I am no longer unemployed. I am now part-time occupied with work, making pastries in a restaurant kitchen again. It's not that I'm unhappy about having a job, it's just that I started this project to keep myself busy, and I love it. But with work and school and writing, suddenly I am too busy. Working really cuts into my eating and exploring time. But work will also pay for that eating and exploring time. So here we are.
My first week was all about getting used to the new kitchen, and so far punching out is the best part of the day. Punching out and getting on the train. From Tribeca to Times Square, I transferred to the 7 and stood in the packed car with the rest of the working world. I needed a little something to feel like me again, so I hopped off at 52nd street and decided to walk the rest of the way home searching for a snack. Five blocks later I found it. The corner of 57th and Roosevelt houses a Chinese bakery. If I were in Elmhurst or Flushing it would be one of many, and not of note. But this is Woodside, there's no competition. Just what I needed, full of people and life, something I dearly missed after eight hours in a dark basement kitchen. Blenders whirring and kids crying, racks of egg tarts, sesame balls, buns, and other treats. I watched a group of schoolgirls walk out with bubble teas in hand and ordered the same. I am a fan of all things gelatinous and gummy. I am also a fan of extra wide straws. What's not to like about bubble tea? I decided on a coconut tea, then waited and watched. A few minutes later I was handed my order and was on my way again.
Black, chewy pearls against a cold, pure white background. The coconut was creamy, smooth and super frothy. Lots of tapioca. I think the bubble tea master preparer knew I needed a little extra something. After I sip I felt lighter, hopeful. Walking the rest of the way home, I passed all that awaits me, all the great places I have yet to try, or have already been. And it didn't worry me a bit. It made me happy. Another sip, and I knew. I can make this work. All of it.
Lou Cheng Bakery
57-09 Roosevelt Ave.