Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hometown Adventures

Or: Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy While Eating Scallion Salad with Chopsticks

I wasn't going to write another blog post about Florida because, well, this blog is about New York. Except I realized that it's not just really that. I hope on some level this also serves as a travel blog, and I realize that just because going home is going home that doesn't mean there can't be superfunsurprise-hey-maybe-I-would-take-people-to-do-that experiences there, too. Sometimes when you're in your bubble you forget to step outside of it. I mean, on the surface, anyone's idea of their own home might not be particularly interesting only because a lot of the time we tend to take such things for granted. But here are some things I did in Florida that I would love for you to do, too.

Round Up
I have never been to a line dancing bar before. Round Up is just that, a country-western bar located in the rather country-western city of Davie, in Broward County, where I'm from. On a wooden dance floor encircled by what looked like wooden corrals, people stomped and clapped in succession like I had never seen. The line dancing culture is not one I'm particularly familiar with, but damn, these people seem to know a dance for every single song that came on in the club. How do you learn them? How do you know when to do them? My friends and I, who are far more versed in latin dances like merengue, salsa and bachata, can hear in the music what's called for, but there's only so many dances--each line dance seemed to be completely new and different, save for the Texas Cha-Cha (I'm not even sure if that's what it's called) and the Two-Step. I watched in awe. Eventually, though, an older gentleman actually taught me how to do the last two dances and I was two-steppin' right along there with them. While I hardly consider myself a cowgirl, I do indeed think I would do it again!

Yeah, I went there.

To understand the impact this restaurant had on me, it's first important to understand that my parents aren't particularly adventurous eaters. In most restaurants they frequent, they have a number of things they like and are willing to experiment to an extent, but not to a wild degree (I, on the other hand, will try pretty much anything, including but not limited to chicken feet and burgers topped with cashew butter). So to have them expand their culinary repertoires is very exciting for me!

Gabose is a Korean and Japanese restaurant my parents go to at least once every two weeks or so. One day, my mother told me, one of the owners who now knows them as regulars (they have "their table" and everything) brought over some new foods for them to try. And they tried them! And they liked them so much they wanted me to try them too! Then we went and had what my parents call "Korean tapas." There was a spicy, red pepper scallion salad that I would be happy to take intravenously, as well as a chive pancake, a crab and cucumber salad in a rice vinaigrette and old standbys like vegetable tempura and tuna tataki. It was all delicious, but what made me enjoy it even more was seeing my parents still learning new things and enjoying the ride. Isn't that all we really want for our loved ones?


Sometimes I forget that just because I'm not downtown that there's not nothing to do. Like any place, the really wonderful things to do are the things suggested by people who know the area really well. To step outside of yourself and have an experience unlike one you typically have, even in an area you know like the back of your hand. Looking at an old place with new eyes means there are infinite possibilities for adventures.

That being said, tonight back in New York I walked down 58th Street from 9th Avenue to Madison Avenue, just to enjoy the surprisingly cool, breezy air and see some of those famous glittering storefronts in a different way. With Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland playing in my ears, Bergdorf Goodman, Dior, and Chanel were especially beautiful to the tune of "Voodoo Chile" and "Crosstown Traffic." Even in New York, where we always think we've seen everything, there's always something left to see.