Monday, January 27, 2014
I was disappointed to find Gold River Malaysian Cuisine, 21 Division Street, near empty. Its nearby rival, West New Malaysia Restaurant, 46-48 Bowery, is usually 75-80% full at lunchtime, in a larger space. While West New Malaysia is tucked away in the center of an arcade running between the Bowery and Elizabeth Street, Gold River’s position east of the Bowery places it in no-man’s land as far as most people who visit Chinatown, or even work in the municipal/judicial complex centered around Foley Square. Malaysian food might also lack the pulling power of the more familiar Asian cuisines, but one of its greatest attractions, I think, is the presence of Chinese, Thai and Indian dishes in its repertoire, or maybe that’s backwards and the Chinese, Thais and Indians took from the Malays and made it their own. In any case, I returned today to continue sampling Gold River’s menu and had chow kueh teow, a noodle that is or resembles chow fun mixed with shrimp, egg, sausage, chives and bean sprouts ($6.95). Very good.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I am a supporter of Barack Obama. I did not hesitate voting for him twice, especially because I believe that McCain and Romney checked their conscience at the door when seeking the prize. However, even though there is not, I repeat not, an important hockey game on tonight, I will not watch the President’s State of the Union address. It’s not just the engineered slogans and unachievable promises that I wish to avoid, they come with the territory. My mind reels and my stomach turns watching the popping up and down of this country’s purported leadership at the sound of some ringing presidential declaration. While knee bends may have some physiological benefit, it would be so much more efficient, if homage is to be paid to the President (and this ain’t a Democrat vs. Republican thing) to keep standing. Were those in the House chamber to remain in one position throughout, perhaps rising, or sitting at the end, they might look less goofy. Goofiest, of course, are Biden and Boehner, or whoever preceded them, as they rise and fall on a strictly partisan basis, standing directly behind the President, being watched by tens of millions of people. If accompanied by music, their movements might be taken for performance art, or over stimulated children.
Pie Pie Q Café, 24 Bowery St. (sic), is a new joint, more a bakery than a café, although it’s a bit larger than most other bakeries, with 9 two-top tables, and two counters faced by a total of seven stools. As usual, it has shelves of sweet and savory baked goods which I have learned to avoid. The reason I gave Pie Pie Q a look was the small steam table at the back end of the serving area. It held a few sorry looking items, but that’s never stopped me before. I had a bowl of rice ball soup and a dish of sticky rice, $5.50 total – I’m not sure how much for each. But, since I plan never to order them again here, it doesn’t matter. The rice balls themselves were interesting, like slightly chewy gnocchi. The broth was tepid and also contained some strange meat and onions. The sticky rice was well beyond sticky. It was a nearly-solid clump of rice, peanuts, carrots, peas and diced pork. While the people behind the counter were friendly and helpful to their only non-Chinese customer, nothing was good. Even though Pie Pie Q had a big beverage menu, the hot tea I asked for came with a Lipton tea bag.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I had the pleasure of sharing a Peking duck with Ilana M., a young colleague, at Ping's Seafood, 22 Mott Street. Its name aside, Ping’s is one of the best Chinatown restaurants for almost all fare. Our large duck, served with 12 pancakes, cost $45. Additionally, and unfairly to my mind, Ping's charged $2 for tea. The duck was good, but far from fat-free. It failed on the price/performance ratio. However, Ilana and I exchanged some legal teasers – “What would you do in this case?” – and generally had a good time. We will hunt ducks together again, I hope.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
While I haven’t gone to a hockey game in exactly two weeks, last night I saw my third Broadway show in one week, Matilda last Thursday, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder on Sunday and The Glass Menagerie last night. Looking back over these three disparate works, I realized that they all deal with people trapped by their living conditions, particularly families that are unsupportive, even hostile, to their aspirations. One thinks her way out of her dilemma, one murders his way, and one sails away, leaving his even more damaged mother and sister behind. Unfortunately, I started with the most optimistic tale of the three and wound up with the most hopeless. Maybe that’s what you have to expect of life.
Lunch today was with the Feingold Claque, which meant a combo over rice, with a pita, lots of white sauce and a little red ($5) from a Muslim couple sharing a cart at the corner of 41st Street and Third Avenue. The luncheon gathering was in the conference room of a prominent Midtown law firm, which was easily arranged by one of our gatherees whose name happens to be on the front door of the office. Typically, the host provides beverages and maybe a little sweet, and that’s where I encountered something gastronomically significant, possibly the best cookie ever. Mixed in with the oatmeal raisin cookies, mini cheesecake bars and such was something like a hand-shaped Milano (Pepperidge Farm, you knew that), very buttery, dark chocolate filling and partially covered with slivered almonds. Fabulous. I had only two out of my deep respect for the high quality of this offering, not wanting to cheapen the experience by simply inhaling all that were on the platter. Instead, I bit slowly and chewed deliberately. I’ve sent a message to our host asking about the source of this singular treat, and I am certain that he will take the time from his busy professional life to respond, because he is, after all, CCNY Class of 1960 and a fellow gourmand.
Friday, January 31, 2014
It's the start of the Year of the Horse and we’re off to celebrate with Boaz, the Super Bowl Birthday Boy. Since his auspicious debut, he has been joined by a younger brother and a sister. That means that we can look forward to a weekend of eating with hands, running noses and yelling while standing.