Monday, February 14, 2011
Today is Valentine’s Day, but no longer Saint Valentine’s Day. While there were 14 martyred Saint Valentines in ancient Rome, according to WikiPedia, the Church ceased "universal liturgical veneration" of him, her and/or them in 1969. In any case, the weather was wonderful today, 55 degrees, bright, cloudless, so I had to find a new restaurant, which I was unable to do last week. WZW, 88 East Broadway, is in the basement of the mall at this lucky address, crowned by 88 Palace, the very good, very large, very successful dim sum joint. I had no idea that there was a basement below the ground level duplicating its dozens of stalls selling jewelry, phone cards, clothing, groceries and cellular telephone plans. In the spirit of Dora the Explorer though, I found this open space with a random collection of tables and benches next to an open kitchen. I was the only non-Chinese customer until a young couple came in. They did not otherwise spoil the demographics, with everyone but me under 30.
I ordered fried sea clam with Mei Fun ($6) which came with a tasty clear broth that almost made me wish I had a cold. The noodles, gently stir-fried, were mixed with green onion, onion, lettuce, egg, bean sprouts and very chewy pieces of clam. It was a very good dish, just 50 cents shy of the most expensive on the menu. My chopsticking was flawless, even as it was scrutinized by the many Chinese youth surrounding me.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Wise counsel Nick Lewin, Stuyvesant and CCNY graduate, was in court today along with a senior member of his firm. We went to Ping’s Seafood, 22 Mott Street, but avoided seafood dishes because of Nick’s allergies. However, picking dim sum from the rolling carts and ordering from the menu gave us a wide variety of choices and enough good food to fill us up. We had egg rolls, baked pork buns, sesame meatballs and beef in rice noodles from the carts. Then, we had beef Chow Fun and garlic roasted chicken. Almost everything was very good, the sesame meatballs more sesame than meat. The chicken was exceptional and will probably shield us from evil spirits for the next day or two.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Michael, with whom I share an office, a Stuyvesant diploma, a taste for good food and single malt Scotch, and adjacent birthdays, and I walked over to Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, 409 Greenwich Street, for our birthday celebration at lunchtime. We both had Cajun rib-eye steaks served with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach on the lunch menu. The food amounted to 1/3 of the total bill once drinks, tax and tip were included. The Palm remains Numero Uno.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Name two superstars born in Brooklyn on February 17th. Hint, the other one is Michael Jordan.
The Chinese Lantern Festival was held today. East Broadway, from Catherine Street to Market Street, one long stretch measuring at least two blocks, but uninterrupted by a cross street, was festooned with red lanterns hung every 5 feet on both sides of the street, a veritable Chinese Eruv. The street and the sidewalk were covered by colorful confetti, shot from yard-long red tubes wielded by dozens of school children. A street fair was set up at Market Street, with a platform laden with dignitaries, and tables along the curb representing different civic groups.
When the men at one table, who were inscribing bright red paper with Chinese calligraphy, learned that today is my birthday (how did that happen?), they pushed me forward to give me a square-foot paper with the symbol for Long Life, now pinned to my bulletin board.
Lunch was somewhat special as well, a tiny joint I had not visited before, Hua Ji Pork Chop Fast Food, 7 Allen Street. It had six stools pressed against a narrow counter that ran around two of its four walls. I had an excellent scallion pancake ($2) and good Chow Fun with curry sauce ($5), which turned out to be Singapore Chow Fun, as I know it.
Friday, February 18, 2011
America's Favorite Epidemiologist and I flew to San Francisco to visit America's Loveliest Nephrologist. We arrived at around 3 PM, our luggage at midnight, but by then we had had an excellent meal at Garibaldi's, 347 Presidio Avenue, which elevated our mood. I almost left no room for my meal by eating the delicious bread, focaccia, baquette and Tuscan, with chopped and whole olives set down when we sat down. Fortunately, I left enough room to get really stuffed with the 5 appetizers ($7 each) that they bundled for $27, beet and goat cheese salad, chicken liver pate (assume an accent) with aspic, fried risotto balls, humus and salume (salami at a higher price point). All of these things were very good, and by the time I finished them off, with a little help, I almost had to pass on the hot chocolate cake concoction with caramel ice cream and nuts. It wasn't easy staying awake until midnight to greet the luggage after that meal, but I managed over the roar of the surf washing over the pillow next to mine.