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. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2581675
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?