Sunday, October 9, 2011

Information You Could Use

Monday, October 3, 2011

Since family is very much on my mind these days, I’ll cite two things that happened outside the normal scope of this endeavor, that is, not in Chinatown, not at lunchtime and not on a weekday. Saturday was Susan Gotthelf’s birthday, celebrated widely in Buenos Aires. She’ll have to tell me if there are any other Gotthelfs in Argentina. Speaking of other Gotthelfs, America’s Favorite Epidemiologist, Alan Gotthelf and Allan Gotthelf had dinner together last night, at Dhaba Restaurant, 108 Lexington Avenue, an excellent Indian restaurant. No, I’m not stammering. My cousin Allan (middle initial S where I have none), ten months younger, also Brooklyn-born and Stuyvesant-educated, was visiting from Pittsburgh, where he now teaches. Considering the closeness in our age and upbringing, the cases of mistaken identity have been relatively few. Now, sometime I’ll tell you about the Alan Gotthelf who I think grew up in Detroit, maybe was a twin and served in the Army in the late 1960s in Colorado. Two or three times, people from across the country have sought me out as him. Then there is the Alan Gothelf (one T), who grew up in Encino, California, whom I employed as a delivery boy in 1979 just to confuse people.

ABC Chinese Restaurant, 34 Pell Street (January 22, 2010), delighted me again. I had baby shrimp with scrambled eggs ($5.95) from the lunch menu, white rice and tea included. The shrimp were not baby, and the food was delicious.

CSI: NY was filming on the courthouse steps when I returned from lunch, with ersatz cops, lawyers, reporters and suspects mingling with us real-life specimens.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I had either a head cold or a cold head this morning, so I stayed home.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Since I did not feel 100% today, I went into 69 Bayard Restaurant only to have a bowl of chicken rice soup, increasing its potency with a couple of spoonfuls of hot Chinese mustard. There was excitement, however, when I came to pay my bill. When the waiter brought over the traditional, cellophane-wrapped fortune cookie (which I would not eat, see February 6, 2010), he was in a highly-animated state. The hermetically-sealed package contained two fortune cookies, seemingly a rarer occurrence than human multiple births, and an omen of good fortune. He showed it to other waiters, and they urged me to “Buy ticket” and “Play lottery” in order to take advantage of this sooth-saying mutation. These days, I buy a lottery ticket at rare intervals, usually when the prize approximates Greece’s national debt. However, hail fellow and friend of the working class that I am, I left the restaurant promising to share 10% of my after-tax lottery winnings with the waiters, as long they may legally accept the funds in Alabama.

I bought $5 worth of lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing on the way home.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

While the winning numbers were picked last night in the New York lottery, to which I committed $5, I decided to hold off on checking my tickets until Sunday, when the period of atonement and spiritual renewal would be behind me, and I can focus on which luxury Paris hotel to languish in as a reward for walking into the right candy store.

I was delighted to have Michael Ratner join me for lunch today. Michael, having retired from operating one of New York’s leading construction firms, now is engaged in the domestic equivalent of bullfighting, trying to buy a co-op apartment in Manhattan. When he asked to go to a classic Chinatown joint, I immediately headed back to ABC, where I had been earlier in the week. We ordered dishes that were not quite on the lunch special menu, but were delivered and priced as if they were. We had beef with ginger and scallions and Singapore chow fun. Both were delicious. Michael also had hot and sour soup and a can of iced tea. With tax, the meal was just over $18, but gave several times chai in satisfaction.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Michelin announced its star ratings for New York City 2012 on Wednesday and Zagat followed on Thursday with its top 10 New York City restaurants. Since I fasted from Friday sundown until Saturday sundown in the always futile attempt to mend my ways, I thought that listing their selections would be the appropriate way to return to the dining table. Michelin is in alphabetic order, Zagat’s by rating.


Eleven Madison Park
Jean Georges
Le Bernardin
Per Se

Gordon Ramsay at the London
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon - Four Seasons Hotel New York
SHO Shaun Hergatt

Zagat’s Top Ten

Le Bernardin
Per Se
Jean Georges
Eleven Madison Park
Sushi Yasuda
La Grenouille
Peter Luger Steak House

Reflective of my taste or more likely my wallet, I’ve only been to a couple of these places over the decades, Jean Georges and Peter Luger. Even at Jean Georges, we ate in the café section, Nougatine. Additionally, I went to Bouley and La Grenouille at previous locations. Obviously, trickle down ain’t trickling fast enough for my sake.

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