Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Food Hangover

I woke up this morning after about 3 hours of sleep and realized I needed some Rolaids now. Small wonder, since dinner the night before was a 10-course Chinese banquet, followed by some Experimental Desserts, one great glass of wine, one abysmal glass of wine, and one long and loud Metro-North trip home from New York. All this on a school night! Let me explain.

You remember Chef Ip. One day last month, before his trip to Hong Kong, he emailed Andy and invited him and Mrs. Delicious to dinner in Chinatown with him, his wife Winnie and son Kevin, and several of their friends at Mr. Tang of Mott Street. How could we say no? Even though we had the Macedoregonians staying at our house (more on them shortly), we knew we had to go. We stocked up on food, told Ian and Arta to fend for themselves, and off we went.

I met Andy at Katagiri at 4:00 after being inspired to try to find a Japanese pickle press by the knowledgable, kind folks at Kitchen Arts & Letters. My day had been a blur of new stores in the Meatpacking district, the truly beautiful Eva Hesse show at the Jewish Museum, and a capicolla slice at Pintaile's Pizza on Carnegie Hill. (Oh, right, and work -- a donor meeting first thing in the morning.) It was warm and summery, Andy and I were intoxicated by Japanese cheese cod sausage and housewares at Conran's and body-fluid art at P.S. 1, so it was in a general spirit of well-being and high humor that we barged sweatily into Mr. Tang's. Where we found THREE tables set up for all of us Friends of Roy. We sat down next to John and John, waiters at Zinc and Le Petit Cafe, and Kevin with his computer on all night, and Alvin and Mark and Melinda and Rachel. Tsingtao appeared by the dozen on the lazy Susan, along with countless condiments that I was too overwhelmed to try. The night went something like this, all ordered for us and served family-style by experts:

Course 1. Thick bean thread noodles with sliced beef (beef heart?), Chinese pork sausage, and squid
Course 2. Scallops and squid with snow peas and fried shrimp tofu toasts
Course 3. Fried shrimp with brocolli in a kind of lemony mayonnaise
Course 4. Squab (or duckling?) with crispy skin and shrimp cracker
Course 5. Scallop egg drop soup
Course 6. Crispy chicken with a sort of orange glaze
Course 7. Sea cucumber and Chinese mushrooms in brown sauce
Course 8. Lobster fried in ginger glaze with some kind of bitter green vegetable
Course 9. Whole fried fish skin with the flesh piled up in the middle in a salty white sauce
Course 10. Pork fried rice
Course 11. Some kind of fresh, handmade egg noodles in sesame sauce
Course 12. Fortune cookies, oranges, and honeydew


I have never seen anything like it, and I am sure I am leaving stuff out. It was the stuff of dreams and miracles. I tried to pace myself and eat small amounts, but those bean thread noodles were just TOO GOOD to stop at one helping. We all agreed that the sea cucumber texture was kind of like chewing on earlobe, but that's just our dumb American palates talking.

It was about 9:30 and time to go home. If we *had* gone home, we could have been in bed at a reasonable hour -- maybe even before midnight! But -- in the immortal words of Cindy -- if you think we didn't go right out and ingest more, you obviously don't know us. Uptown a few blocks to Room 4 Dessert, a terribly-named terrible concept -- "dessert bar" -- that is one of the most interesting places to eat in New York right now. Will Goldfarb is the chef and much has been written about him, so I won't go into it except to say that Andy's dessert in a glass -- called "Little Jack Horner" -- was sheer delight after the endless piles of food. Liquid and layered, it involved plum air, lychee water, soaked plum, vin santo and Red Bull gelee. Mine was less successful: the "Each Peach" was too much sugar and too little surprise, consisting of an almond financier (nicely wet and dense), a peach and Campari meringue served in a dehydrator bag, some cold roasted peaches that were too bitter, a peach tea aspic that was delightful except for the basil blossom on top, which tasted like soap, and the white chocolate chantilly, which was the sweetness and consistency of Duncan Hines frosting in a can. I'll go back for the liquids, including the wines -- Andy and I have been searching high and low for nice Mourvedre by the glass, and it's nice to see a chef who appreciates it, too.

Today I ate grapes, thin beef broth, diet coke, and leftover rice from the Macedonian feast that Ian and Arta prepared for us on Friday. We are living right!


At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Mark (of Mark, Melinda and Rachel) said...

Hi Mrs. Delicious:
We enjoyed meeting you at Mr Tangs.
I think your description was right on
the mark.

I have some photos of you and Andy
also the 3 caballeros, and Roy et al.

I would be happy to send them to you if I knew where to send them.

Your blog is quite cool!

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Mrs. Delicious said...

Hi Mark! Thanks for finding and reading my blog! I would love to see the photos -- you can send them to ljudmilla@yahoo.com. Hope we see you at Le Petit Cafe sometime soon.


Post a Comment

<< Home