It’s Christmas. Happy. For those of you who don’t celebrate, it’s another day. I wrote this in advance at Thanksgiving. We are embarking on a great road trip. More to follow….
Here’s something different. Hey! I’m old. I have seen a lot. But this was a first for me. Cousin Amy ordered up a roast pig. Yeah! Hmmm…it was her first time eating here too. The showstopper? Roast pig! A whole one. Don’t laugh. It’s sitting on two empty takeout boxes. Style points – 0.
So, I have two memories. My Uncle Harry used to invite my family to Harbin Inn (closed and gone) at 100th St and Broadway. They had the best dumplings ever. (I dreamt about them last nite) And they served a vegetarian duck (gluten) that I loved. For years, as part of the banquet, he ordered Peking duck. I never knew it. I was way way older before I ever realized this was a special dish that everyone went gaga for. Hmmm was it all wasted upon me even if I ate it and had no clue?
The second anecdote concerns two idiot neighbors in my med school dorm. (I also dreamt about how to write this story succinctly) They set fire to the (their) place. You know? Fire drill? It’s only a drill except that it’s not… it’s real with smoke and all. I ignored the alarms till they (firemen) knocked on my door. As I walked past I saw a charred (black charcoaled) duck hanging by a string over an open electric burner. I instantly knew what the knuckleheads had tried. They failed? …because the dripping oil from the duck splattered right onto the burner. Duh!?! You know? To get into med school you needed a straight “A” average. Common sense, not included. “Brain lock!”
In real life the whole process is done in a walk-in smoker. No, you can’t do this at home. Duck is 99% of the product. I guess someone decided that pig works too. It is a showstopper. I don’t know if they intentionally put us in the center of the restaurant but… It’s served up with hoisin sauce and scallions in a steamed bun. The star is the ‘crispy’ flavorful skin. Most of the fat has dripped away. So, it’s almost good for you. Meanwhile, if you are not a vegetarian, you might consider becoming one now.