Our snowy, three-day Valentine's Day weekend kicked off to an early start with dinner at Vivian and Ryan's and this incredible heart-shaped ice box cake that Vivian made from scratch and that I had to have two helpings of despite being stuffed with all sorts of yummy food, because it was damn good (recipe by Melissa Clark available here).
For the actual big day, we eschewed the crowds at the fancy restaurants and had ourselves an outer borough field trip. We rarely make it to Queens, but a three-day weekend was a good excuse to familiarize ourselves with the 7 train.
First up: the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.
Neither J nor I had been before, and it was really fun! The second floor houses the Museum's "Behind the Scenes" exhibit, which was divided into sections that focused on actors, with really beautiful portraits; directors, including a reel playing iconic clips from classic films; screenwriters, with pages of scripts and filming notes; set and design, with miniature sets and blueprints; costume; make-up (with wigs and masks and prosthetics - some of it was so creepy!). It was all fascinating.
There was a bunch of stuff on sound tracks and sound effects - from a wall of records of famous sound tracks to a station where you could add your own sound effects to different tv and movie clips to a booth where you could record your own dialogue over a movie clip.
I really liked how interactive so much of the exhibit was - in another room, J and I made our own stop motion animation video.
There was also a section about fans - from old fan magazines (I loved these!), to toys and books and other merchandise, to bizarro Star Wars collectibles (like a C-3PO tape dispenser).
Tons of old cameras and televisions, exhibits recalling Astoria's heyday as a popular shooting location, and a take on a retro movie palace theater that you could roam through.
Plus a section showing how baseball games are televised - you see a game playing through nine different cameras as well as a shot of the director in the booth calling the shots, and then another screen shows what actually makes it onto t.v. It was fascinating.
The museum was also hosting Indiecade - an annual festival of indie video games. This year's theme was love and sex - we tried to play the Realistic Kissing Simulator but were never able to figure out how to make our characters kiss!
From there, we headed out to Flushing for dinner.
About a block from the 7 train stop, Fu Run makes many "best of Flushing" lists, and holy cow. It was so good. I don't have the words to do it justice.
We got the triple vegetable delight - tender eggplant and taro that was starchy and creamy on the inside and crunchy and deliciously fried on the outside and enough peppers for a bite; garlic sauteed pea shoots, which I could eat every day; fried fish in a spicy, fragrant sauce; and the Muslim lamb chops.
Oh my God. The lamb was perfectly cooked, tender and falling off the bone, but the incredible part was that cumin-overload of a crust. I don't know that I would say it's the best thing that I've ever eaten, but I actually felt dazed and high afterwards, and it was strangely addictive - I'm still craving more.
Also, the two dollar beers didn't hurt.
We stuffed ourselves to the gills and packed up the rest to take home (best leftovers ever), then stopped by Iris Tea & Bakery on the way back to the train station to pick up some dessert. I was too full to finish everything that night, but my Taiwanese pineapple bun was a yummy breakfast the next day :)