The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

I’m going to take a break from writing about my vacation to tell y’all about my pretty sweet Monday this week. I finally got to see one of my favorites Stephen Colbert live in action… And. It. Was. AWESOME. Oh, and Mindy Kaling (!!!), who was a guest on the show that night. My gurl. Gary Owen and Sum 41 were other guests. After I snapchatted my excitement waiting in line to enter the Late Show with Stephen Colbert (LSSC) theatre, many people asked me how I got to do this. Shout out to my gurl Mallory ;-). It is so easy, but time consuming in the sense that you line up/wait for hours for a 90-min experience. Definitely worth doing at least once in your life, because Stephen is just an incredible human being and of course, always interesting to see a show production (with a chance of getting on national TV). Unfortunately, we were not allowed to do the STEPHEN STEPHEN STEPHEN chant.

You can request up to 2 free tickets at per account. He has tapings Monday – Thursday (Thursday has 2 taping times as they film Friday’s show as well). So yes, I had to skip a half day of work for this, unless you’re a teacher in NYC and have Jewish and Muslim holidays off (you lucky biscuit). I’m also lucky I live in NYC that I have more flexibility on which date I want to attend, which honestly, if you’re a NYC transplant living here for only X amount of years, take a sick day and do this (DISCLAIMER IF SOMEONE FROM HR IS READING – I AM KIDDING AND DON’T CONDONE ANY NON-APPROPRIATE WORK BEHAVIOR PLZ DONT FIRE ME). I requested mine about a little less than 3 weeks in advance around 8:00PM and received a notification to confirm my tickets at 7:00AM the next day. You have to log in again to claim your tickets. Easy peasy.

I’m famous! Hi Mom!

When I went to LA last summer, I got to see CONAN (check out my experience here) and ended up with front row seats and experiencing 15 seconds of fame. It was awesome and a check off my bucket list. That was because of (1) luck, and (2) being prepared by reading tons of Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews on the show where people talked about when to get there. So obviously I did that for LSSC. Unfortunately, they changed their line up procedures very recently apparently so many reviews were kind of useless. Also, their procedures are different than what I experienced at Conan too. But a few things that remain true..

Almost famous.
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Besides chicken and waffles, dim sum is my favorite brunch options. My family often chooses to go dim sum when we get together, since it’s really good for big groups. Dim sum is like the tapas of Chinese food. The more people you have, the more different dishes you can order and try! It’s mostly only available during lunch hours; at night, the restaurants serve other Cantonese food. At most dim sum restaurants, there are carts roaming around with dishes in them. At some restaurants, there will be a menu or a card you order off of. Each dish is assigned with a size and associated price. Small, medium, large, X-large, special, etc. The larger the size, the higher the price. With the carts, you’ll have a card that the cart ladies will stamp once you order a dish off their cart. They usually don’t label the dishes in the cart, so you won’t know what size is assigned, unless you ask. But realistically, no one asks and just accepts the fate when the lady stamps your cart. Oh yeah, it’s usually an old lady running those carts. But sometimes a male or female waiter will come around with fancier-looking dishes. Those are usually “special” which can run you at least $7 a dish. And sometimes, it’s not the freshest stuff cuz not that many people get it, and who knows how long it’s been sitting out. Sometimes there is a buffet-style line of food. Bring your card there to retrieve those dishes. If you don’t see a dish you want, feel free to ask the waiter and they’ll hunt it down for you or ask the kitchen to make it. Or…. totally acceptable to just go hunt it down yourself, if you see the cart all the way on the opposite side of the restaurant.

You’ll also see a tea-fee per person. I think it is $1 per person for most places. They’ll usually ask you what kind of tea you want. My family usually brings their own tea (yeah…. we don’t mess around. we’ll still get charged the tea-fee though) but if not, we’ll get pu-erh tea (cantonese: Bolei) which is a darker tea or a pu-erh chrysanthemum combo (cantonese: Guk-bo). More popular one is the chrystanthemum tea (cantonese: Guk-fa) and you can tell them to add sugar or not.

Once you party is finished dim-summing, ask a waiter to cost out your dishes. Most of the time, you’ll pay up front at the cashier and leave a tip at the table. Sometimes, you can pay at your table.. I would see how others around you do it first.

In New York, there are 3 different Chinatowns. One in Manhattan, which I call the OG Chinatown. One in Queens called Flushing, which I frequent often for Asian food since it’s closer to me. The other is in Brookyln.

In Chinatown, the most popular dim sum place is Golden Unicorn. They are slightly more expensive only because (1) popularity = more tourists willing to pay more $$$ and (2) they’re actually pretty good. I don’t go to Chinatown often for dim sum, but would end up here if I do. Jin Fung is also a popular choice for tourists but I had a bad experience when I ate there (Yelp review here) so I can’t recommend them. But there are handful of other dim sum restaurants in the area, so yelp around. I would say most dim sum restaurants now have staff who speak English since they get so many non-Chinese customers now.

In Flushing, I’ve been to probably most if not all of the dim sum restaurants. My favorite is Asian Jewels (yelp review here). Their prices are slightly more expensive, but food and service is great… and Chinese restaurants are not known for great service. They have great variety of dim sum, big tables for big groups, and have a parking lot that fills up pretty quickly ($2 tip). If you don’t get a spot at their parking lot, consider parking at the nearby Skyview Center and walking over. It’s $3 once you enter, and you can park up to 3 hours, which is plenty of time for dim sum. I’m a frequent here, and will almost always bring any out-of-towners here for good dim sum.

I don’t really ever go to Brooklyn so sorry, I can’t recommend any places!

Okay, so you picked out a location. But what do you order? For my family, we have dim sum basics, which means that if we don’t order most or all of these dishes in this category, then we feel like it wasn’t a true dim sum experience. But I’ll also include other favorites my family and I have. I’ll also include the Cantonese pronunciation of these just incase you’re feeling brave. More after the jump!

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#CHENEATSNY and my favorite Manhattan foods

Matcha Cream Puff and Jasmine Passion Fruit Iced Tea at Bibble & Sip

Hi! I know I suck at posting regularly. Been pretty busy lately with work, weekend trips, and planning for my upcoming vacation to Orlando and the Caribbean via cruise. I also spent some time cleaning my room, after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Oh yeah, and playing PokemonGO. Just kidding – I don’t play that much… maybe… am I in denial???… I only got to level 11 recently and still haven’t figured out this whole gym thing yet even though my friends keep trying to show me (#TEAMMYSTIC doe). I only really play on my commute to/from Manhattan and I really try not to go to Manhattan if I don’t have to. This is the only thing making my slow 7 train + bus commute bearable. Even my parents (yes, they play!) were higher level than me at one point. I only learned how to level up my pokemon last week from a director on my project. #CHENCHALLENGES right here.

Oh, and I also caught a cold this weekend. Lol. In a hot and humid NYC July. Yeah, that’s me.

Anyway, despite the icky weather in NYC lately, I love when people come to visit. Even when it’s not to visit me. I’m excited for them. Why wouldn’t I be – it’s among the top tourist destinations, even referred to as the top cultural and financial capital of the world (thanks wikipedia for that). Yeah, the statue of liberty is great. And Times Square. And Central Park. And Empire State Building. BUT THE FOOD THOOOOOOOO. This is why I can never leave NYC. I don’t think anywhere will compare to the variety and plethora of delicious food. Nomnomnom.

So, thanks to my friend Gauri (hey girl hey!), I decided to start a #CHENEATSNY series, blogging places I love to eat around the 5 boroughs. First post coming up soon… but first! Here’s a list of popular food places in Manhattan. I made this list for Gauri when she visited NYC for a weekend so figured I would share here too. Disclaimer: I have not eaten at some of these places, but I included them as they are some of my foodie friends’ favorites.

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