Tagged: chinatown

No soup dumplings for you, come back one hour

I’m becoming my father.  No big surprise really, but I knew that the transformation was almost complete when I stood in line to get in to a restaurant simply because there was a line.  Gourmet Dumpling House was hopping and there was a cold crowd out front.

I got on the list.  I persevered.  I watched as people went in, came out, conferred, and went elsewhere.  I even sent a group over to Peach Farm for crab.  I pondered if it was fair to check in on Foursquare if I hadn’t really gained access to the place.  Finally, I got in and I went right for the soup dumplings.

How do they get the soup in there?  How do you get it out without burning yourself?  Fascinating questions but don’t bother me while I’m enjoying my soup dumplings.  I guess dad had a point.

Boston Street Lab!

I was searching for the location of a company on Google Maps and happened to notice a link in the sidebar for a map called Boston Street Lab: Underutilized Space.  That’s just my kind of thing, so naturally, I clicked on it.

Hudson Street Lot

It turns out that there’s an outfit called Boston Street Lab, which bills itself as “…a nonprofit producer of temporary programs and installations in downtown Boston.”  They produced this map to call attention to spaces in the Chinatown/South Station area that might be ripe for such installations, and it also reminded me of the temporary presence of the Hudson Street Gallery.

Ends and beginnings at Hudson Street Gallery

The Hudson Street Gallery‘s inaugural show has officially come to an end.  I helped take the show down yesterday.  When and what will be the next HSG show?  I can’t say just yet, but we’re still interested in hearing from artists and others who want to help advance the Chinatown art scene.

Photographers Lee Cullivan, Jason Liu and Brian Matiash helped repaint the gallery walls while talking shop and tech.  Check out their work and friend them up on Facebook.  They’re good people.  Hire them to shoot your wedding or your dog.  I even bartered for two of Cullivan’s chinatown prints.

Despite spending break time juggling DSLRs, iphones and some seriously fancy lenses over vietnamese coffee, one of those talented photographers left this peculiar portrait (of me) on my Ricoh GR Digital’s memory card.

Super big turnip cake, size never seen

It’s like I’d spent my life enjoying potato skins and suddenly got offered a whole stuffed baked potato.

If you know what I mean.

As you may know, I like fried turnip cake.  I liked it in Hong KongI liked it in San FranciscoI liked it in London.  I like it here in Boston.  I have not yet liked it in a boat or with a goat, but given the chance, I probably would.

I visited a new-to-me dim sum spot in Boston’s chinatown, Hei La Moon, at the lucky address of 88 Beach Street (note that google maps puts it on the wrong side of Albany street) and I discovered a new form of  turnip cake, confusingly with the same Chinese name as the other kinds: lobag gow.

This variation seems to be steamed, not fried, and it’s served in a pool of soy sauce, not the hoisin I’m accustomed to.  And it’s served in a cube, about the size of three or four of the usual type slabs stacked up.  There’s a bit more bacon or sausage on top than usual, and a festive sprig of green, too.  The scalloped lacquer dish is a nice touch.

It wasn’t brought around on the carts, but rather served from a tray carried around by one of the hostesses.  I don’t know if it was a special, an experiment, an accident, or what.  But I will be back to look for it again some time soon.

There’s a reason they don’t call it Tofu Pasteur

After hearing several students at Grub Street read their work (tip: check out the essay class) I went off with A for some grub of the other kind.  We ended up at Chinatown’s Pho Pasteur.

We started off with the classic fresh rolls, mostly lettuce and tofu in a rice noodle skin, but served with that chunky peanut sauce that makes everything better.

For mains, A ordered Phở, or at least a vegetarian version thereof, and I picked item 103 – sauteed tofu, pineapple, tomatoes, and rice – off the menu more or less at random because for some reason I didn’t want soup.  As Kenny Bania has noted, soup’s not a meal.

Newsflash folks, the place isn’t called “Tofu Pasteur” and that’s for a reason.  The tofu was ok, but in large not quite silken chunks with not that much flavor.  The tomatoes were stewed within an inch of their lives, and the onions were sweet and still a little crunchy.  The pineapple chunks were probably canned.  I’m not sure why I expected them not to be.  (Whole Foods has whole pineapple on sale for a few bucks each!)  The whole thing was tossed with a sweet sauce that I think was a colloidal mixture of corn syrup and indifference.  The rice, dry and packed into a low cylinder.

If you go to Pho Pasteur, here’s what you should get.  Phở, Phở, or if you really want to branch out, Phở.  Phởcus.  Does’ that look good?  It is.

To be fair, I’ve also had good pad thai there, and the vietnamese coffee with chicory is not to be missed, especially iced on a hot summer day when you want to stay awake all night.