Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I returned to work today after more than a week of intense grandparenting and am happy to be back at my desk merely trying to please 50 judges of the New York State Supreme Court instead of trying to gain and maintain the attention and cooperation of one 2 ½ year old child. I remained upbeat in spite of the gloomy, damp, gray, gusty weather and the news that the New York City Department of Health has closed New Bo Ky Restaurant, 80 Bayard Street, visited on April 16, 2010, Sweet Spring Restaurant, 25A Catherine Street, visited on May 17, 2010, Chang Wang, 38A Allen Street, Gao Xin Seafood Restaurant, 31 Division Street and Golden House Chinese Restaurant, in Long Island City. The latter three I have not visited and may now never have the opportunity.
The weather dictated a bowl of soup and I chose to go back to Big Wong, 67 Mott Street, a favorite of many, but which impressed me more with value than flavor on March 17, 2010. I ordered soup with dumplings ($4.75) and got a medium-sized bowl of soup with 8 or so tasty dumplings. When I left Big Wong, I decided to add a second course to lunch by buying fruit from one of the vendors on the sidewalk around Canal and Mulberry Streets. The white peaches looked spectacular, ranging from 4 for $2.50 to 4 for $5 based on size. However, in complete contradiction to Starbuck’s, the smallest were large. Unfortunately, none of the white peaches of any size at any of three stands I approached were ready to eat. In fact, they were ready to drive nails. Instead, I bought pluots at 6 for $2, nice and juicy, ready to eat. Pluots, pronounced plew otz, are a cross between a plum and an apricot, tasting and looking more like a plum. There is also, but not in Chinatown at present, plucots, another cross between plums and apricots, favoring the apricot. I don’t recall ever having had a plucot actually.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Bonnie Glotzer tells how to avoid the Evil Eye when faced with the necessity of moving from a higher floor to a lower in the same building, a very risky maneuver. Leave your old apartment carrying a chair and take it down to the street. Sit on the chair on the sidewalk for a reasonable (lawyers say practicable) period of time. Then, enter your new apartment by ascending from the street rather than descending from above.
With former President Jimmy Carter (see note) in North Korea, it was no surprise that Thai Son Vietnamese Restaurant, 89 Baxter Street, was jammed at lunchtime with as many non-Asians as Asians. The Asians may have been Chinese or Vietnamese, but I’m not able to distinguish them. People were always waiting to be seated, although not for very long. The medium-sized, pleasantly-decorated restaurant handled diners quickly without rushing them. In fact, I had to go to the cashier to get my check after finishing my Cha Gio (spring rolls, 4 for $3.95) and Tai (beef soup with rice noodles and thinly-sliced eye of round, $5.50). Both were very good, the Tai leaning towards excellent. A dish with bean sprouts, lime wedges and mint leaves accompanied the soup, which was already aromatic with the scent of cilantro. I threw some of the stuff in the soup, but did not use any of the four sauces, soy, sweet, hot and hotter, on the table.
Note – Harry Truman used to insist that he was a former President while Herbert Hoover was an ex-President, during the Eisenhower years when both were still alive. The difference, according to Truman, was that Hoover had been defeated for re-election. By Truman's standard, Carter is an ex-president. What about a former wife and an ex-wife, then. Any comments?
Thursday, August 26, 2010
New Wong Rest. Inc., 103 East Broadway, is so new that the take-out menus by the cash register still read 103 E.B. Rest. Inc., which was okay because they seemed otherwise identical to the menus stacked on the tables. All the dozen or so tables were occupied, but usually by only one or two people. Pink predominated on most surfaces including the walls and the table tops. I was the only non-Chinese customer, but my English was clearly understood and service was prompt and polite. I had Singapore Chow Mei Fun ($6.25), a big portion of fine rice noodles, hot off the wok, cooked with shrimp, pork, egg, celery, green pepper, red pepper, green onion, and onion, with a mild curry flavor. Good job, New Wong.
Friday, August 27, 2010
A lead local news story today concerns James D. Gibbons, who abruptly resigned as a judge of the Criminal Court of New York City. While his affair with a Legal Aid attorney resulting in the recent birth of their son was well known, other factors apparently led to him leaving the bench. According to the New York Daily News and the New York Post, Judge Gibbons had pornography stored on his work computer, “lots of crotch and cleavage shots” said an unnamed investigator from the Manhattan DA’s office.
Why do I bring this up? Judge Gibbons’ work computer is the same as my work computer; we are part of the same enterprise, the same system, the same telecommunications network. I just found him on our internal electronic address book. Our office e-mail addresses both end in @courts.state.ny.us. His telephone extension is 4677 and mine is 4685. But, you know what’s different? I can’t get pornography on my work computer, or at least not until now.
The court system has a firewall that excludes lots of stuff. For instance, access to Facebook, Jdate and other social networking sites is barred. That’s fine with me, especially considering my state of wedded bliss. Some rules, however, need a drop of nuance. America’s Favorite Epidemiologist has published many scholarly articles in her distinguished career. For a time, she focused on perinatal transmission of HIV and the efforts to curb the infection of newborns. When I tried to view an article she co-wrote on this subject, the court system’s firewall rejected the request because of the content – HIV, AIDS, sex, drugs, naughty, naughty, naughty. From now on, inspired by Judge Gibbons, I’ll be aiming for crotch and cleavage.
Lunch was at Lok Sing Seafood Restaurant, 290 Grand Street, with a shiny new exterior, but looking half-finished inside. Much more notable than the food was the location, Grand Street at the corner of Eldridge Street. Once upon a time, this location was closer to Kiev than Kunming, teeming with Eastern European Jews. Now, it’s simply a northeastern section of Chinatown.
A bit hungry after the modest portion of beef with orange flavor and the long walk, I bought one Dragon Fruit for $2.25, at $2.99 per pound. Dragon Fruits, I looked it up, are properly called pitaya, a fruit of the cactus family. They are covered by beautiful purplish red leaves with green tips. They are about the size and shape of a medium-sized cooking onion. You eat them by cutting off one end and peeling the skin back to reveal soft white flesh studded with black specks, poppy seeds if this were a bagel. There is no pit, so you can bite into it or scoop out the fruit. The texture and black seeds evoke comparison to kiwi. Mine was mildly sweet and I can say I finished it.