So I woke up around 8 am, feeling like crap. Went back to bed after rinsing my mouth out and getting a small drink of water. Woke back up around 9:30 or so, still feeling like crap, and went out and got a full glass of water. Drank it and went back to bed. Woke up around 10:30, feeling a bit better. Went back to bed until 11.
At 11 I got up and checked my email while I waited to wake up fully. Ended up chatting with Mary online over AIM for an hour until I realized the time and then scooted off. Had a quickie breakfast of lion's head (Chinese pork meatballs w/ cabbage and rice in a chicken-broth-based soup) and then showered up and headed out.
The bus was late, so I ended up waiting a long time, but eventually it showed up, and I got into the city around 2:20 or 2:30. I walked over to Grand Central, and got my ticket for "A Taste of Grand Central". Basically, it's a food tasting exhibition, where all of the restaurants and food places in the station give you free samples of their food. Then I went back up to wait for the rest of the people, since we weren't due to meet until 3.
At a few before 3 mage67 showed up. A few minutes later penchantnyc showed up with William (who was at the Renn Faire outing as well) in tow. Finally a few minutes after that ali718 showed up. We were waiting for one more person, Adam, but as penchantnyc expected him to be a couple of hours late (because he just does that ;) ) we stopped waiting for him after a little while and went down to the Dining Concourse where the tasting was being held.
We started off at one end, getting potli samosas (fried Indian dumpling thingies with potatoes and peas and curry inside) from Cafe Spice which were quite good, and half a slice of pizza from Two Boots which was ok. We also got chocolate cake from the Little Pie Company, which was good but not great. For our second round, we hit the Central Market Grill which had lame chicken fingers, Christer's Fish n' Chips which had pretty decent (US-style crispy) fish and chips, and Zocalo's where we got mini tacos with rice and beans - decent, and bratwurst from Knodel. The next round we got a piece of Junior's cheesecake (very nice), sushi rice w/ veggies from Masa Sushi (how fucking lame can you get?), soup from Mike's Take-Away (I got the chicken gumbo, which was pretty good; penchantnyc got the chicken w/ bowties which he loved), a really gross selection of inedible "Chinese" from Nem, pasta from Paninoteca Italiana ('eh...), and finally from the Shoebox Cafe a variety pack of Creole potato salad, hushpuppies, and turkey cranberry salad (all ok, none great). Finally we went back and got mini Jamaican beef patties from Golden Krust Patties, half a pretzel from New York Pretzel, and a small cup of custard or sorbet from Custard Beach (I got chocolate custard, which was pretty good).
All in all, it was fun to try everything, and there was a lot of food (individually each place gave very little, but added up it was a huge meal) and a good bunch of people to hang out and eat and chat with, so that was nice. 2 and a half hours into it, Adam showed up, and he went up to try out the grilled NY strip steak w/ truffled cream spinach on a toasted baguette from Michael Jordan's Steak House (on my ticket since I was full), which he said was very good, albeit small (duh).
We hung out at Grand Central eating and talking and digesting until a little after 8, and then we headed out to the loft party.
The loft party was held on 29th St. near 8th Avenue and was being held by Kittyhawk, a local band who mage67 knows a couple of members of. We got there a little before 9, so we were early, and we hung out and checked out the place and started off the keg. People slowly trickled in and by around 9:30 there were maybe 20 people there. Adam and I hung out on the balcony chatting for a while, and then the opening act, local artist KJ Denhert started and we went inside. She was really quite good - folksy music (as her business card says, urban folk and jazz artist) but well performed, with her playing guitar and singing. She finished up her set w/ a Police song (Message in a Bottle). I had a spell of melancholy while listening, not entirely sure why, but I started thinking of old times and getting depressed. Fortunately I was able to eventually get over it, but for a while it was looking sort of bleak.
After she finished up Kittyhawk took the stage. As mage67 put it (I think...) they were a sort of poppy punky mix. They played well, but their songs were of mixed quality. I liked them, but there were a couple of songs that were sort of blah. The rest of their songs were pretty good, though.
Before and after each set they were playing music, and mage67 and ali718 were dancing up a storm. I'm not a dancer (this is not a question or up for comment; it's a statement of fact) but it was a lot fun watching them. ali718 was actually quite good and obviously having a blast, and I doubt if anyone up there put as much effort into their dancing as mage67. Never seen anyone mix Riverdancing with disco dancing before, but he did it, and with gusto. Hey man, just being honest. ;) I was actually really impressed, I wish I could relax and let go and have fun even half as easily as them. Toward the end even penchantnyc got into the act, although in a much more subdued fashion. I just stood (or sat occasionally) and watched.
(A note: yeah, I really am that uptight and neurotic. I've got the smallest embarrassment threshold of just about anyone you'll ever meet, and I'm extremely quiet and shy on top of that (although they're closely related for I think obvious reasons). Dancing is out of the question, and frankly until I got over that bout of melancholy I was wondering how the rest of the night would go. Maybe one of these days I'll learn how to relax enough to get up and dance, but it won't be anytime soon, so don't hold your breath.)
At around 12:25 I left to make sure I'd get to the station in time for the last bus at 1:20 (stupid, I forgot how close I was to the station, it took me 10 minutes to walk it and then I sat around for over 30 minutes) and got home around 2.
Anyways, overall I had a lot of fun. It was cool meeting Adam and ali718, nice trying the foods (stay the hell away from the fish balls from Nem!) and listening to the music and watching the dancing was a lot of fun too. Overall, two thumbs up for the day. Best day out I've had in quite a while, actually.