This weekend began, as all weekends have begun for the past unfortunate few months, with a few hours of studying.  The studying was accompanied by unceasing pretzel consumption.  Costco tubs of pretzels are just a bad idea.  Repeat: bad idea.  Too many practice questions and possibly just as many pretzels later, we decided that we’d had enough for the day.  The view of Manhattan from our windows lured us across the East River (via subway, of course).

First stop: Union Square farmers’ market, where, surprisingly, we picked up…nothing!  The apples just weren’t up to par this week.  Perhaps that was for the best, however, as we were to come across massive amounts of fruit later in the afternoon.

Next stop: the newly opened Nordstrom Rack.  In New York, I often feel like a participant in one of two games (sometimes simultaneously): the first is a game called, “How many people can be crammed into this space?” while the second is titled, “How many times can this line wind around the store? / Do these people have nothing better to do than to spend 1/24th of their day in a queue?”  I did see some cute sunglasses, though, and will definitely have to return one day to leisurely browse through the racks.  On Saturday, sadly, the crowd was just too overwhelming.

And so J and I ventured to 16 Handles in search of frozen yogurt, only to promptly retrace our steps out the door as soon as we saw the number of people waiting in line (see above).  We decided to head to Balthazar for a croissant, but thoughts of Little Italy and Chinatown sidetracked us.  Down Bowery we walked, cutting a right on Spring, then down Mulberry until we reached the boundary of Little Italy (i.e., “Tourist Central”).  A sign outside Caffe Palermo claiming that they served the “best cannoli on Earth” merited a pause.  The “best”?  Wavering between continuing our walk and stopping for a cannoli, we decided that we might as well give them a try.  Granted, having never had a cannoli before, I could not verify Caffe Palermo’s alleged “best” status – the cannoli was pretty darn good though.  After Wikipedia-ing cannolis, I discovered that they are traditionally stuffed with a ricotta-based filling.  Not sure whether Palermo’s fillings had cannoli in them or not, to be honest.  Definitely filling and definitely sweet.

Then: real Chinatown – not the packed-with-tourists-and-vendors-yelling-“Coach purse? Coach purse?  Rolex?  DVD?”-Chinatown.

I tried jackfruit for the first time!  Banana-y flavor.  I liked it a lot though.

Xian Famous Foods for liang pi.  See how happy they make J?

Aren't eating pictures so awkward sometimes?

Prosperity Dumpling for pork and chive dumplings.  Little storefront, delicious dumplings.

We wandered around Chinatown for a bit, then made one last stop before heading home.  Can you guess where?  Whole Foods!  We bought four pounds of strawberries, which added to the loads of fruit (plums, mangoes, grapes) that we’d already purchased earlier in the day.  My arms have definitely gotten stronger in the past few months.

When we got back, we were still pretty full (unsurprisingly).  So we feasted on fruit.  Strawberries are no match for us.  And easily some of the sweetest, juiciest strawberries that I’ve had.  The rest of the evening?  Catching up on the week’s episodes of Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother.

Sunday began with another massive fruit bowl, followed by more studying.

It was 3 in the afternoon by the time we decided to call it quits, so we opted not to head into Manhattan.  Instead, we elected to go for a leisurely stroll to…Costco!  Lugging the loot back two miles was well worth it.  Smoked salmon, cha sao, and asparagus for dinner?  Yum!

Then we watched Inglourious Basterds.  It was um…interesting.  Pretty sure seeing people being scalped was not on my list of things to do.  Ever.  Excessive blood and gore aside, however, the movie was pretty funny.  Brad Pitt’s accent?  Impeccable.


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