I was looking through the other contestants’ videos and wasn’t really impressed. 93 Plates was pretty much basic training for living off Groupons, so I felt my rÃ©sumÃ© was pretty strong, and I wrote a pretty sexy essay, so I felt that was going to be good enough, but in hindsight, I should have sat in front of the camera and spitballed for an hour and then picked the best stuff. I was considering shooting a different version with two hours left before submission time, and then I saw this:
What the fuck. I didn’t stand a chance. Meeting Josh for dinner this week, I knew I couldn’t have lost to a more deserving candidate. He’s a super nice guy, genuine, and fun to hang out with. He doesn’t know shit about blogging, but that’s pretty easy to learn. I expect he’ll be linking, tagging, and formatting in no time.
Josh already got his post up (see what I mean about the a href?), and some of this will be rehash of that, but most of it will be freshness. We’ll start with the drinks:
The drink menu looks sexy as hell – I don’t have a picture of it, but it’s a bunch of stamps (like passport stamps) that show the titles of the drinks and the ingredients. Very cool. I saw one that made me think of a drink I had at Drink, and modified it to fit what I liked. Turns out it was Lemon Vodka, Grapefruit Juice and Saint Germaine.
The elderflower and grapefruit combination really works well together – I’m glad they didn’t have the bitters I asked for. You need to try this. This drink alone might make Saint Germaine an essential part of your liquor cabinet. We had two more drinks after this, but they weren’t that memorable. Their drink list isn’t on the website, but they have a list of alcohol they have. This is dumb.
We started with the Shrimp Dumplings:
The sauce was a red curry with a little extra coconut milk in there. We wanted to dip everything in this from here on out because it was pretty fantastic. As for the dumplings … kind of standard steamed dumplings, but the fried carrot strings on there really stepped it up a notch. This was the second favorite item of the meal.
Our lighter fare on the appetizer side was the Green Papaya Salad:
Josh liked this better than the last papaya salad that he had. I needed the roughage. It was between this and the salmon tartare and I ended up wishing that we decided on the latter.
The surprisingly awesome thing about The Elephant is their Curly Fries:
Looking at those things, you think “Meh, curly fries. Been there, ate that.” Au contraire mi hermano. These are insanely crispy, expertly spiced, super frites from God. Josh joked that if he ever came here again, he’d have the curly fries and then bounce. He wasn’t so far off. I definitely came up with the Sriracha/mayo dip idea. That was a universal win. I think I’m going to bottle that shit and sell it. How could I go wrong? with that business plan?
For our entrÃ©es, I had the Pad Thai with Extra Shrimp (only $3.00 for the extra shrimp? Yes please):
Josh had the Tilapia in Red Curry:
Neither of these were exceptional. The Red Curry was the same as the stuff that the dumplings were served with and brightened up the fish a bit, but the flavors in the pad thai jumbled together and you couldn’t really discern its pad thainess save for the peanut crumble on the side. I wasn’t pumped and can’t recommend either.
The meal came to $100 and Josh gave me carte blanche to pick a Groupon; I selected a free dental checkup (I have some crappy dental insurance). We moseyed on over to Merc Bar to talk about the Lost finale with Catherine and some other awesome Twitter friends that I’d yet to meet. Amy Feezor, Ken Wheaton, Nichole Robertson, Jenna Park, are all complete geniuses in what they do and were great conversationalists. They all wanted to know how the Groupon challenge was going.
How do you think it was going? He got to live for free, travel everywhere in America, meet new awesome people, and all he has to do is write a blog post every few days. I mean, if that isn’t the life, I don’t know what is. The one thing that he brought up is that he’s thinking about lobbying for a Groupon wedding later this year if the contest doesn’t destroy his relationship (I would think he’d have some trouble fighting off the Groupon groupies – I think this guy wears size sixteens).
As we departed, I gave him my unlimited-ride Metrocard to use for the week (I’m in DC right now) and he was pumped. The thing I thought was going to be the biggest problem with the contest was getting around within the cities. You knew they were going to give him a way to get from city to city (Megabus), but deals with local transit companies weren’t really going to happen.
I’m pretty sure I have another Groupon coming for this favor.
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New York, NY 10003