Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Today is the first day of the rest of my blog. Fortunately, I had to return two DVDs to the library, but our local branch does not have night deposit capability. The same was true of the Murray Street branch, a block or so off my regular path downtown from the subway. The Internet, of course, told me that there is a library branch at 33 East Broadway, in the heart of what I call Chinese Chinatown, that is, an area devoted to the needs of relatively recent immigrants, mainly Fuzhouese, rather than the tourist Mecca of Mott Street and vicinity. To get to 33 East Broadway, I had to pass Dim Sum Go Go at 5 East Broadway, the best choice for dim sum solo. I ordered the assortment, 11 pieces differing in color, texture, shape, contents. What a treat.
Walking back to the courthouse, now laden with two pounds of red cherries (2 lbs for $3) and one pound of bananas ($.49), I heard the sound of a pounding drum and I followed it to 11 Mott Street, where the Lobster Boat Restaurant was being opened with the proper fanfare and feng shui. I knew that where there was a drum there would have to be a dragon and, indeed, there was one chasing the evil spirits away from the front door of this new joint. Five men clanging cymbals accompanied the man pounding the kettle drum combining for a cacophony that surely chased away the evil spirits, awakened the dead, and took the paint off nearby walls. Tall plants decorated with red ribbons inscribed in gold wishing Mazal Tov to the new venture, which I will see the inside of pretty soon.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Happy Birthday to America’s Loveliest Nephrologist.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
The venerable Dean Alfange writes: "At your last stop, the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, you mentioned that one of the flavors they offered was durian. I had never heard of anything called durian, but, on the basis of Wikipedia’s evaluation, I think you were wise to pass it by. Then, by total coincidence, I happened to pick up, for a pleasurable diversion, a book by S.J. Perelman, in which there is a passage that described Chinese ‘tucking in rice mixed with trassi, compared to which even the durian is attar of roses.’ From which I concluded that Wikipedia’s assessment was probably accurate and that you were certainly sensible to select different flavors. You did not say whether trassi was also one of the available flavors."
It was only a matter of time, 48 hours actually, before I went to the brand-new Lobster Boat Restaurant at 11 Mott Street. I had watched the dragon, drummer and cymbalists (synonym for semioticians?) operating on Tuesday, and I imagined that the evil spirits have long fled the vicinity by now. Conflicting spirits, however, greeted me when I entered the restaurant by walking down a flight of stairs. Crowding the entrance to the small restaurant were 20 or so tall plants, 4 to 5 feet, with red ribbons inscribed with golden messages presumably wishing the owners break a chopstick. The staff, however, seemed only as animated as the plants. Many of the patrons, all Chinese, were looking around for someone to serve them. I stood for a few minutes as unnoticed as I might be, until a waiter pointed me to the empty table I was standing next to. All the tables were covered in red and white checked oil cloth laid over the table top without being fastened. My table covering felt sticky even before I started dropping food on it. The lunch menu was much more interesting than the restaurant’s interior. There were a dozen or so lunches for two people with three or four main courses and another dozen lunches for one with two main courses. All of these combinations included shark’s fin soup, garlic bread, spaghetti or fried rice and dessert. I ordered roast chicken and salt-baked shrimp; I told the waiter to keep the soup and turned away the garlic bread and dessert when they came. This strange behavior, rejecting food, had several roots. It’s hot out today, 85 degrees at 2 PM; garlic bread geht nicht with Chinese food; the dessert looked like whole milk poured into a coffee cup, which I might have delved into if I had not had so much food already. The chicken was a whole roast chicken, a chicken-sized chicken, not a quail-sized chicken, very nicely roasted. The six salt-baked shrimp were not wonderful à la Phoenix Garden Restaurant, 242 East 40th Street, no credit cards (when still in Chinatown, the place where Ed Koch had a mild stroke while eating), but edible. They were served, head and all in the shell, impaled on a wooden skewer giving them impeccable posture. The fried rice was not the real fried rice that I cherish, but okay under the circumstances. To do justice to the chicken, the waiter brought clear plastic gloves to preserve your manicure. I took them away, unused, in case I plan to leave no prints somewhere else. $9.95, an incredible bargain. Better get there before their accountant does. On the way out, I asked a young woman who was spreading garlic butter on the soon-to-be garlic bread why serve garlic bread in a Chinese restaurant. She didn’t know, but the manager said that it was only a half-Chinese restaurant; he was aiming for a broader audience. While my usual approach to menu planning is the more the merrier, I hope he bags the shark fin soup, the garlic bread and the milky dessert, but keeps the chicken coming.
Friday, June 4, 2010
I received an e-mail from Amazon.Com this morning explaining how I can link my blogs to Amazon, so that my readers, stirred into a buying frenzy by my persuasive comments, can simply access Amazon directly from my page. "You might even make some money in the process! Amazon pays an advertising fee to a Blogger user who is a participant in Amazon's Associates Program and whose visitors buy products linked from their blog." I have a better idea, simply send me money.
I did not have to leave the courthouse for lunch, because Unity in Diversity was celebrated in the marvelous rotunda. After some music by a pipe and drum corps and a song or two, the food was unleashed. Every group, organization, society involving court staff at any level had a table with food. Where there was an ethnic basis for the group, the food reflected it. Don't ask me why, but the gay and lesbian group offered desserts.
I sampled, sampled mind you in case any epidemiologists are listening, the following:
Roast beef wrap
Chicken wing boneless
Chicken wing bone-in
Arroz con pollo
Beef on skewer
Chocolate chip-cranberry cookie
I skipped some things, such as:
Mozzarella and tomato sandwich
Rice and beans
Macaroni and beef (Greek style)
Black and white cookie
Irish soda bread, even though the scintillating Mary Elizebeth (no A) Bartholemew was pushing it.
The rotunda was jammed with court folk, including people from other buildings as far away as 71 Thomas Street, my former lair. The density of the crowd caused me to completely miss the Shomrim Society's table holding potato latkes, potato kugel and kasha knish, a typical Hebraic meal consisting of three starches held together by fat. I resisted the woman server's urging me to take some for later, but I promised to return next year for more Unity.
When I left work, on the way to an evening of Boazsitting, I saw a couple leaving the marriage bureau, she in strapless white wedding dress and he in kilts of a handsome dark plaid. He told me, with a wonderfully thick Scottish accent, that he was wearing Gray Bute tartan. See for yourself: http://kiltmakers.com/pdf/hirebrochure_12.pdf