Saturday, February 20, 2010

Seventh Week (L'shana tovah)

Gung Hoy Fat Choy. Happy New Year.
It’s the Year of the Tiger.
You were born in the Year of the Tiger if you fall in one of these slots:
31 January 1938 - 18 February 1939
17 February 1950 - 5 February 1
5 February 1962 - 24 January 1963
23 January 1974 - 10 February 1975
February 1986 - 28 January 1987
28 January 1998 - 15 February 1999
15 February 2010 - 2 February 2011 (You shouldn’t be reading this, it’s time for your nap)
Good matches - people born in year of the pig, dog, mouse, sheep, rooster or others born in the year of the tiger.
Bad matches - people born in the year of the ox, snake, monkey.
Best match -- Jews and Chinese food.

Monday, February 15, 2010
Chinese New Year is not a legal holiday, but President’s Day is. I haven’t worked in six days and I miss it (working or Chinese food?).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Wet snow falling as I walk to Noodle Village, 13 Mott Street. Medium-sized with 20 or so square tables, a few round tables set with chopsticks and soup ladle resting on a chopstick-soup ladle rest and a small round tray with salt, pepper, soy sauce, clear red (vinegary) sauce for dumplings, thick red pepper sauce in a squeeze bottle, and a small pot of dark red, thick, mean-looking pepper sauce. Some New Year’s decorations on the wall. Mostly Chinese patrons. Tea served in a white ceramic pot, but almost all other dishes, including tea cups, were from a matched set with a Chinese motif.
I skipped the special lo-mein for $60 and ordered the beef chow fun for $7.95. A big portion with good beef, but noodles cooked two snow storms ago. Their toothpick dispenser was unique, however. Not the usual Lucite box with the little wheel, but a cylinder pushed in so it has parallel side walls with a domed top. You slide the flattened cylinder up (it is an outer shell) and put it down causing a little man to pop up from a slit at the top of dome holding a toothpick above his little head.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 (Need we say more)
Excellent Dumpling House, 111 Lafayette Street may not be excellent, but it is very good. When I worked in Tribeca, it was the only Chinese restaurant in or near Chinatown that I went to regularly, about ½ mile each way. It’s small, but always crowded. It has about 10 tables holding 2 to 4 people, 2 tables for six and two round tables where strays like me are placed. The place is hopping with people quickly being seated and served and many others ordering to take out. A pot of tea in a metal pot is placed in front of you immediately. My round table had five people and five pots of tea. Chopsticks and the famous little soup ladle are set at your place.
I had hot and sour soup and the hot appetizer combination – an answer to the dim sum dilemma. This combo consists of one sticky bun, one spring roll, two crabmeat won ton and two different dumplings. It’s like going to a dim sum place with 3 other people. You get one of each at least, but avoid having to scoff up 4 of something, thereby taking away precious gastro-room from another delight. The combo is served with classic, sticky, red, pseudo-sweet and sour sauce to dip in. There were even two chunks of canned pineapple in the sauce to guarantee authenticity. I asked for mustard as well and was promptly given three flat, transparent plastic packets. If only they had taken the time to squeeze the mustard into a little dish.

Thursday, February 18, 2010
My congenial office mate, Michael, suggested that we eat a birthday steak today, his birthday and one day after mine, so we walked to Palm Restaurant on West Street. The exercise was good and the food was very good.

Friday, February 19, 2010
New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe, 50 Mott Street, opened within the last few days. It replaced Mr. Tang, a better-than-average looking place, that had been around for years. It occupies a big corner spot at the intersection of Bayard and Mott. The interior looks brand new, refreshingly modest though stylish in decor with tables of all sizes equipped with chopsticks, a fork, a soup ladle, a small dish of mustard (but nothing to dip in it) and a pretty tea pot – white ceramic, etched with blue Chinese characters, with a bamboo handle. Equally spiffy were the staff in fresh red tunics with black trimming and a gold medallion embroidered on the chest. They were also very friendly.
The lunch menu offered 52 choices with hot and sour soup and white rice ranging from $4.75 to $6.25. I chose fish filet in a spicy sauce at the top of the price range. It was well worth it; a medium-sized portion that was spicy when it said spicy. The sauce was flecked with red chili flakes if you only had to resort to your sense of sight to detect them. More than half the customers were Chinese, but I noticed many tourists looking in without walking in. I imagine when good reviews start to accumulate, as they should, non-Chinese patronage will increase. Then, I wonder if spicy stays spicy. That little red pepper seen on so many menus is often no more than an ink blot.


  1. "the special lo-mein for $60"

    I hope that price was a typo...

  2. No fried noodles with duck sauce and mustard at the Palm, but a good steak was a nice change of pace

  3. Mark,

    No typo. We will have to mount an expedition to deal with it once I've completed the round of 72.

  4. I hope your trip to Paris and lots of good French food won't confuse your digestive system.