I’m a firm believer that all whirlwind trips need a jolt of caffeine. When you score free bus tickets on MegaBus with their WIN200K seats code for a 2:30 departure in Albany and a 7 am departure in NYC the next day, yeah. I think caffeine just about does it.
We stopped off at a McDonald’s just past Woodbury Commons and I picked up some coffee. Say what you want about the golden arches, but when your only other option is Lavazza, Mickey D’s is top shelf by comparison.
Our bus driver was a hilarious Ralph-alike from the Honeymooners. It made for an enjoyable trip.
We made it over the river and through the woods to Flushing. Otherwise known as uptown on the 1, and all the way to the end on the 7 line on the subway.
We made it to Jade Asian Restaurant by about 7 pm. Not too shabby for a weekend. We had reservations for 7:30 and they seated us no problem. It got fairly full. Not 100% full, but almost. Jade Asian Restaurant is located just around the corner from the subway stop at 13628 39th Ave, Flushing, NY 11354.
I think Yeh-Yeh wanted to go back to his spot (Mellie’s), but my dad wanted to try some place new. I’m glad he did, because I did too. The inside of Jade Asian Restaurant was really nice – definitely a banquet hall. And we weren’t sat next to the bathrooms in a corner like we were at Mellie’s last year.
Red tablecloths, and cute chop sticks!
They had a limited menu they strongly recommended ordering off of. Which I thought was kind of different for a Chinese restaurant (because you can just be like “Okay, make me XYZ this style” and they will even if it’s not on the menu), and evidently so did the rest of my family because I think we just ordered a few dishes that weren’t on the limited set menus. I’m still a loser who can’t read or understand any Chinese, so I have no idea if we got some dishes from the set menu, or if we just ordered stuff that wasn’t at all on the menus.
My sister is back on the raw food diet again, and had like, 2-3 of these fruit plates. Believe it or not, being on a raw fruit/veggie diet is not very easy to accomodate at a Chinese restaurant. I know, you’re shocked, right?
My dad asked a bunch of times for a fruit platter, but they were really busy and kept saying they wouldn’t be able to do it, but then would manage to bring an occasional plate out. Weird, because we were willing to pay for a large fruit platter so my sister could eat with us. It was like when your Mom is like “No, you can’t go to camp. We don’t have enough money.”, and then wakes you up two weeks later going “Get up, you have to leave for camp. Now.”. Definitely pleasant surprises.
They ended up not charging us for any of the fruit plates, so that was really nice of ’em. It was just an interesting experience.
Appetizers! Cold jellyfish and Chinese ham. I usually don’t fall in love Chinese ham because it tastes like gelatinized rubber, but this was fucking awesome. Super hammy and smoky. Not fatty or gel-y. We ordered a 2nd one of these. That good.
The jelly fish was also good, but the ham was the star here.
WHOLE CRISPY FLOUNDER BEING BONED OMG, YEEESSSS!!!
This is not a dish for dieters, but one just about all of us at the table loved. Yeh-Yeh grabbed the head and relished it. All of those crunchy bone bits. My Dad’s awesome lady also enjoyed the heck out of it. So fishy. So fried. So crunchy. So gooood! How could I not like a dish that is a)FRIED, b)Seafood, and c)fried so that you can eat more parts of the seafood than if it were cooked any other way?
Seriously, the only part you can’t eat is the spine. The bones on top are like crunchy fish chip rinds.
In the foreground is gingery beef with Chinese broccoli. Lots of gingery flavor – really bright and light flavors going on.
In the background is a dish I need to figure out how to make at home – dried scallop covered snow pea tips. Dried scallops cooked until they’re mush with some other saucy kind of liquids. Plopped on top of lightly cooked pea tips. Yummy.
And in the foreground is crispy chicken. Very moist. Nice and crispy. Yeh-Yeh giggled and told Albany John and me “Mmmm. So good. So many chicken getting killed today. For New Year. Heeeh heeh heeh. Don’t tell your sister. Heeeh heeh heeh.”
And of course my sister looked over and was like “What?” and we were all “Oh, nothing. Yeh-Yeh really likes dinner.” And Yeh-Yeh was all smiley and “Yeeaaahhh. Really good. Heeh heeh heeh.” And then I think he told her about all the chickens getting freshly killed for CNY.
DUDE! I’ve never had this. It was veal short ribs. Like galbi short ribs, but made with VEAL. And cooked medium rare to medium.
SO FREAKING GOOD AND TENDER. They were lightly seasoned, but it wasn’t a soy-fest. They really let the tender flavor of the veal shine through. CVS and Maka were able to join us, and Maka loves a good serving of veal.
Pork chops. The fried and saucy kind. Kind of like what we had at Ala Shanghai for Chinese New Year dinner with the Upstate crew, but… not as good. The meat was a little chewy for the large pieces, and the batter quickly became soggy underneath the sauce. Didn’t stay crisp like Ala’s.
In a way, though, this dish made me happy. Albany John and I looked at each other while eating it, and I was like “It’s good… but it’s not like Ala Shanghai’s pork chops.” and Albany John agreed. I was happy because it means that Albany’s Chinese food scene is not only getting diverse, but isn’t playing second fiddle to NYC Chinese cuisine. Not every dish at every restaurant in NYC or Albany is going to be perfect, but it seems like the rates of dish success are on par.
Resto-made noodles and fried rice. The noodles were good to accompany other dishes and absorb their flavors/sauces. The noodles were nice and tender, and there were plenty of them. At first I thought they were kind of bland, but they were really good eaten with other foods.
I thought the fried rice was okay. A little dry for me, and there were cranberries in it. Plus some shrimp and scallop bits. It was okay, but I’m not a big fan of rice any way, so it kind of takes a lot to make me flip over rice dishes.
Then it was time for dessert! Red bean tapioca dessert with a mochi dumpling.
Dinner was about $200 for 8 people. My cousin was also supposed to come, but sadly she wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t make it. Next year! haha
Yeh-Yeh and my Dad were nice enough to give Albany John and me some laisee (lucky money envelopes). Technically we aren’t supposed to get it because we’re married. But we’re still younger, so I guess that’s why. I didn’t run in to any other little kids, so I just gave my sister one of mine.
We ended up spending the night at my Yeh-Yeh’s place. My dad brought an air mattress that he let the Mr and me use, my sister slept on a fold-out couch, and my dad took a little mattress. We were all having a sleep over in the living room. It was fun. We used Albany John’s iThing to skype with my bro. Yeh-Yeh loves seeing his great grandson.
The next morning we woke up early to leave from Flushing to the lower west side of Manhattan. I am normally a neurotic planner, but I let my sister do a little bit of the time management and… well… I might still be a little neurotic about planning. We left later than I wanted to and took the 6 am train out of Flushing. If you know the city, you know that there is no way to make it to the lower west side from Flushing on a Sunday schedule in 45 minutes. So we used my trick from the last time I almost missed a bus back to Albany – get out somewhere in Manhattan and beg taxis to take you a short distance because you need to be somewhere NOW. Definitely works. But there aren’t that many taxis on the road at 6:30 AM, and everyone that drives one wants to take someone to the airport, not 12 blocks south west. I managed to pull puppy dog eyes and begging hands on an off duty cabbie who was nice enough to give us a ride.
We made it back to Albany safe and sound, and many an espresso was had once I got in the house. Gung hey fat choy!