Dining out in the winter without heat

Today by far was our coldest day since we’ve come back from our trip, the very first single-digit day in temperature (when measured in Fahrenheit) — my weather app said it was about 8 degrees F, but about -10 degrees F when you included the wind chill factor. But I refused to let the cold get in the way of my day off in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, so I went about doing everything I planned to do, including my morning workout, running some errands in Herald Square, shopping at my favorite Indian grocery store in Jackson Heights, Queens, picking up photos for my scrapbooking project to recommence, and having lunch in Queens with a friend. What I was not planning on, however, was the fact that the random hole-in-the-wall spot I chose ended up truly being a hole-in-the-wall: I had to walk through a nondescript shop, then a mobile phone store to get to this tiny restaurant with only six tables. And when I walked in, I was a bit confused why all the other diners were still wearing their jackets, scarves, and hats… until it hit me: Oh, crap. This place doesn’t have heat! The only heat that could be felt in the place was from its semi-open kitchen, which of course was disseminating cooking heat into the air.

My friend also lives in Manhattan, and he agreed to join me in Queens for lunch. I could already see the look on his face when he walked in, but he said out loud what I was thinking he was thinking, anyway: “First, you dragged me out to Queens on a single-digit day, and now, the place you chose to eat at is this hole-in-the-wall that I almost missed because it’s so hidden, AND it has no heat? Really?”

Well, the food was delicious, and it was accompanied by two cups of piping hot and much needed milk tea. And it was all super cheap: nothing on the menu was over $6.

Yep, I’m a cheap date. The trek in this weather was worth it. And the lack of heat really didn’t matter in the end because a few bites in, we were both so warm that we took off our heavy winter coats.

It was a glorious day off. I’m even more happy that not everyone gets MLK day off, so everywhere I went, including this place, was far less crowded than it would normally be. These are the best days in the city.

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