Monday, March 14, 2011
Quickly, 11 Pell Street, is a beverage shop. The name is "Quickly." It serves ice tea, bubble tea, fruit tea, milk tea and slushes. It claims to have branches in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Spain, Canada, Japan, England, New Zealand and Vietnam. This branch also serves four snack foods, two of which constituted my lunch. Crispy fried chicken and crispy fried tempura were each $3.50. One item with a hearty drink would make a decent lunch, and the one item should be the chicken, spicy pieces coated very lightly with a starch to yield crispiness. The fried tempura was supposedly fish cakes, but while smelling strongly of fish, it chewed and tasted like tofu. The other choices are fried squid balls and black rice cake. The food is served in little wax paper bags with wooden skewers. Seating is at three high tables surrounded by stools.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I walked many blocks east and north looking for a new restaurant. I wound up at Chang Wang Restaurant, 38A Allen Street, a small place that seems to rely on takeout and deliveries. It has only one round table, 2 rectangular tables (holding four) and 2 square tables (holding two). The cooking area takes up close to ½ the restaurant. I ordered chicken fried rice ($5) which wasn’t bad, but suffered from the problem that all fried rice poses. You can’t eat it alone – either by yourself or by itself. Eating with someone else immediately solves the other half of the equation because it forces you to order more than one dish. Fried rice requires a goopy dish to be combined with, either rice into goop or goop into rice. Ideally, the fried rice would be suspended in the goopy dish in a colloidal blend.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Once upon a time, Eldridge Street north of Canal Street was halfway to Kiev. Now, it is about a half mile from the courthouse and sprinkled with Chinese restaurants. Fen Yang Corporation, 107 Eldridge Street, looks only a few weeks old. It has eight round tables and one small rectangular table, which held the only other patron when I walked in. Eventually, a family group of six and a pair of men, all Chinese, came in. One wall has a large, maybe 5' x 8', illuminated color photo, which annoyed me. I’ve enjoyed such photos, usually of the Li River, in other places, but this was simply a large boring photo of the Temple of Heaven in the Forbidden City. The perspective, the light, the nondescript people milling around just made for a lousy picture. Actually, I found that much of the Forbidden City is more attractive in photographs than in person. But, not this time.
Fen Yang’s menu is beyond conventional, with goose intestines, frogs, pig stomach, and "Noodle w. Rabbie," a nice ecumenical touch. I had clam pan fried noodle ($6.75), where pan fried means lightly stir-fried. It was good, including eggs, celery, green onion in mei fun, the fine rice noodle.
If you want to seem a chopstick wizard (is there a musical for The Who in that?), order mei fun (vermicelli) in the next Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant you visit. Sticking your chopsticks into the tangle of fine noodles always comes up with a respectable mouthful, drawing admiring glances from East and West.
Friday, March 18, 2011
With the temperature at 74 degrees at lunchtime, it is the nicest day in New York City this year. I walked over to Tribeca and had lunch with Marty McC, the senior administrator of the little courthouse at 71 Thomas Street where I worked for almost seven years. We held off on our conversations about physical disasters in Japan and political disasters in the Middle East until after we finished our sandwiches. We were insightful, but inconclusive.