I have a few big posts planned for this rarely updated blog. But this is not one of those posts. I'm aiming to get those other ones done sometime between now and death. As you can see, I don't set the bar too high for myself.
Remember December? That period of 31 days that happened two months ago? I ate some good stuff during that period, but you wouldn't be able to tell from reading this blog since I didn't write about any of it. Aside from the crappy rage-inducing sandwich. December deserves better representation than that.
So here are the two best things I ate that month. ...Yup, just two. It was a light eating month due to being 50 percent occupied by vacations: one in Orlando, and one at my mom's place in New Jersey. The latter vacation is not really blogworthy (I'll sum it up for you: I slept a lot), but the former is. And you shall read about it sometime before I die. Unless you die first.
Alright then—two foods!
Although Congee's main draw is...congee, it's their salt baked shredded squid with cashews ($9.95) that would draw me back. A mountainous pile of lightly battered, crispy, tender squid chunks seasoned with salt and pepper and more salt, mixed with strips of bell pepper and onion, cashews, and, methinks, fried garlic. My main thought while eating it was something like, "I WANT TO EAT THIS FOREVER. CAN I PLEASE EAT THIS FOREVER?" And then the crushing realization set in that eating fried squid* forever was sort of unreasonable. And impossible. But dragging myself back to Chinatown the next day to refuel my fried squid-depleted body? Totally within the realm of reason and possibility.
Unfortunately, I never did make it back to Congee. :( And thus the cephalopod craving rages on. I must do something about this soon.
As for Congee's congee, I liked it...but that opinion means little from someone as unlearned in the ways of congee as I am. The few times I tried it during my childhood, I didn't understand why anyone would prefer to eat a bowl of watery rice over regular un-watery-rice. And there was the problem: The congee I was exposed to as a kid resembled warm water with rice bits in it—nothing like the blended versions I've had in Chinatown since living in New York City. It was bland suspended in bland. You unblandified it by eating it with the accompanying toppings—pork floss, pickles, peanuts, scallions, meat stuffs that I can't remember—but in the end I felt like those toppings would do better on a bowl of regular rice. Or by themselves. The worst blended congee in New York City would probably taste infinitely better than whatever I reluctantly poked my spoon into as a kid.
It's possible that the congee of my hazy childhood memories was atypically awful. My mom never make it, so at least I know it's not her fault.
The other awesome thing I ate in December: freshly baked scones at Cha-An. I fell in love as soon as the warm scent of sugar and butter from the baked-to-order scones wafted in my face, about half a second after the waitress put the plate on the table. The Earl Grey and chocolate chip scones tasted as good as they smelled: light, tender and moist on the inside, slightly crunchy on the outside, perfumed with that sugar and butter that first caught my...nose. They came with sweet whipped cream and some sort of very good blueberry jam, neither of which was necessary to make the scones taste better, but they certainly didn't hurt. Like the fried squid from Congee, I'd file these scones on my list of "STUFF I WANT TO EAT FOREVER." (Many thanks to Laryssa for recommending the scones to me last November!)