As I stated in my last entry, this weekend has been a whirlwind of activity! Last night I was invited by my good friend and editor,Will Schwalbe, and his partner, David, to one of their favorite restaurants in Chinatown, Ping. Will had also invited another dear friend, and collaborator, Chris Styler and his partner, Joe, who brought along friends of theirs, Renee and Craig. With Jerry, Migui, and Angela in tow, we made for quite a festive table!
Everyone at that table is a foodie, so, deferring to Will’s and David’s culinary knowledge, we eagerly awaited the kitchen’s treasures. We were not disappointed! Plate after plate of mouth watering dishes washed down with wine, made for a wonderful evening for catching up with friends.
The first platter to come out was devine. It consisted of deep fried, crispy chicken bits (think chicharrones de pollo), a chinese pate, fried calamari, and skinny little shrimp rolls that were so good, that I dared Angela to have just one! The surprise was served in the center of the plate: delicious, slighty salty ribbons of jellyfish, garnished with beautifully amber colored century eggs. A perfect Peking duck was next on the agenda (I got so excited, I ate it before I remembered to get the picture!), and the evening was off to a great start!
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Delicious bean curd rolls, filled with a mushroom mixture appeared as if by magic, and we had barely decimated that dish when (in my opinion) the evening’s highlight was brought to the table.
This dish had such an interesting balance of texture and taste, that I kept going back to it. It was made with julienned jicama and dry squid that had the texture and mild flavor of sepia (cuttlefish). The sweetness of the jicama offered a lovely foil to the mildness of the squid, and the saltiness of the sauce. Fresh scallions added a piquant note that was the icing on the cake and, as I later found out, the chef’s signature dish. I can’t help but wax poetic about this dish.
By now, I was ready to loosen a notch on my belt, but Will and David apparently had other plans for us! A delicious lobster with ginger and scallions was tender and perfectly executed, and a savory seafood fried rice dish that was served in a pineapple and run under the broiler was absolutely sublime!
By now I had consumed more food than I ever thought humanly possible, and was getting ready to call it a night, when a platter of perfectly roasted garlic chicken and a devine platter of pan fried noodles with bean sprouts and mushrooms made their way to our table. I can tell you that the aroma coming from that chicken was to die for, so I twisted my arm into having some…of course, it looked so lonely on my plate, that I had no choice but to serve myself some of those noodles to keep it company! I was certain that these two dishes were the crowning achievements of this fabulous dinner, but just when I thought it was safe to go back into the water, our waiter presented us with this next treasure:
This was a delicious bass that was served with scallions in a cilantro broth, the very memory of which, makes me feel faint! The only other time I have tasted fish this fresh and delicious was when I caught it myself! The evening was getting on and winding down, but not before we were served a sweet dessert soup made from string beans! I have to say this was a new one on me, but a delightful surprise, after all.
The manager of the restaurant, Darren Kwong, was very gracious, and made sure that our every need was attended to.
At evening’s end I looked around the table and felt lucky to experience such delicious food in the company of such good friends. I know that it’s still a few days before Thanksgiving Day, but I have to say that I am blessed beyond words, to be able to call these people “friend”. Tonight was truly “food for thought”!
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