Monday, August 10, 2015
While Excellent Dumpling, 111 Lafayette Street, is consistently very good, where it is excellent is in the speed of getting your food to the table (June 9, 2011, September 13, 2010, February 17, 2010). They have mastered the constant flow of people in and out of this busy location, just south of Canal Street, without sacrificing quality. Today, it was their turn to serve up cold sesame noodles, and they delivered a huge portion worth an A grade ($5.25). The sauce was a little soupy, falling to the bottom of the bowl, requiring constant stirring with my chopsticks to get somewhat even distribution. I used my handkerchief as a bib to try to catch the spattering sauce with near perfect results. I only see one spot on my shirt. However, a droplet managed to fly into my left eye as I sucked in a mouthful of noodles. There were no sesame seeds, no chives, but a few bean sprouts mixed in with the sauce. Wear dark colors.
If there is something that I know almost as much about as Chinese food, it is obesity. So, this article about Coca-Cola’s funding of a new "science-based" weight control program interested me. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/coca-cola-funds-scientists-who-shift-blame-for-obesity-away-from-bad-diets/?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news
The science that Coke relies upon though has a dubious basis. "A recent analysis of beverage studies, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, found that those funded by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, the American Beverage Association and the sugar industry were five times more likely to find no link between sugary drinks and weight gain than studies whose authors reported no financial conflicts." http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001578#s3
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Who’s reading whom? While I admit to using the New York Times as a point of departure for many of my commentaries, I have to point out the sudden appearance of an article by one of its leading food writers about cold sesame noodles, even as I am engaged in a long-term review of Chinatown’s versions.
The article offers a recipe for preparing cold sesame noodles at home, relatively simple if you have access to a Chinese grocery store. It does require peanut butter, a taste that I’ve always felt distinguished the best cold sesame noodles. Do not hesitate to follow the recipe and remember to call me when it’s done. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to work my way through restaurant noodles on your behalf.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
You have to feel bad for John Riggi, not just because he died the other day. After all, he lived 90 years. However, as his obituary pointed out over and over again, he "was often mistakenly cited as an inspiration for the acclaimed HBO series ‘The Sopranos.’" Of course, he was an ally of John Gotti and spent 20 years in prison. He was nominally employed as business agent of a New Jersey construction workers’ union. But, try as he might, he failed to reach it to the top, to be the inspiration for Tony Soprano. He went so far as to arrange sweetheart deals and no-show jobs with building contractors, promote loan-sharking, gambling, and arrange hits on opponents and potential witnesses. What more did a guy have to do? Poor John. At least, at the end, he did not have to read what no one dared say to his face.
Today’s memorable headline: "Jeb Bush Blames Hillary Clinton and Obama for Iraq’s Decline" Once upon a time, there was a peaceable kingdom named Iraq. It was beloved by its neighbors and home to happy people. Then, in 2009, a mean man named Barack Obama and his wicked friend Hillary Clinton decided to make all the vacationing American tourists in Iraq come home before they wanted to. Iraq’s peace and quiet soon disappeared as bell hops, taxicab drivers, waiters and tour guides lost their main source of income, as well as the friendship of the American visitors that had made them happy for so long. It’s no surprise that there are now so many unhappy people in Iraq. All of us here in the forest know that President Bush will make it better.
Speaking of Middle Eastern countries starting with an I and an R and an A, please read the following from one of leading voices of the International Jewish Conspiracy, unless you don’t want reality to get in the way of your opinions.
East Noodle Village at 86 Chrystie Street, is a new restaurant, having replaced 85 Chinese Restaurant (March 3, 2014). It is long and narrow, with blonde wood paneling on the walls matching the pale wood tables and chairs. There are three large round tables at the rear, with 15 or so two tops mostly pushed together to seat four people. All but one other of the 16 customers were Chinese. East Noodle has a very big and eclectic menu. It offers toast and hot dogs for breakfast and 49 lunch specials at $5.75. Another dozen more exotic lunch specials go for $6.50 to $7.50. Soup and white rice are included. I ordered oxtail with chestnuts ($7.50); that’s the kind of mood that I was in. The almost bland, pale soup had a couple of tiny pieces of oxtail in it and the main course was only slightly more substantial. The oxtail was braised in a brown sauce, but true to ox, was much more bone than meat. With the white rice, it made a very modest lunch and a couple of spots on my shirt and tie.
Some foreign tourists were puzzled at the crowd outside the federal courthouse around the corner from my office at lunchtime. They may have understood that the presence of so many reporters and photographers connoted something important going on inside, but I took the trouble to explain briefly why a dozen or so people were wearing flattened footballs on their heads. While an American professional basketball star might have evoked appreciative nods of recognition, the mention of Tom Brady, appearing in federal district court trying to overturn his four-game suspension from the National Football League, seemed to leave them cold.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
For the third time in its three week existence, I had lunch at Wok Wok Southeast Asian Kitchen, 11 Mott Street. Last week, I enjoyed the food, but lamented the inadequate service which caused several people to leave without getting some food, or any food. I had mixed feelings at seeing the place no more than 1/5 full near 1 PM today when I walked in. That small a group would not put much of a demand on the wait staff, which seemed to be augmented from last week. On the other hand, I want the joint to succeed, because it seemed to be offering good food. However, people kept coming in and the wait staff seemed to cope as more than half the seats were occupied before I left.
I ordered Pi Pa duck ($14.95) and a side of coconut rice ($1.75). The duck was very good, roasted to a near-crispness and served on a plate coated with hoisin sauce. If I had a loaf of white bread, I could have improvised Beijing duck. While there inevitably was fat to deal with, the duck was very tasty. The only hitch came when I asked for water and tea when I sat down. My waitress came back soon with a glass of water and a cup of hot water with a tea bag in it. I looked at her and said, I want real tea. Oh, Chinese tea, she replied. I skipped making a snarky remark about being in the center of Chinatown asking for tea, and she quickly returned with a classic, squat, cast iron Chinese tea pot and a tea cup no larger than an egg cup. Very enjoyable, and quite authentic except for not having a kimono-clad tea pourer.
Friday, August 14, 2015
In spite of the National Rifle Association's claim that the best way to stop bad guys with guns is for good guys to have guns, the evidence shows that good guys with guns (law enforcement officers) get killed more often by bad guys with guns where it is easy for anybody to get a gun. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302749
On November 3, 1993, then New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan introduced legislation to raise the federal excise tax on bullets, scaled to those most frequently used in criminal actions. Chris Rock has a contemporary view of this. www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuX-nFmL0II
It’s not too late to save lives, including those of law enforcement officers.
Just when Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO, seemed to emerge as the anti-Trump in the Republican race for the presidential nomination, the gravitational pull of the Domestic Enemies of Sanity has taken hold: "Carly Fiorina waded into the politics of vaccinations on Thursday, explaining to a group in Iowa that she believes parents should have the option not to vaccinate their children." And here I thought that we had so much in common, since both of us were fired from computer companies.
Meanwhile, one of her opponents, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, famed for his cost-cutting (including reducing the budget of the University of Wisconsin by $250 million), signed a bill this week to subsidize the building of an arena for the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball team with -- wait a minute -- $250 million in public funds. For some reason, he could only muster short, white people to witness this historic moment for the National Basketball Association.