Tuesday, December 26, 2006


A Morales/Soto Christmas
aka Gideon's First Trip to Chinatown


Our annual Christmas Day tradition is this: Alex and I arrive at my parents' house sometime late morning Christmas Day. We usually have something to eat, and wait for my mom to finish wrapping last minute gifts. We then open gifts (this process takes about 2 hours), and then we get in the car and it's over the river and through the woods, it's off to Chinatown we go! I don't know why we go to Chinatown. We have been going since Andrea and I were kids. We just really like good Chinese food. And after Chinatown, we stroll over to Little Italy to Sambuca's Cafe or La Bella Ferrara for a cappuccino and pastry. It's is a very nice tradition, and I tend to gain 5 lbs in just a 3 hour period.

However, this year Gideon was in the picture. And when there is a baby involved in the mix, new problems arise. Should we take him into the city? Will it be cold? Will it rain? What if he is fussy? Will he really appreciate New York City or does he prefer the suburbs? Can he nap in the city that never sleeps? OK, so this year, after the present opening extravaganza, we decide that Gideon is ready for Chinatown. We put the car seat in the van, and away we go, Gideon being fast asleep. Now, the usual deal is this: we park in a lot, and walk around looking for a restaurant that is busy, but not too busy, has a good mix of locals and out of towners, and is not too expensive. Alex thought taking the stroller was a muy loco idea, so we decided to Baby Bjorn it. However, as we get to Canal Street, the skies open up and it starts to rain. There goes the walking around idea. No can do with Gideon. So, my dad decides to simply pull up to a restaurant and let us out. When, all of sudden...a car pulls out from a parking space on the street. My dad pulls in, and there is a restaurant right in front! A Christmas Miracle!


The restaurant was Hop Lee on Mott Street. It is the same restaurant where Martha Stewart had lunch during her trial: http://www.savemartha.com/courthouse_photos-2-27.htm. (I don't know why I know this.) We sat upstairs, where they can accommodate bigger groups (and an extra chair for the car seat).



We started with the Seafood Combination Soup, which serves six. Then we shared the Shrimp with Walnuts, the Seafood Pan-fried Noodles, the Shrimp in Lobster Sauce, and Shrimp Fried Rice. Do you see a theme? We heart shrimp. Alex of course was starting to get an allergic reaction from the shrimp fumes. He had Egg Drop Soup, Steak with Asparagus and Pork Fried Rice. The food was good, not great. However it did satisfy the Christmas craving. Alas, my poor husband got sick, (we are blaming the Egg Drop) and we were unable to go to Little Italy. It was pouring at this point anyway, and it might have been too much to hope for another parking miracle.



Now, you might be thinking, where was Gideon in all of this? Was he still asleep? Could he have slept through the shrimp feast of 2006? We were not that lucky. He woke up between the soup ending and the rice beginning. He started to whimper in his car seat, and the people at the next table immediately gave me dirty looks. I started to panic. What if he began full blown crying/screaming/not breathing because he is screaming too much and freaking me out? Would they throw their chopsticks at us in a martial arts movie style? All of a sudden Gideon scrunches up his face and lets out poop like noises from down below. Ewww. Now, of course we deserve the dirty looks, but don't get them. My mother goes to the bathroom to check out the diaper changing situation. Not only is there no changing table , but the bathroom can barely accommodate Gideon by himself, let alone his mom and grandmother. However, there is a poopie diaper situation, and a baby's happiness at stake. It was a desperate time. My mom and I squeezed in and used the diaper bag as a table. I held his upper body, while my mom tackled the diaper. Luckily there was a mirror, so Sir Cuteness was able to stare at himself and make cooing noises. Once we left the restaurant, I ran into one of the Chinatown shops to buy Gideon his first NYC souvenir.

1 comment:

Jane said...

You are the "funnest" family around!!! Thats on two coasts-so quite an honor! I heart Gideon!