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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Snow Thai Adventure

A snow system moved in unexpectedly and increased in intensity.  At first the National Weather Service called for 1 to 3 inches, but soon it was apparent this storm would dump closer to 6 inches of the white stuff.  Crystal flakes fell upon the city and its thousands of streets and buildings and the canyons of Manhattan shimmered.

Thai in Queens had been planned for that evening with my romantic partner and some of our various crews. We would be venturing to an establishment called Thailand's Center Point, just a block away from the more well-known SriPraPhai.

Now, one of my favorite things is to venture into Queens on international food adventures, especially when it's snowing.  One of the most thrilling things is to ride on the 7 train and see the towers of Manhattan across the river as you move into the deep crannies of Queens with its vibrant immigrant neighborhoods.
Around mid-afternoon some friends started sending frantic messages.  "Are we still going on this adventure, despite the snow storm?" they asked.  "Of course, you fools!" I replied.  Sometimes weak men need a strong leader to lay down the law.  The law was laid.

At around 6pm my romantic partner and I headed to the train station, where we would board a number 2 or 3 express train downtown to 42nd Street Times Square, and from there connect to the fabled 7 train.  As we walked to the station the snow beat down on us like sharp crystals as if fired from a laser snow gun.  People all around us screamed in agony:  "oh jesus the snow is ripping my flesh off!" they cried, but we pushed on.

Once on the train we braced ourselves for our transfer at Times Square to the number 7 train.  Upon reaching Times Square we exited our downtown express 3 train and were instantly greeted by the pungent smells of humanity crammed into a train station filled to capacity with people seeking refuge from the stabbing snow flakes.  Oh god it was horrible, but we made it to the 7 train and headed into Queens.

As our train entered Queens and ascended above street-level we could make out the glimmering towers of Midtown, and the snow was shooting down stronger than ever.  Every time we came to a station stop and the doors of the train opened we smelled the spices of the nearby restaurants and heard the screams of the people.

We arrived at the Woodside Station and quickly exited.  A friend messaged saying he was running 30 minutes late, and we were scared that perhaps he had lost some flesh from the snow.  We walked to Thailand's Center Point restaurant and entered a cozy little place, with all the tables filled with people joyously chomping down on larbs and papaya salads.  The smell was absolutely thrilling and intoxicating.
One friend had already arrived, and my romantic partner and I grabbed a seat with him at the bar and opened up our own imbibements we had brought to this BYOB establishment.  We regaled each other with tales of our adventures.  Soon another friend arrived, and eventually our last two friends came with only minor flesh disfigurement.  We were seated and immediately began ordering.  "Your finest larbs for the table!"  I commanded to the waitress.

What is a larb you ask?  Well I'll tell you!  A larb is an amazing thai meat salad!  The meat is cut up into small pieces, sometimes ground, and typically mixed with lime juice, chili, garlic, cilantro and other various herbs, sauces and seasonings!

The larbs and other dishes at Thailand's Center Point were great.  An "egg sandwich" was two scrambled egg omelettes serving as the "bread" with a savory pork stew wedged between the fluffy egg bastards.  A crispy prawn dish was amazingly flavorful, so flavorful I screamed out "OH MY GOD THIS IS SO FLAVORFUL!"

At the end of the bounty of dishes we sat in plump happiness passing gas amongst friends.  "Let's open another bottle of wine" someone said.  I had to admit I still felt hungry, and began glancing at the menu.  Our waitress, exhausted, mentioned we had 20 minutes to order something else before the kitchen closed.  We ended up ordering "Jurassic Pork," a delightful fried pork belly dish 65 million years in the making.  It was a wonderful finale, the crispy and delicately fried pork belly served with a bright, flavorful lime and green chili sauce.

Now the meal was finished.  But was it?  We had not had dessert!  My compatriots were completely ravaged, however, and could not join me on this final adventure. We left (were kicked out of) the restaurant and walked to the train, the snow had stopped and there was a peaceful calm.  As the train traveled,  various friends left at various points until it was just my romantic partner and I.  All I could think about was dessert.

We made it to back to our neighborhood and were walking back, and my romantic partner knew I was not satisfied.  "If you must do this, you must do it alone" she said.  "I understand," I said.  We parted ways and I made the lonely walk to Magnolia Bakery, where I ordered a slice of caramel cake to-go.

When I arrived home my partner had locked herself in the bedroom, not willing to witness this final destruction.  I collapsed onto the floor and greedily consumed my cake barehanded, taking great pleasures in the moist, slightly sweet and buttery cake.  The icing had an amazing caramel flavor!

It was all over.  I crawled to the window and hoisted myself up so I could look outside and see the snowy world, in which so many great adventures are possible, so many adventures I already have had and so many more, goodness willing, I have yet to partake in.

Thailand's Center Point
Woodside, Queens

Magnolia Bakery
Upper West Side and various locations