Thursday, September 4, 2008

Next stop: dumplings

As we were walking the few short blocks from the Lower East side into Chinatown (site of me almost getting crushed by the Sunday-night-to-Boston crowd while trying to get on the Fung Wah Chinatown bus years ago), Riba told a story about a historic synagogue in the neighborhood that, to celebrate it restoration and reopening, had a party for the neighborhood and served egg creams and egg rolls.

We were heading to Vanessa's for some dumplings, and we missed it the first time down the block because Riba was looking for a slightly dingy hole-in-the-wall but since she last visited the shop had expanded into the space next door and added tables and a long bar to stand against and watch them cook your order.

In this photo, Alexis is on the right, but I really took the photo to remember the insane woman on the far left. She was in line behind us, and was one of those crazy old New Yorkers (I'm related to enough to spot them) who spent the whole time in line complaining about the last time she had been there, and then took her first two minutes with the cashier relating the riveting story of how the dumplings had been lukewarm by the time she'd gotten them home the week before, and then when the cashier tried to get her to order, decided that the cashier must not speak English so she repeated her complaints, this time shouting slowly. Finally she ordered, and then hovered around the people making the food telling them to make sure the food was hot.

Watching all this was a good way to pass the time until our food came up. Here's what we got:

Starting at 11:00 and moving clockwise, it's pork buns, fried dumplings, and some seriously delicious wontons in a spicy sauce. Alexis ordered the wontons, and frankly I wasn't expecting much from them, but the spicy sauce, the chives and green onions on top, and the filling of vegetables and little shrimps was a winning combination.

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