March 9th, 2002

lung

Back home

Well, went out to the chowhound event tonight with penchantnyc and ozzdo. djstorm was sick, and penchantnyc's friend D was busy working.

The first part of the day was nice; we met up at Queens Center mall and walked over to an Argentinean cafe named La Cantina De Don Chico. On the way over, penchantnyc and I discovered a bubble tea place en route. We had beef empanadas and split a ham and roasted red pepper pizza. They were all good.

After that we went to a local Argentinean bakery, Rio De La Plata, where the cute girl behind the counter showed an absolute disregard for the concept of customer service and gave us some baked goods.

In short: she was careless, rude, and did a really lousy job of things. She didn't zero out the scale before weighing things; she didn't want to weigh things periodically to tell us how much we had so far; she was really rough with the pastries (rolling them over, practically smushing them, etc.); she was a bit rude and didn't pay much attention... you get the idea.

We hopped on the R train and I watched them try to retie the bakery box the entire time without much success (she hadn't tied it tight enough, either). We also argued about where to go; I suggested getting off at 23rd and stopping by my work and then going to the park on 23rd; penchantnyc wanted to go to 14th and hang out in Union Square. Eventually I won mainly because no one cared enough about it to put up a big fight, and ozzdo was all for getting as close as possible to the bar.

We ended up hanging out at work, since it had comfy chairs and we were all too tired to go out to the park.

At around 4:45, we walked over to the bar; there were already a good 15 or 20 people there setting up their food. We set ours up, and then started moving around, trying food. penchantnyc knew a bunch of people, by handle/reputation if nothing else, and started chatting with them; ozzdo and I gradually shifted closer and closer to the edge until we were standing together on the edge of the crowd looking in, as it grew larger and louder and more imposing.

A note: I'm not good in social situations, especially ones where I'm faced with around 60 or 70 strangers, who I don't have much in common with. I've read chowhound on occasion, but I've never posted, and I felt like an outsider - not that they weren't friendly, but there just wasn't much common ground to try to start a conversation with. I'm generally not good at that sort of thing when I do have a convenient topic to start talking about, so without one I'm pretty helpless. (Yes, my social skills need a major overhaul; I'm aware of that, and I've been working on improving. Baby steps, baby steps.)

While standing around munching on food, one of the people who was in the audience at the Kittyhawk show I went to a few months ago came in; that night, she and penchantnyc had discussed food and chowhound. I wasn't sure if I recognized her; for one thing, she was dressed very differently. Still cute, though. I didn't bother going up to her or introducing myself; I wish I could give a good reason, but in the end it really was just cowardice. I can't say I had a burning desire to go up and say hi, so it wasn't a whole lot of cowardice, but most people would've at least said hello.

After a while, ozzdo and I took off; I was feeling awkward, and stuffed, and without having room to eat more food there was no longer anything holding me there, anyways. I think he felt similarly. We walked around for a while, stopped by Midtown comics, and then I headed home and he headed off to Times Square and beyond.

All in all it was a decent day, but I think I probably will avoid any future Chowhound events of that size until I've become more comfortable with the Chowhounders as a whole and have gotten to know some of them in person or at least online. nyc_cuisine is really cool because I know a lot of the people in person and even when I don't, I've often read their lj's and vice versa so there's some familiarity. With this, they were all just strangers.

So, I'll read Chowhound more, maybe start posting, and maybe next time I'll go and have a little more fun. And, well, until then I'm happy just doing the nyc_cuisine events.

Update: Added the names of the places above, thanks to penchantnyc.
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