Log: Sif & Hope Who: Hope Van Dyne & Sif What: Testing a brunch spot out When: Sunday (February 16) Where: Restaurant in Chinatown (NYC) Warnings: None
Brunch was a pretty big deal in New York City. There was a whole sea of restaurants that offered a good midday meal - but rather than go for something traditional like an eggs bennie or delicious, gloppy French toast, Hope thought that the scene for the next girls-only extravaganza might be set at someplace in Chinatown. A place where you could watch enormous crustaceans swimming in tanks while waiting for a table and then enjoy wonderfully chaotic dim sum carts dishing out portions of fresh seafood.
There was no sense in dining alone to give the spot a try - because naturally she wanted to vet it before the ladies swooped in, and she’d feel awful if the agreed-upon place truly was awful - so she asked if Sif wanted to come with her. Sif, who probably rolled out of bed early this morning, on a weekend, looking flawless - whereas Hope bemoaned the state of her raggedy nails (her workouts tended to leave them looking rough) and couldn’t find a damn thing to wear.
She eventually settled on jeans and a ‘Professional Bookworm’ t-shirt, with a sweater thrown over that because, yeah, it was still cold. Of course, she wanted to be comfortable because surely she was going to eat an excessive amount and then literally roll on out of here. “So have you ever had dim sum before?” she asked, taking a sip of her complimentary water. Though she’d also ordered a Bloody Mary because no brunch was complete without one. “It’s like...small plates in steamer baskets. But you get endless rounds.”
"I'm not familiar with any of this," Sif told Hope as she looked around the room, taking in the sights, the scents, the low hum of people talking in different languages around her. "I'll just have to learn as I go." Whatever parts of Midgard these foods came from was very different to Norway.
Sif was dressed in jeans, a dark t-shirt, and a leather jacket which was now sitting over the back of her chair. New York wasn't really cold, not compared to Asgard or Jotunheim, and she only noticed the wind when it was funneled between the buildings. She had pulled her hair back in a low ponytail but otherwise pretty much had come as she'd rolled out of the shower after her morning sword practice.
"The lobsters I know. But the spices here are very different." She sniffed again. "I like this idea of small plates. We can all try a lot of different things. I'm going to have to ask what some of them are, though." Half the menu seemed to be in a language Sif had trouble making sense of.
And yep, Sif absolutely looked flawless. Hope was a little in awe - or maybe it was just that she still couldn’t believe she had become friends with a goddess. Like, a literal actual one - she’d have to ask Jane about that, like, the classification or whatever. Or maybe she could just ask Sif herself, if she could figure out how to not make it sound stupid.
That usually wasn’t a worry for Hope. She liked to think she was pretty smart. Alas.
“Yeah, Asian spices are different - they use a lot of five-spice. Lemongrass. Sometimes star anise. Feel free to ask away, I’ve got you,” she grinned, consulting the menu once more. They could decide on a first round and then go from there. “What have you been up to since we mashed monsters? Anything exciting?”
"I've been splitting my time between New York and New Asgard. I'm in charge of the royal guards in New Asgard, but that's a nominal duty when nobody is in residence. And Thor has been in New Mexico. I do a lot of training with the guards. And the little ones--I teach the children the skills they'd need to be warriors. Which for most of them," Sif clarified, spreading her hands, "is what you'd call physical education. Endurance and strength training." Which she thought had to sound remarkably boring to a Midgardian scientist based on her discussions, with, well, Jane. "What have you been up to?" Because surely it was something more interesting than leading lessons and sword practice for children.
It wasn’t boring at all, not to Hope. She grinned a bit at the mention of Sif teaching children to be warriors - she pictured a bunch of youngin’s waving pint-sized swords around (swords that they could actually lift) and shouting. It was kind of cute, in fact.
“I mean, I do a fair bit of the physical myself - I like to practice martial arts,” she shrugged; her Bloody Mary arrived then, and she was eager to get a taste of that brightness and sweetness, a contrast to the celery salt and the garnish. “I started when I was a kid. So it’s a pretty good thing, what you’re doing.”
As for what she had been up to, it probably wasn’t as exciting. “Honestly, just working a lot?” She poked her celery stick around in her glass. “I need a life. Hopefully Darcy and I can start those burlesque lessons soon. I got her a package of classes for that Secret Santa thing.”
"I don't know that word, burlesque," Sif confessed, "but we all could use some leisure. I was given a 'spa package' that I still need to use, probably sooner rather than later. If I had to guess, I would say it was from the Lady Pepper, but no one has come forward." She smiled, a little aware of how awkward it was, and took a sip of her mimosa, enjoying the lightness of it on her tongue and the feel of the bubbles.
“Oh, it’s just like - a fancy, sexy kind of dancing,” Hope explained. She’d never really attempted anything like that before, but probably needed some sort of physical activity that wasn’t just throwing punches at people and things. Something more graceful and poised. “A spa package? That sounds great.”
Hope definitely hadn’t been the giver there, for Sif’s own Secret Santa - she had Darcy, and she was pretty sure one of her fellow scientists had her, but no one had come forward there yet either. If it had been Jane, surely she’d have mentioned it by now. Either way, Hope was definitely making use of the new equipment though.
“I mean, if you want a companion for spa times?” she sipped her drink. “I’d be happy to make sure you actually use the gift.”
Sif had been a little worried about the idea of asking any of the women she knew to accompany her; she knew so few mortal women. Christine was busy and she was pretty sure asking Jane out for a spa afternoon would be somehow inappropriate, or upset Jane. "That would be wonderful. I'd like that very much. Thank you for offering. I left the certificate in my room at the Tower but I'll text you and we can set up a day for it."
The dim sum cart rolled on by, and Hope selected rice noodle rolls and egg custard - next round she’d probably go for the chicken feet, and she had no qualms about it. Fung jeow was delicious, fight her about it. But as she arranged her small plates, she realized that inviting herself on someone else’s spa trip may be weird - luckily, Sif didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, she even seemed pleased.
“Oh, good, I was hoping you wouldn’t think I was odd for offering,” she grinned sheepishly. Sometimes her mouth got ahead of her. “But yeah, spa date. That sounds great. We could both use a little pampering.” It was true. Hope lamented the state of her hands and feet daily now.
"Then pampered we shall be." Sif had chosen a basket containing some steamed buns. She figured she'd get to try everything Hope tried, but she had no idea what any of the dishes were. Watching the diners around her, she could see that a number of them were using chopsticks. Fortunately Sif had been issued a fork as well; she could make do with that. She cut open one of the buns and discovered it was full of broth that leaked all over the plate. "Oops."
“Oh - “ Hope chuckled a little, but it was a warm sound. Not like she was laughing at Sif - it was a mistake anyone could make, right? Lots of people tried to eat soup dumplings with a fork - and subsequently squirted out liquid all awkward-like.
She would do her best to help. “You kind of have to pry it open with the chopsticks, then bite a hole at the top and use the little spoon to drizzle some broth inside the dumpling,” she advised. “Then you slurp it out.”
Gently grabbing one of the soup dumplings with her chopsticks, she demonstrated. “It’s tricky, I know.”
"This is a very complicated foodstuff," Sif said, frowning with concentration as she attempted to repeat Hope's process for eating the dumpling, with the chopsticks and the opening and the pouring broth in. She managed to do it with only a little spillage. Then she grinned. "Worth the effort, though. I like them."
“They are good, aren’t they?” Hope grinned. “Most everything here is. Even the chicken feet.” It would be a prime spot for their upcoming lady brunch, and she’d do her best to put together something fun for that on a day everyone was available.
Which sometimes seemed easier said than done, but. Hope was nothing if not a determined mastermind when it came to organizing important outings, clearly a skill she learned from her mother - a social butterfly, whereas Hank (and sometimes Hope, to some degree) would rather hunker down in solitude.
But now she had a spa date to look forward to as well, so, things were definitely looking up.
Sif wrinkled her nose a little in confusion at the idea of the dish Hope had mentioned, but she was biting her lip and not quite suppressing a smile. "I don't think I've ever eaten chicken feet before," she had to admit. "You're already introducing me to many new aspects of Midgardian life. I like it."
“Gotta make myself useful somehow,” Hope winked, just a little bit of self-deprecating humor. But actually, she found that she was enjoying introducing Sif to other things Midgard as well. No doubt a long-term stay here was a bit of a culture shock, so, anything she could do to help she would absolutely do.