Two Successes and a Flop

Friday, March 26, 2010

I have returned to good health (and to school)! Spring break was mostly spent lying down and spending quality time with books. But the final weekend of spring break, I got out with my friend from Seattle and, while marauding, stopped in at a few interesting places to write. We stumbled upon, unfortunately, my first negative experience with a potential writing location, but I also got to two places that were quite delightful.

The flop, Faminelli's, was a bar downtown that we stopped in at to try and get some quick eats while passing from clothing shop to clothing shop. The rooms were unclean, the food tasted off, we felt ripped off by the high prices for mediocre product. I couldn't pull out my notebook for lack of space and they were generally ignorant of the customer's needs. Alas, I will not return.

Veniero's Cafe (a downtown dessert bar) was the first positive place that we flitted to. They had excellent, excellent desserts and cute little tables surrounded by mirrors. With notebook in hand, I sampled roasted almond gelato at a leisurely Italian pace and, between tastings, scribbled down some words. A great selection and a classy bustling environment really allowed me to ease into a relaxing place where I could write; on a busy day, there may be a little more rush to enjoy and move on, but I could see sitting down there for a few hours just chatting and writing.

This week, much closer to home, the 107th West Bar and Lounge was our prime location. It is a fairly unmarked restaurant in comparison to the Indian Cafe next door, but the food was a mix of American and Japanese (sushi and fried chicken in the same place? who would have thought!). While waiting for our repast, my friend and I sat on their comfy couch bench seats in the glass atrium and stared at the street bustling along past us. If you're into people watching, this is a prime location. I put down some words on a spare scrap of stationary. No one rushed us, no one knocked our book-worm habits (we had spread out two books and were reading and writing as they fixed the vittles). It felt very relaxing and calm and the food was delicious.

As a side note, I have recently been reading Anna Quindlen's book Thinking Out Loud, which is an anthology of her opinion column. Next time I am going to take a leaf out of Anna Quindlen's book and write out some of the ideas that I've been scribbling while writing in strange places; rather than put them all together as a big thing later on, I figured that I would try writing very short pieces and see how it goes!

Read more of my writing in strange places reviews.
And check out some more posts featuring my photography.

Tales from the Sick Bed

Monday, March 15, 2010

I just found out today that I have been diagnosed with pneumonia. Hooray.
It's both good and bad that it happened during spring break; I get time to rest and don't have to do a bunch of schoolwork. But, at the same time, I can't really go outside that much and so I can't go adventuring as much. And there are less people to take care of me, so I can't even loaf over to the dining hall to get food - I guess this is what it's like to get sick when you're living on your own.

Anyway, I still have a review to put up! Last week, I spent some time downtown and we stopped into a small burger joint called Paul's Hamburgers. It was another one of those quirky places with interesting wall decorations and a don't-mess-with-me attitude. Although I felt that the staff was a little terrifying because they acted terse, they had excellent burgers! I ate the second burger I have ever had in my life there and it was delicious.
I didn't feel that I could sit there for very long to write because the atmosphere was something like a biker stop where you eat on the run, but if I were to go back I would write in the time before they delivered my meal (as I did this time). Throughout the restaurant they had a medley of ironic signs and since the grill was open for the public to see, you could easily write about the thoughts going on in the minds of the workers there. All very intriguing.
I've found a lot of interesting restaurants downtown that provide me with canon fodder for stories, but I wonder what else is in the uptown area. Maybe I should start checking that out.

Read more of my writing in strange places reviews.
And check out some more posts featuring my photography.

CocoaV & Trailer Park Lounge

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Again, two reviews for the price of one! Today, I had the distinct pleasure to go to two different locations once more - these two were the complete and total opposite of one another. They were near to the area of 23rd Street (CocoaV was on 21st and 9th Ave, Trailer Park Lounge on 23rd Street and 7th Ave).

This place was bigger than I thought! There was a restaurant in the other half of it, but we went to the charming little chocolate bar that we saw first. When I first gazed at their artisan vegan chocolates, I was titillated by the colored designs on them in fanciful green, purple, yellow, red... all of them were mesmerizing. And when we finally bought some, it was a chocolate experience! Delicate and tasty and every one different - I highly recommend the Vanilla Caramel, that was my favorite. They were definitely expensive, but I believe that was because of the restaurant starting up about three months ago (as I overheard the cashier saying). The register people were charming and we were able to sit there and sip hot chocolate at our leisure.
As a writing location, this place was calm and pleasurable. I felt that we could sit there forever and get drunk on the chocolate fantasy - it had an artsy feel also because of the nice painted chocolates and the sweet atmosphere. Beautiful.

Trailer Park Lounge
In total contrast, the Trailer Park Lounge was a loud, rampant bar/restaurant that had reasonably priced diner food (tater tots!). It was low-lit and had many kitschy items (there was a poodle-shaped blue lamp, many different tin soda advertisements, and a bunch of tiki lights, to name a few). It was definitely a place of inspiration with all the strange things everywhere.
As a writing place, as is most pertinent, it is a great place if you can focus while other people are drinking and talking around you. It is also low lit, but you can definitely see. I found it a charming location, mostly because of the quirky fashion of the place - it was reminiscent of Big Nick's, which is dear to my heart.

Anyway, decadent chocolate or diner fare, these two places are quite amazing.

Read more of my writing in strange places reviews.
And check out some more posts featuring my photography.