Friday, February 28, 2014

Winter Wonderland

Monday, February 24, 2014
I finally watched a few minutes of the Winter Olympics this weekend during the men’s hockey finals between Canada and Sweden.  I was rooting for Sweden because Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers was Sweden’s goalie.  I also found the symmetry of the Swedish team attractive.  Lundqvist aside, Sweden’s leading players were Erik Karlson, Karl Erikson, Erik Erikson and Karl Karlson, or so it seemed.  However, the randomly named Canadians dominated and captured the gold medal.

With the weather at 37 degrees, under a clear, bright sky, I took a practice run at my signature event, Walking for Food.  I found Savory Kitchen Inc., 237B Grand Street, a very new joint, as indicated by the large collection of red-ribboned plants on display.  It’s a small place, about ten tables of varying sizes crowded into the 2/3 of the floor space not taken by the food preparation area in the front left of the restaurant.  The tables were all occupied and a steady stream of take-out orders were handled as well.  The menu listed well over two hundred items, almost all familiar to the old China hand.  

I ordered Scallion Pancake in Hong Kong Style ($2.75) which might be why there was shredded lettuce under the slightly undercooked pancake.  From the 64 item lunch special list, all at $5.25, I had Beef with Satay Sauce, which came with a small bowl of vegetable broth and white rice.  As I’ve noted before, Beef with Satay Sauce, not to be confused with Satay Beef as served in a Malaysian restaurant, is never the same place-to-place (August 9, 2010, January 5, 2011, October 23, 2012).  This version was okay, C+, no unique flavors.  I’m not writing Savory Kitchen off with its hundred of untried alternatives, but I’m not rushing to return.  
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS - FEB. 25, 2014, 9:04 A.M. E.S.T.
“U.S. home prices fell for the second straight month in December as brutally cold weather, tight supply and higher costs slowed sales [according to the S&P/Case-Shiller composite index].”

By REUTERS - FEB. 25, 2014, 9:06 A.M. E.S.T.
“U.S. single-family home prices in December rose slightly more than expected from the previous month, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.”  Yes, the S&P/Case-Shiller composite index. 
I was delighted to have Stony Brook Steve come down for lunch with me.  We chose Lotus Blue, Dong Tian Kitchen, 110 Reade Street, in the western suburbs of Chinatown, which was simply called Lotus Blue when I first ate there, soon after it started serving lunch (April 17, 2012).  Dong tian means winter, but there was no other indication that the restaurant has turned into an Eastern version of the Four Seasons.  With this alteration of its name, Lotus Blue, Dong Tian Kitchen adds one to my count of unique restaurants.  We ordered stir fried rice noodles with chicken ($12) and spicy cumin lamb cubes ($12), with complimentary bowls of mushroom broth to start.  Another extra which was much less welcome than the hot soup was the cold winds which managed to enter the restaurant in spite of the double entry doors.  

We both liked the noodles, containing shredded chicken, onions, celery, carrots and a covering of chopped peanuts.  We differed on the lamb, which was chunked, not cubed.  It must have been broiled and then roasted with (a lot of) cumin, scallions and hot peppers until very dry and chewy.  I ate all of mine and most of Steve’s. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014
Michael Ratner, another distinguished grandfather, joined me for lunch today, and, after comparing pictures of the little darlings, we continued the duck hunt at Joe’s Ginger Restaurant, 25 Pell Street, noted for its soup buns and scallion pancakes.  After an order of 8 soup buns ($4.95), we had a whole Peking duck ($39.95), which came with 8 pancakes, scallions, cucumbers and hoisin sauce.  The waiter prepared all 8 packages very tidily.  The duck was excellent, nearly fat-free, the skin crispy.  We had to ask for the carcass, and when it arrived, I think it was from another duck.  However, we had had plenty to eat by then, so it didn’t make much difference.  As I walked Michael towards the subway, I stopped for mangoes, so that he might have another special treat when he got home.
Friday, February 28, 2014
“But, it’s a dry cold” is probably the only reasonable response to learning that the temperature is 12 degrees outside as you went to work, the analog to what people in Arizona and California say when their brains are sauteeing.  
In a way I was disappointed that Arizona’s governor vetoed a bill that would have made it easier for businesses to refuse service to gay men, lesbians and other people on religious grounds.  I planned to campaign for Madison Square Garden to ban admission to New York Ranger hockey games to fans of the rival New Jersey Devils, since so many of us hold deeply-felt religious scruples about Satanism.

My last word about the many non-sports that populate the winter Olympics, where ultimately futile attempts are made to quantify quality, comes from a review of a fine bottle of Puligny-Montrachet:
“A slightly riper nose features aromas of dried peach and apricot as well as spiced pear and background floral hints.  There is excellent volume and plenty of mouth coating extract supporting the delicious, round and voluminous medium-bodied flavors that terminate in a very generous finish that really fans out on the lingering finish.  This is fleshy but not flabby and is definitely worth a look.”
This may all be true, but you’d have to be crazy to assign a number to it, as the supposed judges do to ice dancing or free style skiing, as examples.  The endeavor may require great skill, concentration and practice, but if it’s not faster, longer, bigger, it ain’t a sport. 

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