Friday, February 26, 2010

Cherry Tree Relay, Chinese New Year, Cookie Cups, and My Lack of a Kitchen

I've been delinquent in my postings.  Partly because my butt issue hasn't really improved, and I've only been running twice a week, and, honestly, how exciting could that be to blog about?  And partly because I am in the process of renovating my kitchen, so my cooking hasn't really been that exciting either.  But here are some of the highlights of the last few weeks.

My biggest running news is that this past weekend I ran the Cherry Tree Relay in Prospect Park.  It's a 10-miler that's three loops around the park, with each member of relay running one loop.  It's hosted by the Prospect Park Track Club.  This is one of the most popular events of the year for Front Runners, and this year we sent 23 relay teams and 22 individual runners who did the full 10 miles.  It was particularly exciting for me since it was my first race since the NYC marathon.  And even though I knew I wasn't going to be setting any records with my run, it was good to finally participate in a race with the club.

I did the 10-miler for the past two years, but this year I decided to do the relay because there was no way I'm in shape to run a 10 mile race right now.  Well, the 3.33 miles that I ran were not easy either.  The second mile included the big, brutal hill that Prospect Park is known for.  I run in Prospect Park so rarely that every time I hit this hill, it just seems like it never ends.  I felt like I was going soooo slowly.  Matt passed me somewhere in the second mile, and I felt like I got passed by a jet second he was there and the next second I couldn't see him anymore.

So it was a little bit disappointing.  I ended up running slower than a 7 minute mile, which means about 15 seconds slower than my 10-mile pace last year.  Of course, I wasn't really pushing myself, but still.  In any event, I had a great time at the race, and it was a lot of fun to cheer on all of the other teams.  Front Runners took first, second AND third in the relay!!!  It was really amazing seeing all of speedsters out there.

Here's a picture of me coming into the transition area to hand off to Timmy.

And here's team FRNY Guys Gone Wild:

Many of the FRNY relays made fun, Photoshopped pictures of their team.  This one was ours.  (Ryan (in the middle) ended up bailing on us so we got Mark instead, but I didn't get a chance to update the picture)

Afterwards, all of the Front Runners went to Sandi's house to have brunch.  And because it was with Front Runners, of course there was a lot of booze, including bloody marys and jello shots, haha.  What a great way to end a race! 

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Chinese New Year was on February 14th this year.  So for New Year's Eve, I got a bunch of Front Runners and friends together for my annual Chinese banquet dinner in Chinatown.  This year we went to Chatham Square Restaurant, which I like because they let you BYOB.  And of course, we like to drink.

For a big group, it's easiest to get one of the restaurant's set menus.  They have menus ranging from $268 to $568 a table.  We got two sets of the cheapest one, which included:

  • Cold cut combination platter (which included marinated jellyfish salad and other fun stuff)
  • Fried jumbo shrimp with walnuts and mayonnaise (it sounds like a weird combination but it was delicious)
  • Sauteed cuttlefish and scallops with vegetables (we got them to substitute this with Beijing style pork chops because some people thought the menu was too seafood-heavy)
  • Dried bamboo pith and shitake mushrooms with bok choy (bamboo pith is a type of mushroom that grows in bamboo thickets.  I forgot the dish had bamboo pith in it and originally thought it was fish bladder, which has a very similar look and texture.  I probably shouldn't have told people it was fish bladder...I think it made some people afraid to try the dish.)
  • Sauteed lobsters with ginger and scallion (YUMMM!!!)
  • Fried chicken with garlic scallion sauce
  • Deep fried whole flounder
  • Young Chow fried rice
  • Braised e-fu noodles
  • Cantonese sweet soup
  • Some other dessert (I forget what it was; I think I had had too much wine by this point).

The food was good, but it was better to be among good friends.  It took a bit of wrangling, but we were able to get the management of the restuarant to push together three tables of so we could all sit in a big group.  It was a tasty and fun way to ring in the Year of the Tiger!

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Speaking of runners and food, my Front Runner fried Tyler has started a cookie business called Cups NYC!  Just like a cupcake is an excellent frosting-delivery-system, Tyler and Matt's cookies are baked into little cups in order to showcase their delicious fillings.  As of now, they have four different flavors:
  • Sugar-Oated (oatmeal cookie with brown sugar and cinnamon center)
  • Lunchbox (peanut butter cookie with grape jelly center)
  • Red Velour (red velvet cookie with a cream cheese frosting favorite!)
  • Campfire (graham cookie with marshmallow center, topped with chocolate)
You can get all of the same cookie, or do what I did and get a variety pack.  They deliver anywhere in Manhattan below 110th Street, and they make a perfect gift!

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So as I said above, my cooking as of late has been seriously restricted as I'm in the process of remodeling my kitchen.  And since I'm doing most of the work myself (except for the demolition), it's taking a looooong time.  (The demo people came on January 29....hopefully I'll be done by the end of March).  In the meantime, I'm not completely without a kitchen, though.  I've moved my refrigerator, microwave and hotpot induction cooker into my living room, so I've been trying to make do.  Here are some pics of the process:

Before. (Yes, I know it's a mess and it's gross)

My new "kitchen" in the living room:

The demolition.  While this was happening, I briefly went into a panic... "What the hell am I doing...I'm destroying my apartment!!!"

Putting in new slate floors.  (OK, I'm not doing the whole thing by myself...  There's J. helping me with the floors because I'm not good at making straight lines).  At first, we were going to do a standard grid:

But I decided to go with the brick pattern to show off our handiwork and make the kitchen seem a little wider.


And putting in the new cabinets:

Hopefully in the next week or so I'll finish with the cabinets and move my new appliances in place (which have been sitting in their boxes in my living room for the past couple of weeks).  Then my new countertop and sink get installed...  Is anyone handy with plumbing work?


  1. I want to make out with your new kitchen!!!

  2. Thanks for blogging about the 2010 Cherry Tree Race. I linked to you blog