Category: Family

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Sunday, February 17th, 2008 | All Things, Family

I think that my parents have become those people for whom “antique” is a verb. Neighboring New Jersey is dotted with antique coops — sort of like antique “malls,” where individual dealers set up stands under one roof to showcase their wares. But instead of The Gap and Starbucks, there are stacks of old books and displays of furniture and assorted knick knacks. Today we visited shops in the sleepy towns of Mount Holly and Somerville.

Antique bottles

Antique packaging

Antique packaging

Is the impulse to go searching for treasures hard-wired in us from our hunter-gatherer days? People spend entire weekends tooling around and shopping for antiques; it’s probably a more pleasant experience when one is not operating on a couple hours’ sleep.

And though I’m forced to self-edit my possessions due to Manhattan apartment space constraints — and therefore I tend to finish these forays empty-handed — I do appreciate the idea of these old things, which in other contexts might be considered trash, being re-purposed and re-loved.

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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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New Year’s dinner at ABC

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008 | All Things, Eats, Family

FMBJ and HS had flown into New York for just 36 hoursWhite Plains, to be exact — so how could we not seize upon the opportunity to meet them on New Year’s Day?

We piled into the car to fetch them from Westchester, and then back down to Manhattan for dinner. On the drive in, HS peppered us with questions about NYC pizza, bagels and Jewish delis; I wondered if she was ever-so-slightly disappointed when we ended up in Chinatown on her one night in the city.

The restaurant at 34 Pell Street was known as Danny Ng Restaurant until late 2006 when the chef and several members of the serving staff moved on to open Amazing 66 at 66 Mott, where they’ve since generated lots of good word of mouth. 34 Pell’s post-renovation incarnation was redubbed ABC Chinese Restaurant, which seemed somehow apropos for tonight’s gathering.

Welcome Lobster

It’s been ages since we ordered an entire peking duck. These days, I get my fix from the occasional buffet visit or from Corner 28 on Flushing’s Main Street, where individual roast duck — not true Peking duck — sandwiches are sold out of a sidewalk window for 75 cents apiece, which inevitably lacks the pageantry of tableside carving and assembly.

ABC Peking Duck

ABC Peking Duck

This dish wasn’t even on the menu; we asked the waiter for a recommendation. He described it as “Chinese Prime Rib.”

ABC Prime Rib

Lobster with Ginger and Scallions — second time in one week:

ABC Lobster

Chinese Garlic Fried Chicken:

ABC Chicken

Not pictured: a not very politically correct (and somewhat oversteamed) Chilean sea bass, a delicately flavored silken tofu and shrimp dish, sauteed pea shoots, and a house special fried rice. Eight dishes in total: an auspicious number for an auspicious new year.

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