Two itamae (chefs) prepping before the store opens, circa 2001.
[If you have been following this blog or my Facebook page, you may know that I haven’t been doing too well. I was going to write yet another moan-y thing about my radiation therapy and stuff, but instead, I thought I’d end the year by posting this, an edited and expanded version of something I wrote a little while ago. I hope you have fun reading it, especially if you have ever run a restaurant, or lived in New York. Ah New York, I still miss you. Anyway - here’s to a much better 2014!]
I never ran a restaurant myself, so most of my knowledge on this matter is second hand. My mother ran a very successful restaurant in midtown Manhattan called Tsukiji Sushisay. In addition my stepfather was the accountant for several Japanese restaurants in NYC. I did however work the front desk for a few months, and helped out over the years with things like translating legal documents, making brochures, or creating their website. I translated the menu to English, and even taught basic ‘sushi-counter customer-service English’ to many of the chefs. “I’m sorry, we don’t have spicy tuna.” is one phrase I remember teaching them.
I also want to note, that I feel OK writing this because the restaurant closed its doors in 2002, and various statutes of limitations or whatever have run out. ^^;
Yesterday, I had the opportunity of visiting the World Headquarters of Serious Eats in New York. What a great place it is.
I still consider myself to be a New Yorker (technically I am) and go back there at least once or more a year. So I don’t write about my trips there all the time. This time I did have more than a few notable food encounters, so here is a not-so-short roundup.
I understand that there are supposedly better-quality places for dim sum in New York nowadays, but those gringo-run and/or uptown restaurants require bothersome things like reservations, and personally, making reservations for dim sum just seems wrong. Waiting for a table at a garishly lit noisy restaurant with cafeteria atmosphere is part of the fun. Besides, what non-Chinese-run dim sum palace would serve stewed tripe?
[Update:] See this more up-to-date and comprehensive listing of Japanese groceries and other related stores in the New York area.
There is one food pilgrimage that I make without fail every time I'm in New York. It's not a visit to a famous, expensive restaurant. It's not even a bagel stop at my favorite bagel place (Ess-a-Bagel) or a trot around my favorite gourmet mega-mart (Fairway). It's a stop at the best hot dog joint in the city, if not the world, Papaya King.
This evening I went to a panel discussion about food writing at the 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side of New York. The title of the program was "A Celebration of Life's Simple Pleasures: Good Food and Good Writing".