My real life job as a teacher and Dyslexia expert brought me to Boston this July. Wilson Reading is my true, true passion. I put my work with Wilson and food as equal in importance and sustainability in life. We need food to live, but don’t we also need reading to live? You wouldn’t be here, on this blog, if words were not involved. I could write a book on words, on reading, on how we underserve twenty percent of our school children, but this is about food, isn’t it? So, let’s dish.
My first night of dinner choice sent me to Chinatown. I had done a tiny bit of research using eater.com and found Gene’s Chinese Flatbread. From the picture on eater.com it looked like a tiny, niche of an eatery. So, I set out trying to figure out the transit system and walking on my phone. I’m old. I’m use to actual maps. I’m also directionally challenged so this new phone/ map/ guidance situation is actually more confusing than efficient. I fully blame my direction difficulties (my own dyslexia), but I walked in the wrong direction for half a mile. So, a mile total of extra exercise. It just meant I could eat more at dinner right?
My feat are hurting at this point. The walking shoes I picked were all wrong- flat leather flipflops. Have I ever traveled before this? I finally reach the tiny, hole-in-the-wall flatbread place and it’s…. wait for it….closed. We all saw this coming, didn’t we? But, hey, I was now in Chinatown so using Yelp I went and got steamed dumplings at Gourmet Dumpling House.
I wait for 15 minutes for a cramped, tiny table beside the fish tanks. These are not fish tanks with which to cast a zen vibe. The are fishing fish tanks. The happy fish I see swimming beside me and playing games with each other will be scooped up for someone’s dinner by the time my check arrives. At one point, when a waitress is retrieving a high chair, a mop head falls on me. Hey, I think, Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmerman, would totally let that slide if the food delivered, right? Right. I move the mop back to it’s place and laugh a little.
Eating alone is always a little odd, but in this cramped (have I mentioned cramped yet?) joint there are several of us solo diners around. An older gentleman at the next table swaps bites with a younger lady who has packed her leftovers to go. I don’t share anything except my table with this lobster. The waitress put him out especially for my camera. See him dance. Do you think he knows? I think he knows.
The tea set on every table is divine. Perfect green tea and even thought it’s a July heat outside, I drink nearly the whole pot- meant for two. I order dumplings, they are called “mini” -you decide- and scallion pancakes. I’m thinking of the bubble scallion cakes from Peter Chang’s, but these are not them. They are fried and greasy, but the sauce they come with makes me eat all of them. I swear. It made me.
The dumplings are good, but days later, it’s hard to recall the taste. What I’ve come to love about these type of dumplings is their hidden juiciness. You must carefully bite into one for fear the whole thing starts dribbling down your chin. And yet, these “mini” ones are far too big for a single bite. Such dilemmas in this Gourmet Dumpling House.
Afterwards, I sauntered around the corner to Beard Papa’s. I went there mostly because of the name, but also because of the freshly stuffed cream puffs. How this is Japanese and not French? I’m not sure, but it was delicious! I kinda wish I had chosen a tray full of these as my dumpling dinner.
The next night I had an 8:45pm reservations at Myers and Chang. Plenty of time to walk in the wrong direction, but this time I make no wrong turns. I think I might have picked Myers and Chang for that first name (p.s. It’s my real last name.), but really because eater.com said it was good. And baby, it was what I thought it would be- hip, cool, modern, and fresh. Also, a little fast paced. I was seated at the kitchen bar for the “fun view.”
I’d been hearing about Tuna Poke in the foodie atmosphere so when I saw it on the menu it was a go. So were the Ginger Goddess Snap Peas and the Braised Pork Belly Buns- because PORK BELLY!
It was all tasty, but sadly the buns of the pork belly buns were so bland that even the yummy, sticky, sweet sauce on the pork belly couldn’t make up for their cardboard like taste. I can say this, of course, because I’ve made steamed buns from scratch in my own tiny kitchen and they were amazing.
What I adored was the Tuna Poke. It was spicy, crunchy, smooth, toothsome, and oh so lucious. I could swim in that dish for days. Then the Ginger Goddess Snap Peas with the mutli-layered dressing shining with ginger, tarragon, mint, and creamy sour cream. My waiter told me it was refreshing and on that hot July night, it was.
I would return to Chinatown for another stab at dumplings in another cramped shop. And I would return to Myers and Change for it’s Americanize, Modern take on Asian inspired food.