So, if you will indulge me and read this... you'll notice a theme... this was when we really first started going to Ding How, a chinese restaurant that represents my first taste of "real authentic" chinese cooking - so we went there a lot. I hope this isn't too boring. It's interesting, because it brings back memories that I would have never kept if I hadn't written this down in this journal.
Christmas Eve Dinner 2002
We went and picked up CMG and went to Ding How (after a few glasses of wine, of course). So when we sat down - I immediately took charge of how we would be treated. I didn't even let the paper menus touch the tables - "We want the chinese menu". Their first reaction always seems to be "did I hear her right?" But it was cool. Except, they were out of snails in black bean sauce, and razor clams. So we got duck (of course), "salt baked squid" and lobster in clay pot. Duck was okay - on the cold side, not as crispy. Squid seemed to be fried with bits of garlic, very good - not what I expected. Lobster was excellent - w/cellophane noodels. Best lobster I ever had. They actually had flavor! We also got chinese broccoli in oyster sauce. We started w/chopsticks - ended using our greasy fingers - BEST CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER EVER!!!
New Year's Day Lunch
Ding How again. I had to work brunch. But I didn't work the line & I left early yeah!!! So I drove home all delirious & I burst in and said "take me out to lunch." So they close at 3 - we got there at 2 pm.
This time duck of course. A whole of a half this time. The best yet. Warm, crispy skin - yum. Snails in black bean sauce (ohmigod!) There were fucking wonderful. Tiny snails that you had to use toothpicks to get out. Suck the shell, toothpick out the meat.
Clams in clay pot. Amazing. Lately I have been turned off by gritty, dirty, fishy clams. These were virtually dirt free in a sauce w/onions, peppers, lemon(grass?), sake? light soy? Wonderful!!!
Ding How w/CMG another Sunday lunch
Razor clams - smaller portion but perfectly cooked & no grit! Wonderful! Duck - same as usual great stuff. Goat in clay pot - very dark musky taste - lots of ginger - it was strange I could tell CMG didn't like it - I wasn't too hot on it, I ate it & enjoyed the experience though. I can't fucking remember what vegetable we got. We couldn't have gotten the broccoli again - I can't remember!!!
The clams in clay pot - the portions were smaller - so when we were talking about the clams the Food Pimp ordered them. These were different - a garlicky sauce w/separated oil on top. Really good but not the ones we were looking for. Their littleneck clams are so fresh & unrubbery - I don't know how -they must go through a shitload.
Why was I hungover - oh yeah, the night before we went to Lola's - I should do a little blurb about this place - but it's really all about atmosphere - cozy european feel - not all snotty like most places. Good honest food - nice squid steak, alright ceviche - paella good - not exciting. I think people like to bring their own bottle of wine w/out the corkage & stand out in the freezing cold - it's an experience!
Larry was there with about six girls - I know we've met some of them. For some reason most of CMG's friends blend into each other. That sounds cold & I hope none of them have occasion to read this - but it's an EATING JOURNAL - it's not about my opinion on people or daily happenings that don't relate to food - although everything relates to food!!! At least in my reality it does.
Getting back - I ate at Lola's with the FP - drank 1 1/2 bottles of wine (we split 1 1/2 bottles). Then we went to the fancy Marigny Brasserie & had some of the worst WORST margaritas ever! I think it was shelf brand - but still. I think the sour mix was some awful brand that didn't have any tang or sweetness - just mostly yellow water - maybe it would have had more zip if the guy had ingested vitamins & then peed in our glasses. On the whole - not an offensive bar. I would try the various happy hour specials like 10 cents (I never use the cent sign anymore - it is weird to write it down - do they even have this symbol on the keyboard? Or do you ave to use wingdings?) Then we went to DBA. James showed up in leather gap pants - just like the ones Amanda gave me. We drank, they both drank fast - it was cute - James had to keep pace with the FP. Usually with all our alcoholic friends TFP has to keep pace! Around roughly (I was starting to feel rough) 3am, James said, are we going home or somewhere else? I think I said I haven't had enough drinks to take him home, so we went to the Saint. The two of them were lunatics! Yelling out how they were gay or stupid or whatever and watching people's reactions - then saying how everyone was trying to ignore them but couldn't - it was one of those you had to be there situations. Some girl was about to pass out on a bench behind us - and James says - I think you're pretty - In a shy way. It was classic - he's a good looking guy - a few years ago when he first started they called him Ricky Martin (he didn't know this until I drunkenly informed him on our (the FP & mine) wedding night. So the girl pulled up a chair and her friend came up & yelled at her about how she was her responsibility. She wasn't going to leave her alone in New Orleans on her first night in from Michigan & find her murdered the next day. So of course we all had a good laugh about that. We went home to our respective houses at 5:30 am.
DING HOW - superbowl night with Openheart. Openheart broke up with Cheddarthief the evil psycho - therefore she can go out & has money & is so much more happier. I had been talking about Ding How to her - so we went after I got off work. CMG bailed - he was too drunk & ate too many chicken wings (I could never be his girlfriend) & the FP got drunk - Friedrick had cooked a romantic pork cordon bleu complete w/candlelight & warsteiner. The FP didn't want to go - but there was no way Openheart & I were not going so he did too. Okay, I know - duck, duck, duck, duck, duck (I haven't encountered goose yet - but I willingly await it). This was the best cooked quarter yet!!! No, no, I'm serious, I really mean it!! The skin was a dark, dark, golden brown, succulent meat (I love that word). I don't know if it was the longest hung (ha ha), slowest roasted, or longest marinated - It was heaven. Or hell for vegetarians because it was so good it was torture to eat. One thing about Ding How - they don't always have everything. No razor clams, no oyster in clay pot - I think we've tried to get that before. They did have clams in clay pot, which we got for Openheart to taste - oh and TFP is in love with this dish. We got seafood & bean curd in hot pot - I'm not sure of the distinction between fried tofu & bean curd because I would call it fried tofu - but it was excellent. Delicate. Tasty tender squid, clams & shrimp. Snow pea leaf shoots with garlic. So simple. I think this was my favorite thing. I don't know why - fresh, tasty, I guess a refreshing contrast to the steamy, stewey dishes. The surprise of the night... I asked for the shrimp w/candied walnuts. We got it when we went with Rio Mar - she goes - the jumbo shrimp w/walnuts, I said sure, I mean it had a 90 - 10 % chance of being the next best thing I ever put in my mouth. It came to the table a huge heap of jumbo - truly jumbo - not 21-26 trying to pass off as jumbo - shrimp coated in what looked like mayonnaise, sesame seeds, surrounded by broccoli border & candied walnuts on the rim. Not what we got. We all had this inward sense of horror - I think - when we saw it land on our table in the midst of all this splendor. I was the explorer - the Magellan or whoever is your favorite. I plunged my chopsticks into the emulsified mass of shrimp, and shoved it in my mouth - eggy first taste, then spicy horseradish, then tasty shrimp!!! It was beautiful!!! I wish I had asked what the hell they did to those shrimp because it was a work of genius in a dark, mad kind of way!!!
Roadtrip - The Bear and Star (Los Olivos)
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