Thursday, January 12, 2012

200 and Counting

Monday, January 9, 2012

Vivi Bubble Tea, 49 Bayard Street, is still another beverage shop that offers a small snack menu. It claims to have the best popcorn chicken around, available in five flavors, one portion for $3, two for $5. I had one portion of pepper salt popcorn chicken and a green tea slushie ($3). I enjoyed both for a modest lunch, although I am not prepared to elevate it above all others. Regardless of its culinary standing, Vivi is easily spotted on this very busy stretch of Bayard Street because of the slightly-larger-than-life fiberglass figure of Homer Simpson sitting in front.

Vivi also stands out as the 200th Asian restaurant/eating establishment that I have patronized in Chinatown over the last two years and one week, since I shifted to the New York County mother ship at 60 Centre Street. While I agree that that is cause for celebration, I must defer for now because of the busyness of this week as I prepare for our trip to Asia at the end of the week. In early February, after our return, I plan at least a moderate hoo-hah to mark this Bi-Centennial.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

With Hong Kong itself only days away, I thought it appropriate to go to Hong Kong Station, 45 Division Street, sister to the joint at 45 Bayard Street (August 10, 2010). Going further I ordered Hong Kong tea ($2) to go with my satay beef and egg rice ($3.95). The tea had milk, the way the Brits (former Imperial masters of Hong Kong) like it. I’m not going to say that it wasn’t my cup of tea. The rice dish was, although two or three bowls would be needed to make a Grandpa Alan-sized portion. The beef was spicy, sitting on top of a small mound of rice, crowned with a fried egg. You may also pick among the “tasty toppings,” such as beef pancreas, beef tripe, beef stomach, chicken gizzard, pig’s blood and pork intestines, to add to your choice of noodles (10 varieties). The toppings, including an array of familiar vegetables, cost $1.65 each, while the noodles average $2.50. Sauces are at no extra charge. I wonder if I’ll find good bagels in Hong Kong?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I returned to Bún Soho, 143 Grand Street (October 20, 2011) for two reasons. It is a Vietnamese restaurant. Bún means rice vermicelli in Vietnamese; there is no connection to the word bun, common at a dim sum joint. This lunch was part of my training for our trip to Asia. Also, I had a $10 certificate for Bún Soho, costing $1. It had to be applied to a $20 minimum purchase, which I misread as $25. Therefore, I ordered Soho wings ($10), Bún Nem Lamb ($10) and Lucky Beer on draft ($5), a rare indulgence at lunch. The wings were deep-fried without breading, and bathed in a sticky sauce that felt and tasted like hot orange marmalade. I’ll pass on them next time. The lamb dish, by contrast, was quite good; it had lamb meatballs and fried spring rolls cut in half longitudinally on top of cold rice vermicelli. This should have been lunch by itself, although the beer was a pleasant addition and contributed to a benign afternoon. requires a 20% tip on the pre-discount amount, so my net cost was just over $22, plus the $1 certificate. A deal, but not a great deal.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

According to today’s New York Times, a special review board of the University of Connecticut has now produced a 60,000-page report about research irregularities in the laboratory of one of its researchers, whose work reported health benefits in red wine. The report’s allegations do not question the ultimate health benefits of red wine (mirabile dictu), but deal with certain peripheral issues. However, what drew my excited attention is the length of the report. 60,000 pages! “The complete Internal Revenue Code is more than 24 megabytes in length, and contains more than 3.4 million words; printed 60 lines to the page, it would fill more than 7500 letter-size pages.” Let’s not crowd things so much and assume 20 lines to a page, what a double-spaced word-processed document using a 12 point font would produce. That still takes up 22,500 pages, just over 1/3 of UConn’s report. Another standard for comparison is at, where we learn that War and Peace, in English translation has 561,093 words, lagging far behind Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, in seven volumes using about 1,500,000 words, and it ain’t even at the top of the list.

And, on a personal note, when my lovely bride and I drove back from visiting the next two generations in Massachusetts the time before last, we decided to stop for lunch along the way in Storrs, Connecticut, the home of the University of Connecticut, which enrolls over 17,000 undergraduates at that main campus. After driving down one woeful block finding only a slight cluster of unattractive fast food joints, we were quickly out of alternatives, so we pressed on to a wretched pizzeria 20 miles closer to Hartford. As the ever astute Dean Alfange later commented, "there are no stores in Storrs." posted the following headline at 11:51 AM which stumped Grandpa Alan:
"Injured Wales Hooker Burns to Miss Six Nations"

To prepare for our trip this weekend, I've eaten Hong Kong food (sort of) and Vietnamese food. However, it seems that there are only two Cambodian restaurants on the isle of Manhattan, the nearest one to the courthouse, Num Pang Sandwich Shop at 21 East 12th Street, would be right around the corner from Cardozo Law School. The lunch hour is not elastic enough to permit me to go there, and it is unarguably a Greenwich Village location, a designation that is not likely to be rebranded as Chinatown. So, I settled for one of the tried and true, Wo Hop downstairs at 17 Mott Street, and a plate of beef chow fun. A very satisfying experience.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Up, up and away, Cathay Pacific Airlines to Hong Kong.

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