Monthly Archives: October 2014
As the weather changes and the leaves turn into kaleidoscopes of colour, we spent a perfect afternoon driving around Andover, Lake Hopatcong and visiting the historic town of Waterloo village to view the fall spectacular in New Jersey. We may have been a week or so early but the views were still breathtaking. For more info on discovering fall foliage in New Jersey, visit: http://www.visitnj.org/trip-idea/touring-new-jersey-fall-foliage
Getting into the spirit of Halloween, we finished off the afternoon off by visiting Ort Farms, Morris Country, for a traditional pumpkin picking session. The highlight of the day must of been the 45min spent in the corn mazes taking a few wrong turns (we are all kids at heart). Let the carving and trick or treating commence!
I have a secret fascination with the East. My top bucket list item is to visit the Forbidden city, mosey around the Great Wall and travel down to the mountainous panda sanctuaries. It would be no surprise then, that whatever city I find myself in, if they have a Chinatown, I’m there like a bear!
Whilst in London, I often visited their version of Chinatown for my fix of Dim Sum and Bok Choy. Just off Leicester square, through the pagoda shaped arches, you will find about a street and a half of back to back authentic restaurants, supermarkets and medicine parlours (a little secret speakeasy, thrumming 1930s tunes and serving hybridized liquids in old medicine bottles is also hidden away behind a no named door called the Experimental Cocktail Club, for a curious after dinner nightcap). Whist I loved the experience, I still felt that it was largely catered towards tourists and was interested to see what New York City had to offer.
On a cold February evening, my stomach told me that I needed a steamed parcel of deliciousness (Har Gau) and we hailed a cab and headed down to Chinatown, NYC. This sprawling neighbourhood is a small city in its own, with an estimated 100 000 residents using Chinese banks, supermarkets and McDonalds (all with Chinese insignia) and whilst this is also a tourist attraction, the community lives, trades and goes about their daily lives and therefore engulfs you in an cultural experience of authenticity. In the summer, you can visit one of the parks within the borders and you will find scores of older folks playing checkers next to peaceful warriors practicing Tai Chi whilst the soothing sounds of mandolins waft through the trees.
Unlike the restaurants that are catered towards tourists, where they have small quaint eateries with dimmed lights and the mandatory tea light on the table, the bona fide experience delivered to you in Chinatown, is a large banquet style dining hall, bright lights highlighting the gold and red traditional hues, and every so often causing the golden platters of steaming dishes to sparkle like something in a De Beers mine. You will find yourself seated at a shared round table, covered with freshly pressed white linens and yellow gold plated “DJ deck” turn table in the middle to further encourage communal style eating. Drink menus are limited, food menu options are in abundance, and the portion sizes are truly for sharing at prices lower than what you will find on the rest of Manhattan island…a word of warning though, you may want to skip the chicken feet unless you are of truly adventurous heart and spirit!