Sunday, November 28, 2010

A week to celebrate

Monday, November 22, 2010

In & Out Vietnamese Kitchen, 29 Catherine Street. I know it’s November 22nd and what it means, but I didn’t make the connection to Vietnam until I started writing this. The restaurant is new, bright and casual. The menu has pho, the national beef broth, street food, sandwiches and rice/noodle dishes.

I had a Saigon spicy brisket sandwich ($5) on a toasted baguette, at least 10 inches long. The very tasty beef was accompanied by shredded carrots, all in a sweet, spicy sauce. This is a good choice for lunch and let Saigon be bygones.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yi Mei Gourmet Food Inc., 51 Division Street, is the mirror image of Golden Bowl, visited on April 15, 2010. It’s a narrow restaurant with 3 women crowded into a small space in front, surrounded by pans of maybe 30 cooked dishes, animal, vegetable and mineral. A woman serves (very small) portions of whatever you ask for or point to. I had sesame chicken (breaded chicken in goopy sauce), roast chicken (quite good, but only two bites worth), fried salt and pepper shrimp (easy on the salt and pepper) and spicy pork. A dish of white rice and a Diet Coke rounded out the meal for $4.50, no tax. The diners, all others Chinese, were quiet, but the three women employees chattered at a high volume. The food isn’t bad, and if time allowed, I might find several dishes as good as the roast chicken to make a good cheap meal instead of just a cheap meal. Note that the sharp shell of the shrimp, left on to be eaten, at certain angles, will aid your periodontist in ripping your gums away from your tooth enamel.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Great N.Y. Noodletown, 28 ½ Bowery was busy at lunch time, which was clear, sunny and cold. This was a return visit; I had last gone in February. While I walked in expecting to order beef chow fun, I chose shrimp and eggs with wide noodles ($9.95), expecting shrimp chow fun with shredded fried egg, as you would get in fried rice. The final product was quite difeerent though. The noodles were less than 1/4 inch wide, as if lo mein were flattened. The shrimp and egg were (was) really shrimp in lobster sauce, the runny egg sauce needing a garlic boost. The portion was very big and I left almost half the noodles over, but I wished I had some rice to sop up the remaining sauce. It probably was a good choice in that my anticipation of Thanksgiving dinner is heightened by this unmemorable lunch.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

America's Favorite Epidemiologist cooked a 22 1/2 pound turkey to near-perfection. We had 12 adult guests and 2 children, small and smaller. The age range was from 3 months 10 days to 100 years 364 days. Unfortunately, everyone seemed to eat so much that I only had one paltry serving of turkey with cranberry relish the next day. All else was consumed. I need relatives with smaller appetites.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Today was officially a work day, but I don't think anyone showed, even those whose mothers were not celebrating their 101st birthday today.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Back to work

Monday, November 15, 2010

There were Chinese restaurants in Quito, but we ate mostly Italian. So, I was prepared to jump right back into Chinatown upon returning to work. Jin Mei Dumpling, 25B Henry Street, is a bit larger than Tasty Dumpling, 54 Mulberry Street, or Fried Dumpling, Mosco Street, with three tables and 12 chairs, but otherwise quite similar. Five fried dumplings are $1 as are four steamed buns. With a Diet Coke, you’re set for the afternoon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mandarin Court, 61 Mott Street, has just reopened after extensive and attractive renovations inside and out, and now calls itself New Mandarin Court Restaurant. I am comfortable counting it as the 106th Asian restaurant I’ve visited in Chinatown this year. For the sake of precision, I have eaten in 104, took out from one and walked out of one other.

New Mandarin Court offers dim sum on one or two carts at a time, but I ordered scallion pancakes ($2.95) and walnut jumbo shrimp ($5.95) from the menu. The hostess insisted that I also take a portion of stuffed eggplant ($2.95) and I’m glad I did, because they were delicious in a tangy brown sauce. The other items were also very good, but suffered from identification problems. The scallion pancake was listed on the menu as 2, but only one was served, although of a large diameter. It was thin and cracker-like, not like the slightly spongy crepe or pancake usually offered. The shrimp, gently fried in rice flour, served with bright green broccoli, candied walnuts and mayonnaise, were excellent, but nowhere near jumbo. Neither error was significant considering the quality of the food delivered.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reach House, 88 Division Street, is a find. Behind an ordinary front, it’s a real joint inside. Small, 6 tables, rectangular and round. Chinese writing on flourescent pink paper covering the walls. For such a small space, it has a very large menu, featuring Foo Chow specialties, including duck’s tongue, pork stomach, "Lucky Intestinal," frog casserole and fried hao. informs me that hao is "an aluminum coin and monetary unit of Vietnam, the tenth part of a dong." Is there a straight line there, or what?

When I walked in, the only other customers were a group of 4 women and 1 man, median age about 28, with a lot of food in front of them, which did not distract them from screeching at each other the whole time. They nattered on even as I left, having enjoyed a wonderful dish – Clams Fried Mei Yan ($6.95, no tax added), previously unknown to me. Mei Yan turns out to be spaghetti-like rice noodles, which were stir-fried with celery, watercress, egg and (shelled, or is it shucked?) clams. The large portion was cooked just right, the clams tasting like what’s underneath the breading in Howard Johnson’s fried clams. A bowl of clear, slightly salty broth came with it, unannounced.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stanley Feingold was here for a periodic visit, so I went uptown to have lunch with him and 2 dozen others. We talked almost entirely about reviving the American economy. In spite of the bleatings of those who got us into this mess, I stand with Stanley in advocating public works programs to rebuild our infrastructure. Those are jobs the robber barons can’t outsource.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ajisen Ramen, 14 Mott Street, is the only Japanese restaurant that I have found in Chinatown so far. Outside, it has a display case of plastic food, a typical promotional device of Japanese restaurants. The interior was authentic looking, with bamboo across the ceiling, original drawings along one wall, and ceramics mounted on the opposite wall. It was only about 1/4 full, with Japanese and others equally. The food was very good. I had beef sukiyaki ramen ($9.50 on the menu, no tax and they seemed to give me a shabbos discount of 25¢). The big bowl contained ramen noodles, thin, sliced beef, half a hard-boiled egg, bean sprouts and thin, black threads of something in an opaque broth. The menu included sushi, yakitori and other Japanese dishes. The only two reasons I can offer for the relative emptiness of the restaurant were the prices, a bit higher than similar dishes at a Chinese restaurant, and World War II.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Galapagos anyone?

I'll save you 6,000 words.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Forty-Third Week

Monday, November 1, 2010

For a few reasons, I stuck to a bowl of chicken rice soup for lunch on this very autumnal day. On the way back to the courthouse, I paused to pay my respects to a Chinese funeral on Mulberry Street. I didn’t know the lady personally, but 13 black Lincoln Town Cars were used to transport her friends and relatives. A flower car had about 30 elaborate floral pieces piled on and a six-piece Italianate band played a dirge as her beautiful copper casket was carried outside the Ng Fook Funeral Home to the hearse. I hope she rests in peace.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day is a state holiday. I will not use this space to comment on domestic politics now, but my thoughts are contained on the note attached to the brick that I hurled through Rupert Murdoch’s window.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

East Market Restaurant, 75-85 Broadway, is buried beneath the Manhattan Bridge and sits behind another building that actually fronts on East Broadway. It is a typical dim sum joint, up a flight of stairs, a short block long, but relatively narrow. A dragon and a phoenix are on deep red walls at each end.

I was the only non-Asian in the place and seldom was heard an American word. Beside the three ladies wheeling carts, there was a table with about 15 prepared items and 6 woks serving food to order. I had 3 (medium-sized) egg rolls, 4 shrimp dumplings, 3 chicken dumplings, 2 (of 4) sesame coated balls holding a gelatinous substance, sticky rice and chrysanthemum tea for $11, tip extra. It was okay, but not the equal of 88 Palace just across the street or some of the other outstanding dim sum joints.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I stayed home today to pack and prepare for a presentation at West End Synagogue tonight. My lunch was smoked tuna and sable on mini-everything bagels from Fairway. What's not to like?

Friday, November 5, 2010

If all goes well, we will set foot in Colombia and Ecuador before the day is through.