Friday, May 30, 2008


Connections and relationships are what this world is all about right? So, when my one of my sisters best friends took care of us upon moving to NYC, we were stoked. She had been in NYC for 5 years; had come to go to Columbia University and then had worked for a year after school to figure out what the next step in her life would be. The time finally came for her to leave and in doing so, she gave us a sweet present.

The gift was an extremely thoughtful one and will give us an opportunity to record our thoughts, organize them and have a pocket size reference handbook to New York City. So she gave us this pocket size organizer-extensive New York maps-subway guide-fill in your NYC experience book. Inside, she included her personal guide to New York complete with restaurants, coffee shops, museums and random "must do" things; like spinning the Astor Place cube. Anyway, good connections and good people are the best. Probably part of the reason that I am so happy to be staying in touch with the W.E.T. River Trips crew.

Thai is some of our favorite food to go eat consistently. Last Friday night, Maria and I decided to meet at Columbus Circle and walk to one of the recommended Thai Restaurants. The restaurant is called Pam Real Thai and is on what I understand to be the Hell's Kitchen District of New York City, close to midtown on 49th Street in between 9th and 10th Avenue.

We went to the place and realized it was cash only; no problem for us at the time considering I had cash on me. We had heard that is was a "hole in the wall" type of place and semi-small and comfortable. Maria and I enter and are seated and get used to the place.

I'll skip to the point here, we ordered three dishes, all recommended by local media and mentioned that they are recommendations on the menu. The dishes included one red curry, one green curry and one deep fried duck dish. Here we are at this hole in the wall, low key, small Thai place and we taste the food; best Thai I have ever had hands down!!!

It was awesome. The two curries were $6.95 each and the duck dish was $9.95. This being said, we frequented Thai Basil and Amarin Thai Cuisine in Sacramento and tried as many Thai places as we could in Northern California. All in all, we left smiling, having eaten excellent food and will be going back consistently. Just so everyone knows, the name of this place is Pam Real Thai.

Fast forward to Tuesday evening and the good vibes that Maria and I felt from Thai on Friday are still around and we want to do a repeat. All day Tuesday, the only thing I can think of is that duck dish that I had last Friday and eating it again.

We decide to again meet at Columbus Circle and walk to the restaurant. Upon meeting, the entire feel of the evening is different. Maria's hinting that maybe we should just go home and not walk the distance or that perhaps we should just eat at a place closer to 59th Street (Columbus Circle). It's hard for me though, to get the thought of the duck out of my head and so I push to make the hike.

One issue that comes up is the need for cash in order to eat at Pam Real Thai. I have none and Maria has none and all we have is our card, therefore we need to see our bank on the walk in order to get cash. It's a twelve block walk, 10 streets and two avenues; avenue to avenue being longer than street to street. On that trek, we see many banks, however, none of them are ours.

Finally, we are at the corner of 9th Avenue and 49th Street and we see a Duane Reade, a popular New York Drug Store. Our thought is that we can get cash back. We bought the right gum and Maria picks out her candy and we pull out are card and hear the sad words that say, no we do not give cash back. Thai will have to wait!

What are we going to do now! Well, we're both cold, we're tired of being on our feet, we have to use the restroom and we would like to sit down and enjoy a meal. Fortunately, there are other restaurants around. We pop our head into a Japanese place on 9th Avenue; they only take cash.

Okay no problem we think, there is a nice looking Mexican restaurant across the street. We walk in, and see the decals on the window that say they take cards. Good thing, we make eye contact and I ask just to make sure if indeed they take credit; they do and we are in business.

Now this blog is meant to contrast these two restaurants literally across the street from one another. While the Thai place across the way had been a hole in the wall, this place was very nice. There was an obvious bar scene, trendy electronic beats created a sound that potentially could draw a crowd. It was somewhat bust and we sat down immediately.

Maria and I, having just moved to New York City and just started new positions after traveling in Costa Rica are on a budget and when we looked at the menu, we realized we may be blowing the budget. The prices were a little high for us, something like $15.00 was the least expensive Burrito.

Coming from California and being used to a plentiful taqueria scene with amazing Mexican cuisine at our fingertips, for a good cost, we were a bit saddened. I chose to go for the Chimichanga and Maria went for a salad with chicken. The Chimichanga was $15 and the salad was $13. We made sure to drink water and stick to only one basket of chips, as each additional was $2.50. Certainly, the prices were high, but the restaurants intention was to have the trendy vibe make up for that. My hope was that the portions would be good sized. The service was efficient and the food did not take too long.

Unfortunately, there was more disappointment to be had in realizing that the portions were tiny. Literally, if I had wanted to, my Chimichanga, cut in half and plated in a creative way, could have been eaten in four bites. It was sad and so was I. Maria was equally disappointed in receiving her salad, a small and interesting spin on a salad, Mexican style. We left disappointed and will not go back. The name of the place did not stay in our memories long enough to make it to this blog. Just know that it is on the East side of 9th Avenue near 49th Street.

Two Hell's Kitchen restaurants, 100 feet from one another, and they couldn't be any different. Always remember to carry cash in New York City.

Thank you Theo for the blow by blow... the warning has been noted! Ok, all you travelers this summer... bring some cash when you are in New York City... then come on out and do a whitewater rafting trip with us in California! We feed you on the house!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

W.E.T. Secret's Out! Rafting Triple Crown

Shhhhh... oh yeah, I forgot to leak this news. W.E.T. River Trips and the W.E.T. crew came up with a funny idea a few weeks ago... well, actually, Big Poppa thought it up.

It's not usual to be able to do all three forks of the American River at any time of the year. River flows depend on so many variables that usually only two of the forks are running. Every spring, though, there are a few weeks where it is possible for W.E.T. to have a triple crew working on all
three American River whitewater trips in one day.

Big Poppa thought, "Hey, why not try and do all three whitewater rivers in one day with one crew?"

Aieeee! Carumba! Yeah... a very good idea, indeed.

Kudos to the Sacramento Bee writer, Gina Kim and river photographer, Randy Pench for their awesome participation on this project. Even more thanks goes to W.E.T. River Trips' own staff member Ryan MacPherson, professional documentary filmmaker for creating the video for the Sacramento Bee. Ryan and his Blood Good Productions company lent us a hand in creating the media for this three rivers in one day project. Thanks bro!

But the crew with the most,
W.E.T. River Trips... gawd, you guys rawk so hard I can't even begin to tell you guys what you really accomplished. From the North Fork American start at 7ish in the morning with a take-out at 8am, put-in on the Middle Fork American at 9ish, take-out at 12ish and finally a put-in at the South Fork American around 2ish and take-out at Salmon Falls around 5ish... dudes... you could have done this in waaaaay less time than 12 hours... you guys were moving that fast!

Ok... so definitely, the W.E.T. team is honed and ready to roll for the 2008 whitewater rafting season. Look out peeps... 'cause W.E.T. is on a rampage!

GOOD BLOOD PRODUCTIONS: (Ryan MacPherson videos)