Dispatches from July 7
9 AM: Sleeping in!
Noon: We put down our names for a table at the renowned Din Tai Fung dumpling house. As predicted, there’s an hour and a half wait, so we wander around the shopping center. A store called “Dream Era” advertises “Cafe, Books, and Gifts,” but it sells none of these things. It’s actually a store that you might get stuck in during a dream. They sell all kinds of bemusing and surreal junk. Witness:
The Happy Castle Farm for winning creepy stuffed animals
The combination of Hello Kitty, toast, and cell phones is…a natural winner?
Finally our number’s up at Din Tai Fung! We eat incredible xiao long bao, or soup dumplings. These dumplings are made with a gelatin broth mixed into the filling. When they are steamed, the broth melts, yielding a dumpling full of meat and soup! You load it into your spoon, poke a hole with your chopsticks, and sip the broth while eating the dumpling. Mmm!
3 PM: Returning from our long dumpling adventure.
6 PM: At my cousin B’s. He’s proposing to his girlfriend and wanted it to happen among friends and loved ones.
The cousins ponder the coming future
B planned a beautiful setup with cake, flowers, and a custom engagement ring
She said yes!
9 PM: Arthur and I are walking Tasha, the family labradoodle, then relax in a Jacuzzi. Or rather, I relax. Arthur finds the water too hot and attempts to turn this into a badge of New England honor. Uh-huh.