Saturday, August 6, 2011

Food For Thought

Monday, August 1, 2011

I encountered the immediate impact of the economic lunacy in Washington when I saw that the price of mangos in Chinatown was around $1.50 each instead of the typical $1 or even 3 for $2.50. I stayed mangoless under the circumstances, just as this country appears to be leaderless.

I’ve been comparing the anarchy on the streets of Europe and in the halls of Congress in reaction to the near-global economic crisis. In Europe, students, civil servants and blue collar workers seem to be self-centered, asking for higher wages, earlier retirement ages, shorter working hours. I admit to saying periodically "Shut up and go home" to the televised images of such protesters. In Washington, by contrast, our anarchic protesters seem to be eschewing personal benefits, but rather are intent on sticking it to someone else – specifically, those who rely to some degree on government benefits and services. That includes old people, school children, sick people, salaried people, but just not defense contractors, agribusiness, lobbyists and those who profit from loopholes in our tax code, for instance.

I don’t doubt that many, maybe most, TeaPartyistas are ordinary folk, from ordinary backgrounds. What surprises me is that their animus is ultimately directed to their peers, as if they view their "betters" (the wielders of power and money, however aggregated) as immune from scrutiny, regulation and discipline. Is it awe, envy, fear or a Calvinist sense of predestination that silences the outrage at the ever-widening gulf between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of us, including the vocal opponents of government programs and policies. In the words of Yul Brynner, "It’s a puzzlement."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

With the temperature at 91°, I have a dilemma. Most of the Asian restaurants that I know I haven’t yet patronized require a round trip on foot of at least 1 mile. Of course, I sometimes discover new places as I wander aimlessly. However, in weather this warm, I’m very reluctant to trek or wander, so I return to familiar places, today Teariffic, 51 Mott Street. Hope is on the way, though. There are three empty stores on Mott Street south of Canal Street, #s 48, 56 and 76, all in the process of renovation. There’s no guarantee that restaurants are headed there, but I’ll bet on (and hope for) two out of three.

The New York Times had a headline today on a story about the stinking, rotten, destructive budget deal that read: "Deal Was Forged Over Choices and Chinese Food." I’ve sent an e-mail to one of the two by-lined reporters about who provided the Chinese food to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as he worked in his office over the weekend. I’ll share the answer when it arrives in case you’re ever stuck in Washington.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The morning started with a bit of glamour. The park/plaza in front of the subway exit at the Brooklyn Bridge stop, opposite the courthouse, was in use for filming "Law and Order: Special Vehicles Unit." The scene was two lawyer/prosecutor-types walking up to a food truck parked at the curb. To give it a slice-of-life feel, several other lawyer-types and actor-cops walked by. Everyone caught on camera was, needless to say, very good looking, which was a dramatic departure from real life, especially in the vicinity of the courthouse.

Natsu Japanese Restaurant, 321 Broadway, was not only better than I expected, but actually good. It’s on a block with McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and a couple of salad bar joints. The space is bright and open, with a three-foot high mirror running the entire length of one wall. Opposite is a sushi counter, with a refrigerator case of packaged sushi of greater variety than usually seen. Next to that is a cashier to take your order. Beyond her was a small open kitchen preparing the hot food to order.

I chose a lunch special, beef teriyaki bento box ($8.95). It came with miso soup (unadvertised), a very ordinary-looking green salad that was elevated by an orangey-gingery dressing, four small pieces of an avocado, artificial crab roll, three small gyoza (sauteed dumplings), white rice and the beef. The tender beef slices were served with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and sauteed onions, in a tasty sauce. Everything was fresh. I mixed together the onions, sauce and rice left after the beef was gone for my dessert. I didn’t even consider going into Baskin-Robbins, right next door, sharing a wall, open for business.

Still no answer from the New York Times’ Washington bureau. Could they possibly have more important things to do?

Friday, August 5, 2011

I have bad news/goods news. Hsin Wong Restaurant, 72 Bayard Street, a reliable source of classic Chinatown Chinese food has closed. The possible good news will be its replacement, a new restaurant for me, very close to the courthouse.

On the other hand, the following appeared on the New York Law Journal’s front page today and I’m not sure if it’s good news or bad news.

"A woman has averted, at least for now, dismissal of the lawsuit she filed against an Upper West Side sushi restaurant that she insists sold her semen-laced sauce with her tuna roll."

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