Thursday, February 11, 2010

Quotations from Chairman Pete

Well, I've been writing this blog for four years now.  I was reluctant to start it, and I never imagined it would last more than a year, but here I am, here we are.  So, as long I've been indulging in the narcissism of "personal nonfiction" all this time, I figure I might as well bring together some of my personal favorite quotes from my own posts (with links to their source), my little red book you might say.  Here goes:

Sometimes a stranger is as good as a friend.

He looked closely, but the name Peter Cherches was nowhere to be found on the little porker’s skin.

I secretly suspect [Rick] Steves’ popularity has something to do with a strange fetish–that there’s an entire class of people who get off on being told where to go by a nerdy white guy.

Despite the sweet dessert the dinner left a sour taste in my mouth, and to the owners of i Trulli I say fuck you and your codfish and fishbait shrimp.

Fish and chickens may not be smart, but they’re not vegetables.

Of course I want to enter the site, dammit. That's why I typed the url or followed a search-engine link. I thought I was turning the key to the door, or at least knocking, but I'm left standing in the cold. Knock, knock, please let me in.

Our silver-haired waitress was a sweetheart. Attentive and chatty, she was like the "nice" Jewish mother I never had.

It’s amazing how many idiots are out there. All right, it’s not amazing.

The restaurant we mostly patronized was Joy Fong, on Avenue J, a now-defunct place that retains an almost holy status in the memories of Brooklyn Jews of a certain age. I wouldn’t be surprised if people visit the site of the former restaurant and wail against the wall.

"Did you hear about the white man who makes dosa?" asked my Indian coworker. This was not the beginning of a bad joke.

To the shocked counter girl I ranted, “No pistachio! I can’t believe this. When I was a kid pistachio was one of the standard flavors. There was always chocolate and vanilla and strawberry. Sometimes mint chip. Sometimes chocolate chip. Sometimes chocolate fudge. Sometimes butter pecan. But always pistachio! What’s this world coming to? No pistachio? You have dulce de leche, but no pistachio?”

One thing is certain about the pork shoulder: they really need to work on the visual presentation. I'm sure it doesn't have to look like a lump of shit on a plate.

On the menu they list their meat suppliers, but also the designer of their stools. They were nice enough stools, I guess, as far as backless stools go, but give me a break.

I think I'll consult the Mets' schedule before I plan another outing on the 7 line.

My impression was that it was food worthy, at best, of a Croatian high school cafeteria.

A peacock has no business on a men's room door.

If the large servings of excellent, dirt-cheap food weren't enough, our waiter and George, the owner, were extremely friendly. Who do they think they are?

My fellow passengers must have thought I was nuts when I started laughing out loud, but I could have sworn she said, "Your seat cushion may be used as a flirtation device."

The diet was tough going, but I discovered a survival mechanism that worked for me: sniffing.

"That wasn't just a scream, you know," Harold said. "It was a blood-curdling, other-worldly shriek."

When the driver pulled over, a dwarf in a tuxedo came over to the cab and opened the door for me. I stepped outside. I didn't notice a restaurant. I was confused. I showed the dwarf, who bore a slight resemblance to Herve Villechaize in "Fantasy Island," the piece of paper. "Is this the right place?" I asked.

Was Milan trying to kill us?

Here's to the temporary, honorary ladies who lunch!

I know nothing about makeup, but I'm guessing that at the very least we're talking about foundation, blush, powder, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. Have I left anything out and have they no shame?

It was during my bar mitzvah lessons with Mrs. Goldstein, the gonzo haftorah coach, that I realized that all that bible and god stuff was a load of hooey, but I went through the motions nonetheless, in my rented tuxedo from Zeller's Formals, a black brocaded number reminiscent of tacky wallpaper.

He writes like Bozo the Clown on nitrous oxide chanelling the likes of Tristan Tzara, Luis Bunuel, Steven Wright, and a mischievous eight-year-old with ADD.

There was a time in New York when the mention of a rolled beef sandwich would not elicit a blank stare.

The sheer luxuriance of these beauteous bivalves, along with the supporting flavors, sent most of my fellow diners into paroxysms of ecstasy.

I think the Una Pizza Napoletana phenomenon is similar to
the Momofuku phenomenon: the chef a darling of the press who can do no wrong and the clientele a flock of trendy sheep who delight in being fleeced.

"It is? Then I'm not eating it!" she said, adamantly. My conservationist friend had obviously taken my words literally and assumed that the butterfly shrimp was an exotic sea creature facing imminent extinction.

Shmendrik, unlike schmuck, schmeckle and schlong, has no penile connotations.

Back in the 'seventies, when Ford was telling New York to drop dead, thousands of sad, quiet old men and rowdy young men, and more than a few women too, were tanking up at these establishments on cheap beer and booze, and occasionally supplementing those drinks with solid, cheap eats.

If some of the quotes look like they're in a different font or a different size, your eyes aren't fooling you.  Going back and forth on a Mac and a PC, with Firefox and Safari, seems to be the source of the problem, and I can't figure out how to fix it without laboriously tweaking the HTML.


Blogger Patrick Ciccone said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Patrick Ciccone said...

I have greatly enjoyed the blog and reading the archives after stumbling on it in trying to find more about exactly what to order at Flushing's Hunan House.

In return for the great reading and culinary advice, I can offer a tip to a restaurant that is still (I believe) very much off the radar screens: Famous Sichuan, 10 Pell Street in Manhattan. It is, for me, by far the best Sichuan food I have had in the city.

The lamb with cumin sauce, mentioned in your blog a good many times, is the benchmark version against which all the other ones should be measured.


12:36 AM  
Blogger Peter Cherches said...

Thanks. I've been to that restaurant once, and found several dishes to be spectacular (chicken with spicy capsicum & Sichuan dumplings), but others a bit disappointing. Based on that one visit I wouldn't yet favor it over Szechuan Gourmet or Little Pepper and Spicy & Tasty in Flushing (though S&T's real strength is in the cold dishes).

7:34 AM  
Blogger Patrick Ciccone said...

I need to explore those other restaurants more fully, especially Little Pepper, which have not been to at all. Here's my guide of what to try at Famous Sichuan:

Cold (all strong, especially the cabbage, though these especially stand out):

麻 辣 兔 丁 8. Diced Rabbit w. Sichuan Sauce
夫 妻 肺 片 14. Ox Tongue and Tripe w. Chili Sauce
麻 辣 牛 筋 16. Sliced Beef Tendon w. Chili Sauce
蒜 泥 白 肉 18. Sliced Boiled Pork w. Garlic Sauce

樟 茶 鴨 C2. Camphor Tea Smoked Duck
成都毛血旺 C3. Spicy and Aromatic Pig Blood
火 爆 腰 花 C42. Spicy Pork’s Kidney w. Sichuan Sauce
椒 鹽 藕 片 79. Wok Roasted Lotus Roots w. Pepper Spiced Salt
麻 婆 豆 腐 90. Bean Curd w. Sichuan Style (or ask for Mapo Tofu, which I believe is the same--the best version I've had of it.)

Also, one of the fried fish dishes is really great; I can't remember if it's

成都香辣魚 C19. Chengdu Fish w. Sichuan Spicy Sauce


家 常 魚 柳 C22. Crispy Fish Filets w. Sichuan Chili-Minced Pork

Though I believe it's the former. There are many dishes--including many of the seafood dishes--that I have yet to try. And, again, the lamb with cumin sauce!

Can you share your other spectacular dishes there? I have not had the chicken dish you cite.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Peter Cherches said...

Thanks again, the two dishes I mentioned were the only standouts. We also had a cold chicken dish that was very good. There was an awful lamb dish that was very sweet. Vermicelli with minced pork had pure Sichuan peppercorn ma la and plenty of chili heat, but it all masked any other flavors.

3:58 PM  

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