Tag: Chinatown

An amazing preview

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008 | All Things, Eats

This morning I received an invitation to attend a Chinese New Year feast in about three weeks. New dishes, new friends… how could I say no?

Our group will be gathering at Amazing 66 – the warmly received venture by the chef of the former Danny Ng Restaurant (now ABC Chinese Restaurant). Chowhounds have been raving about this place since it opened a little over a year ago, but I’ve yet to make my way there. SL’s email put the restaurant back on my radar, so when it came time to pick a place for lunch, there we were.

The full dinner menu features some impressive items, which — dare I hope? — may be on the slate next month: an outrageous sounding pumpkin stuffed with short ribs, a house special crispy chicken stuffed with sticky rice… Midday, though, is a more scaled down affair.

The large dining room was packed this afternoon – always a good sign — so we were seated at a large communal table, which we shared with two other couples. Amidst the din of the lunch hour, we considered our options. Amazing 66’s single-sheet two-sided lunch menu is available Monday through Saturday from 11:00AM until 3:30PM; 70 items under headings of beef, chicken, pork, seafood, and bean curd & vegetable, served with white rice and choice of hot & sour or egg drop soup. For $4.95! The reverse side of the menu lists dozens of soups, congees, fried noodle and fried rice dishes.

Amazing 66

Deciding from among the extensive list was not easy. Something about the chill of winter puts me in mind of my ongoing quest for the perfect roast chicken. Amazing 66 offers a Chinese version with preserved vegetable. Simple and comforting, I thought. What was placed before me minutes later far exceeded my expectations.

Roast chicken and preserved vegetable

Wildly delicious!  Thin, crispy skin with juicy, tender meat, heaped with sweet and tangy shreds of vegetable… With the juices poured over a steaming bowl of white rice – just about as perfect a roast chicken as I’ve ever had, at any price.

If this is just a preview of the good eats to come, I wonder: how long will it take me to eat my way down Amazing 66’s lunch menu?

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More noodles

Thursday, January 10th, 2008 | All Things

After a holiday hiatus, we were back in Chinatown for lunch again on Thursday. I didn’t have a specific destination already in mind, so at my friend’s request, we ended up back at Marco Polo Noodle Shop on Baxter. It’s good, but I’m not sure why he’s so obsessed with this place. It has to be the noodles.

We must be regulars now, because our waiter chose this afternoon to initiate more personal interactions. His very first question to me, head gesturing toward my dining companion: “He’s Korean, right?” Haha. (Yes.)

Chinatown lanterns

After lunch, we passed these colorful lucky lanterns, set up for the upcoming Chinese New Year on February 7, 2008. The annual celebrations last 15 days, ending with the Lantern Festival on the first full moon of the new lunar year. The lantern-lighting tradition dates to the Han Dynasty, and though its origins are unclear, the most popular legend surrounding the festivities concerns a town’s deliverance from fiery destruction at the vengeful hands of the Jade Emperor of Heaven.

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A matter of perspective

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

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Around the corner at The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, the shop had sold out of their popular Almond Cookie, Don Tat (egg custard tart) and Black Sesame ice cream flavors after a busy holiday week. Boo!

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

As we perused the dry erase board for an alternative, we could have chosen from among Lychee, Durian, Pandan and Zen Butter (peanut butter ice cream with toasted sesame seeds) listed under “Regular” flavors. Under “Exotic”: Chocolate and Vanilla.

Reminds me of HSBC’s “Your Point of View” ad campaign.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

And on the topic of wordplay, I read today that Dave Eggers‘s nonprofit youth writing workshop and tutoring center, Park Slope-based 826NYC, is hosting a fundraising tournament on Saturday, January 19, 2008: Scrabble for Cheaters. When I forwarded the list of “cheats” for charity to my partner-in-crime (you know who you are, ahem!), he was “outragedqxz” by my revisiting of 15-year old indiscretions. Current price tag on our past peccadillos: $400.

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