Monday, January 24, 2011
15 degrees outside at lunchtime; probably the coldest day this winter. I was determined to go to a new place and I went into Fay Da Bakery, 83-85 Mott Street. As with many other Chinatown bakeries, it serves sweet and savory food, eat-in or take-out. I had a roast pork sticky bun ($.95), a chicken sticky bun ($.95) and a baked roast pork bun ($1). They were all sub-par, but the tea was very hot and the chocolate mousse cake ($2.95) was passable.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Today's newspaper reported:
"Justice [Clarence] Thomas said that in his annual financial disclosure statements over the last six years, the employment of his wife, Virginia Thomas, was 'inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions.'”
Financial disclosure:Hard -- Constitution:Easy.
The big sign over the small restaurant below street level at 21 Eldridge Street says "Young City Fish Balls." Once inside, the menus and the business cards announce, more prosaically, Yung City Corp. Ultimately, I went away without fish balls, but I had the best single, low-priced dish in Chinatown to date, Foo Chow won ton soup ($1.50). The medium-sized bowl had a mild clear broth, nice and hot on this cold day, crowded with small, delicate won tons, the wrappers almost transparent and the fillings no bigger than an original plain M&M. This was very different from the conventional won ton soup. My Chinese language skills remain weak, but maybe Foo Chow means "very different from the conventional."
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Today, it is snowing for the sixth time since Christmas. It’s a pretty sight from my office on the fifth floor of the courthouse or from our seventeenth floor love nest at Palazzo di Gotthelf. However, since my lunchtime wanderings are conducted at street level, I’m curbing myself today and heading to a nearby, reliably familiar joint. Wo Hop, 17 Mott Street, downstairs, was a near-ideal choice. The weather kept it relatively empty, which allowed the waiters to be particularly attentive. I got chop sticks without asking, I got mustard without asking and the tea (in a glass) was refilled spontaneously. Best of all, I asked for chow fun Singapore style, while the menu only offered chow mei fun (vermicelli) Singapore style, and the waiter never hesitated to comply.
The dish itself ($7.60, 10 cents more than the chow mei fun) was wonderful. Chow fun Singapore style is one of the finest treyfe dishes imaginable, right up there with a bacon cheeseburger, a dish that far exceeds the acceptable bounds of Kosher cuisine. It contains shrimp and pork strands along with egg and chicken, scallions and yellow onions cooked with curry powder, leaving the noodles pliant but dry. My chopsticks were clicking along like an old Royal typewriter.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
We had 11" of snow yesterday, arriving in two waves. As a result, today was pretty quiet as schools were closed, the federal courts next door were closed, city buses suspended through the morning rush hour. Many intersections had two to four feet of slush at the curb stymieing progress. However, Galloping Grandpa Alan set off at lunchtime to find a new spot and came up with a winner. Full House Café, 97 Bowery, does not correspond to any image that its name seems to convey. Rather than looking like a casino or a saloon out of the Old West, it is starkly modern, bright and roomy. It has two levels of seating, street level and a balcony above. I sat downstairs in one of the eight very large booths, party of six no problem. The bench portions of the booths were framed by columns of lavender light, lavender for City College, not violet for NYU. There was no touch of the color red to be seen anywhere in the restaurant. Unfortunately, the dramatic interior was somewhat spoiled by four flat-screen monitors on the walls, two showing pictures of dishes from the menu and two playing MTV Chinese-style. They were high enough up the tall walls that you could keep them out of your vision.
Most important, the food was excellent. Full House features dim sum ordered from the menu. I had assorted sea food dim sum ($7.95), eight pieces, steamed, in four different shapes, crescents, cylinders, triangles and tubes crimped along the side. I also had fried chicken on skewers ($3.75), grilled, not deep-fried. Go and enjoy Full House with a charming companion so that your eyes don't wander up to the TV sets.
Friday, January 28, 2011
It was July 28, 2010 when I tried to have lunch at Xe Lua Vietnamese Restaurant, 86 Mulberry Street, waited much too long to be served and walked out. However, with the Year of the Tiger soon ending and the Year of the Rabbit approaching (on Boaz’s birthday this year), I felt it was time to take stock and end any lingering resentments not connected with the Republican Party. This time the restaurant was only half full and I received immediate attention. I ordered at 1:29, received a pot of tea at 1:32, and my food at 1:37. I put down my chopsticks at 1:49.
I had beef stir fried with chilly (sic) curry sauce ($10) and a side of fried rice ($3). While the rice was a rip-off, the beef was excellent, cooked with lots of purple onion. I never tasted the curry, but the chilly sauce was hot and sweet, in a wonderful balance. The power of forgiveness worked again.
BULLETIN - I may start skipping lunches in order to save enough money to buy a piece of the New York Mets. Stay tuned for further details.