I recently read an interview with my favorite food writer, Calvin Trillin, in which he said that when guests come to town, he walks them from Greenwich Village (where he lives) to Chinatown. Since I live in Greenwich Village, and since Saturday was beautiful and Craig was busy editing, I decided to follow Trillin’s lead and to walk to Chinatown myself. Granted, I had a leg up on the Trillin walk to Chinatown because once, as part of The New Yorker Festival, I attended Calvin Trillin’s “Come Hungry” tour (an event that sells out faster than you can blink) in which he leads hungry New Yorker readers on a walk from–you guessed it–Greenwich Village to Chinatown. So this was a walk I felt confident taking.
It all started with the heart-shaped glass bowl.
My friend Lisa’s getting married at the end of the month and, earlier this year, when she registered at Crate and Barrel they gave her that heart-shaped glass bowl you see above. On my birthday, in February, she re-gifted it to me. “Adam, I want you to have this,” she said, handing me the box. I unwrapped it eagerly and then stared at it. “What am I supposed to do with this?” I snapped, ungratefully.
“I dunno, fill it with candy!”
When going to lunch with a James Beard award winner, it’s best to let them choose the venue.
Such was the case when I had lunch with Rachel Wharton last week. I first met Rachel years ago when she profiled me for The Daily News and we ate lunch at S’Agapo in Queens. I thought Rachel was one of the quirkiest and most spirited food writers I’d ever met and also one of the hardest working. Now her hard work has paid off: she won the 2010 James Beard award for her “Back of the House” columns that appear in Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan, beating out luminaries like Colman Andrews and Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl in the food-related column category.
Which is all to say that Rachel really was the one to choose where we’d eat lunch when the lunch date we’d planned arrived last week. I pitched Chinatown and sure enough Rachel came back with a James Beard Award-worthy response: “Excellent Pork Chop House.”
Since my readers have been so helpful in the past, I’m seeking advice for an upcoming lunch date I have in Chinatown this week. What’s a great Chinatown spot, open weekdays for lunch, and what should we eat there? Your advice is much appreciated.
Leah, who designed my website, couldn’t believe it when I told her, back when I met her, that I’d never had pho (pronounced: F-uh). “Oh my God,” she said. “When it’s cold, I totally have to take you out for pho.”
News flash: it’s cold. And Leah, ever the persistent pho-pusher, reminded me over e-mail not long ago about my pho promise. “The time has come for pho,” she wrote (or didn’t really write, but I like the way it sounds) and the pho gods smiled upon me as I wrote her back: “Yes. Yes it is.”
In the current food issue of The New Yorker, Calvin Trillin wonders–in another one of his hilarious food essays–if “through some rare genetic oddity, my sense of taste is at full strength only when I’m standing up.” He wonders this because of his deep love for street food. As a participant of the Calvin Trillin walking tour last year, I was lucky enough to eat street food standing up with the man himself. And the best bite of the tour was, by far, the bite you see above.
I finally did it.
I’ve lived in Park Slope for 10 months now and every time I take the D train into the city I promise myself that one day, when it stops on Grand Street, I will get out and eat lunch. You’d thing that a food obsessed person like me would’ve done that all the time: Grand Street runs right through Chinatown and most of my favorite food personages–especially Calvin Trillin–feel about Chinatown the way that Joan Rivers feels about plastic surgery. It’s what makes life livable.