Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bucket List Accomplishment: Eating food from a Ninja

It was a wonderfully magic day full of ice skating and ninjas and family.  Last week my wife's niece visited NYC and sang at Carnegie Hall with her school choir, so of course my wife and I went into the city to visit her. 

My niece has a deep passion for flags and was overjoyed when we visited Rockefeller plaza, surrounded by the flags of every nation.  And I was surprised to discover that the ice skating rink was still operating in late April.  I've always wanted to go skating in Rockefeller Plaza and when I saw there was no line, I jumped at this opportunity.  There were children playing, grown-ups performing and as I drifted in slow circles to the music if felt like the giant buildings were dancing.  There were also flags and people from many nations (and the Greek Sun God Apollo) watching me enjoy life as I floated across the ice.  It was a wonderful and surreal experience and if you're ever in New York City when it's not summer, please find a park somewhere to go skating.  You won't forget it.

 30 Rock from the Ice Rink

The World's Most Famous Ice Skating Rink?

My Wife, My Niece, and Apollo, God of the Sun

Falling into the Camera

Our next stop was to check something else off my bucket list: Eating at a NINJA restaurant.  Before we could even get to our dinning room in the ninja castle, we were already encountering adventures.  The first ninja we encountered offered us the option of taking an easy path or a dangerous path to our food.  So, like most of my life, I opted to take the dangerous path.  With ninja speed our host pushed on the wall and a door slid open to reveal a dark and narrow secret passageway.  There may or may not have been a ninja who jumped from the shadows at the end of the passageway that DEFINITELY did not make me yelp in surprise, no matter what my wife may tell you.

Traversing the Secret Passageway

After we were seated, we were treated to a wonderful display of culinary theater. It was pretty much what you'd expect from a Ninja restaurant: Our menus were on ancient scrolls, our food was set on fire and we had to solve a riddle just to open our drinks.  Many of the dishes included an element of theater or excitement, there are dishes that explode with fire, float on mist, and even one that comes with something called 'cinibacon'. At one point I ate sushi covered with pop rocks and had to karate chop a wall of hard cheese before I could eat my salad.  And of course everything was delicious.

Floating Sashimi

Fire Ninja

 Ninja Magic Show

Ninja Star Chocolate Mousse Dessert

At the end of the evening, our ninja offered to give us the meal for free if I could defeat him in physical combat.  His kung-fu was much greater than mine, which is too bad because it was a rather expensive meal though well worth it.  Our server was really a very interesting guy.  He was from Texas and told us he was a ninja/cowboy hybrid who actually broke several ribs trying to ride a bull in California and once went all the way to South Korea for a modeling job that he never got paid for.  I will definitely return to the 'Ninja Restaurant' because our server told us there are three locations, one in New York City and two in Japan!  I can't wait to go again either in Kyoto or Tokyo.

 Battling for a Free Dinner

The Face of Defeat

We ended our evening with a quick trip to Washington Square Park, which is always beautiful.  Although I do like it better during the day than the night.

 All Photos Copyright Jeff Howick 2011

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