Another day, another restaurant. Funny. We set off to try a new place. Just something out of our ordinary. We looked up likely offerings in Berlin. And what! We ended up in a place that was somewhere we’d been this past summer. We had not planned to return. The ambience was a bit sketchy. In the dark and in the winter the place looked entirely different. The garden tables where we’d eaten were covered for the winter. Funny. A cousin told us about the place a few days later. It was his latest find. Ummm, we’ve been there too. Coincidence!
We went to Salisbury University. I was a commuter to NYU. So, I never set foot in the cafeteria. Hospitals are the pits. Jules had a decent cafeteria at Hamilton College. However, after a semester of cafeteria food, every kid craves outside food. So, we ate in restaurants whenever I visited her. Here we are in Salisbury listening to a warm up blue grass concert before the main even in the music hall. Wow! And the food was varied. It was Mardi Gras theme night. Wow (again), it’s nearly decent and way different than any school cafeteria I had experienced before. You pay more (tuition) now. So, I guess you eat better too. I would almost eat there again… not.
They are dime a dozen in the neighborhoods of NYC. Not so in DE. It was interesting though restrained. Caricatures were painted on the walls for us to guess their identities. Yes, a chocolate egg cream – no milk. It wasn’t Kosher. You could get meat and dairy. Over the top? How about a 1 pound éclair? Right!
I’m not sure eating here would give you a proper representation of NYC. But, it’s solid cooking and it works for us. Here’s to a proper chocolate egg cream and a 1 pound eclair.
Williamsburg. To be honest my time (years/decades) has been mostly spent in Manhattan. Dave has been there(Brooklyn) for a good long time now. His friends and girlfriend all hang out there. We met for dinner. He took us to a hole in the wall Chinese place. It was more Americanized than Asian. The food was good. Juicy buns/dumplings?! Know how they make ‘em? You bite in, the soup (hot!) pours out. Don’t get burned. It’s a gimmick. You inject the soup? Nope. You wrap the dumpling with a cube of frozen broth. Then when you steam it, the dumpling holds the hot soup inside.
What do you do for dinner when no one is hungry but it’s a long way to breakfast tomorrow morning? Brew pub. I’m spending a lot of time in them lately. Ha! I don’t drink. But we had a pleasant repast and ended the day warm and toasty. (It snowed 5 inches overnight.) It’s not bad. The last of the football games were in progress. (We were out west.) The atmosphere is laid back. No one spoke politics. It was indeed a splendid respite. Hmmm? SLC (Salt Lake) is Mormon. No alcohol, coke (coca cola) or tobacco? Not here. It was a safe bet to guess everyone was not Mormon in this pub?
It’s not a good photo. I could improve it with means. I’m not bothering. It’s okay. It’s about the story. 2014. No. 2015. Was it? Gee time passes quickly. Valentine’s Day. Get it? Don’t try. I’m being obtuse. However… we were in this same restaurant again recently. I think it’s the second time for me (in this restaurant). It’s not Valentine’s. But I am there again with the same folks; yes,… and with my very significant other. The last time it was on the eve of our buying a house in Delaware. Prior to that, I had never even been in Delaware. And the topper? I was asked, “So how do you like the neighborhood?” just as I was driving in Delaware for the first time. Oh brother! You can’t make this stuff up. So, it was nice to have a steak once again. Meanwhile, my companion has gone vegetarian since then. She ate the risotto.
The New York Times likes to publish articles about 36 hours in…. ‘you name the city.’ Here is my … evening in Kansas City. We arrived after dark. It was really a pass-through heading to Denver. But since I had been here last year, I had some foreknowledge. We chose Grunauer Restaurant and the Red Lady Lounge. The restaurant is a German restaurant with schnitzel my latest favorite food. It is a pounded thin cutlet breaded and fried up. There were alternate selections for my gluten free vegetarian companion. The restaurant was not crowded and the meal was great. We can’t predict traffic and could not schedule any events. Perfect. The other “drop in” was the Red Lady Lounge. I am not a bar person. I don’t drink alcohol. But jazz is fun: no cover: dark: in a very untraveled part of town. In other words, you would not necessarily go here or want to park your car here. The music was good. The sound was poorly balanced. Hey, it was live and we sat next to the organ. Impromptu jamming, a very laid back relaxed atmosphere, it was a very pleasant end to the day. Yes, we packed a lot into one evening in KC.
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.
I bet you might wonder what dim sum is? Done well, it is a giant place serving hundreds. You have to move the inventory (food). That’s the only way you have fresh hot food and lots of choices. It’s all in the turnover. This would be hard to do just about anywhere else that doesn’t have a critical mass of hungry noisy voracious people. Look, I was there to eat.
I was too hungry and too excited to even take a picture… till my initial cravings were partially addressed. Carts are the key. Women come by with carts laden with hot finger sized appetizers. You pay according to the size of the plate. Pick what you want and as many plates as you like. Avoid the slimy weird stuff. Mostly avoid dessert. Did I tell you the Chinese can’t bake? But spring rolls? Everyone has had one and likes them. There are variations and they all taste just fine. It’s a bit of a stretch for a vegetarian, but no one starved. Yes, this is one occasion where a large (hungry) crowd is appreciated.
There was a big crowd in front of this “hole in the wall.” I know the place. I’ve been there. It’s a dim sum shop. What I did not know is that very day it was featured/mentioned in the New York Times as the first dim sum shop in Chinatown. And it had not changed (décor) since they opened it. That might not be a good thing? Rest assured the food is fresh. I understand that most dim sum places get their items brought in from a central location where they make thousands of dumplings in a batch. Crowd notwithstanding, I’ve been in the “joint.” The last time was when the kids were small. That would be a couple decades ago. The furniture was old then! We dropped in with Susan and Kevin (from MA). What it did not realize (but should have known!) is that they are pretty ‘meat and potatoes’ eaters. My bad! I chowed down on the tasty dumplings while they politely picked among the (too strange for them) offerings. Afterward I was admonished for being so oblivious. Sorry. I like the stuff. It is made from good stuff. Doesn’t everyone like it? Yeah! Clueless. Me.