Thursday, January 5, 2012

What a Year Already

Monday, January 2, 2012

Well, well, well, what a weekend. The New York Giants defeated Texas’ eighth favorite team, after the basketball Mavericks, the baseball Rangers, the football Texans, the baseball Astros, the hockey Stars, the basketball Spurs, and the execution squad at the Huntsville Texas State Penitentiary, to get into the playoffs. Then, today, the New York Rangers, coming from 2 goals behind, beat the Philadelphia Flyers in the Winter Classic, the outdoor game played before about 46,000 fans in Philadelphia. I am euphoric, but I must regard the possibility that this is as good as it gets.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I intended to start this third year in the courthouse at 60 Centre Street and in the heart of my readers at a new restaurant; I actually spotted at least two options last week. However, David Brodie, the distinguished London solicitor, is in New York for a brief stopover. He is traveling with the lovely Katherine Walker Brodie, who was always too energetic to be merely a lady-in-waiting. When visiting the Brodies in London, I have had the pleasure of escorting them to Soho, London’s Chinatown, for good eats. Growing up Gentile, they were denied the pleasure of dining on Chinese food for several decades, an unfortunate lapse that I hope to help them overcome in the days remaining to me.

David and I went to Dim Sum Go Go, 5 East Broadway, a necessary stop on any visit to Chinatown. It eschews carts, because of the limited space it occupies, but whatever you order from its dim sum list (I’ve had less success with its regular dishes) is superb. I could only indulge myself to a point, though, because the upper West Side’s Power Couple are dining with the Brothers Poloner and companions tonight, about which more tomorrow. We ordered the assorted dim sum platter, 11 different sizes, shapes, colors and contents, and three-piece plates of duck dumplings, spinach dumplings, crab meat dumplings and baked roast pork buns. This amounted to about $25, before tax and tip, for excellent food. The company was, of course, priceless.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Iowa Republican caucus results are in with My Man Mitt soaring to an 8 vote victory over Rick Santorum. MMM’s vote total of 30,015 showed a vast improvement over the 29,949 votes that he won in the 2008 Iowa Republican caucus. Statistically, and you know how much I love percentages, he actually declined as the People’s Choice from 25.2 % in 2008 to 24.6 % in 2012. My favorite quote, however, did not come from any of the closely-bunched leading candidates, but from straight shootin’ Rick Perry, who came in fifth with 10.3 % of the vote. Rick said afterwards, "This campaign has never been about me." Certainly, the Iowa Republican caucusoids agreed.

The Brothers Poloner, their vivacious sister, Aunt Judi, friend Pearl and your humble scrivener dined at Etc Steakhouse, 1409 Palisade Avenue, Teaneck, New Jersey, last night, a Kosher restaurant that is not a sorry after-thought compared to its non-sectarian competitors. Mind you, if you are not concerned about the response of a wrathful deity, I would not forgo a visit to the Palm or Smith & Wollensky in order to head out to Etc, but if Kosher is important to you or your dining companions, and you have the papers that allow you into New Jersey, I would recommend a visit. Given the pricing at most (all) New York steakhouses, the economic premium usually associated with Kosher dining really seemed to disappear. Of course, the off-off-off-off Broadway location has a lot to do with it. Another significant cost factor was Etc’s BYOB policy, restricted to Kosher wine. Each couple brought one bottle last night, a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon blanc and a Cabernet Sauvignon, retailing at about $20 per bottle. Since restaurants mark up wines at two to three times retail, we probably saved about $90 for a particularly good selection of wines.

The food itself was good, with some imaginative menu items. I had goose-stuffed tacos as an appetizer; other choices included sweetbreads, risotto with duck, and BBQ oxtail (averaging $15). We all ordered steak, rib steak and rib eye predominating ($37 and $36 respectively). So, my Kosher friends, get out your GPS and head to Etc if you have fleishigs on your mind.

Oh Two Five, 43 Bayard Street, is one of several small beverage shops which have added snacks, called nibblers at Oh Two Five. It has two small round tables and four large black, hard plastic chairs shaped like a human hand. It offers 11 items on a skewer, including cuttlefish balls, beef balls and mini hot dogs, for $1. It also offers cups of noodles for $2 and has a special of $3 for any 2 skewers and a cup of noodles. A sauce comes with any skewer, choice of soy, oyster, peanut, ketchup, spicy mayo and the provocatively-named kRAC sauce. I had fish balls and shrimp balls, five each on a skewer, no more than 1" in diameter, with soy sauce and peanut sauce that I dipped into randomly. In addition, I drank a champagne grape slushie ($2.75), even though it was bone-chilling cold outside. How cold was it? It was so cold that there were only 4 card games and one Xiangqi game going on in Columbus Park, a low attendance mark usually resulting from a hurricane or blizzard. Today, it was 15° temperatures that depopulated the Park.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I have passed Sun Café, 67 Reade Street, countless times because it is on the direct route from the courthouse to the Chambers Street subway station. However, I have never entered until today, mainly because that section of Reade Street has been undergoing construction of new residential buildings for years and scaffolding and building supplies piled on the sidewalk have pushed me to the other side of the street or a rapid pace going by. Inside, there is no suggestion of a construction site, although the lighting is unnecessarily dim at lunch time when my typical companion is a crossword puzzle. The room is long and narrow, about 1/3 taken by the sushi bar (without seating), other prep space and the cash register along one wall. The remaining space contains about 30 square tables for two, pushed together in places for larger groups.

The menu has a list of luncheon specials, hot food and sushi. I ordered three rolls, spicy tuna, salmon skin and yellowtail, with miso soup ($12). Everything was better than good. The rolls were each between 6" and 8" long, cut into eight pieces. Service was very quick, considering the near-full occupancy of the restaurant. Hot tea was poured efficiently when I ran low. I can only speculate what impact the eventual return of daylight and clear sidewalks will have on Sun, since it draws crowds now as a result of the good food alone.

On the subway ride home, I saw the Wall Street Journal’s election headline: “A Big Win for Romney in Iowa.” It gave me pause. 8 votes out of 120,000 cast = A Big Win. This presents a calibration problem. If 8 is Big, what’s 11? What if My Man Mitt won by 10,935, the number of votes that Mike Huckabee beat him by in 2008? Would the Wall Street Journal have an adjective for that? Then, I realized that the Wall Street Journal, the voice of the 1%, has moved into the realm of StarbuckSpeak that allows for nothing small or insignificant. Can we expect an op-ed explaining Newt Gingrich’s decline from “venti” to “grande”? Is Rick Santorum on the way to “trenta,” only recently stuck on “tall”? Is this a great country or what?

Friday, January 6, 2012

We’re off to spend the weekend with our little frappucinni, Boaz and Noam. It’s a great way to end the first week of the year.

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