July 6, 2006

Oh Mister Dumpling Man...

After fighting failure all day (finding a new apartment sucks. Does it ever), I tried to make my way back to the subway from the depths of the Lower East Side (or the East Village, I can never tell where the one and and the other begins - regardless, there weren't really any subways around, so that's why I think it's the Lower East Side). And anyone who knows the LES area knows the profusion of restaurants. All those restaurants and stands, with their siren calls, leading haphazard diners to their death on the rocks. Or something.

Over the last few weeks I've been trying to eat out less. Well really to spend less money, but eating out less is perhaps my key to spending less.

But I can't help but look at menus. I mean, they're right out there on the street waiting to be read. And on this hot, hazy (smoggy, disgusting) summer day, what better than a slow walk through the Lower East Side, reading menus. (Of course I can think of some better ways to spend said day, but they involve sangria and sitting in a window overlooking poor saps outside reading menus)

And I was doing reasonably well until I hit the Dumpling Man on St. Marks Place.

Oh spicy, salty rapture.

I let the cashier order for me and ended up with six seared pork dumplings, monster sauce, and an Izzie pomegranate soda. They took their time and it was so worth it. The slightly crisp dumplings went very well with the sauce (an extra $1.50, on the side), and the sauce was something else. It had Asian chives in it and was exceptionally spicy and garlicky, but too much so. On the Burn-Your-Face-Off scale, where spicy Thai is the hottest (leaving me with tingly lips for 45 minutes and bringing tears to my eyes), this sauce was a 4 (meaning that it brought a tear to my eye when I accidentally inhaled some, and that it made my lips tingle for a few minutes).

Oh, and the atmosphere. It's a small place, modern-looking with glass windows into the dumpling assembly line. The trays look like bamboo.

I left happy and full.

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Dumpling shot by missdju at flickr. Thanks.

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