Monday, August 18, 2014
Once back on dry land, our weekend in Massachusetts proceeded swimmingly. However, upon our return to Palazzo di Gotthelf, we found water underfoot again, this time all over our kitchen floor and adjacent areas. Our brand-new refrigerator, which took two full days to go from the back of the delivery truck of the building into our kitchen, unable to fit at first through the building’s front door, into the elevator and then through our front door, shpritzed water everywhere but into the ice water-ice cube device in the refrigerator door. Had we denied ourselves the pleasure of visiting the two wonderful adults and three gorgeous children in Massachusetts this weekend, we would have discovered this defect earlier. I only hope that our neighbors directly below us also had an equally delightful experience before they returned to their reconfigured ceiling.
I had lunch with three courthouse colleagues at Aux Epices, 121 Baxter Street (April 16, 2013), which calls itself a Malaysian, French bistro. It is quite pleasant, small, open to the street in this nice weather, with exposed brick walls. I had two items from the Small Plate section of the menu, actually hoping that together they would equal or exceed one large plate. I had a curry puff ($3.50), a chicken enchilada by any other name, and a crispy quail ($6.95), tiny but tasty. I did not sample the other folks’ food, rendang (shredded) chicken and sweet and sour noodles with grilled salmon, not out of self-restraint necessarily, but because of the pace at which they made all gone.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Your answer to the question of the day probably resembles mine. Aside from rarely being entertained by Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Usher, what else do they have in common? They all have perfumes named after them that I have never worn, purchased or encouraged America’s Favorite (and possibly Most Fragrant) Epidemiologist to wear. Elizabeth Arden has invested heavily in their products and has just experienced the worst quarterly decline in earnings in a decade as a result. I don’t think that they can count on me to turn things around in the near future.
Stony Brook Steve ventured forth to keep me company and together we went to a brand new restaurant, Sichuan Hot Pot Cuisine, 34 Pell Street, replacing ABC Chinese Restaurant.
Fortunately, hot pot was not the only alternative on its extensive menu. Hot pot, as I've noted before, is a Chinese variant on fondue, whereby you are sure to burn your mouth, lips and tongue as well as spattering the front of your shirt/blouse with the bubbling liquid.
The new premises are nicely furnished with about 20 light pine tables, sitting on hexagonal beige ceramic tiles. The pale tan walls have a dozen large, brightly-colored photographs of favored dishes, normally a tacky display, but well executed here. The wait staff all seemed to be followers of Seurat, the Pointillist, in that you needed to point to what you wanted on the glossy new menu.
We had fried dumplings (6 for $4.99), sliced beef rice noodle ($4.99), where the soup was silent, and lamb with cumin ($7.99 small, $13.99 large portion). The dumplings and lamb were especially good; we had the small portion of lamb which proved large enough with the other food. We were surprised by the soup, but treated it as a wet noodle dish.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
I left work at midday to meet with a water damage fixer-upper to assess the damage to our floors and plan for their restoration. However, once I told him that, according to Gary M., a neighbor, devoted Rangers fan and licensed contractor, the wooden floor may be held down by an asbestos-based adhesive, confirmed by the management office, he stopped in his tracks. His company does not work in an asbestos-tainted environment. We await the return of Boris, our building's highly-experienced manager, from vacation on Monday, to determine our next steps. Meanwhile, we have heard nothing from our downstairs neighbors, who may now be harboring a stalactite collection, a week or so after the flooding began.
Friday, August 22, 2014
Pick the real quote from a responsible local party:
(A) "If you speak to any regular citizen in Israel, nobody is looking with mercy on these people. Why? Because people are being bombarded."
(B) "If you speak to any regular citizen in Gaza, nobody is looking with mercy on these people. Why? Because people are being bombarded."
While Legos were introduced in Denmark in 1949, the modern version was patented in 1958. Accordingly, I never encountered them in any of my earlier childhoods. However, I have marveled at some of the creations using these colorful plastic bricks, recreating famous buildings and structures, or original whimsical designs. In Chicago last year, I was dazzled by a wall containing bins of pieces of every imaginable color on sale for the more creative types. That’s why I found at least one encouraging news item this morning, the announcement that a special series of kits, aimed at girls, called the Research Institute, was a big hit, selling out at major retailers around the country. Lego responded to criticism that its typical play characters were construction workers, policemen and firemen, while females appeared in fashion and beauty contexts. The Research Institute is populated by a paleontologist, an astronomer and a chemist. While this effort is commendable, I must note the critical absence of an epidemiologist.
I rarely agree with Texas Governor Rick Perry, but I am heartened by his alertness to danger, as reported today. He warned Thursday that vegetarians from Scandinavia may have already slipped across the Mexican border. Mr. Perry said there is "no clear evidence" that vegetarians have entered the United States illegally across the southern border. But he argued that illegal immigration should be considered a national security issue as well as a social and economic problem, and as evidence he cited the decrease in beef consumption, a critical element in Texas’s economy.
Having had a good experience at Sichuan Hot Pot a couple of days ago, when they buried the hot pot, I thought to give one last chance to Division 31, 31 Division Street, where, on multiple visits, they insisted on hot pot or not pot. Today, the joint was closed and out of business, with no sign of who or what will succeed it. More distressing was the locked tight appearance of Gold River Malaysian Cuisine, 21 Division Street, which I hoped would be a good alternative for interesting Malaysian food. So, I settled for Lunch Box Buffet, 15 Division Street (September 14, 2010), which offers a cafeteria line of about 30 items, $4.75 for four with white rice. I had sesame chicken, curry chicken, spicy chicken and lo mein. The chickens were distinguishable primarily by color. I suggest that, if you visit Lunch Box, you keep your eyes on your plate also because the condition of the walls, floor and ceiling may serve as an appetite suppressant.