Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dim Sum at the Golden Unicorn

Tom took a snapshot of the napkin from the Golden Unicorn

If you are going to Chinatown for dim sum, I highly recommend going with someone who speaks Chinese. If you can't make that happen, take Matt.

Our morning got going when the underaged hostess barked our number into her microphone (#118). I did a small inner fist pump. We were whisked into a three-banger elevator and taken up to the middle banquet floor. 

I say the middle banquet floor because on a floor below us and a floor above us, diners scarfed down dim sum. I say banquet floor because the place was plush-- as plush as you can get when the floor is linoleum and there's gold lamé curtains and you're seated at a ten-top with two people you don't know who are already halfway done with their lunch.

This was no backwater dumpling honky tonk. This was a major dim sum command central.

Carts of dim sum flew at us from all directions. It was a frenzy. Up until that moment I had been going through my Sunday morning in a very pleasant haze. But shit got real-- battalions of ladies with their carts hard-selling mystery dumplings hopefully not filled with strange animal parts. They were everywhere, all at once. Had I been born with the right gene sequence, I could easily have enjoyed a lavish epileptic fit.

Then came the duck guy. He pottered around, making, by hand, one at a time, these fluffy little dumpling sandwiches filled with duck. And these ducks, by the way, were delicious.

Matt struck up a chat with the duck guy. By the end of four handcrafted duck dumplings, Matt and the duck guy were best friends. This turned out to be important. Gravely important.

Because later, we wanted more duck. While we waited for the duck guy to come back around, a woman in a striped dress from a table up on the dais strode purposefully over to the duck guy. She said to him, "Six ducks, up there." She strode purposefully back to her table.

The duck guy took his phone out of his pocket. No one could inject more withering contempt into a small break to check his text messages than the duck guy. After that, he left his cart. Just took off. Awhile later, he came back.

And he made Matt four more duck dumpling sandwiches for our table.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pop's New Favorie Portmanteau

A portmanteau, in case you are unfamiliar, is when you take two words and smash them together so hard a brand new word plops forth from the wreckage. An example is "smog," which is the bastard child of smoke and fog.

Random shot of Pop poking a street sign.
My Pop, reading a magazine or paper or something he randomly picked up off my kitchen table:


(no one says anything.)

"What's fugly?"

(Tom looks up, weighs the pros and cons of engaging, decides against it, goes back to what he was doing.)

(Three minutes pass.)

"Oooooh. It's a portmanteau! Ha ha ha. Fugly. Really clever. Fugly. You know, the f comes from..."

(Props to Pop for speedy code cracking. Also bonus points for managing to drop the word 'portmanteau' into a statement concerning the word  'fugly.')

(Three minutes pass.)

"Ha ha ha. Fugly."

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Be still my bleeding alien heart! it's Willow Ware

At our ice cream social on Saturday afternoon, I was lured into a conversation about china patterns. Translation: Laura asked me about my plates, and I swaggered right up to an overly large answer. 

I buy my plates at flea markets. I got a whole bunch at that weird little auction in Boonton years ago. Whenever I spy willow ware, I'm sidling up to the table, trying to remember which brands are old and valuable and hoping the shop proprietor has suffered a bout of angina and left her unemployed idiot son-in-law in charge so I can dicker myself a big-ass deal.

Willow ware is appealing because it comes with an ancient Chinese story, which is probably only slightly more ancient than yoga. And yoga, it turns out, bears a suspicious similarity to turn of the century Swedish gymnastics. Don't worry about it and follow my lead.  I choose to believe the marketing when the actual facts prove tragically dull.

In the willow ware story, a princess falls in love with a lowly worker. He must have been an eyeful, this worker. Scandalously, the two lovers decide to elope and take off across the bridge outside the pagoda. 

This sneaking off to get hitched does not go well. Dad goes chasing after them and kills the both of them. 

Check out the altercation in the image above. 

But they are so in love their souls flitter from their dead bodies and become the doves hovering at the top of the scene staring lovingly into each other's beaks.


Here's the great part. I funded some dude's kickstarter because he made this plate:

calamityware.com - go buy a plate
It's willow ware, you see, but WITH A UFO.

The UFO. calamityware.com

There is also a cat:

A steely-eyed cat. calamityware.com

I set the table with a couple of these mixed in and no one ever notices. 

On a mostly unrelated note except that I'm still on the topic of porcelain with a tenuous nautical theme, I saw this beauty a couple years ago at the museum of art and design :

by Jessica Harrison.

Gawd. I love fine dining.

photocredit: hyperallergic, by jessica Harrison.