Family feasting

Saturday, February 9th, 2008 | All Things, Eats, Family

More Chinese New Year feasting. A few suggestions had been bandied about for tonight’s dinner — Flushing’s Ocean Jewels, or perhaps Imperial Palace — but with Dad setting the agenda, it came as no surprise when we ended up at East Manor in Elmhurst. (Oh, he loves his buffet!) Well, at least I knew then that there would be plenty of pescetarian options.

Our last dinner here was Mom’s 60th birthday banquet when I was nearly done in by the concept of the “intercalary month.”

East Manor

We arrived early to beat the Chinese New Year’s weekend dinner rush — a strategy which worked in our favor: an hour later, and it was an entirely different scene at the restaurant.

East Manor

Below, seafood for the huoguo, literally: “fire pot” — a popular cold weather dish sometimes referred to as “Chinese fondue,” though the similarity to traditional Swiss fondue is only tangential. Instead of melted cheese and wine, the pot is filled with simmering, savory broth; instead of chunks of bread for dipping, there is an array of raw meats, seafood, vegetables, tofu… pretty much an endless variety of items to be cooked in the hot soup, fished out with wire ladles, and dipped into sauces afterwards. At the end of the meal, the delicious soup base makes for a wonderful finish — usually accompanied, inevitably, by the errant piece of rubbery shrimp, which you’ve neglected to fish out before it’s been boiled beyond recognition.

I’ve always known this mollusk as a “razor clam,” but it’s more properly called the Atlantic jackknife clam:

Razor Clams

Oysters to bring in more good things for the new year. (These I ate raw, with a squeeze of lemon juice — is there any better way? )

Raw Oysters

…and despite all the hoopla over new data on the high mercury levels in tuna sushi, I could not resist:


Flickr preview: The Harlem Globetrotters at Izod Center (February 16, 2008).

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