New York City Real Estate Soup

16 Jan

On Saturday, we made soup.


It was a typical New York soup, made of ingredients gathered from the groceries of various ethnicities. It was faintly Asian in theme, but would not be immediately recognizable as Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese or Filipino. It was, like the City, a melting pot soup.

I know that some of you out there are New Yorkers, but I also know that many of you are not, so I’m going to offer three pieces of unsolicited advice, in case any of you ever find yourselves roaming our fair streets. There is a point to this, so please, bear with me.

First, and possibly the most obvious given the nature of the words you’re reading; New Yorkers love to talk about food. Should you ever find yourself stuck in a boring meeting, snowed in at Laguardia or alone at a bar, ask the nearest group of people who makes the best pizza, burger, banh mi or borscht. You’ll learn about parts of the City you’ve never heard of before, you’ll watch people swear to never talk to their best friends ever again because of their allegiance to Singas rather than L&B Spumoni Gardens (it’s a Queens v. Brooklyn thing), and if you take careful notes you’ll get some very valuable and tasty advice!

Not-So_Posh Park Slope Ride

Second, if ever you’re stuck here, alone for a long time, and lonely, and really want to get to know some people fast, ask them for directions to an obscure location. Say you’re in a bar and haven’t talked to anyone in days but the obnoxious person with whom you’re sharing a cubicle at the home office in the ginormous ugly box smack in the center of Times Square and you’re dying to just have a normal conversation that doesn’t relate to the location of your cube-mate’s red Swingline stapler.

Here’s how to do it.

Wait for a lull in the conversation of a group of people and then gently say to the group in general, “Excuse me, but I’m here for work for a few days, and I’m wondering if you guys could help me get to, Wave Hill.” Everyone will be thrown off, but then one person, having wracked her brains will be able to remember something about it, will then try and explain, will be laughed at by her friends, will have her suspicions confirmed by you that, yes, indeed, Wave Hill is a botanical gardens of a sort way up in the Bronx, and then let the fireworks begin! The Brits have weather, New Yorkers have the MTA.

Park Slope Painted Brownstone

Lastly, and this one is slightly more dangerous, real estate. Some New Yorkers love to compare how many square feet you get for a month’s rent in Denver or Boston or Seattle and some don’t. A nice convivial chat can turn ugly very fast and in the blink of an eye when a New Yorker perceives that you’re arguing a wee bit too vigorously for why Ottoumwa, Iowa is the best place on earth. It’s not, New York is, and it doesn’t matter that you get a 100 acre farm for $1,000/month, you don’t live in Manhattan and that’s that. See how quickly that went pear shaped?

Well, sometimes it can happen between New Yorkers, too, when we’re discussing the merits of Manhattan vs. Brooklyn vs. Queens vs. Staten Island vs. The Bronx. Hackles rise, tempers flare and feelings get hurt.

And so, dear readers (I feel like Molly or Luisa saying that), I’m here to possibly piss some of you off. Before this goes any further, I have an announcement to make, and I hope you’ll still love me in the morning…

The Granny Cart is moving to Brooklyn.

Yep, Brooklyn. And not just any part of Brooklyn, but the setting for Saturday Night Fever, the starting point of the Marathon, the neighborhood previously known as Yellow Hook, Bay Ridge.

After two year of living together in this one teeny apartment, and one year of blogging from here, the boy and I have decided that we need a change. We’re a little bored of the neighborhood, I’m really tired of not being able to invite people over for dinner, and we both agree we need S P A C E, so we agonized and thought and walked and discussed and finally we’ve settled on a magical space in the borough of Kings.

So, I hope you’ll join me for new culinary adventures once we’re finally settled into our new home. We’ll be within walking distance of Brooklyn’s Chinatown and a large Mexican and Latin American enclave, and very close to the most engrossing display of ethnic eats I’ve seen on one street in my life, 3rd Avenue.

In the meantime, we’ll be cooking some pretty zany stuff in an attempt to clean out the fridge, freezer and pantry (Sunday night was scallop and whole wheat gnocchi marinara!). So I hope you’ll all forgive me for losing the crux of my schtick… the tiny kitchen, but I promise, I’ll come up with something new (and I’ll even change my about page accordingly).

And as to that soup? Easier than making apple pie.

Asian Noodle Soup

Infuse some chicken stock with lemongrass, garlic, Chinese Leeks, ginger, chili peppers and thinly sliced onions for an hour or so. Bulk up the flavor with some lemon juice, fish sauce, thick soy sauce, rice vinegar and a healthy splash of vermouth.

Toss in some baby bok choy, enoki mushrooms, firm silken tofu and edamame.

Clamp the lid on and in a seperate pot cook some Curry Japanese Noodles from Trader Joe’s (kinda like curry-flavored somen). When the noodles are cooked portion them into bowls and then spoon the soup on top.

Garnish with more fish sauce if not salty enough, togarashi if not spicy enough and a squeeze of fresh lime if not tart enough.

Slurp and enjoy!


12 Responses to “New York City Real Estate Soup”

  1. s'kat January 16, 2007 at 10:46 am #

    I don’t know much about Brooklyn other than that the Beastie Boys seem to like it, which sounds just fine by me!

    Good luck with the ‘joy’ of moving!

  2. Julie January 16, 2007 at 11:07 am #

    Congratulations! Within walking distance of Brooklyn’s Chinatown? Do you have any idea how envious I am?

    I’ve always been even more impressed by what you cook since seeing your teeny-tiny kitchen. You’ve made great meals there I know, but I bet you are looking forward to actual counter space.

  3. sher January 16, 2007 at 12:16 pm #

    Hey, I know that you will write fabulous posts from Brooklyn, so I’m not worried! :) Loved the pictures of the buildings. And that soup looks wonderful, just the thing now that it’s cold.

  4. Luisa January 16, 2007 at 12:45 pm #

    Aiiiiii!!!! Congratulations. Oh MAN. I know you know that this very damn debate has been circling the waters around me and Ben for quite some time now. Congrats on finding a new place and please please please fulfill my requirement of NYC real estate porn by showing pictures of the new digs! Congrats again and good luck with moving.

  5. Annaliese January 16, 2007 at 4:39 pm #

    Welcome to Brooklyn! This is the big sky country of cooking and eating, lady.

  6. Lisa (Homesick Texan) January 16, 2007 at 4:50 pm #

    I’ve always liked Brooklyn, it just feels so Sesame Street neighborhoody. And Bay Ridge is not only reknown for its ethnic eats, but I bet your new pad is a palace compared to what you could get in Manhattan for the same price. Congrats!

  7. ann January 17, 2007 at 3:42 pm #

    S’kat — No sleep ’til Brooklyn! Unfortunately, that actually seems to be the case. I’m so excited, I’m getting no sleep at all… so sad! I feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve :-)

    Julie — It’s going to be insane… I can’t wait to buy gadgets! First one? A pasta maker, so I can make some artichoke lasagna of my own. YUM!

    Sher — Isn’t that cool? There was another one on the other side of that empty lot too. I can’t wait to get out there with my camera and walk along the water. It’s going to be awesome!

    Luisa — I know! I’ll have piccies for you this weekend. Last weekend I was so excited, I completely forgot to take any pictures! SAD! Good luck with the conversations… I recommend ridiculous quantities of gin for lubrication ;-)

    Annaliese — Thanks! I’m sooooo happy to be moving back in the Borough of Kings!

    Lisa — Wait til you see the block, it really does look like a mix btwn the Sesame St. set and the Cosby Show. And yeah, its about 4 times as big as the one we’re in now. Ridic.

  8. Glenna January 19, 2007 at 1:30 pm #

    I love soup and yours looks delicious. It’s so perfect for this time of year. It makes you feel all warm and comfy inside, you know?

  9. Lydia January 20, 2007 at 8:06 am #

    As someone born in Brooklyn, I can tell you that it most definitely IS still in New York City! If moving gives you space to breathe, then go for it. You will be even more creative, and you’ll have a world to discover in your new neighborhood. How exciting!

  10. ann January 20, 2007 at 9:18 am #

    Glenna — It most certainly did that.

    Thanks Lydia — I know it’s still New York ;-)

  11. deb January 20, 2007 at 2:47 pm #

    Well, I’m just the slowest person ever to this news. I happen to LOVE Bay Ridge, I used to date someone who lived there and we’d go out for the most wonderful, inexpensive Italian food and these days, it got even more of a mix. (I shamelessly plot for an invitation to the housewarming.) Good luck with your move. I can wait to hear more about your new digs — I hope it’s one of those lovely red brick buildings. They’re just the prettiest.

  12. ann January 29, 2007 at 3:24 pm #

    deb, well of course! its one of the round fronted brownstones. I haven’t seen the sun hit it yet, so I’m not 100% sure of the color…

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