Friday, June 27, 2014

I ❤ Wo Hop

Monday, June 23, 2014
"I was 31 before I got my heart broken," began an essay that I read this weekend. After I read it, I took inventory of my own sad memories. I had my first heart break at 17 and my next at 42, if we are limited to the realm of romance. Additionally, I experienced crushing career disappointments at age 23, 34 and 47. Looking back, two different thoughts arise, although not mutually exclusive. I’ve managed to duck in time for the last several decades, and/or I may be overdue.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Currently, local sports talk radio is spending about as much time on Carmelo Anthony’s contract options as on the World Cup, since New York is not fielding its own team in the international competition. Anthony, the star New York Knicks basketball player, announced that he will exercise the early termination provisions in his contract, and shop himself around to other teams. Because of the baroque terms of professional basketball’s collective bargaining agreement, Anthony can receive as much as $129 million for five years if he re-signs with the Knicks, or $96 million for four years from another team. However, there is no guarantee that either number will actually be on the table. Had he chosen to play out the last year of his current contract, he would have received $23 million for the 2014-2015 season. All of which brings to mind Calvin Trillin’s Eleventh Commandment, "Enough is enough." Of course, those who worship rapacious greed admonish us that money talks, male bovine excrement walks.

Irwin Pronin, soon-to-be president of the Columbia Law School alumni association, joined me for lunch. We shared an amply-sized Peking duck at Mottzar Kitchen, 70 Mott Street, unsurpassed in the duck department at $25.95, with 10 spongy buns to make tidy bundles.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Last night, I had the pleasure of going to the Mets game with William Franklin Harrison, my friend and fellow congregant. Of all the people that I know, William Franklin Harrison is best prepared to become President of the United States. How can he fail with that name? However, William Franklin Harrison is 13-years old, which presents a problem for me. Article II, section 1 of the Constitution requires that a person be at least 35-years old to "be eligible to that Office [of President]." He will, therefore, be eligible in 2036, which conveniently is the year of a presidential election, if the Tea Party still allows elections. Facing actuarial reality, my chances of voting for William Franklin Harrison for president in 2036 are (how shall I say?) slim. Consequently, I will inaugurate the Draft Harrison campaign a bit early, bringing the horizon of his success within my sight, if not my reach. Cf. Deuteronomy 34:1-4.

Today, ever-reliable Stony Brook Steve was my lunch companion at ever-reliable Wo Hop, 17 Mott Street. We shared Singapore chow fun ($8.50), honey crispy chicken ($10.25) and white rice ($1), and made all gone.

The US Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Utah’s ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional. This was predictable in light of he US Supreme Court’s decision exactly one year ago rejecting the Defense of Marriage Act. What surprised me was the number of people apparently affected by this latest ruling. Not just people, Utah people, Mormon people if you go by the numbers. The US Census Bureau estimates that there were 2,855,287 people in Utah on July 1, 2012, over 62% of them Mormon. In the 17 days after a Federal district court ruled against Utah in December, over 1,000 same sex couples married in Utah, until a stay went into effect pending this appeal. That means that at least a couple of thousand homosexuals were lurking in Utah, waiting for the opportunity to register at Williams-Sonoma. I can only imagine how many more will emerge now that they can proceed down the aisle in more assured fashion. Were 62% of these newlyweds Mormon? Probably not. But, you have to wonder.

Thursday, June 26, 2014
Taiwan Pork Chop House, 3 Doyers Street, was Excellent Pork Chop House on my last visit (May 13, 2010). I found the newer version brighter and cheerier, although still not excellent. I ordered wonton with spicy oil ($3.50) and salt and pepper fried chicken ($4.25). The wonton, the delicate kind in a thin wrapper, were hot, but not hot hot. The chicken was a bit warmed over and greasy, but that never stopped me.

Friday, June 27, 2014
Ending this week by eating at Wo Hop for the third time, I feel it necessary to offer some guidance for those who have not yet enjoyed their quintessential classic Chinatown cuisine, or as Mother Ruth Gotthelf used to say, Real Chinese Food. Do not order any beef dishes. While beef with scallions or tangerine beef are basic components of a well-rounded diet, Wo Hop’s beef, when served in chunks, is tough and stringy. By contrast, however, do order beef as part of another dish, notably beef chow fun (dry), beef fried rice or beef egg foo young. In those instances, Wo Hop serves thin(nish) slices of beef, tender and cooked just right. I don’t know whether they use different cows for different parts of the menu, but, trust me, you might as well be in different restaurants.

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