Sunday, July 30, 2006

ROOMSERVICE

When it's super hot and humid like it was yesterday, I usually want to sit in an air-conditioned bookstore or lie in an X-shape on my futon. Yesterday, however, I was suprisingly up for a New York adventure.

I started off in The East Village, for an early lunch at ROOMSERVICE. I had walked by this place a bunch of times before, somewhat intimidated by the all-white interior. Guess what? It turned out to be friendly, fun, healthy, and a bargain. For a mere $7, I chowed down on all this stuff: thai iced tea, an appetizer of spring rolls, and a main course of chicken and veggies sauteed with fresh ginger. The main dish comes with organic brown rice, something you often have to pay extra for at other restaurants.

While eating, I had a chance to chat with Jakkrit, who, with his sister Chanissara, helps his aunt run the place. Jack found the space for his aunt while she was looking for a site to open a restaurant. Under prior management, it was called United Noodle. I complimented Jack on the menu design, and he took credit for it. The food choices are listed on a series of brightly-colored laminated pieces of paper the size of a hotel's "Do Not Disturb" sign. The papers are held together by a metal O-ring, and from each O-ring hangs a real key. Everything ties back to the room service concept, including the fact that they make free deliveries.

By the way, the hip and relaxing music in the background was so great, I wanted it in CD form. Jack said that both he and a DJ friend put together the playlists.

NEXT, I wandered into a store called HIMALAYAN VISION on 127 Second Avenue and bought a sheer aquamarine blue piece of fabric embellished with gold bead designs to hang on the wall. Later, at home when I took the fabric out of the bag, I noticed that it smelled of incense.

I stopped in a few more places and then I was thirsty again. I found a cafe I loved right away called 17 BLEECKER (formerly The Coffee Chamber), located between Bowery and Lafayette. The decor is spare but welcoming and there's a feeling of happy calm. There are sunflowers in the window and a small collection of funny figurines on the countertop, including a Buddha perched on a tiny pillow. In the back, there's some shelves of books. The policy is that if you bring a book you're done with, you can exchange it for one on the shelf.

At 17 BLEECKER, I sipped the best iced orange ginger mint iced tea of my life and browsed through the premier issue of a culture magazine called Helio.

I like this part of the menu: Square Things $3 - Round Things $4

After leaving the cafe, I wove through streets in SoHo to get to The Apple Store. I retrieved my repaired ipod and took the opportunity to blast Outkast and Barry White at one of the demo tables. How fun would it to be a DJ, turning up music as loud as you want and watching all the peoples dance in their glittery outfits?

I hopped on the subway to head back home, where I promptly turned on the air conditioning and made a X-shape on the futon.

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