Rutgers and New York

We started driving to NJ on Thursday night. The traffic at 7pm during the weekdays in Washington metropolitan was not as bad as California's 405, but it's still something that we do not want to experience. By the time we hit 95, an hour later, we can maintain the 65mph all the way to our hotel. We booked a room at a hotel chain, which is only 6miles away from Rutgers. We checked in around midnight and immediately went to bed. The beds are quite comfortable, and we almost wish that we should have stay an extra night to enjoy the luxuries.

We woke up and checked out the free breakfast at the hotel. Hot breakfast were serving that Friday morning. I went back three times for the omelets & hash browns. After the feast we rested a bit in the room before heading out to Rutgers for the tour.

We got there 5min. late, the university promotional movie already started but not much. Afterward we got on a bus and toured all the campuses. Rutger have 5 campuses, spreading out in all directions, so the university runs its own bus system. We also had a short stop to check out a residential hall in Livingston campus. The bus took us back to Busch campus, and we had around 2hrs for lunch before the walking tour. We planned to have lunch at Tick Tock diner, which is around 40min drive each way, but I did not think we have enough time, so we settled to check out the university foods. At the dining hall, we found out that the visitor lunch pass is $12 each, and we did not think that we are going to have a big lunch so we went to Students Center instead. There they offer pizza, subs, BK, Chinese ... so we spread out and each chose one's favorite. I decided on the Panda Express, with lomein with two selections: spicy tofu and beef broccoli. Afterward, we shuffled into the lecturing hall, to begin our walking tour.

The walking tour led us through five engineering schools: Industrial, Civil, Materials, BioMed and then Electrical & Electronics. Visiting the engineering buildings, looking at the machines in the lab brought back so much memory of school years. The strain tests, pulling on steel piece until it break to measure the tensile strength. The ovens were clicking on and off, tempering the metal specimen. The lecturing hall, which can accommodate 300 students easily. The chalk boards filled with formulas and equations, student seats with the table sliding up & down. Everything part of the walking tour through engineering halls reminded me of almost 20 years ago. For BioMed, a new engineering school, which is only few years old and much promises of future; I believe that this will be a much in demand in the future. It reminds me of Computer Science engineering school of 20 years ago: embarking in a new academic field. I, Thuỵ & Huan skipped out on the last school, Huan was a bit un-easy after all the walk & had to keep quiet during the tour; and Thuỵ was tired. But after the 15min rest in the van, we were ready for more action. The tour ended around 4pm and we headed toward NY.

We decided to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant, Spicy & Tasty in Flushing - Queens. Next time, we should avoid the week-day traffic rush in the afternoon in NY! It was painfully slow & hectic driving. NY driving was not but further the frustration. Finally we got into Flushing, the area was just like typical China town. We parked at the public, coined operated machine, near Prince Ave & 39th; which is only a short walk to the restaurant. Looking at the menu, my mind went blank, I forgot most of the recommended dishes by the people in Chowhound forum. I only remember one dishes: Twice Cooked Porks! So, we order that along with few other dishes. The restaurant sell rice by bowls instead of bringing out a big pot. The Twice Cooked Porks dish is nothing more than the boiled pork slices saute in the spicy sauces. The dish is not that spicy, as described by other patrons on Chowhound, but tasty. We finished most of the foods and even order a "deep fried pork ribs", which is an appetizer dish. After dinner, we walked around the block, visiting markets, bakery shops, and stores. We started heading back home around 7pm, about the same time on when we left home to begin this trip on Thursday.

Got home around midnight, and lying in bed, I realized that each trip we venture together, a piece of memory together we create; and now I am treasure memory more than anything.

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Here are the addresses & time table

Google Map

Hotel address:
Comfort Suites East Brunswick
555 Old Bridge Tpke
East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Tour info:
Scarlet Day
April 02, 2010
9:30 a.m.
Visitor Center, Busch Campus
Direction from hotel

Walking Tour of Busch Campus
2:00 p.m.
Visitor Center, Busch Campus

100 Sutphen Road Piscataway, NJ 08854

Visitors parking is available in Lot 48,
directly across from the Visitor Center.

Reservation number (104095579)
for total party of 1

Places to eat

Few weeks ago, I saw this article on Washington Post, about the small Chinese eateries in Flushing - Queens, NY. The author praises the places, and has a pretty tasty picture of the fish-balls soup. Intrigued, I then searched more about the area and found out bunch of other comments and reviews about this very unique place. Who would have guess authentic Chinese restaurants thrive in Queens, and won over NY's Chinatown hands down. Here is another article about this place. Not only do newspapers and food critics write about this strange existence, but normal chow hounds have been talking about this place for several years now. So, I think we should try:
We can also try sandwiches in Manhattan, which has so many establishments mentioned on the Foods network, like Katz, Sarge. If we are going to one of those places, I want to try the hot Pastrami! The sandwiches are huge, good place for lunch or late lunch before heading back to DC. Between the two, I would recommend Sarge, since it has nice booths, and I think Katz is the place they filmed When Sally Met Harry.

Instead of eating in NYC, why not try famous diners & burger joints in NJ? We should try White Castle, or going down the list of Diners, Drive-in & Dives's New Jersey Tour. If I have to pick one from the list, I would say the Mustache Bill's Diner, don't believe me, watch this clip. If we decide to have dinner in NJ, let's try the Tick Tock Diner

Places to see

Since we're so close to NYC, so might as well check out some of the places that we want to see. Here are few suggestions:
  • Ellis Island. I always want to go back here to try the soup, the Immigrant Soup, which was served to immigrants when they arrived at the island. I think a hot soup in a cold day would be wonderful.
  • Statue of Liberty. See if we can get into the monument, when getting the ferry ticket, asked for "Monument Access" stamp
  • Brooklyn Bridge. Out of all the top ten "must see" places in Manhattan, I believe we've seen them all, except for the Brooklyn Bridge! So, here is our chance to walk on it.
  • Staten Island. We've never been in Staten Island, and it offers longer ferry ride and even cheaper: Free! Yes, free.
  • Museum of the Moving Image

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