Monday, January 6, 2014

Remembrance of Bao

Where to start? Winter break is over, except we have a "snow" day today.  Tonight it is supposed to be sub-zero cold. I dreamt last night of opening presents. It wasn't Christmas-y; it was like old super-8 footage of birthday parties in 70s rec rooms, only David and I were both in them as adults. I don't remember what was in the presents.

Anyone know where to get this kind of bao in the CLE?


Driving around yesterday, I heard a piece on the radio about bao, Chinese buns (usually stuffed and steamed, but they come in many incarnations), on Splendid Table and I've become obsessed. The piece predicts bao to be the next food craze (led by the guest who is a 30-ish ex-lawyer who has a place in New York called BaoHaus. He also has a show on vice.com, which looks like Anthony Bourdain millennial-style. I like that the restaurant's website includes a stream of songs recently played there - scroll to bottom. Moral of the story: go to law school).

Back when I was a young, impecunious never-lawyer in NYC, my cousin and I would sometimes go to a tiny place in Chinatown that sold pork bao, 3 for a dollar. The ones there were the size and shape of a hamburger bun, smooth and pale and puffy. Charlie was the native New Yorker, so it was he who led me there. The restaurant was all worn white formica and chrome. There were maybe 8 tiny tables, and you would order from the woman at the counter. "Pork bao? Pork bao?" she said as you came in. They had other things on the menu -- I think I once got a bowl of noodles -- and perhaps other kinds of bao, but pork bao was really the thing to get, I guess.

The pork bao were amazing. The steamed dough light and pillow-y, hot in your hands. The scent as you picked it up was faint but sweet and deeply caramel-ly. Inside there was a pocket of hot, rich, fatty pork and sauce and maybe scallions. It was good that they came in multiples and cheap, because as soon as you were done with one, you very much wanted another.

The prediction on the radio that these will be the next items on "cheffy food trucks," plays right to my fantasy life, wherein I run a food truck that specializes in "things in dough" -- dumplings, empanadas, calzone, bao. I don't have a name for my food truck yet, though. It has to be something to rival the cleverness of BaoHaus.

Reading: Still almost done with Teacher Man, hoping the snow day will enable me to finish it.

Writing: Not really. Prepped for school instead. This is the struggle. Balancing, making sure writing happens every day, even when there are other obligations.

Dinner: Our friend Leah was in town briefly to visit family. She brought her guy, Q, with her for the first time. David made eggplant parmigiana and brussels sprouts.

Soundtrack: Squirrel Nut Zippers. Q was once in a band with one of the guys in that band. What was funny was that right after the two of them left, a SNZ song came up on the itunes shuffle.

Random thing: Looking at vice.com for the bao guy, I found this article that takes down the recent Asimov-predicted-2014-so-crazy-right meme.


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