Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cousin Bill?

Monday, July 25, 2011

America’s Favorite Epidemiologist and I spent a rare quiet weekend together, reading and watching videos. I did have to reassure her a few times after some pessimistic news broadcasts that the lockout by the National Football League team owners was soon coming to an end, and that training camps would be opening in a very short time. What are husbands for?

I went to the New Malaysia Restaurant, 46-48 Bowery Street, Chinatown Arcade # 28 (June 17, 2010, July 30, 2010) in order to sing its praises again. Its location, in the middle of the arcade (really an alley) that runs from the Bowery to Elizabeth Street, just below Canal Street, makes it easy to overlook and/or forget. However, the food, which has touches of every distinct Asian cuisine, has always been good. Today, I noticed that the back wall of this smallish square room has a flat screen TV monitor showing pictures of many dishes. This might delay your ordering as you wait and see what interesting concoction is coming up next. The photographer’s and stager’s artistry make so many dishes look so good. I had "home style combination" on rice ($6.50) which contained Hainanese chicken, skinless boiled chicken with wonderful chicken broth served on the side, beef brisket, very flavorful, but only three small chunks, and a fried egg, next to a large mound of white rice.

When I looked at the business card I took as I left New Malaysia, I saw that it read West New Malaysia Restaurant. I had not noticed any differences from previous visits, although it had been some time. So, until I have confirmation, I will not tally West New Malaysia Restaurant as a new spot, adding to my count. But, that means I have reason to return quickly to see if I’ve eaten in one or two very good Malaysian restaurants at this location.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I went back to the Red Square Café, 150 Centre Street, and found it in full operation after last week’s bout with leaky pipes. It is a typical Chinatown restaurant, with about 12 tables, some set in booths. It is busy and noisy, in contrast to Mika, its tranquil upstairs Japanese neighbor.

The menu is quite conventional befitting its location just off the jammed sidewalks of Canal Street. Yet, both Chinese people and tourists (yes, they could have been Chinese tourists) came in and out. Red Square offered about 50 dishes as lunch specials, none of which would have confounded you. The main dish with white rice alone was $5 to $6. For $7.50 or $8, they served a combo, including an egg roll and soup (wonton, egg drop, hot & sour) or a can of soda. I had shrimp egg foo young ($5.50) alone, which came with a heaping mound of white rice. While the egg foo young was just good enough, I came away very full, glad to have skipped the egg roll. Service was very hectic; the young staff brought some things quickly and some not at all. While Mika is definitely a place to seek out, if you want superior Chinese food in the immediate vicinity, go one short block to Excellent Dumpling House, 111 Lafayette Street.

When I got back to the office, I scanned my now large collection of restaurant menus and business cards and found 2 copies of New Malaysia Restaurant’s off-white card printed in black and red, which I took on previous occasions. This was in sharp contrast to the brown card with white lettering announcing West New Malaysia Restaurant that I picked up yesterday. The old New card had Chinese lettering and a bright red poppy, while the new West New card had a silhouette of a fork and a map of its obscure location, but nothing in Chinese. Therefore, I am obliged to pronounce the two as unique enterprises, gaining individual status on Grandpa Alan’s list.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I've often rhapsodized about Columbus Park, that recreational oasis that separates Chinatown from the court complex centered around Centre Street. Well, thanks to the observation of a colleague at work, I've learned of my organic connection to the park. But first a diversion.

Joe Temeczko, a retired handyman who had immigrated from Poland through Ellis Island before moving to Minnesota, changed his will in 2001 after the terrorist attacks, leaving his entire $1.4 million estate to New York City, to “honor those who perished in the disaster.” Temeczko died of a heart attack weeks after changing his will. In February 2003, Mayor Bloomberg announced that most of Temeczko’s bequest would be used in Columbus Park and a major renovation project began in 2004.

Here it comes, back on message. One of the Parks Department's lead landscape architects on the Columbus Park project was Bill Gotthelf. How about that?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Always ready to explore the boundaries of human experience, for the first time in my almost 19 months here at 60 Centre Street, I ate outdoors. There is a very pleasant plaza on Centre Street between the Municipal Building and the Thurgood Marshall Federal Courthouse. It has two food kiosks and an array of lattice-work iron tables and chairs. I started across Centre Street at the corner of Reade Street, buying a chicken/lamb combo over rice ($5) from the Halal food guy and ate it at a table on the plaza in the shade.

When I cleaned my plate (styrofoam container actually), I went to Wooly’s Ice cart standing in the plaza which, although feet from my path to and from the subway, I first learned about from the New York Times last week ( Two tall yellow machines (made in Taiwan) sit on this cart, maybe 3 feet by 6 feet, tended by two young Chinese-American men. The machines dispense ices, smoother than scooped Italian ices and softer than sorbet. Two sizes are available, $4 and $6, in two flavors, original and green tea. You get a choice of syrups – leche, chocolate, strawberry and mango – and 2 or 3 toppings according to the serving size – blueberry, mochi (some sort of crumbled rice cake), strawberry, mango and brownie. It might take me the rest of the summer to go through all the permutations, flavor, syrup, toppings, but someone has to do it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Steve Schneider, of the Suffolk County Schneiders, joined me for lunch today, so that warranted a special treat. We went to Xi An Famous Foods, 67 Bayard Street, for spicy and tingly beef noodles for him and spicy cumin lamb noodles for me. The more often I have those hand-pulled noodles, the more I like them, although Steve wanted to know how recently the hand-puller had washed his hands. The only thing missing was a couple of chunks of Italian bread to sop up the delicious sauce at the bottom of the plate when all the noodles were gone.

Not satisfied with just taking Steve to Xi An, I had him trek back with me to Wooly’s Ice cart because summer will soon be gone.

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