Wednesday, December 12, 2007



HOLIDAY/CHRISTMAS WISHLIST

All CICF Wishlist items are on our list not only because we love them, but because they are made by small businesses and individuals who have supported and touched our community.

*
Hello Kitty Stuff-Elizabeth Center- Though I am 27 years ago, I still love Hello Kitty! My sister tells me all the time that I'm too old to be carrying My Melody lunchbox, but I say that you're never too old for Sanrio!

*
Sterling Silver Jewlery-Canal Street- To most, buying stuff from the small shops that line Canal Street seems to be a lot less legit than buying stuff from Macy's. As long as the jewlery says 925 or sterling silver on it, it's just as sterling as the mall stuff. You can get some pretty cool necklaces and earrings for cheap prices for Christmas gifts. You also save enough that you might as well grab something for yourself since it is Christmas! (well...that's my logic at least)


*
Notorious MSG-CDs and posters
The other day, the MSG boys left the CDS and posters I bought for my friends at my shop. My friends and I are total MSG groupies. D-Lo Mein is also incredibly hot and is probably the only good looking boy who remembers my name. =X


*
earings by Leafing- Lea Feng was previously a full time staff member at Asian Women in Business (AWIB). She worked with AWIB and was an integral part of helping to develop the Explore Chinatown Campaign which is one of the many reasons why I love Lea.

On top of this girl being talented & beautiful, she makes gorgeous jewelry. I wanted to bid on some of her items at AWIB's silent auction but instead she made me a pair of my own custom earrings.

All her pieces are hand made and you can request what colors and materials you want. I got these stunning long blue rain drop earrings which have sterling silver posts. No matter what I'm wearing, my earrings always makes my outfit look 10x better.

I'm not sure if her website is off the ground yet so this might need to be on next year's list. Just letting yo know about her!

*
Japanese Ceramic Dishes-Kam Man Supermarket - I love cooking! It makes preparing dinner a lot more fun when you have cool dishes to play around with. These dishes are imported from Japan and come in a wide variety of colors and designs. Upon first touch, you can tell the quality is excellent. You'll impress your guests with your new Japanese cookware as well as your food.

*
Chinatown Donations
Most of us don't really need anything for Christmas. Often our friends buy us things that wind up cluttering up our homes. A cool alternative to the conventional gifts are donations to organizations that have helped the Chinatown community.

Attach a note or explain to whatever organization that you're donating to that you're giving it a a gift. This is actually the top gift on my wish list because it goes back to what Christmas/Holidays are really about....giving and thinking about others.

A couple of suggestions for organizations in our community are the
Museum of the Chinese in the Americas (MOCA), The Charles Wang Health Center, and the Gouverneur's Hosptial.


Cool items that CICF also sells that would make great Christmas gifts as well are:

CICF T shirts CICF Hoodies CICF Polos-Limited Edition CICF Gift Certificates Saturdays In Chinatown T shirts and totes

Monday, December 10, 2007












RED EIGHT

A couple of friends of mine started this really interesting organization called Red Eight. This group combines Asian entrepreneurs with film and media. Because CICF loves them so much , we're actually one of their sponsors!

So Saturday night, I was invited to a movie reception for an independent film called "Undoing" which starred Sung Kang. The movie had to do with Asian American gang related issues which I thought would be interesting. (Grew up working on Bayard street, so I'm very familiar with these issues.)

Well ...though I do think Red Eight is a great organization, the #1 draw for my friends and I had to be that Russel Wong was attending. I'm pretty sure that every Asian girl in this country has at one point had a crush on the well established actor. He was kind enough to take a picture with us even though he probably thought that my friends and I were total dorks.

But I also unexpectedly bumped into Henry Chang who has become one of Chinatown's famed authors. He recently released the book Chinatown Beat which is a novel based on true stories of what went on in the Chinatown gang scene. Although I have not read his book yet, my father is a huge fan of his. Dad actually owns an autographed copy. You can also purchase his book at any Barnes and Noble and autographed copies are available at Jan's store-Sinotique on Mott.

For more information on Red Eight, visit www.redeight.org

Monday, November 19, 2007














Saturdays in Chinatown- COMING SOON

So what are all these posters advertising "Saturdays In Chinatown" about? It's been in the making for awhile but kept very hush hush... It's the new picture book that's going to be sold at CICF as well as other bookshops and such. I wrote this book for every person who has ever enjoyed Chinatown. It is a children's book about what really goes on here.

There will be more information on this blog and on our website soon. Stay tuned.
THANKSGIVING

The Thanksgiving orders for cakes at the store are piling up fast.

I think that our ice cream cakes are just as "American" as apple pie. Although lychee, red bean, mango ice cream cakes may not be what comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving, but to many New Yorkers, it is tradition.

I love NY's diversity because it reminds me about how the diverse ethnic foods that grace our tables reflects the culture and the people that make up America.

BTW- a helpful tip if you're too lazy to cook your turkey...if you buy your own turkey and take it to a Chinese restaurant, they will cook it for you at a very reasonable price.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving from the CICF crew to yours!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Saturday Night at the MOCA with Beau Sia

My first time seeing one of Beau's performance was at the Def Poetry Jam's performance on Broadway. He is well known for being a spoken word artist.

Although the venue at the MOCA was definitely smaller than the Broadway stage, it gave way to a much more intimate and spontaneous performance.

Beau's performances mostly have to do with issues of race and cultural identity within America. His words are very moving and thought provoking.

A friend and myself were able to enjoy Beau's show for $5 a piece. It would've been even cheaper if we were MOCA members, which we have and are planning on becoming.


For more information on future MOCA events,
http://www.mocanyc.org/visit/events

Note: I would not recommend this performance for young children because of adult language.

Friday, November 09, 2007


CHINATOWN NY BY ANN VOLKEIN


To celebrate the release of Ann's new book , Chinatown NY , there was a book release party. Attendees included supporters of the book as well as people that the book featured. (CICF was also included in the book.)

This book on Chinatown is one of a series of books about different ethnic neigbhorhoods in NYC. I was impressed with how beautiful the photographs came out. The content of th book was also excellent. It was truly the most up to date and informative book on Chinatown.

This book really did a lot of re-educating for all of Chinatownites. It's funny how many of work in the same community but have never met or talked to each other until the book party. The book talks about different businesses in Chinatown as well as the people who make it up. What I also found interesting was how they also included the different ways in which our families have immigrated to this country.

Collins Design and Ann Volkwein will be soon releasing their new book on NYC's Chinatown.


You can pre-order your copy at:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/006118859X/harpercollinspub/

Sunday, November 04, 2007

THE CHINATOWN BID

There seems to be a lot of controversy over the attempts of the Chinatown Partnership to implement a BID for Chinatown.

I myself until this morning was under the impression that a BID would only bring positive things to our community. This is definitely not a one sided argument. There is actually a lot of opposition to the BID.

I would have to read more on the issue,
but as of now, I oppose the BID. Although I do want cleaner streets just like the rest of Chinatown, I think that there are other avenues to accomplish this if that is the only reason that they are trying to restructure our community.

Also, if other small businesses are adamantly opposed to the BID, it is not in the best interest of myself or for Chinatown as a whole to back it up. The guidelines of what a BID would bring are not 100 percent clear since they seem to differ from neighborhood to neighborhood. A BID would impose a tax on the landlords and most likely will tax the small businesses in our community.

Small businesses are the heart of our community and I think they'll be driven out if they have taxes up the kazoo! Who on earth needs more taxes? Realistically, how much are these guys making when they're charging less than $5 for a gourmet meal?

I also agree with the argument that if Chinatown were to get money for the BID that it should be used in other ways (i.e. for our schools, etc). As for the streets, store keepers seem to be willing to maintain them and pay for additional costs out of pocket. After all, we do pay for our own carting companies already.

According to an article by Nick Pinto, "

The largest and one of the oldest of these is the Chinese Consolidated
Benevolent Association, whose president, Eric Ng, is known unofficially as
the Chinatown Mayor. Ng is cautious in discussing the BID, and refused to
join its steering committee. "We have to stay neutral on this issue," he
said, adding that he has doubts about the Partnership's ability to
represent all of Chinatown.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


HALLOWEEN IN CHINATOWN

This morning, I watched a whole trail of Chinese kids in their costumes walk across the Bowery to their elementary school. I felt like I didn't even need to venture to the village to see the wide array of superheroes and super scary characters.

It's so cute to see all the little kids (and the not so little kids) in their Halloween best. In NYC's Chinatown, kids can't go hopping house to house; ringing doorbells to trick or treat. Instead, ghouls, witches, Carebears and all come into the local shops screaming "trick or treat?" Shop merchants happily give candy or pennies.

Wishing everyone a very safe and Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

MOCA-The Chinatown Film Project

The Museum of the Chinese in the Americas (MOCA) is collecting clips of the different Chinatown's across the world for it's film project.

You don't have to be a professional film maker to enter. They are collecting things in all formats; from camera phone videos to Super 8mm films.

The goal of this project is to collect clips that show the diversity of the Chinatown all over the world.

For more information visit http://www.uttube.com/user/MOCANYC

A Changing Pell Street

The old signs that once hung over the businesses of Pell street are slowly disappearing...

New restaurants are moving onto Pell. It saddened me to see that MayMay's gates are now closed. Mei Sun which is also a business that has lasted decades also appears to be under renovations.

Delight Restaurant now gleams in the place where Danny's Ng's Restaurant stood for many years. My favorite dish at Danny's restaurant was the lobster with the burnt cheese (something not very typical and not on the menu). It was their kinda off the menu secret dish that they offered.

Pell and Doyers streets were once the heart of Chinatown when it was first established. My father used to tell me stories about how when he was growing up, Chinatown was two blocks long.

The last of the the old standing businesses are dying off and it feels as a chapter in our history is now ending.

Sigh....


Friday, October 12, 2007


ELIZABETH CENTER

I finally had the chance to go to Elizabeth Center. Growing up, it used to be one of my favorite places to go!

It's definitely a big hang out place for children, teenagers, and Animae buffs. Elizabeth Center (aka EC) is composed of small shops that sell things like Hello Kitty items, origami supplies as well as Animae tapes and figures.

There were many reasons EC was one of my favorite places growing up. For starters, all of my friends in the C Town area hung out there. It was the "cool" place to hang out and meet up with your friends. Secondly, it was the place that I went to purchase my inventory to sell to my classmates in the burbs...

I grew up in Little Neck, NY and Asian items were always very in. The problem was that they were very hard to get unless your parents made a trip to Flushing or Chinatown. Back in those days, Flushing wasn't as developed as it is now, so the best place to buy Hello Kitty or Animae items definitely was Chinatown.

I used to buy things from Elizabeth Center and go back to my classmates and sell the items in school. Since my Dad put me to work at a young age, I made weekly trips to Chinatown. I had access to inventory that I could sell that was hard for everyone else to get.

Memories of an entrepreneurial childhood! =) Good times!

(Elizabeth Center is located on Elizabeth street btw. Bayard and Canal.)
FREE CANTONESE CLASSES

In Chinatown, they are offering free Cantonese classes at MS 131 Sun Yat Sen School (100 Hester Street).

The schedule is as follows:

(1) Conversational Cantonese (no Chinese writing)- Every Saturday 12:30-1:30.

(2) Beginning/Introduction to Cantonese-Every Saturday 1:30-2:30 and Wednesdays 6:30 to 8:30.

(3) Intermediate Cantonese-Every Saturday 2:45-4pm and Mondays 7pm-8:30pm.

$5 donations are suggested. They plan on offering Toisan classes in the future as well.


Can't go wrong with free language classes.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


BAKERIES OF CHINATOWN

The bakeries in Chinatown are amazing. They offer such a wide selection of drinks, pastries (some sweet and some savory), and fresh breads.

I sometimes feel that because the prices of these goods are so cheap, that they are taken for granted. The food creations in Chinatown are just as time consuming and intricate to make.

Bakery owners wake up at the crack of dawn to bake their own breads and get the day started with their pastry making. These businesses often rely on high volume since their profit margin is so low.

I often start my mornings by going to the bakery to get a cup of light coffee and a pork bun (cha siu bow). I wind up spending around a buck and half. That's extremely cheap for anywhere in NYC or anywhere else in this country.

Favorites for savory items: Roast pork buns, ham and eggs sandwiches, hot dog buns.

Favorites for sweet items: Mooncakes, egg tarts, macaroons, sesame jelly, fresh baked raisin bread.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MOON CAKE DAY!

I was informed that today is Moon Cake Day. For some reason, I thought it spanned for a season (perhaps I told myself this so I could eat more moon cakes! =X)

Anyway, my good friend Alice's mom actually makes her moon cakes from scratch. Here's her recipe:

Sesame Moon Cakes

Filling:

One can of red bean paste-Divided into 24 pieces; hand rolled to round balls.

Skin:
(1) Flour-2 cups
Warm water- 1/2 cup
Oil- 2/3 cup

Mix together the above ingredients to make a smooth dough (A). Then roll into a long roll and cut into 24 pieces.

(2) Flour 1 1/2 cup
Oil- 1/2 cup

Mix together the above ingredients to make a smooth dough. Then roll into a long roll and cut into 24 pieces (B).

Directions:

1. Flatten (A) pieces; place (B0 Pieces in the center of (A) pieces and wrap the edges to enclose (B); lightly flatten.
Use a rolling pin and roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch think rectangle. Start at the top edge and roll up rectangle into a thin baton-shape. Turn the piece vertically and roll out to a 1/4 rectangle. Roll up one more time to form a square shape. Repeat for all the pieces.

2. Flatten the skin and lightly roll into a 2 inch circle. Place 1 piece of filling in the center of the skin and gather the edges to close. Pinch and seal corners. Lightly flatten the filled cakes. Repeat for all other pieces until you finish all 24.

3. Use a pastry brush to brush a bit of egg yolk on top of each cake. Sprinkle the top with either black or white sesame seeds for garnish.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and DO NOT bake for more than 35 minutes.

Monday, September 24, 2007



NYAWC GALA

The New York Asian Women's Center (NYAWC) is celebrating it's 25th year of helping women and children live free of violence. The gala that they hold annually is one of their sources of raising capital for their organization. I encourage others to try to attend or to make a contribution

The mission of NYAWC is helping battered women overcome violence and govern their own lives, free of abuse. The Center also works to raise public awareness about domestic violence, advocate for the rights of battered women, and create an agenda for social change.

My friend Jeanette is part of the NYAWC's benefit committee. We actually met in college, although ironically I found out that her parents knew my dad after years of buying ice cream at CICF. See ice cream brings everyone together!

On an end note: I admire what my friend Jeanette does so much and support her cause that I will go to her gala dateless. haha

The NYAWC Gala is on October 9th. For more information visit www.nyawc.org

Thursday, September 20, 2007

AUTUMN MOON FESTIVAL IN CHINATOWN

I actually just found out that Chinatown has an Autumn Moon Festival. This year it will take place on September 23rd around the Mott and Canal Street intersection.

This is apparently it's 5th year and I have personally never attended. Expect to see me there this year!! What's more fun than being in Chinatown with some mooncakes?

Ummm ummm....now that's what I'm talking about!

Friday, September 14, 2007


MOONCAKE SEASON

It's that time of the year!! Right now, in Chinatown, you'll see that all of the bakeries and markets have beautiful tins and boxes of mooncakes for sale. It's customary to buy mooncakes for familiy and friends as gifts during the autumn to celebrate the Mid Autumn Moon Holiday.

I think traditionally they only came in a few varieties; with the lotus being the most popular. The "moons" in the cake are actually perserved egg yolks. The more moons the cakes have, the more expensive they are.

Over the past few years, I've seen mooncakes come in flavors ranging from sesame to green tea!

I personally like the old fasioned lotus mooncakes minus the moons. My dad used to scold me as a child telling me that I was wasting the best part, but oh well...as an adult i still don't eat the yolks.


Happy mooncake eating!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Notorious MSG at the Bowery Ballroom

Although I have heard about the Notorious MSG, I have never personally heard any of their music nor have I been to the Bowery Ballroom. I must admit, that it was quite an experience.

For those of you who don't know about the Notorious MSG, they are a hip hop band based from Chinatown. Their lyrics are very catchy for us Chinese folks since they have a lot of funny FOB lyrics. I was also surprised to see that their audience also seemed to attract a group of mixed hipsters.

After the first song, I really loved the band because all of their songs are about Chinatown!! (My favorite place in the world! =) ) Famous songs from the band include "Dim Sum Girl", "Chinatown Hustler".

What really made my day was when Down-Lo Mein dedicated a song to me. Ooooh boy....is he a langjy (translation=good looking dude). Although, I don't holler at boys, I would definitely holler at him.

More information on MSG can be found at www.notoriousmsg.com

Thursday, August 30, 2007


AY YAH!! May May's is closing!



Oh goodness! I heard today from a friend that May May is closing their business. It's currently run by John who I understand to be a second generation business owner. I often see him there personally making the dimsum and items that he sells.

It breaks my heart to know that this place that I have so often bought my dimsum and zhogzis from will not survive a third generation. He is going on to retire after many years of hard work. Like many Chinese business owners, his children have gone on to becoming professionals who do not wish to continue the business.

The landscape of Chinatown has been changing so quickly. Every time a longstanding business like May May leaves, it leaves a void in our community. Small businesses are a big part of what make up Chinatown and our history.

I will definitely be heading to May May's tomorrow to get my fill.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


REMEMBER LONNIE'S?


Although Lonnie's was around a lil bit before my time, I've heard stories about the famed Chinatown hamburger joint. My dad used to go there to grab burgers with friends. Some of my friends' parents used to go there on dates.

"Back in the day" as my father would put it, it was the place to go when you wanted some ABC food in Chinatown.

Recently, they uncovered the sign from the Chinatown landmark and have decided to hang it up at the new noodle shop that will open on 21 Mott Street.

Right now you can contribute to the log about Lonnie's at www.lonniescoffeeshoppe.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

BUSINESSES IN CHINATOWN

People make countless comments about "how easy it must be to have my job". The one that I get quite often is "You're the boss, so does that mean you just sit around and boss people around all day?"

9 out of 10 times I just play dumb and nod to these ridiculous comments. It would take way too much energy to refute them. There are however those times where I subtly mention a lil' something...

It was just the other day that someone said that owning and running a business is so much easier than pursuing a career in academia. I wouldn't necessarily say that one is harder than the other, but I thought that was a very ignorant comment coming from someone who was so educated.

I am a third generation Chinese American and my family was able to give me a lot of opportunities. I had the luxury of attending a private college and finished graduate school. I will tell you that in all my years in school, I learned only a small fraction of what I learned through my business.

I am so glad that I work here in Chinatown. It keeps my humble, hard working and creative. I am surrounded by so many immigrants who have come here with nothing and have had none of the opportunities that I have had and have become very successful.

Many of the successful businesses owners here speak in broken English. I betcha that many of the will tell you that they don't have a fancy college degree or abbreviation attached to their name to tout themselves as something special.

Their merit is based on operating in a foreign country and creating profit. Many of these people make more money than college graduates. Some of them make much more money than doctorates. Many of them have started with nothing but the shirt off their back and a dream.

Statistics will tell you that nationally 80 percent of small businesses do not last five years. The remaining 20 percent just last, but do not necessarily generate a profit. In NYC, I am sure that the stats are even more steep. People think that gambling only happens in the casinos, but I'll tell you that starting a business is the biggest gamble there is.

These immigrants and store owners sacrifice all of their savings and pool it with others in hope of having a successful business, though the odds are stacked up against them. It's not just their savings that they are gambling with; they also work themselves to the bone rely on family labor.

When I see all the ingenuity, sacrifice and hard work that everyone does around me; I refuse to complain and think that I am smarter or work harder than anyone else.

Friday, July 13, 2007


SUMMER ICE CREAM TASTING AT THE MERCEDES SHOWROOM

On August 7th ,2007 Asian Women in Business (AWIB) will be hosting an ice cream tasting event at the Mercedes Showroom on Park Avenue. They will be featuring Chinatown Ice Cream Factory’s lychee, mango, black sesame, taro, green tea ice creams. Free wine will also be provided. Attendees will also be allowed to sit in the Mercedes vehicles and take pictures.

Fancy Cars, wine, & my favorite: ICE CREAM! Sounds like a summertime blast to me!

$20 for AWIB Members, $40 for Non-Members

For more information visit www.awib.org

Comments about the recommendations on my blog

Today I realized that there is that forever
recurring problem that comes along with giving people recommendations. What if the service that you get is not the same as the service that the other person gets? Would that person find all of your other recommendations invalid?

If there is any problem with any of the places that I have recommended on my blog, I encourage my readers to email me and let me know. When I recommend something, I full
heartily endorse all of these establishments before putting it up on my blog.

My email: christinaseid@chinatownicecreamfactory.com

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Excellent Pork Chop House

Because I spend most of my waking hours in Chinatown and because I love to eat; I know all the eateries. I really love the Excellent Pork Chop House which is located on Doyers street. It's right across the street from the post office.

The Excellent Pork Chop House is indeed "excellent". The food is oh so yummy to my tummy. I think a meal there would cost you a little under $6.

If you haven't guessed from their name; pork chops are their specialty. They are also served with one of my favorite sides: tea eggs.

This is one of many hidden eating treasures in C- Town.
The Excellent Pork Chop House
(212)791-7007

Saturday, June 09, 2007

CLOGGED ARTERIES

Jan is one of my favorite customers. His family is one of the oldest in the Chinatown community. He owns Sinotique (located on 19A Mott Street) and has produced a very important documentary that I think everyone should watch...

The short film talks about how affects of 9/11 on the Chinatown community. Many cars have been illegally parking on our narrow streets which makes it hard for businesses to operate. When it's hard to find parking, it's hard for us to recieve our deliveries. It also makes it hard for our customers to come into Chinatown.

Not only is this traffic congestion bad for businesses but for general members of the community. Chinatown has a very large aged population and it is already very difficult for the ambulances to navigate in the city without having to deal with this extra parking drama.

Before hearing about Clogged Arteries, I had contacted Jan for an interview for my radio diary. Out of all the interviews that I conducted (which were a lot!), I found his to be one of the most informative. Although we run a business in Chinatown, I was not aware of a lot of the issues that he brought up in his documentary.

I also shared with Jan the disappointments that I faced in my interviews. I was extremely disappointed that ome of the young people in the community didn't want to take the time to be included. They didn't seem to see the importance of telling people how our community was affected.

Jan gave me some words of encouragement that really lifted my spirits. "Young people have a responsibility to the community because they speak English. Say something and do something. Whether it's creating a documentary or picking up a mic and being on the radio, you have to do something."

I really admire Jan's activism in the Chinatown community. Awesome work Jan! Chinatown is lucky to have people like you!


It can be viewed on youtube.com. Just type in the keyword: Clogged Arteries.

BENEFIT DINNERS FOR THE ASIAN COMMUNITY

In NYC, many of us tend to splurge here and there on a fancy dinner. What cooler way to enjoy a night out on the town while supporting the Asian American community? Listed below are some of the benefit dinners that are going on in the community. I love these organizations so much, that I will personally be attending all of them.

Asian Women in Business (AWIB) Leadership Awards Dinner will take place October 16th (Tuesday) at the Hilton. AWIB is one of my favorite Asian American organizations. For more information check out www.awib.org

Project by Project's (PBP) Food and Wine Tasting Event- October 5th (Friday)
I'm the manger of publicity for
PBP so I'll be working most of the night. Last year, I attended as a dessert purveyor for CICF. PBP's events are always a blast with great food!
For more information, check out:
www.projectbyproject.org

NY Asian Women's Center Gala- This organization is celebrating its 25th anniversary at TriBeCa Rooftop. It will be held, October 10th (Wednesday).
www.nyawc.org/events/upcoming.html


Hope to see you guys there!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

LUNAR STAGES-In Columbus Park

On May 31st, June 7th & 14th 2007 there will be free performances and screenings in Columbus Park which is located on Bayard and Mulberry Streets.

Performances will include tai chi, roving puppets and interactive art projects.

The weather has been absolutely wonderful! There's no better way to enjoy the spring than camping out with some snacks and a blanket in the park to catch a free movie and live performances!

For more information check out www.lunarstages.com

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


CHINATOWN'S BUSES


I find it amazing how over the years, Chinatown has managed to link itself through it's own forms of transportation to communities all over the city as well as the state.

The other "unofficial Chinatowns" are in
Flushing and Brooklyn NYC which are all linked together through this shuttle bus system. For a mere $2.50 you can catch one of these buses that leave every half hour or whenever it gets full. It's cheap and convenient.

Many people outside of the Chinatown community have heard of the
Fung Wah Buses which run from the NYC Chinatown to the Boston Chinatown. I think right now for a round trip ticket it is about $25 which is about what you would pay for a cab one way from Chinatown to the Upper West Side. $25 is so ridiculously cheap. You can buy tickets right next to the Buddhist Temple on Canal and Bowery.

Another bus company that runs between Boston and NY's Chinatown is the
Lucky Star. My friend from Boston says that since less people know about this bus line, lines tend to be shorter.
Similar deals can be found for places such as
Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Richmond Virginia. You can buy tickets under the train overpass on East Broadway & Division.

Monday, April 30, 2007

ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

Tomorrow is the first day of May which also marks the beginning of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APA).

For those of us who are of Asian descent, Asian Pacific Heritage Month should remind us how important it is to reflect on our history and to get involved in our community. For others who are of other ethnicities, festivities and events during this month provide opportunities to learn about our history and culture.

A huge event in the NYC area that celebrates our culture is the CAPA Festival. Throughout the day, there will be loads of entertainmentt to highlight Asian Pacific Culture. These things include Martial Arts demonstrations, Arts & Crafts tables, a Children's Program, a Theme Exhibit, a Performance Stage, a Mini-Film Festival.

If you're interested in getting involved in the Asian community, CAPA is a great event to attend. There will be information booths for various volunteer organizations. I will be at the Project by Project volunteer table, so come say "hi" to me! =) For more information on volunteer opportunities for PBP: www.projectbyproject.org.

This event takes place in Union Square Park. For more information www.capaonline.org

Other organizations to check out that are holding events are :
* The Asia Society
* The China Institute
* The Korea Society
* The Japan Society
* The Museum of the Chinese in the Americas

And of course, one of the most convenient ways to connect to the Asian community is to come to Chinatown. You can do this not only during APA month, but any other day of the year. Chinatown is so rich in culture with our museums, food, shopping and ICE CREAM!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NYU's Hong Kong Association
One of my kids, Jamie Zhen (AKA JZ) is going to be in a breakdance routine in NYU's HK Night tommorrow. It's going to take place at Kimmel Center E&L Auditorium, 4th Floor. It's only $10 for admission & $7 for NYU students. Now, I call that a great deal for anything in NYC.

There's going to be drama, dancing, raffle prizes, games & a live band performance. Sounds like a blast for those of you who haven't already made plans for tommorrow night.

I would 110 percent be there, but my sister's graduating from UMICH so I'll be out of state. I will be there in spirit.

For more information:
http://www.nyu.edu/clubs/hksa/files/sensations2k7_playbill.pdf


Momma Chris loves you JZ!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

GLASSES AND CONTACTS

I finally got my first pair of real glasses. I was actually surprised to find out that many of the opticals in Chinatown actually do accept insurance such as GHI.

I hear that the opticals down here have some of the best prices in the city and will get you in and out with the quickness. This goes in line with my theory that Chinatown offers the best prices for almost all goods.

I went to Mott Street Optical (located at the corner of Mott and Bayard). They actually have quite a selection of frames and brands. The optometrist that works there was very friendly and helpful. She recommended that I get a pair of reading glasses which has really opened up a new world of vision to me.

Because I am hoping to attract some smart boys who like smart girls; I grabbed the nerdiest frames I could find. So in the end, I wound up with a pair of Prada frames with the lenses and an eye exam for $245 (with my GHI).

Saturday, April 14, 2007


TASTE OF CHINATOWN-APRIL 21, 2007

This event was created as part of the Explore Chinatown Campaign (www.explorechinatown.com). Taste of Chinatown offers both $1 and $2 sampling plates from participating restaurants. Different
cuisines include Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Singaporean, Thai, Japanese, Asian Fusion, & more.

This year, the event will also be offering different types of
cultural entertainment, such a lion dancing and Japanese Taiko drum playing. There will also be a fortune cookie writing contest.

Please keep in mind that most of these restaurants do not make a profit off of giving their tastes. This is a promotional event for the Chinatown community, so please keep in mind that the same customer
etiquette pertains to this tasting event as any other day.

Although
CICF does not participate in the Taste of Chinatown, we do consider it to be one of the greatest events of the year. It exposes people to what our community is about and it helps bring in interest and tourism to Chinatown.

Many thanks to all the people who have worked on Taste of Chinatown! =)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

SPORTING OUR SHIRT, WITHOUT TASTING OUR ICE CREAM?

Recently I started hanging out with my old college friend Andrew Wasmuth. I just remembered how we ironically met.

I had transfered to the University of Rochester and saw that he was wearing a CICF shirt. I had told him that my family owned the CICF and asked him if he liked our ice cream. He replied that he had never even tasted our ice cream but loved our logo. I found out that Andrew literally wore our shirt everyday while working out. What a strange coincidence.

After a bonding experience like that, we continued on to be good friends. How could I not love someone who sports our shirt every other day. I told him that I would replace his shirts for the rest of his life because I do not know anyone besides myself who wears our T shirt that often.

The CICF connection remains strong even outside of NYC.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

MOMMA CHRIS

I always talk about how proud I am of "my kids". Recently I have been getting a lot of strange responses to that, so I think I'll have to clarify...

We operate like a small family here. We often drive each other crazy though deep down we all love each other. I even love Frank. (gosh, I can't believe I said that).
Ling and Frank are definitely most like my real kids, because no matter how much I want to get rid of them, I still love them to death. Sofia and Jason are the least like my kids because they are the Asian models of perfection so there isn't any reason not to love them. All the other kids are just super lovable just because.

Although I am a nag and we all work very hard; we all spend a lot of time together,; holidays and all. They share stories about dating disasters and I always listen to their teenage-20year old drama. I make sure to nag them about looking both ways when crossing the street and not to drink too much at frat parties.

For Christmas, they actually had my CICF shirt embroidered with "Momma Chris" on the back. It also has a smiley face with a chef hat and a cooking spoon. Ay-Yah! Now that I'm single, who's going to want me with 20+ kids who are teenagers!!

Now it's not just the kids calling me Momma Chris, but my friends have as well.

Yes, I heard that the shirt was James' idea. I won't forget that...

Friday, March 23, 2007

ASIAN WOMEN IN BUSINESS (AWIB)

Asian Women in Business (AWIB) is a very cool organization that I recently joined. I found out about AWIB through their involvement with the Explore Chinatown Campaign.

Since 9/11, AWIB has been actively involved with economic development and providing assistance to adversely affected businesses, both male and female owned, in Lower Manhattan. I really respect and appreciate all that they have done to help our community.

AWIB provides to its members a diverse set of classes and seminars with professionals who specialize in those areas. In addition, AWIB holds networking social events so that we can all learn from one another while having an awesome time. The flexibility of how involved you want to be is a definite plus.

Bonnie, Melissa, Suja,and Lea have done an excellent job at making AWIB feel like a family.

You can become a member for as little as $50 for students, and $125 for the individual membership.

More information on AWIB can be found on www.awib.org.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

HIGH SCHOOL CRUSHES

What's cool about working at CICF is that we have so many people that come in and out, that I am always reconnecting with old friends and there are tons of familiar faces. This is mostly a good thing.

Here's a funny or not so funny anecdote of the day for me.

So I'm at work and who comes in? The hottest boy from my high school! Back in the days of attending Benjamin Cardozo HS (which was ages ago), I had the biggest crush on this boy. I think most of the school had a crush on him because our boy to girl ratio for my year was like 2:8.

In my mind, I was thinking should I finally introduce myself after 10 years of him not knowing that I existed? I wanted to say, "All the girls had the biggest crush on you in high school, including me."

So as I'm scooping his ice cream, what happens? Being the klutz and dork that I am, I knock over a stack of cups as my heart skips like ten beats. Yes, I made a total fool of myself.

So I try to smile at him and cover up what I've just done, and in the back of my mind I'm worried about whether or not I have frosting in my hair or something. I am definitely not feeling my cutest in my baseball cap, although our uniforms definitely do rock.

Yep...this boy still totally doesn't know I exist. There are some things that even a decade won't change. I am definitely not going to admit that I was part of his girl crazy fan club.

Okay, lady players....cut me a little slack over my antimack skills. I haven't been single for 8 years, so this talking to guys thing is new to me!

Who will I bump into next here? Everyone eats CICF ice cream. It is that damn good!

Hopefully the next time a cute boy comes in, I won't make a fool out of myself, but I doubt that.

Blogout!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

CHINATOWN FAMILY

Today I received an email from Will who has been the Communications Director for the Museum of the Chinese in the Americas (MOCA). He's actually leaving to Cali to follow his dreams of pursuing a career in the performing arts.

He wrote that he would be "sad to leave the MOCA family". I told him that he hasn't realized that he has also been part of a bigger family; our "Chinatown Family".

Will is about my age (more or less), and we don't hang out or anything, but I am going to miss him so much!

When I was doing my radio diary for WFUV (www.wfuv.org), I interviewed Will as a representative for the MOCA. I went on thinking that the MOCA was just going to be one of many interviews. Will proved me wrong, because he shared with me a personal story of how 9/11 had affected his family's business...

After over two decades of being in business, they were forced to close because the aftermath of 9/11 on Chinatown's economy was just so harsh. I was deeply moved by his family's experience and inspired by their strength to move on. I think that was one of the interviews I learned the most from.

Sometimes in our jobs, we wonder if we make a difference. This holds true whether you're a doctor or a scoopologist. During his time at the MOCA, I have seen Will in action; trying to help the MOCA as well as the greater Chinatown community with all of their events. This blog is dedicated to Will. All of your work really made a difference in our community and I am sure that it'll continue on.

By the way...when you make it in Cali and you're some fabulous celebrity, tell them that the best ice cream is from CICF. Just kidding. =)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

ICE CREAM AS A COMFORT FOOD

Ice cream is one of those all around feel good foods. People mostly associate ice cream with happiness. I've been touched that there have been many customers that have made sure to have our ice cream at some of the most sacred occasions in their lives.

One man brought two heart shaped almond cookie cakes from us as a way of asking his girlfriend to marry him. He told me that she loved our ice cream more than anything in the world! I was very touched. I definitely took a lot of extra time and TLC to prepare their cakes. I'm sure that she said "yes" to his proposal. How could you turn down a guy who buys you almond cookie ice cream from CICF?

We have many other customers who insist that our ice cream is part of their holiday and family tradition. One customer commented that "the holidays would just not be the same without our lychee ice cream".

There are also those occasions where people need some cheering up. It could be a breakup with an old beau or a death of a loved one where some sort of comfort food is definitely needed. I noticed that because we are situated a few blocks away from one of the city's busiest funeral parlors that many people come in after services. It's really nice to know that our product can help ease some of the solace of losing someone.

And lastly, there are people like me who need no reason at all to eat our ultra premium ice cream. I seriously eat it all day. It's my 6th food group. (That's probably why I need to run 12 miles a week to keep it off!) Ice cream makes everyone happy!

Friday, March 16, 2007

SNOW IS BAD FOR BUSINESS

They say that March goes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Judging from the nasty weather today, I would say that the old adage holds true.
We had a relatively warm winter here in NYC, but today it was snowing and hailing cats and dogs!

Yes, business was bad for us, but it was bad for all of Chinatown and for everyone else in the city. I remember as a little girl, I would really worry when business was bad because I could see that no money was coming in. One time I asked my dad how he could be so calm about not having much business and not stressing out about the snow. He said to me, "If everyone else has no business, how can you expect to have business? You don't control the weather and I don't control the weather so we can't worry about what we have no control over." That really put things into perspective for me.

George
Bodarky from NPR commented on how small businesses like ourselves really have to still do a lot of work even though we aren't generating much revenue. Small businesses have many struggles that people just don't see. In spite of not making money and the bad weather, businesses have to still open up and pay their workers and pay their bills. We still have to shovel the snow and do all of our daily tasks although we know that we will be taking a loss for the day.

Working here at
CICF, I have really grown an appreciation and understanding of how other businesses struggle as well as our own. I also teach our workers to have respect for others in service jobs and for other business owners (especially in Chinatown).

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

FREE PERFORMANCE BY THE CHEN DANCERS

The Chen Dancers are an organization that is based in Chinatown that we at CICF regularly try to support. We usually do things like donate coupons for free ice cream and such for their volunteers.

Excitingly, they are having a free performance at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center of lower Manhattan on March 23& 24th (Friday and Saturday). The Chen Dancers are AWESOME so I'm sure that after one show, you'll be hooked. They are based in Chinatown, so I think that this free performance will give them a lot of great exposure. Good luck to them and I will try my best to be there!

They will be putting on their performance of Apple Dreams which uses the refuge of palm trees as the setting for a spiritual journey to find meaning and beauty within the cracks of an urban world.

For more information www.htchendance.org
212-349-0126



Sunday, March 11, 2007

PLACES TO EAT LATE AT NIGHT

Yesterday night after partying, I headed back to Chinatown (my favorite place in the world!) with my friends. It really is the best place to satisfy your late night munchies.

We went to 69 Restaurant (69 Bayard Street) for some beef chow fun and chicken wings. I don't think that the chicken wings are on the menu because they aren't very Chinese but you can request them. This establishment is open till 4 am so it's a great place to hit up on a saturday night.

What's also cool about this restaurant is that it has all these dollar bills posted on their walls. They let the customers personalize their dollars and stick them up. Although I have posted my dollars up, I have realized that they periodically replace them. =(

Another restaurant in Chinatown that is also open late at night is NY Noodletown (located on Bowery and Bayard). I like the cha siu (Chinese pork) noodle soup here.

I think Chinatown is the only place in NYC where the food is so yummy and dirt cheap. It is hands down the best place to eat at all times of the day.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


SHOPPING ON CANAL STREET

Shopping on Canal Street is AWESOME! It's quite honestly one of my favorite places to shop.

Since I am a real foodie, I like to shop at Kam Man Supermarket. I like it not just for it's groceries, but they have a second level that sells beautiful Asian dishes. I really am a fan of Japanese plates and bowls. On the holidays and special occasions, I use these things instead of buying the traditional China.

As most people know, Canal Street is world famous for selling it's counterfeit bags. Here you can find your fakes for brands like LV, Chole, etc. Recently because the police have been giving vendors a hard time, you may have to request to look at these items because they are not left out in the open.

Even if you aren't a fan of fake bags or apparel, shopping on Canal street is pretty fun. My sister and I are all about getting good deals. You can buy real silver jewlery or costume jewlery and accessories for a fraction of what you would pay at the malls.

Fun things that my sister and I have bought off Canal recently are headbands, pashmina wraps and silver earrings.

The jewlery stores on Canal are also some of the cheapest places to buy gold. For my past birthday, my dad bought me a beautiful 24K necklace from Golden Jade Jewlery.

Note about bargaining on Canal Street: It is acceptable to try to bargain in moderation and with class. If someone is asking for $25 for a handbag, don't expect to get it for $5. Although everyone wants a bargain, these people are also trying to make a living.



Friday, March 09, 2007


DIM SUM IN CHINATOWN

Besides Asia, I would say that the dim sum in NYC's Chinatown is the best out there. It's a tradition for many families and/or friends to go out to the restaurants and leisurely pick out these small delicacies from the ladies with the pushcarts.

Some places that I would recommend are listed below:

* At Jing Fong Restaurant (on Elizabeth St., btw Canal and Bayard) you venture up an escalator, while looking at all the ornate chandeliers and intricate woodwork that they have. If it's your first time at dim sum, it really is impressive.

* Golden Unicorn (on East Broadway) is a favorite for many tourists and locals.

* DimSum GoGo (Chatham Square) is very tourist friendly. Here is the only place where they don't actually bring the dimsum out on the carts very often. After being seated, you get a sheet of paper which list the dim sum choices in English (which is a plus for people who don't speak Chinese) and you get to tally off how many of each item you want.
*Golden Bridge Restaurant- (Bowery St, btw Bayard and Canal) is also want of the more ornate banquet halls in Chinatown. I find that here the portions are much bigger than usual.

*Ping's Restaurant is also a favorite for many locals. It is located on Mott Street, in the heart of Chinatown. The decor isn't as elaborate as Jing Fong and Golden Bridge, but the food is still good.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE ICE CREAM

On my off days, I enjoy baking and cooking for friends and family. I hear that food is the way to a man's heart, but yet I find myself still single. Oh well, at least my friends and family love me!! (Or at least they love my food and desserts!)

Well, tommorrow I'm going to my good friend Michelle. Since I haven't seen her in a bit, I decided to make her a batch of my homemade, full of TLC brownies!

People come in and ask, "when is the next time that you're going to have chocolate brownie ice cream?". Well since I'm in my baking mode, I guess we'll being making that flavor for all next week.

I only use the best ingredients, in my cooking, baking, and of course in the ice cream process. My brownies are made with organic Green & Black's chocolate. Love their brand! It has an earthy chocolate taste that is perfect for baking.

I went to pastry and baking school at The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) for recreation. My instructors would be proud of me that I continue insanely baking. Here's my recipe for my homemade brownies.

CHRISTINA'S SUPER YUMMY, FULL OF TLC BROWNIES

Ingredients:
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) of unsalted butter)
8 ounces Green and Black's Baking Chocolate
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

one 13X9X2 inch pan that should be greased with butter and lined with parchment paper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and turn off heat. Put the butter and chocolate into a stainless steel mixing bowl and put this over the saucepan of water. (This is also called a double boiler.) Stir the chocolate and butter occasionally until melted.

3. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the sugars, salt and vanilla. Next, stir in our chocolate and butter.

4. Slowly fold in the flour.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Make sure that the mixture is spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

ENJOY!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


SCHOOL PROJECTS ON CICF

We are very flattered that so many people decide to do their school projects on the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory! Students ranging from elementary schools to graduate schools have done projects on CICF.

Xiao Wen who is regularly comes to buy ice cream after going to school at Transfiguration, gave me a copy of the project that she did on CICF. She did a great job at describing the ice cream making process to her class. She received a score of 90! That's my girl!

Michael Healy who is a NYU film student is currently working on a documentary on food processes. We were lucky enough to have him interview us and film us producing our signature ice cream cakes. Hopefully when he finishes his project, we can post it on our UTUBE site.

Other school projects that we have been involved with was teaching a small group for NYU's Stern School. On saturday mornings for one month, a small group of students would come to CICF and discuss small business ideas and practices.

Columbia's Chinese Association also did a short film which included CICF for one of their past China Nights.

If anyone is interested in doing projects on CICF, feel free to email me!