Friday, May 27, 2011

Wedding Bells

Monday, May 23, 2011

About six weeks ago, two wedding invitations arrived in the same day’s mail. More significantly, the weddings were planned for Sunday, May 22nd at nearly the same time; one in central New Jersey, the other in Suffolk County, New York. We had meaningful ties to both events. Lainie, the eldest daughter of my cousin Michael Goldenberg (my mother is a Goldenberg) was marrying Jesse Roth, while Jordana Klein was marrying Adin Meir, the middle child and younger son of Leah and Aryeh Meir, very longtime friends of America’s Favorite Epidemiologist. And, Aryeh was the rabbi who joined us in wedded bliss eight years ago this week.

Anthropologically, the Goldenberg-Roth wedding had more to offer, since it would be held according to strict Orthodox Jewish rules, notably separation of men and women except during the meal, which says all you need to know about the status of food in the Jewish hierarchy of values. The Klein-Meir wedding, to be conducted by Rabbi Meir, would follow more contemporary Conservative Jewish customs. In spite of the simultaneity of the invitations, the choice of venue had been made months before when the Klein-Meir faction sent out a charming photograph of the young, nature-loving couple high up some mountain with a request to hold the date. On the other hand, the strict piety of the Goldenberg-Roth pair had effected a different courting ritual, held entirely at sea level. They had first met late last year, and very quickly decided to marry, first informing most family members of the news by means of the wedding invitation.

I wore the Silverman Tuxedo (Trademark pending) and America’s Favorite Epidemiologist looked smashing in a champagne-colored silk suit. Unlike the Goldenberg-Roth affair, where men and women were not permitted to dance together, the Klein-Meir affair had a 13-piece band that kept people on the dance floor most of the evening. Actually, resort to the dance floor was necessary because the decibel level of the music was so loud that conversation was impossible, and sitting in place near-painful. As a result, some of the guests Sunday came equipped with their own ear plugs, a precaution that escaped me. Mind you, this criticism is applicable to almost every wedding and B’nai (Bar and Bat) Mitzvah party I’ve been to this century.

Tokyo Mart, Inc., 91 Mulberry Street, is a medium-size Japanese grocery store, with a small selection of tea pots, chopsticks and other tableware. It also has one sushi chef preparing for take-out and delivery orders. However, I spotted a rickety stool in a corner next to a small table and I plopped down and asked for $10 omakase (chef’s choice). The chef was eager to oblige and I soon had a collection of fresh sushi in front of me, including eel, clam, tuna and salmon. The take-out menu pictures 37 different varieties or combinations available, costing between $3 and $9.50, except for one lobster combination at $11.50. While you are probably as welcome as I was to sit on the rickety stool, it makes more sense to take your food to Columbus Park, the jury room or your cell.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan. He is 70 years old today. I recollect seeing him twice in person: early 1965, in Bailey Hall, Cornell University, where he performed acoustic versions of most of the songs from the (about-to-be or just released) album "Bringing It All Back Home"; June 1989 at the Royal Concertgebouw in the Hague, while on a two-week solo vacation in the Netherlands. The first occasion was thrilling. I already knew Dylan’s music, as it was up until then, but he emerged as a rocker with Subterranean Homesick Blues, Maggie’s Farm and Mr. Tambourine Man. 24 ½ years later, I was delighted by the continuing vitality of his music, and a bit surprised by the high quality of his performance, since Dylan was touring exhaustively then, as he continues to now.

Mama Eatery, 46 Mulberry Street, is the third closest restaurant to the back door of the courthouse where I work, but I’ve never gone in until today. From the outside, it looks Chinese, with a picture of a tea pot as its emblem and wooden beams surrounding the large front windows. Glancing inside, however, and at the menu conveyed another feel. But, risk-taker that I am, I ventured forth today. The interior is bright, modern, with aluminum chairs and tables, track lighting and a large oval cut-out in the ceiling that seemed to be covered by egg cartons. You order at the counter and, if you choose to eat in, a tray is brought to you quickly. There are Asian touches, veggie spring rolls, Katsu chicken hoagie, Thai beef, and a selection of bubble milk teas. On the other hand, you can have bagels and lox for breakfast, Caesar salad, Philly cheese steak, and a variety of burgers – beef, turkey, chicken, tuna and "Gardenia."

I ordered a teriyaki panini (trying to effect a Eurasian fusion) ($7.50), which was quite good and large, although it could have been called chicken fajita without changing an ingredient. It came with a choice of onion rings, cole slaw or French fries (another ecumenical twist). I took the French fries, more frites than McDonald's. At 1 PM, the place was mobbed with court personnel and jurors from surrounding buildings. Mama makes my list, good food aside, because of its location, minor menu influences and, apparently, an all-Chinese staff.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today is the upper West Side’s Power Couple’s eighth wedding anniversary, setting a new world’s indoor record for me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dim Sum Go Go, 5 East Broadway, is one of my favorite restaurants and, probably, the one I most frequently recommend. I walked in knowing exactly what I was going to order, but glancing at the lunch menu of non-dim sum dishes, I saw Singapore chow fun ($12.95), a pinnacle in Chinese cuisine. For the price, 50-75% more than I’ve typically paid, I expected a special treat. The portion was quite large, the ingredients well-prepared and carefully seasoned, but, considering the cost, I rate the dish C+/B-. The biggest problem was the noodles themselves. Chow fun are broad, thick noodles that sometimes fold up on themselves during cooking, making a thick, chewy clump. Dim Sum Go Go’s noodles were fettucini size and style, 3/8 inch wide and thin. They made the dish less interesting, and, for $12.95, I need to stay interested.

Friday, May 27, 2011

We are exploring the exotic delights of Wilmington, Delaware for our wedding anniversary, on this long weekend.

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