insights on art, culture, lifestyle, spirituality, travel, music, society and much much more from a jet-setter currently on "furlough"…

Archive for the month “April, 2010”

tick tock… on the dot… OH WAIT.

If Guy says it’s good, then it must be worth a TRY!

As a fan of the Food Network show Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives, I got really excited when I found out that I would be staying within driving distance of one of the places Guy Fieri featured on his show. I’ve always wanted to plan a road-trip based on the places he visits, and up until this trip have only been to one joint: Bop Pizza in the Fell’s Point neighborhood of Baltimore, MD. Sometimes, you just gotta have that comfort food… you know?

After a day of gallavanting in NYC, I took the bus back to NJ and was immediately transfered by K to my first authentic Jersey diner experience: Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, NJ. I’ve heard so many stories of NJ diners that I had to visit one while I was there. This also happens to be the place where K’s parents frequented during their lubby-dubby high school days.

What a treat this place was… clean, great service, friendly waitresses and even equipped with a full-service bar! The menu is diverse, and possibly longer than the New York Stock Exchange! I was in the mood for breakfast (and K was in the mood for a late-ish night snack) so I ordered Belgian waffles with strawberries, blueberries, bananas, creamy butter and syrup. Nam nammmy… we also placed an order of sweet potato fries (which are amazing with both honey and malt vinegar – but NOT together) and had a pretty eclectic but full meal.

Simply put, Tick Tock Diner is the place to go for a glimpse of nostalgia and good, solid diner food in huge portions. Who knows — you might even fall in love with your future spouse there!


spicy curry @ nouveau nyc diner

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry (Veg options available) @ the Lovely Day Cafe in Greenwich Village, NYC

Back to the food bloggin*! This was the perfect meal for a cold and dreary day in the city. We walked in from the rain, wet like drenched rats and consumed delicious and spicy Thai food in a un-conventional setting. Lovely Day is described as “Precisely spiced Thai food in a homey, diner-style space”. The food is prepared by anyone expect Thai nationals, so I was a bit skeptical trying this place out. Turns out my pre-determined conceptions were, once again, wrong and the food made my taste buds dance… plus, it was SO authentic and well-prepared that you could taste both the coconut AND spice flavor in each bite. I would recommend going for lunch, where you can get a main course, edamame and fried dumplings w/ soy sauce for a mere $10 (drinks such as juice, soda, Thai tea & coffee available as an add-on for a couple more bucks). What’s not to love about saving money and eating well in the thriving metropolis of NYC?

Lovely Day

196 Elizabeth St
(between Prince St & Spring St)
New York, NY 10012
Neighborhood: Nolita

Thoughts on loving thy neighbor…

**I will continue to blog about my roadie [food] trip at a later date. After seeing my page views go from 20ish to 220ish in the past week, in light of recent happenings, I decided to give my two cents. Respectful feedback on both ends are welcome.

Let me start off by saying that I have been a fan of Jennifer Knapp’s since December 1999, and the latest revealing about her sexuality doesn’t change my love for her music, incredible songwriting skills and heartfelt honesty.

That being said, I am not writing a thesis on what the Bible says about homosexuality, as I don’t believe it is my time and place to do so. What I do want to address is what I think a healthy, Christian response should be on this topic. As a believer who is also doing “the best I can”, I think critically about what this means in light of my faith.

Over the past week, I have seen a myriad of posts on Facebook, blogs and online articles regarding Knapp’s coming out. Some fans showed support (including many from the GLBT community), while others wasted no time to cast the first stone(s); heck, there were even people who thought that the perfect remedy for Knapp’s condition was to bring a man in to forcefully have sex with her, as if this would automatically “cure” her love and attraction to women! Things have definitely gotten out of control on her Facebook page, and I for one would love to see people (many who lived their spiritual lives vicariously through Jennifer Knapp’s music) take their Council of Trent debates elsewhere and focus instead on the concept of Shalom at the heart of what Christ came into this world to accomplish: not only to save people from a life of eternal separation from God, but also to bring about the birth of God’s vision and plan for the restoration (and reclaiming + reconciliation) of humanity and creation. That moves me to tears, to say the least, and gives me hope of what is to come.

If you believe that the Kingdom of God is in the here and now, then what ought our actions and attitudes as Christians look like? What should the church look like? How should we respond to injustice and those who are struggling? If Jesus came to give us life to the full, and we are called to agents of peace and transformation on this planet, how THEN shall we live?

It is important to know that people in CCM (and other groups) have openly criticized Knapp since the beginning of her career. They were upset about her tattoo, the way she dressed, how her music was too “aggressive” and even what she did in her free time. Knapp was never CCM material to begin with and never wanted to be rich and famous. She could have stayed in Australia and avoided the public for the rest of her life. But, for whatever reason, she didn’t… she came back and is continuing to figure out what it means to be a person of faith — this resonates in her new songs, which, as she puts it, are not always “for the sanctuary”.

Since her sabbatical, I also had several Christian friends who came out to me in recent years, and worked with many others who are currently involved in a same-sex relationship. I love these people dearly and am fortunate they’ve allowed me to share a part of their journey, no matter how painful. The aftermath of their coming out to family members, close “friends” and the church has been brutal, and rejection has prevailed in every way. If only you knew what my friends, former co-workers and acquaintances have been through, perhaps you would be a little more kind and a little more graceful. Being an out-of-the-box thinker, I too recall being rejected and judged for a number of things in my life, but my sufferings are small compared to those in the GLBT community.

I was reminded earlier today that “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Can we remind ourselves that we are all broken people, in need of grace and forgiveness? We are responsible for our own lives and sin issues, and should not single anyone out due to their current lot in life. The church (and the Body of Christ) as a whole should be a SAFE place where we can truly address the roots of our anxieties and pain, welcome people from all walks of life and encourage one another on our spiritual walk. Sadly, it has become the Inquisition and a place where a few “righteous” gets to decide who is “in” and who is “out”. No wonder people don’t take us seriously. Since when did we as mere mortals take over God’s job description of changing lives and conviction?

**To all Jennifer Knapp fans, past and present: no matter what position you take regarding her sexuality, PLEASE stop the ignorance, prejudice and hate. Treat others the way you want to be treated should you spill your deepest, darkest secrets to the world at large. God does not need you to defend Him, only for you to surrender and take His word seriously. I keep thinking about the song “Just the Two of Us” (Will Smith, 1997) which says, “Let God deal with the things they do, ’cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” As a musical artist, Knapp is merely taking part in the revolutionary role of hope, renewal and restoration the best way she knows how… just like we all are, as a part of God’s framing story here on earth. It’s time to go beyond religion…

Blessings and Love!


shepherd’s pie

Shepherd’s Pie with Irish Soda Bread and Clotted Cream – at The Shannon Rose, Clifton, NJ

Simply put – perfection. K and I spilt this meal and we somehow still had room for another order of Irish soda bread! The ground beef inside the pie was moist and juicy, and veggies such as corns, carrots and peas were hidden but plentiful. This dish also featured a mashed potatoes topping, sprinkled with parsely on top. What made this meal extra special was the small serving of Irish soda bread on the side. Fresh out of the oven, these baked delights (with raisins) were the perfect compliment for such a satisfying and filling meal. The clotted cream was an added bonus as well. Wash this meal down with a draft of Blue Moon beer and pretend you are in a swank pub in the UK. Grubs up!

Roadie {Food} Trip – Best Eats

A highlight of my favorite eats (and drinks) during my spring break trip up the East Coast…

I wanted to blog throughout my “road” trip as I hopped from cars to buses to trains, but did not always have adequate internet access or a plug to charge my Macbook Pro (with a battery life of around 1 hour tops these days). Nonetheless, I am fresh back from a wonderful week away and wanted to share mini reviews of all the places I ate at during my time in Pennsylvania, New York City, Boston & her North Shore. The food in the Washington DC area doesn’t always scream high quality for what you pay, so it was extremely refreshing to try both the local and international fare elsewhere. Chain restaurants were avoided for the most part, and mom & pop shops (as well as the slow food concept) were embraced. And yes, I photographed (artistically, to the best of my ability) almost everything I consumed. Hey, foodage is serious business! My friend Jessica joked that by the time I am 40, I would have enough pictures of cuisine from around the world to compile a book the size of an encyclopedia. I concur – maybe two encyclopedias.

Here is a list of my top picks in no particular order (photos and descriptions of food + drink consumed to follow in preceding posts):

1.) The Shannon Rose, classy Irish/British pub food – Clifton, NJ

2.) Washington House, eclectic American cuisine – Sellersville, PA (I didn’t actually eat here due to the pricey menu, but world traveler turned back into singer-songwriter Jennifer Knapp gave this place high accolades and raved about their shrimp and scallops risotto during her concert at the Sellersville Theatre next door that evening, so I’m taking her word for it)

3.) Tick-Tock Diner, where Mr. and Mrs. K frequented; also featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives show- Clifton, NJ (Guy Fieri approved? Me too.)

4.) Lovely Day, eclectic/global cafe famous for their Thai cuisine – NYC

5.) Amrheins – American bistro – Boston, MA

6.) Siam Delight, artsy Thai cooking – Beverly, MA

7.) Ponte Vecchio Trattoria & Bar, traditional/homemade Italian food – Danvers, MA

8.) theCounter, avant-garde meets organic/local vegetarian-vegan fare – NYC

The following posts will showcase my attempt at blogging about food. This could take a few days, so please bear with me. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on where I should eat in the Philly, NYC and Boston areas the next time I’m in town, do enlighten me.

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