Monday, November 29, 2010
Facing my first ever root canal surgery later this afternoon, I sought comfort food for lunch, no surprises. I went to 69 Bayard Restaurant, 69 Bayard Street, for hot and sour soup ($2.25) and beef chow fun ($5.25) and I was not disappointed. The soup was served hot, spiced hot and sour, the bowl a little bigger than small. The medium-large portion of beef chow fun was also freshly cooked, hot from the wok.
The decor remains fascinating, dollar bills covering almost every square surface inch. Only the ceiling has room for additions, although people have started overlaying dollars on the walls with more dollars. The graffiti written on the dollar bills has increased, not entirely a welcome development, because some of it seems borrowed from truck stop men’s rooms.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
My e-mail today included a promotion for a restaurant, as follows:"An intimate gem of a restaurant, the Black Duck is nestled on the ground floor of the Park South Hotel. Enjoy an intimate night out at this cozy neighborhood spot, where Executive Chef Hector Tice serves delicious Pan-Atlantic bistro fare."
Repeating "intimate" in succeeding sentences was mildly disturbing, but my attention turned to the thought of Pan-Atlantic cuisine. Might that be a mix of the best cuisines of New Jersey, Labrador, Fort Lauderdale and the Outer Hebrides?
The result of yesterday’s dental work is only a sore jaw, the result of keeping my mouth wide open to accept the dentist’s fist for an hour. I had chicken rice soup at lunch and scrambled eggs with lox for dinner, presenting no chewing challenges.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
My mouth took its revenge last night. A couple of hours after eating lox and eggs for dinner, the area above the tooth that had been rooted and canaled started to ache. Then hurt. Then pain. Then torture. At 1 AM, I went out to a nearby drugstore (only 1 block away if you suburbanites wonder why we pay those high rents) and bought benzocaine, a topical anesthetic. It worked at first, masking the pain for five minutes or so. Then, even with seven ibuprofen pills running through my blood stream, I was in agony. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I attempted to answer America’s Favorite Epidemiologist’s questionnaire on environmental factors in handling pain among older men. I finally got some sleep and went to my dentist this morning. He is in the same building as my periodontist and they collaborated in removing a molar ravaged by gum disease from the upper left side of my mouth and $1,350 from my wallet.
Ever in the pursuit of justice, I went to work and finished the draft of a decision in a dispute over payments to the ex-wife for a couple who got divorced in 1993. Late in the afternoon, I ate some bread lathered with strawberry preserves and Peanut Butter & Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams, peanut butter mixed with dark chocolate. I usually keep a jar of this miracle drug handy to give to our beautiful daughter-in-law, but I needed strong medicine to restore me to pre-op shape. I’m now well on the way to recovery.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Ron Goldbrenner was in the courthouse and he asked me to join him at lunch. Ron has two very accomplished (adult) children and the nicest ex-wife that I know. I took him to Shanghai Asian Manor, 21 Mott Street, a reliable choice. I introduced him to soup dumplings (called soup buns at other joints) and he handled them deftly, not shpritzing himself or me with hot liquid as he bit into them.
Much of the conversation, unfortunately, concerned who had the worst set of teeth, although, I was not unhappy to come in second.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Almost no one eats at Lily’s Chinese & Japanese Restaurant, 31 Oliver Street, but apparently a lot of people are fed by it, judging by the bustling take-out and delivery business I witnessed. No more than one other of the six small tables was occupied while I had lunch. Arguably, Lily’s is not a real Chinatown restaurant, not just by its outlying location, but because it is a real neighborhood place, not relying on inquisitive foodies, groups of Chinese families or friends, or stray tourists. It could be located anywhere and its menu would have the same familiar dishes.
However, I ate well at Lily’s. A sushi chef stood just inside the front door, but I wasn’t feeling that experimental. I ordered shrimp egg foo young ($7.50) which came with white rice and a big serving of a dark brown, sweet, salty sauce on the side. It was an excellent combination, three large youngs proved very filling.
Oliver Street itself was quite interesting, even if I never knew it existed although passing it by several times a week. It is one of the eight streets radiating (more or less) from Chatham Square. It runs only one block now, cut off on the east by a housing project. One side of the street is made up almost entirely of early 19th century brick houses, not in disrepair, but not restored to the level of Barrow Street west of Hudson or Bedford Street west of Seventh Avenue, for instance. Number 25 was the home of Alfred E. Smith, governor of New York and unsuccessful presidential candidate, when he was going to school at the long-defunct St. James parochial school on James Street (a/k/a St. James Place), one block away. If you are exploring the neighborhood, you must stop in front of the second cemetery of Congregation Shearith Israel - The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, at 55 St. James Place, which was in use from 1682 to 1828. The congregation’s first cemetery, the first Jewish cemetery in the United States, dating from 1654, has disappeared, its location unknown. As a result, in typical Jewish style, the second cemetery is now known as the first cemetery. The current second cemetery is at 76 West 11th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenue, and is worth a stop when exploring Greenwich Village.