Monday, January 17, 2011
Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday.
Incidentally, these ruminations may now be found at http://www.abajournal.com/blawg/Heaven_On_Earth/, a service of the American Bar Association Journal. This will allow my many lawyer friends to wander the highways and byways of Chinatown vicariously with me and record it as billable hours.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Miserable weather. Snow overnight turned to icy rain during the morning commute, then cold rain until late afternoon. I slogged through the slush to Shanghai Asian Manor, 21 Mott Street, probably the second closest Chinese restaurant to the back door of the courthouse, for hot and sour soup ($1.75) and Shanghai lo mein with mixed meats ($6.95). It’s still two blocks away, but is a reliable source of good soup buns and dumplings, well prepared noodles, and other comforting dishes. You’d have to destroy Columbus Park and two large Chinese funeral parlors to bring Shanghai Asian Manor closer, so we’ll leave well enough alone.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The matrimonial judges of New York County and their staff have monthly brown-bag lunches. I’m invited today to hear a talk about valuing marital assets. Maybe we will decide who owns the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I walked many blocks as I made an indirect path to Nam Son Vietnamese Restaurant, 245 Grand Street. A surprising sight was the change on the Bowery, above Grand Street, an area that was home to close to two dozen lamp stores. If you expected to spend more than $20 on a lamp or lighting fixture, that’s where you shopped. We bought the lighting fixtures for both bathrooms in Palazzo di Gotthelf there and the track lighting for the very versatile den/bedroom/media room/study. When Mother Ruth Gotthelf needed to replace her table lamps, it was to the Bowery I went. I shopped there for halogen bulbs sometime last year. Since then, I observed today, several of the lighting stores have closed or are in the process of liquidating/moving/closing. One building, at the corner of the Bowery and Broome Street has been leveled. While it’s possible that the newcomers will be the kind of boutiques and boites that have emerged on or near Orchard Street (once the home of discount shopping on the lower East Side and the World), I’m betting that I’ll soon have a new supply of Chinese restaurants.
Oh, back to lunch. Nam Son is medium-sized, nicely decorated with faux bamboo. It was near full without the feel of being crowded. Patrons were Vietnamese, not Vietnamese and mixed groups. I had Bun Cha Gio ($6.50), 6 small spring rolls cut in half, over vermicelli and lettuce. It was very good, although the vermicelli was effectively lo mein, another sign of the decline of older immigrant groups on the lower East Side. As a typical Vietnamese restaurant, Nam Son had almost every imaginable utensil in buckets on the table and 4 sauces.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Yuen Yuen Restaurant, 61 Bayard Street, is on a busy street and is easily ignored because of its tiny size. It has six tables, comfortable for two, sometimes crowded with four people. The Chinese customers seemed to order off the fluorescent pages pasted on the wall. I used the menu and ordered spare rib chow fun with black bean sauce ($5.75). The large portion contained onions, green and red peppers, bean sprouts and black beans cooked in a brown sauce with the noodles and small chunks of spare ribs. It was very well-prepared and a good deal for the money, but soupier than I like my chow fun. I had to switch from chopsticks to fork to spoon to get to the bottom of the plate, but it was fun if messy.
I think of cherries as summer fruit. After all, the cherry blossoms bloom in late March, early April in Washington, DC. However, cherries have been on sale widely in Chinatown for over four weeks. Prices never exceeded $5 for 2 pounds; today, I took a position at $3 for 2 pounds.