Friday, March 27, 2015

The Fiddlers Are Coming! The Fiddlers Are Coming!

Monday, March 23, 2015
Flaming Kitchen is at 97 Bowery, and they ain’t kidding. The word spicy or the little red pepper warning sign appears all over the menu in this entirely redecorated replacement to Full House Café (January 27, 2011). The seating has changed completely; the bland interior has been jazzed up with 6 large red spherical Chinese lanterns, and a glass wall with stainless steel inserts rises the full height of the double level main room. The four flat screen television sets remain, however, and, as an appetite suppressant, they were all replaying last night’s Knicks game. 

The large menu includes 25 dim sum dishes to be ordered from the menu, and 40 lunch specials, in addition to dozens of full size mostly hot and spicy dishes. The lunch specials, costing either $6.95 or $7.50, include white or brown rice and a choice of hot and sour soup, won ton soup, egg drop soup or a spring roll. I had a very small bowl of excellent won ton soup, and fish filets with Szechuan sauce. The sauce was invisible, but the plate was loaded with hot peppers and garlic, and a trace of hot oil, as seen below, after the fish was gone.

While the many thin pieces of fried fish were served dry, the hot pepperiness thoroughly permeated the dish and lived up to the name of the restaurant. About half of the lunch specials, and almost all of the regular entrees are hot and spicy, in true Szechuan fashion. The attractive setting and the aggressive flavors of Flaming Kitchen deserve a try, but don’t forget the Rolaids.

Some people are agitated by things other than spicy food. Last week’s New Yorker magazine had an interesting article about the management and finances of the Metropolitan Opera, which faced the threat of a strike/lockout last year over the wages of musicians and chorus members. The article said that "[Bruce] Kovner was especially adamant that unionized labor costs, which account for two-thirds of the Met’s expenses, be curbed." Kovner, one of 43 managing directors, just below the 11 member executive committee, but (thank God) above 99 other directors situated in four tiers below, is estimated to have a net worth of $5 billion. You see, when you have $5 billion people listen to your expressions of exasperation with fiddle players.

Speaking of economic royalists, the following was in Sunday’s business section of the New York Times: "When the billionaire William I. Koch spent $60 million to start the Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla., he vowed to teach children ‘how things get done in the real world.’"
Koch may only have a net worth of $4 billion, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know about the real world. After all, he spent nearly 15 years in lawsuits against his brothers over sale of the family business, has had three wives, been arrested for domestic violence, and donated $2 million to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. How much realer can you get? His views about fiddle players are unknown.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The James Beard Foundation announced its nominees for this year’s American restaurant and food awards, the leading distinction in this field. I have to admit that I have not enjoyed any of the local candidates, all situated outside of Chinatown I might add. Here are some nominees -- best new restaurant: Bâtard and Cosme; outstanding restaurant: Momofuku Noodle Bar and Per Se; outstanding baker: Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery; outstanding pastry chef: Ghaya Oliveira, Daniel. The full list is at
Accepting the standards of the Beard Foundation, I can envision a nationwide romp through all the top choices. Unfortunately, funding for such a project might only be available from the sort of people who fear the rising power of fiddle players.

Speaking of revolutionary fervor, some of us might remember the days of the Communist Menace, led by Earl Browder, general secretary of the Communist Party USA from 1930 to 1945, "Stalin’s number one stooge in this country," according to Republican Congressman J. Parnell Thomas, whose career as a freedom fighter was cut short by a 18-month federal prison term for fraud and corruption.
But, we can thank regression towards the mean for news that Browder’s 50-year old grandson Bill is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of the investment fund Hermitage Capital Management, which befits an economics major at the University of Chicago and MBA graduate of Stanford University.  The dear boy even renounced his American citizenship to avoid paying taxes, an un-American act that would have made his grandfather proud.

Thursday, March 26, 2015
James T. Lindgren, Northwestern University School of Law, has just published a study that finds that white Christians and Republicans are significantly under represented on law school faculties.
He contends that this results in a left-wing slant out of touch with the population at large. I’ve only attended one law school, but this view does not surprise me and has been stated before. However, either these pinko profs are too effective in teaching critical thinking or are ineffective in getting their collectivist views across, because, as I see it, the emerging hordes of young lawyers, on the whole, remain devoted to greed and self-aggrandizement. Maybe we need more white Christian and Republican law school faculty members so that the shallowness of their ideas will turn their students into proponents of generous and tolerant public policies.

Friday, March 27, 2015
I have not finished composing my letter to Indiana Governor Mike Spence, who just signed into law a so-called religious freedom bill, which allows business owners to refuse service where it would offend their strongly held religious beliefs. I will inquire if devout Christians, therefore, may bar Christ killers from their hot dog stands, and, as founder of the Church of Fair Play, may I bar Indiana lawmakers and the honorable chief executive from Grandpa Alan's House of Joy?

Friday, March 20, 2015

How Do You Feel About That?

Monday, March 16, 2015
I'm a week late on this, but I want to reflect on an article in the Times about leaving your psychotherapist. The article itself was just so-so but the circumstances of such a divorce are bound to be interesting. I was taken back over 40 years to the first time that I visited a psychotherapist. It was around the time that I got married, for the first time, in Los Angeles. My wife was born abroad, and did not display a particularly California mentality. Yet, New York style, my New York style especially, was foreign to her. She was puzzled and/or annoyed that one adult (male) would mock or deride another, out loud at least. Actually, this was New York male behavior that was inculcated as soon as you set foot in your neighborhood schoolyard, PS 159, in my case. We called it "ranking." I believe urban African-Americans refer to it as "playing the dozens." I have also heard it referred to as "sounding." Once I graduated to the increasingly competitive realms of Stuyvesant High School and CCNY, ranking was as natural to me as riding the subway. None of this "I love you, man," business. We didn't bro hug even our bros. Today, trash talking is universal, although matched with unnecessary shows of affection by tattooed behemoths. 

In any case, my wife was very annoyed by my frequent, aggressive unflattering references to many people around me, including people whom I otherwise didn't seem to have a quarrel with. I agreed to see a psychologist in order to address my conduct, and bring peace home. A doctor who treated me and whose computer, in turn, I treated recommended a psychologist, and I faithfully made an appointment.

I recall that the psychologist was a nice man, about 10 years older than I. In our first meeting, I started filling him in on my background, who and what I was. I still remember telling him about the time spent with my dear friend Andy Persily, when we were both single, living in New York, he with his father in Greenwich Village, I with my parents in Woodhaven, Queens. I had a secondary school teaching job at the time, and I would get home a few minutes after 3, take a nap and drive into Manhattan for an evening in search of truth, beauty and love, but more often just walking around the Village with Andy. I explained to the shrink that I naturally drove into Manhattan crossing the Williamsburg Bridge off the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, not the Queens Midtown Tunnel (a toll), not the 59th Street Bridge (too far uptown), not the Brooklyn Bridge (too far downtown), not the Manhattan Bridge (awkward on and off). Street parking after 6 PM on a weeknight was allowed, so I never resorted to a garage, an alternative that would have turned me around back to Queens.

I had to give him all this detail because he wasn't from New York; he wasn't even Jewish. And, that’s what was wrong. I would have to spend thousands of dollars educating him on New York geography, no less New York manners and mores. Lord knows how long it would take to get to my psyche when we had so much other ground to cover. Of course, it wasn’t just the sharing of an information/experience base that would prepare him to deal with me; I needed to know about him. How would he get from Woodhaven to Greenwich Village? Was he the type to stop and smell the roses, taking a route on a whim or for its scenic value, ignoring the clock? Was he a spendthrift, willing to pay the extravagant toll on the tunnel just to save a minute or two? Was he overly curious or indecisive, unable to settle on one route? But, how would I ever know anything about him if he lacked the grounding in the details that defined my existence? I think that I went back one more time, but then never returned. Admittedly, ending such a flimsy relationship did not evoke separation anxiety, but you never know.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Chi Dumpling House, 77 Chrystie Street, was C&L Dumpling House when I first ate there (January 13, 2011). An outside sign still carries the old name. The menu seems much the same except for the addition of 15 "Chef’s Specials," all familiar concoctions at $7.50. As has often happened before, I ordered some of the same things as I had one change of name ago. The fried dumplings (5 for $1.50) again were excellent. The thick, doughy scallion pancake ($1) still resembled "a warmed scallion bialy," and added more bulk to my lunch than I needed. I also had chicken fried rice ($4), which was a side dish in search of a main course. I came away full, but knew that I had not ordered wisely. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Happy Anniversary to Me! I started working for the New York State court system 13 years ago today. It was my first paying job after law school, and the opportunity was presented to me by the Honorable Marjory D. Fields, Acting Justice of the Supreme Court. Justice Fields, whom I knew from college days, hired me as her junior law clerk, although, for budgetary reasons, I was listed and paid (not very much) as a stenographer. Now, identified as an associate court attorney (a level between principal court attorney and senior court attorney), and paid a decent salary, I have been employed here about twice as long as at any place prior. 

To celebrate, I went to Yeah Shanghai Deluxe, 50 Mott Street (February 19, 2010, July 12, 2010, April 12, 2011, November 6, 2103, September 19, 2013, May 8, 2013, June 12, 2013). Because of its commanding position at the corner of Mott Street and Bayard Street and the bright, attractively decorated premises, Yeah could easily be taken for a tourist joint. However, the near full house contained slightly more Chinese patrons than not, and, as indicated by my frequent visits over the years, it’s the real thing. I came to Yeah for Peking duck, Mottzar Kitchen my favorite duckery having closed down. The half duck ($22) was excellent, as fat free as I have ever seen in Chinatown. It came with 4 pancakes, hoisin sauce, slivers of cucumber and green onion, the classic arrangement.

Thursday, March 19, 2015
First Stop, 124A Hester Street would properly be called a hole in the wall if it were not on a corner (at Chrystie Street). It’s very small, three low tables and an assortment of low stools. It probably gets its name from its location amidst a raft of Chinatown bus companies, a thriving industry unknown to many round eyes. Chinatown bus companies, almost all headquartered in the less gentrified area of Chinatown around Chrystie Street, East Broadway, and Allen Street, originated as a service for Chinese restaurant workers, scattered throughout the Eastern United States, who used their one or two days off to shop and visit in New York City. After all, bamboo shoots and Szechuan peppercorns are not often found on the supermarket shelves of Roanoke, Virginia. Low, low prices are needed for this market and the signs outside the many operations list just about every city east of the Mississippi river, with prices $40 or less. Today, college students and other members of the underclass use these buses as well. Thus, emerging onto the streets of the Big Apple, the First Stop might seem like an appropriate, well First Stop.

The welcome offered by First Stop is actually quite modest. There is no menu, but a set of color pictures in the window display the choices. I asked for fried dumplings, but they were out. I ordered then the spicy noodle soup ($7) to deal with the cold weather that returned this week, and I got the hottest spiciest dish that I have every had in Chinatown. The bowl was thick with beef, yellow and green onions, glass noodles, cabbage, two kinds of sausage and an ingredient or two that I can’t put a name on, in a broth whose red pepper flakes could not be avoided. My feeling is that this dish was, as we say in old Shanghai, sui generis. I think that the next time, the cook will empty a different part of his refrigerator when someone orders spicy noodle soup. And good luck to you.

If you were wondering what America’s Favorite Epidemiologist was doing while one of her two favorite husbands was running around eating lunch, check out the latest issue of Arthritis & Rheumatology, wherein she determined that prolonged exposure to the ruins of the World Trade Center was linked to an increase in various autoimmune diseases including arthritis and lupus.;jsessionid=E8D0562FE88A7B45F191A1703B207E5C.f02t04?

Friday, March 20, 2015
It's the first day of Spring, which did not stop the snow from falling for several hours.  It also Macaron Day. 
15 bakeries are offering one free macaron to each customer, and proceeds from sales thus stimulated will go City Harvest, an organization that distributes food to the needy.  I realize that by the time that you read this, and even by the time that I finishing writing this, the moment will have passed.  Sorry, but I only learned of this event last night, so I had no time to jiggle my schedule to take advantage of this largesse.  However, it's not too early to plan for next year, when the first day of Spring will be Sunday, March 20th (Leap Year, you know), which gives us all day (after Mass) to scurry around for the free goodies.  For those who follow the old-time-religion, be aware that Passover, when our attention turns from macarons to macaroons, doesn't begin until the following weekend. 

August Gatherings, 266 Canal Street, is about one month old, replacing Canal Best Restaurant.  It is attractively decorated, suggesting the interior of a temple, Buddhist not Reform.  It has 7 round tables and 8 four tops, all occupied today at lunchtime.  Much like Yeah the other day, more than half the customers were Chinese, although the restaurant was in a prime tourist location, two doors from McDonald's.  I ordered duck chow fun ($9), which was not explicitly on the menu, but was suggested by the presence of duck lo mei fun and duck lai fun, spaghetti-like egg noodles or rice noodles.  The portion was medium-sized, and, if not for the real estate, I would have knocked at least one dollar off the price.  August also offers lunch specials for $6 to $8.50, all with rice.  Service was friendly and efficient.  Note that it is the third new restaurant that I found this week.

Speaking of synchronicity, August has a small counter right inside the entrance selling macarons from Macaron Parlour Patisserie (111 St. Marks Place and 500 Columbus Avenue), one of the Macaron Day participants.  Unfortunately, the lovely young woman at the counter was unaware of how special today was, so I had to pay retail, with no free samples.  But, since the covey of macarons that I purchased are destined to delight and reward America's Favorite Epidemiologist, I completed the transaction without cavil. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Where Am I?

Monday, March 9, 2015
The New York Times reports today that the examination for prospective New York City taxicab drivers has changed to emphasize knowledge of safety over geography. The paper provides an interactive test of local geography to accompany the article, so you can figure out how to get to Carnegie Hall.

"[Florida Department of Environmental Protection] officials have been ordered not to use the term ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting." This policy went into effect after George Orwell took office as governor in 2011.

New Kim Tuong Restaurant, 83 Chrystie Street, takes the place of 83 Kien Tuong Restaurant (March 24, 2011). The small space was crowded with Chinese customers; the 5 two tops and the 6 four tops were all occupied. I shared one of the larger tables. A long food preparation area along the right hand wall takes about 1/3 of the floor space. The furniture looks newish, but otherwise I can’t really distinguish the new from the old. By chance, four years later, I ordered exactly the same dish, Kien Tuong chow fun, with the same name, but now one dollar more at $6.50. It contained, chicken, pork, broccoli, scallions and bean sprouts cooked with a generous serving of the wide, thick noodles. Looking at my past notes, I found the dish to be much tastier this time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 has a fascinating graphic on "The Changing Nature of Middle-Class Jobs," contrasting employment in 1980 and today. The overarching conclusion is that the middle-class occupations that declined most were male dominated, such as, machine operators and production supervisors, while those that grew were often female dominated, such as, registered nurses and health technologists.

On the other hand, it is reported that "[t]he number of hedge funds hit new heights last year, and the amount of money flowing into the funds was the highest since before the financial crisis. Even so, hedge funds’ performance lagged the broader stock market." So, your kid should go to a fancy Ivy League college, get a job playing with other people’s money, produce mediocre results, and command a salary that could buy the whole block that your grandfather lived on.

The courthouse steps were covered with people and equipment when I walked out to meet Michael Ratner for lunch. Fake lawyers, fake reporters, fake cops and fake crooks were hovering around as real people operating cameras, reading scripts, applying makeup, testing lighting and sound, holding clipboards, worked among relatives of the producers as they set up the next scene for the pilot of a television series tentatively titled "Doubt." As always, I marveled at the number of people needed to get an image on a screen.

There was one interesting touch that may require watching this episode, if it ever airs, in order to understand. A bicycle rack was temporarily set up at the curb along Centre Street, with several bicycles in position; not CitiBikes, but real bikes used by messengers or otherwise athletic people. At first, I thought that this was transportation for crew members, but, as I left work later, I saw the rack and all the bikes being loaded onto a truck with other props and equipment. So, as Chekhov said: "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there." 

Lunch with Michael is always enjoyable, but not long enough to catch up on his trips to Florida, Burma, Colorado and Mexico since I last saw him. He knows how to retire. On the other hand, I know how to order at Wo Hop, 17 Mott Street, where we had the quintessential Chinatown lunch, won ton soup for Michael, egg rolls, shrimp in lobster sauce and pork fried rice, all shared. The good news/bad news is that Wo Hop’s portions are so large that we had no room to order more of their fabulous food.     

Time Out New York recently published a list of the "100 best New York restaurants." I’ll offer it to you with the understanding that it isn’t.
For example, neither the Four Seasons nor Wo Hop makes the list. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Last night, on the way to our tax accountant, I passed by the Park Avenue Liquor Store, known for an excellent selection of single malt Scotch whiskeys. It was closed, empty. One of my classic bits of New York trivia was about to disappear: "What do the Park Avenue Liquor Store and the Park Avenue Synagogue have in common? They are both on Madison Avenue." Sadly anticipating this hole in my repertoire, I almost missed the new store at the corner of Madison Avenue and 39th Street, a larger, brighter Park Avenue Liquor Store, still safely situated on Madison Avenue.

Happy Tea Time, 98 Walker Street, just opened, connected physically, if not operationally, to Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen next door. The space, almost a cube, contains 4 two-top tables, each with a chair, opposite a cushioned bench, and a small, L-shaped ledge with four stools. Even with two beverage coolers, the space seems almost barren. A little life is added by two large photographs, roughly 3' x 5', over the cushioned bench; one shows the Seine at night, crossed by six lighted bridges, the other taken on the walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge, looking over to Manhattan.

Happy offers teas hot and cold, and banh mi, the signature Vietnamese sandwich, in nine versions. All the sandwiches are $5 except for the vegetarian at $6, an example of less is more. I had the Banh Mi Ga, grilled chicken, with shredded carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts and hot peppers, on a hot, plump baguette. Unfortunately, the usual tangy, sweet and sour, lime-based dressing was in very short supply. In all, the sandwich was filling, but dull.

Thursday, March 12, 2015
Wah Kee, 150 Centre Street, was the first restaurant that I visited when I started this (ad)venture on January 4, 2010. It later became Red Square Café (July 26, 2011). Then, it morphed into Maid Café NY, featuring Chinese waitresses poorly imitating naughty French maids (September 16, 2013). Now, it has changed into Uncle Mike’s Café, staffed by Chinese people, serving a limited menu of hamburgers, chili and Caesar's salad.  Nothing east of Suez.  So, there was no reason for me to eat there and include Uncle Mike in my list of Chinatown chefs.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Alan's Restaurant?

Monday, March 2, 2015
The twain has met. Saturday evening, when returning from running errands, we passed the door of apartment 17M just as it opened. Out emerged Eli (pronounced Ell-ee) and Hanna Gothelf, our new neighbors. The Gothelfs are a middle-aged couple from Israel who have moved to the Upper West Side apparently to live among Jews. Actually, their new apartment is a part-time residence. They are returning to Israel later this week, but their four adult children (and families), all from Israel as well, will be cycling in and out in months to come. While we did not have time standing in the hallway to examine our respective origins, I felt a connection to Eli’s handsome, strong features and wavy gray hair. 

NASDAQ, on a six-year bull market run, is less than 100 points from its all-time high of 5,048.62, reached March 10, 2000. So, it makes perfect sense for Republicans to insist on a major change in economic policy just in case people have forgotten what bad times feel like.

I must have brought the warm weather with me, because it was 38 degrees at lunchtime. Under those circumstances, a good walk seemed in order and I was able to discover a new restaurant. However, you wouldn’t know from the name that AK US Group Corp, 95 Chrystie Street, is a restaurant, no less a Chinese restaurant. It’s a small joint, down a few steps, off the beaten path. The food preparation area takes about 1/3 of the small space, and the rest is occupied by one large round table, two small ones, and 5 four tops. One or two Chinese people were at each table. I received a friendly greeting and the menu is bilingual. However, my command of broken English proved deficient when I asked the waiter for unlisted Singapore chow fun, not the Singapore mei fun that appears on the menu. He brought me a huge portion of Singapore mei fun, the angel hair noodle, instead of the thick, broad chow fun ($7.95). It was very good, as well as seemingly endless, with egg, two meats, shrimp, green pepper, red pepper, onion and scallions cooked in a gentle spicy curry. I ate only slightly more than half, but felt that I got my money’s worth.

My first name is Alan, so I don’t count in this interesting survey of women’s leadership of large businesses. It seems that there are more CEOs named John (5.3%) among Standard & Poor’s 1500 (1,500 publicly-traded US companies) than women (4.1%).

The article ends with the amusing observation that, in the future, the emergence of Jacobs, Tylers and Zacharys may disrupt this simple comparison.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
As a result of being apprehended for driving 20 feet into New Jersey with snow on the roof of my car, I have to report to Central Municipal Court of Bergen County today. Simply mailing in a payment with a confession of guilt is inadequate. A personal appearance, presumably accompanied by public shaming, is prescribed for the offense of driving across the George Washington Bridge with snow on the roof of your car. Mind you, I understand the safety considerations, and know that ignorance of the law is no excuse (even though, for once, Chris Christie makes no effort to ballyhoo his legislative record and no notice is provided to foreigners aiming, for instance, to enjoy the odors along the New Jersey Turnpike). Also, the automated message providing directions to the courthouse only includes driving instructions. No mention is made of arriving at the courthouse by public transportation. Fortunately, I was able to discern a path between here and there, and back from there to here.

I was directed into a gathering place for defendants awaiting the start of the court’s afternoon session, and I immediately recognized that I was in "Alice’s Restaurant."* Admittedly, none of my fellow defendants were in shackles, and the court officers, while snappily outfitted in blue uniforms with a bright gold stripe down the trousers, seemed to be relaxed around us. My case was heard among the first in the crowd. I politely rejected the judge’s offer of an adjournment to allow me time to hire a lawyer without explaining the redundancy. I also waived my right to trial, not because I feared taking on the State of New Jersey’s legal system, but to spare me the time and trouble of returning to Hackensack to pursue justice. I pled guilty to driving a motor vehicle on the highways of New Jersey with snow on its roof and was fined $56 plus $33 court costs. The judge allowed me to make a statement on the record and I said that I would have paid this fine in January, when the offense arose, if given the opportunity, which would have placed less of a demand on the resources of the State of New Jersey and me, and would have improved the state’s cash flow much earlier in the new year. I continued that public shaming seemed to be the only excuse for forcing a personal appearance on the charge of driving a motor vehicle on the highways of New Jersey with snow on its roof. The judge only acknowledged that he had no control over the scheduling of appearances for the various offenses under his jurisdiction. The round trip bus fare, for a senior, to and from the Port Authority bus terminal to Hackensack off-peak is $3.80.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
I’ve recommended Ben’s Best Kosher Delicatessen, 96-40 Queens Boulevard, Rego Park, as, in fact, the best Kosher delicatessen in New York. Further information may be gained at

Thursday, March 5, 2015
Buddha Bodai Vegetarian Restaurant, 5 Mott Street, was the only certified Kosher restaurant in Chinatown (May 4, 2010), although two other restaurants are authentically vegetarian. Now, it seems to have opened a second spot, while the original remains in operation. More on that in a moment. The new location at 77 Mulberry Street is easily one of the most attractive eating spots in Chinatown. The walls are a buttery yellow, although no dairy products are on the menu. The 16 or so two tops are lacquered Chinese red; the four square four tops are dark brown, and they have those little wings that swing up to make a round table. Four fixed round tables are in back, in a semi-private space. Attractive semi-abstract drawings of flowers and trees are on the walls, which are otherwise free of clutter. The staff is very attentive, and fully bi-lingual, that is Chinese and English. I didn’t try any Yiddish on them. 

A small dish of boiled peanuts is presented with the menu. The menu lists about 100 main dishes, about half trying to imitate beef, lamb, chicken or duck in one form or another. 25 lunch specials include a choice of soup or spring roll and white or brown rice, all priced at $7.50. Buddha also offers 55 dim sum items, to be ordered from a list, priced at $2.95, $3.25 or $4.95, with a handful at $5.95 or $6.95. I ordered sticky rice shumai, baked vegetarian meat bun, steamed watercress dumpling and steamed Cantonese dumpling. I had to jazz up the Cantonese dumpling with soy sauce, but the other dishes had distinct tastes. Although I am usually disdainful of the imitation dishes, the baked vegetarian meat bun was particularly good, flaky pastry triangles containing what could pass for barbecued pork to the unsuspecting. The steamed watercress dumpling was also very good, without attempting to be anything but itself.

A dozen to fifteen Chinese patrons were in the restaurant, along with one round-eyed woman. I spoke to the Chinese owner/manager who knew that today was Purim, an occasion for observant Jews to go to synagogue, not work. I would expect a decent showing of intense tribe members on a normal day. He explained that the original site remains open, renamed Buddha Bodai Vegetarian Restaurant One, operated by the landlord who allegedly did not offer a lease renewal after ten years.

Buddha won’t go to the top of my hit list, but I’ll try to stop in periodically. I will also recommend it heartily to my friends and relatives who pay closer attention to the Book than I do.

Friday, March 6, 2015
The title of the following article is self-explanatory:
"This Man Is Trying To Eat And Review Every Dollar Slice Of Pizza In New York City"

* "Alice's Restaurant" was a songspiel, running over 18 minutes, recorded by Arlo Guthrie, Woody’s son, in 1967, and later made into a movie. It was based on an actual incident, where teenage Arlo was arrested for putting garbage from his friend Alice’s restaurant, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in the wrong dump. He was fined and ordered to pick up his garbage, but this offense became, so he sang, an excuse to keep him from being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. When he was placed in an area with other malefactors being rejected by the US Army, "all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly-lookin’ people on the bench there . . . there was mother-rapers . . . father-stabbers . . . father-rapers," he was asked what had he been arrested for. He answered honestly "Litterin’".