Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cinco de Mayo - FB2B, part 54

It’s hard to believe that the year has flown by so quickly that we are imminently upon another big food and drink holiday. Next week is already Cinco de Mayo (not actually Mexican independence day but the anniversary of a significant battle). Maybe it’s all the food from last week’s Chinatown excursion, but my taste buds have already shifted gears and I’m craving the tastes of the country south of the U.S. border.

About a couple of months ago, I caught the episode of “Tyler’s Ultimate” where Tyler Florence made Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa. I think that it was one of the few cooking shows where I immediately just started to make a grocery list and went out that day to hunt down all the ingredients so that I could make it myself. I love enchiladas and with one batch, I have dinner leftovers for a week so it works out well to feed myself during those weeks, like the one coming up, where I know I’ll be pulling extra long hours.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Tasty Chinatown - FB2B, part 53

Not to ignore anything else that happened this week in the world, in fact, as the killings happened in my home state and as someone who was from my hometown died, it's actually sort of hard to just pretend it didn't take place. I'm not even going to try to avoid it. As much as anyone doesn't want to hear it now, from my own personal, direct experience with the events of 5+ years ago, for me, it does get easier as the years go by, although you really never will forget what it was like - before and after.

Like 09/11, where it would be nice to turn the clock back to 09/10 and return to more innocent times, would that we could all just stay on last Sunday, prior to the ugliness of Monday morning's carnage. Time, however, has other ideas, and likes to continue moving forward, ever forward.

This is good for many reasons, not the least of which is that today was the annual Taste of Chinatown. Yippee!!! I'm not sure how I've managed not to go to this any year I've lived here, but this year, it was my mission to get there, nothing was going to get in my way. Fortunately, nothing did. Tastings from lots of restaurants, all with $1.00 and $2.00 plates. It was like a progressive dim sum outing (hmm... has anyone actually put one of those together yet?).

There was a little bit of everything available so I'm really glad that the brochure included a map with the restaurants indexed and numbered. This was serious foodie organization. I'd set myself a budget of $10.00. I didn't even manage to spend all of it. The weather was really warm, the food, really fried, and after a bit - like with dim sum - I had to say, "No more."

Then, a few hours later, after I'd headed back uptown to avoid the second wave of folks coming to the festival, I started getting hungry and wondered what there was in the house for dinner.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Jury Duty - FB2B, part 52

Ah, jury duty. A civic responsibility and a necessary part of keeping our country and its legal system running the way that it does. I do believe in it, but dreaded when I was called to do it this past week.

Part of this is because the building where I had to report is in one of the most expensive neighborhoods for real estate, and, consequently for eating out, in Manhattan. (No, it was not the "Law & Order" building; I got a bit cheated that way.) Also, I'm not all that familiar with Tribeca, as it's a part of town I don't frequent much.

On the plus side, each day, we were given an hour or more for our lunch break. On the minus side, I had no idea where to go to get a reasonable bite to eat. The last time I had jury duty about five years ago, among the paperwork that we were given was a list of restaurants that were in the area. I wonder what happened to that because it wasn't available this stint.

During our break, as I stumbled into the bright, cool sunshine of what is passing for spring this year, I felt a bit overwhelmed. I'd passed fast food places on my way walking from the subway, but that wasn't what I'd really had in mind. My price limit was $20.00, which I thought should have been more than enough to get a tasty and somewhat healthy meal.

Fortunately, I wasn't proved wrong in that. As I scanned West Broadway, I noticed a place that seemed familiar from the last time that I'd served. Petite Abeille ( looked like the perfect place to grab a bite. I wasn't disappointed.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Lemonhead – FB2B, part 51

Isn’t it amazing that you can have known someone almost your whole entire life and not realized that he/she has a strong food dislike? While traveling with my brother a few weeks ago, I discovered that he doesn’t particularly like lemon, which is one of my favorite tastes.

What’s even more interesting, at least to me, is that I found out about a year ago that my father also doesn’t like lemon. I guess that explains why my mother never made Lemon Meringue Pie when I was growing up. This wasn’t something that I pondered over, but it sort of explained those missing lemon-oriented things, like Lemon Bars, that we never had around the house.

It’s even odder then, that this is one of my favorite flavors. Maybe that comes from a [ahem] “game” my other brother and I used to play as kids when we all went out to eat. [Mom, maybe you should turn away now.]

Sunday, April 01, 2007

An Easter Treat – FB2B, part 50

My mom called me the other day to see if I would be traveling to Virginia next weekend for Easter. When I said I wouldn’t be able to make it, I think it started something in my brain about holidays past because I started to crave lamb.

Easter at my parents’ house when I was growing up involved a few fixed things. Baskets of candy where my brother held hostage his red and orange jellybeans when I tried to swap my yicky black ones with him. My dad trying to get us to drink a glass of milk before we loaded up on the sugar (I’m not sure if that was really an effective counter-balance.).

Then, there was the vinegar smell from those Paas Easter Egg Kits. Just one glance at the cover of the box even today and that odor comes flooding back at my nose. Despite all the instructions and making them year after year, I still ended up with grey-green eggshells.

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