Saturday, July 3, 2010

Twenty-Sixth Week

Monday, June 28, 2010
I returned to the scene of an early triumph, Wo Hop downstairs, 21 Mott Street. It seemed physically more attractive today, maybe because it was only about one-third full. The 90 degree temperature with high humidity may have kept a lot of potential diners off the streets. Sitting in the center of the small restaurant, facing the long mirrored wall allowed me to see the small collection (compared to 69 Bayard) of dollar bills pasted on part of the ceiling and wall, and the random array of photographs on most other available surfaces. The lighting also seemed brighter. Another contrast with my prior visit was the amount of salt in the food, from quite excessive to add some soy sauce. One constant, however, was the wonderful, wide fried noodles to nibble with mustard and watery duck sauce.
This weekend we had dinner at the nearby apartment of friends. They divide their time between a home about 50 miles away and this local apartment. America’s Favorite Epidemiologist was fascinated by the garbage disposal in their kitchen sink, a device that is allowed in very few Manhattan apartment buildings, because of the burden put on pipes and sewage systems. I don’t recall whether we were barred from installing a garbage disposal when we moved into our upper West Side love nest in 2003, or merely discouraged from doing so. In any case, to make my One and Only happy, I plan to take our garbage to our friends’ apartment regularly for disposal. It’s these gestures that keep our love alive.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
My next obsession may be to eat everything served by Dim Sum Go Go, 5 East Broadway. I returned for the second time today, after reaching Heaven on Earth. On prior visits, I ordered the plate of 10 assorted dim sum, which invariably contained 11 different items. Today, with the help of a friendly waiter, I picked specific items – rice roll with beef, baked roast pork bun and duck dumpling. The rice roll, a big, square, steamed rice noodle rolled à la crepe or blintz around a flat layer of chopped beef, was very good. The baked bun and the duck dumpling were excellent. I love duck, but I’ve written of the perils of Chinatown duck. This dumpling, however, tasted solely of shredded duck meat, no fat, no gristle. Each dish was about $3.50 and worth every yuan.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Last night, on my commute home, I read the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen written in The New Yorker. I don’t mean a quote from some bozo politician or self-enamored celebrity; I mean the writer-reporter’s own words in an article about "Afghanistan’s first media mogul," Saad Mohseni. "His biggest [television] advertisers, six Afghan banks and four mobile-phone companies, pay a top price of five hundred dollars for a thirty-second ad. (A similar ad on the Super Bowl sells for about six thousand times that rate.)" If that apples to camel dung comparison impresses you, allow me to cite, a web site that offers "Local 30 sec TV spots from $3.00 per insertion [and] National Network spots from $20 per insertion." If I were interested in a career change this late in life, I might consider bringing fyitvnetwork to Afghanistan and cause more parenthetical gasps at yes, The New Yorker.
Lunch was pleasant at the Paris Sandwich shop, 113 Mott Street, a Vietnamese fast food joint befitting its name. You order at a front counter, pay and get your sandwich further back in the café. I ordered a shredded chicken sandwich which comes with Vietnamese mayonnaise (there was a dressing, but I would not call it mayonnaise), pickled carrot threads, cilantro, cucumber and jalapeño pepper (which I skipped) ($4). You are also offered hot sauce, which I accepted in moderation. The sandwich comes on a fresh baguette (the French connection) and was quite good. I also ate 3 good, small spring rolls ($2.25) while my sandwich was being constructed.
[For the eyes of Dean Alfange only.] I read a bit while eating my Vietnamese sandwich, but was left with ample time to stroll in and out of several grocery/variety stores in the area. While in Sun Vin Grocery Store, 75 Mulberry Street, I saw in the ice cream freezer cabinet Sweety brand durian ice pops and Polly Ann brand durian ice pops. Sweety was more expensive at 4 for $2.39; Polly Ann was only 4 for $1.99. I had no intention of buying either brand, at least not right then, but I puzzled over the choice. Given the highly suspect flavor/aroma of durian, is it wiser to pay more, presumably for a higher quality product, or less so that the likely bad taste test costs less? On the other hand, it’s possible that higher-quality durian has more characteristic durian-ness, that is a pungent, offensive odor, and I would be getting too much of a bad thing. I await Dean’s next visit to New York, so that we might experiment jointly.

Thursday, July 1, 2010
I went to lunch with Attorney Glotzer and arrived at the lobby of his office building a little early, allowing me time to read the building directory. I found many familiar names among the attorneys at 225 Broadway, perched close to the nearby state and federal courthouses. The most interesting tenant, however, was an enterprise called "Y Shaped God LLC." Let’s pause a moment and consider the possibilities. I immediately thought of what the British call traditionally-constructed men’s knitted briefs – Y fronts, jockey shorts to us in the good old USA. Even now, I can’t get the idea out of my head or out of my shorts, although the theological or eschatological implications elude me.
Now, here’s the scoop. According to, "at the Studio of Y-Shaped God, we approach your hair the same way we approach you as an individual - with an abiding interest in who you are: your character, lifestyle, and all that makes you unique." Yoshi, the proprietor (there's the Y), moved here from Japan in 1986, at age 19. The core belief of his philosophy is "hair and lifestyle, including mental health, are deeply related." Let that be a lesson to you.

Friday, July 2, 2010
I did not expect to report today, as many of you fervently hoped. However, as I wandered through Chinatown on this gorgeous day, I passed so many familiar establishments, that I decided to go into a new place. XO Kitchen, 148 Hester Street, is very deep, but about 1/3 of the width is taken up by the open kitchen. Most of the vertical space in the dining area is covered by 8 ½ x 11 sheets of paper with color photographs, names and prices of dozens of dishes. This made it easier to order from the very long menu, which contained a section of Japanese dishes as well as those strange spaghetti with cheese sauce hybrids. I chose the House Special Pancake with Peanut and Sesame Paste ($5.95) and a shrimp and avocado egg roll ($4.95). Both were excellent. The pancake, close to a crepe in texture, would have been great with either a cup of coffee or a scoop of ice cream on top, it was that versatile. The egg roll, a couple of inches longer than the conventional egg roll, was stuffed with (surprise) shrimp and avocado. It was hot from the fryer and was served with a very mild wasabi mayonnaise and freshly pickled ginger. How could I keep this to myself?
Happy holiday.

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