I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but the end of summer is knocking. It's September if you haven't noticed and the last official day of summer is on the 22nd of the month. I think it’s important to acknowledge in order to take advantage of what’s left of this beautiful weather. So, I planned a bike date to Chinatown with a friend because the one thing I always miss when cold weather hits are warm nights that are perfect for getting outside and spontaneously experiencing new things.
A bike date? Yes, really, a bike date. It was so much fun, so affordable and by the time I got home I think I burned off my dinner. I want to share this story with you because I hope my late summer adventure here in New York City will inspire you to do the same. Before you know it, your bike will be collecting dust so why not go for a ride? Grab a date!
I mentioned the idea of experiencing new things. Well, in the 11 years that I’ve been living in New York City I’ve never tried the dim sum here and I figured it was time I check that box. I’ve had dim sum in a few other cities but it seems sacrilegious not to try this Chinese delicacy in the city I live in. Chinatown is a fun part of Manhattan to visit and it’s very bike friendly. Riding your bike in NYC can be nerve wrecking but I find that riding at night is actually quite peaceful because there’s less hurried/work related traffic. Chinatown by bike at night qualified as something new, the weather was perfect for it…and what better way to fit in a leisure workout? My date was on board so I met him in Soho and from there, we pedaled east down Bowery Street.
The streets in Chinatown are small, safe and quite charming as long as you’re not bothered by the occasional smell of fish. At night, there’s really only foot traffic from hungry locals and tourists. Our plan was to ride to Nom Wah Tea Parlor which gets great reviews online for it’s dim sum but we arrived a little too close to closing time and they were no longer taking orders. Apparently they’re Chinatown’s “1st dim sum parlor”. That’s what their window-front says. I was bummed we didn’t make it in time but that’s why Chinatown is so amazing, there’s always something else right around the corner to check out.
We rolled up to Ping’s Seafood Restaurant on Mott Street. Dim sum--loud and clear—on their window. I love Chinatown! Everything’s so spelled out. And frankly, I appreciate it because when you’re on a bike you don’t always have the ability to break and stop. I was happy we had found our spot!
We locked our bikes up and walked upstairs into the restaurant. It was full of people feasting on dishes that smelled so good it sent my stomach into a hunger pang. Ping’s dim sum menu had exactly what my date and I were craving.
We ordered steamed shrimp dumplings and steamed crab dumplings as well as minced beef shu mai that disappeared in seconds. Here’s a pic of that below…
Everything was SO GOOD and our bill was literally $26. I’d definitely go back…without a question!
My date got the check (he’s the best!) and then we jumped back on our bikes not quite ready to head home. We slowly pedaled down Bayard Street and passed an interesting dessert shop that caught both our attention. The name was Beautiful Memory Desserts. I tried to find a website for it but the best I could do is this Facebook page and Yelp review page for their first location in Flushing, NY. We both looked at each other and decided it was too bizarre not to poke our heads inside. From the outside, Beautiful Memory Desserts looks like this:
The entire window showcases their Hong Kong-style sweet dishes. The food is so cute and colorful, arranged in such a unique way that it almost looks fake…then again, the display dishes probably were. Many of the dishes have a slushy or soup-y component. Some of the types of fruit, seeds and gelatinous sweets used in these desserts will not be familiar to you, but that’s half the fun! I love trying new things so IN we went to satisfy our sweet tooth.
Check out the Beautiful Memory Desserts COMBO BOARD! OMG, I was on Hong Kong dessert overload because everything looked so intriguing, I had no idea what to order. We asked the waitress what to get and she told us that Combo 4 was the most popular. Personally, I couldn’t wait to try the Snow White Sago. Here it is!
I really didn’t know what to expect but when this dish was set on our table, I was amazed by how bizarrely beautiful it was. It felt like Snow White Sago was staring right back at me too! The soup-y dessert is a mix of delicious mangos, bananas, logans, palm seeds and hazel seeds in a slushy milk with vanilla sauce. The seeds look exactly like little eyeballs. They’re strangely slimy and crunchy when you bite down.
I’m a big fan of Andrew Zimmern so when I saw a video clip playing inside Beautiful Memory Desserts (on their in-store TV) of AZ himself featuring them on an episode of Bizarre Foods, I flipped out! The only reason my date and I were sitting inside this little dessert shop was because we got on our bikes to grab dinner and explore. And look what we found! A place that even TV host Andrew Zimmern thinks is strange enough to try for his show. Pretty cool stuff.
The end of our night was very chill. We rode home the long way and talked about how much fun we had doing something different. We ate some really good food but we also exercised as we hunted for it. I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend a summer evening and being on our bikes made it so easy and fast to get around. I will definitely be hopping back on my cruiser over these last few days of summer.
I wish I had a better shot but here’s one in motion of me that my date took from our epic ride:
I got everything I needed for my bike date at Target®. If you’re looking for bike essentials, like a lock, basket or hooks to secure your belongings, you can find them in the sports section at Target®. I highly recommend browsing their active-wear collections too. I’m a big fan of C9 and all the great pieces they carry for my leisure bike riding adventures.
Have you been on a bike date lately? Where did you go and what did you discover? Please share in the comments section below.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Target® C9 through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9, all opinions are my own.