Friday, October 30, 2015

Love It Or List It

Monday, October 26, 2015
The New York Times published their ten most popular recipes.

Most, except the curries, seem easy to prepare. Beef could be substituted for pork shoulder, but the bacon accent in the spinach spaetzle would be sorely missed, for those of you who continue to walk the dietary straight and narrow. I’m ready to be served any and all of these dishes, at your convenience, to determine if their popularity is warranted.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Many law schools are lowering standards for admission (primarily scores on admissions tests) in order to deal with a decline in applicants.

This should produce a commensurate decline in the passing rate for state bar exams, because of an established correlation between the exams going in and the exams going out. Based on my own observations, law schools are insufficiently demanding once students are admitted. The power of hefty tuition income seems to dull the administrations’ instincts to trim the ranks of non- or under-performing students. While the better students are recognized and rewarded within and without the halls of legal academe, the dross only seem to held accountable, if at all, by their parents, paying fat bills for tuition and living expenses.

Then, we have had pressure to ease the bar exam, allowing more ill-prepared students to (attempt to) join the professional ranks. New York is about to introduce the Uniform Bar Exam, a multi-state test considered less rigorous than the current New York-centric version. Here is a jaded view of New York’s move.

Finally, we hear laments about the absence of jobs for lawyers.

But wait, it gets worse. Here is a headline in today’s New York Law Journal: "More Firm Leaders Say They Expect Computers to Replace Young Lawyers."

So, Mammas let your babies grow up to be cowboys.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
What, another list? This week’s issue of Time Out New York lists "100 Best Dishes in the City."

I must admit that I’ve only had one of them (the ice cream at 10 Below, 10 Mott Street, which I found to have more curiosity value than taste), demonstrating that either I am lazy or it’s a big world out there or both. The list begins with the ten best overall, and then goes by category, vegetables, seafood, desserts and such. A conscientious effort to have the best is challenging. Four of the top ten are part of tasting menus/fixed dinners, ranging from $85 to $200 (before you sit down).

Today, tasting menus are all the thing. Most lists of the best restaurants/meals seem to focus on such endeavors. However, this is old news where I came from. Mother Ruth Gotthelf’s dinners always had a set menu, changing nightly. There were no substitutions, but, admittedly, unlike some of the fancy schmantzy joints, truffles could not be shaved onto the salmon croquettes at any cost. With some exceptions, night-in, night-out we had more satisfying meals (ambience aside) than your typical foodie can muster.

The Boyz Club met for lunch at New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe, 50 Mott Street. Eight of us put together our own meal – cold sesame noodles, scallion pancakes, soup dumplings, orange flavored beef, sauteed fish fillet in sweet and sour sauce, shredded beef with spicy sauce, eggplant with garlic sauce, sesame chicken, diced chicken with black bean sauce, and choice of egg drop or hot and sour soup – all for $16 each, demonstrating the economies of scale.

Still another list; today’s New York Law Journal prints the results of the July New York State bar exam. About 500 fewer candidates took the exam than last year, with a pass rate of 79% for those New York state law schools graduates taking the test for the first time, continuing a decline in recent years. Inevitably, my eyes fell on the names of the successful candidates. I was surprised and delighted to see that Jasmine Gothelf passed, as did Yi He, Bo Li, Xi Lu and Zi Ye, tied for the shortest name. I could not distinguish the longest name, because a string of middle names, usually used only on formal occasions, distorted the picture. Instead, I sought the most euphonious, music to my ears. I am trying to decide between Pious Pavitar Ahuja and Tolulope Fyinfoluwa Odunsi, but good luck to them in any case and I hope they get a job without the threat of being replaced by a computer.

Thursday, October 29, 2015
Tuesday night’s World Series game, between Kansas City and New York, lasting 14 innings, running well over 5 hours, set a recent high mark for television viewing, an average of 14.9 million people. By contrast, the final game of the 1980 World Series, between Kansas City and Philadelphia, drew 52.1 million viewers. Whaa? The US population in 1980 was 226.5 million people, while the current population is estimated at 322.05 million. Where is everybody?

What is a Chinese restaurant? That seems like an odd question from me after I have spent almost 6 years eating lunch in hundreds of Chinese restaurants, as reported herein. However, it is the right question to ask after lunch at Potato Corner, 234 Canal Street, a decidedly Chinatown location. It is the only New York City branch of a worldwide chain that originated in the Philippines; almost all the other US locations are in malls. The owners of this franchise store are Chinese, the young Vietnamese counterman told me. His coworker is from Venezuela.

The menu is basically fried potatoes in various shapes and forms with added flavors. There are six styles of potato, original French fries, loopy fries (curls), sweet potato (waffle cut), tater tots, Jo Jo chips (thick, ridged potato chips), and chili cheese fries. Six flavors are dusted on after frying, BBQ, cheddar, sour cream & onion, chili BBQ, cinnamon & sugar, and garlic & parmesan. Finally, four sauces for dipping are available, BBQ, ranch, honey mustard, and Thousand Island. Real food is available only in the form of chicken, tenders, wings or poppers. You can see that it takes a while to place an order. I had a chicken combo, three chicken tenders (slabs of white meat, about 1/4 inch thick, 4 inches long, deep-fried in a bread crumb crust), with loopy fries ($8.89 including a 16 oz. Diet Coke). I chose sour cream & onion flavoring for the potatoes, feh, meh, and honey mustard sauce to dip the chicken in.

So, in the absence of noodles and rice, is it reasonable to call Potato Corner a Chinese restaurant? Note that Thanh, the Vietnamese counterman, objected to labeling this hole in the wall with only two stools at a short ledge as a restaurant. We agreed on joint, however. And, therefore, I declare this and only this US branch of Potato Corner to be a Chinese joint (as I understand the term to encompass all the cuisines of East Asia). I reserve opinion on the operation at the Seattle Southcenter and the Rosedale (Minnesota) Center among others until I know more about their ownership and personnel.

Friday, October 30, 2015
We plan to fill our appetite for culture as well as our appetite for food over this weekend.  Tonight, we are seeing "King Charles III," a play just arrived from London, imagining the reign of the next King of England.  Tomorrow night, we are seeing Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge," a very American play in a revival also brought over from London.  Both of the evenings were arranged long before anyone had reason to believe that the Mets would be playing games 3 and 4 of the World Series at exactly the same time.  I will behave.


  1. Please create active links within the blog so that it is possible to click and go rather than cut and paste. Many thanks, Your loyal readers

  2. Please create active links within the blog so that it is possible to click and go rather than cut and paste. Many thanks, Your loyal readers