to prepare for our housewarming party later in the evening as we cleaned, cooked, and put some finishing touches to our humble quarters. Melanie and Reggie came up huge as they took charge of the food preparations – a Mexican themed menu which included beef tacos, roasted vegetables, chicken fajitas, turkey nachos, mango guacamole, and other delicious dishes. I worked with Andy to prepare the red sangria although Melanie later concocted the white sangria that she said was better than mine. John bought two sunflowers – one for his room and one for the living room – which did a great job in brightening up the space. Wook lent his handyman skills as he worked the details of the apartment, nailing down loose wires, painting missed spots, and removing blemishes from the floors. And then the guests came bearing wonderful gifts, mostly of the vino variety (to help populate our beautiful wine fridge), as well as key additions such as the coffeemaker, wine glasses, and decorative pieces for our living room shelf. Thanks to everyone who showed up! It was heartwarming to see the many people who ventured out to Queens – some for the first time – to check out our place. Photos are available in my photo gallery.
Sunday, we began by cleaning up the place, which took us into the afternoon. Melanie made us a tasty beef and vegetable casserole from the previous night’s leftovers and we got to try the coffeemaker with ground coffee beans from Starbucks. The dining table in the living room is quickly becoming a regular part of our lives as we find ourselves eating more and more meals there. We watched Tiger Woods win his second consective British Open and spent our day at a leisurely pace. When dinnertime rolled around, I went shopping for food with Andy as we looked to prepare a steak dinner for me, Andy and Wook. Andy and I whipped up a vegetable dish using asparagus, onions, bell peppers, carrots, and pears and Andy used his Food Network knowledge to season the steak using our limited ingredients. The meal was well complemented with a bottle of Bourgogne red wine that I bought from Columbus Circle Wine & Liquors earlier in the week. We sat together and watched Entourage as well as the last part of the Miss Universe pageant to round out our weekend of relaxation.
It’s a funny feeling I have these days. My life has changed drastically in so many different ways in just the past few weeks. A new residence, a new vocation (or lack of a former one), and exposure to different (although familiar) people. I’m having a great time, and while there’s a bit of am I doing the right thing? floating at the back of my mind, I’m also very grateful that things have turned out so well. Not to be overloaded with feel-good sentiment, but I’d say I’m on a very optimistic streak right now.
And one more thing about Queens. It’s definitely a different pace and scene. The frequent drives around town in Andy’s old Mazda (our “Mazderati”), working out at the grimy gym, the late-night cigarette breaks on the fire escape balcony, and killing the occasional roach for a horrified John are just some of the charming moments I’ve grown to like about my new living situation. I do feel a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, and although I’ll continually find myself going into the City for various reasons, I’m getting used to the idea that I live in an Outer Borough. B&T, that’s right.