Rome/Brooklyn 22/11 – Day 40: Stuck but not hungry… and not in Hungary

In Rome, the sun rose at 6:50 and will set at 16:57. The Ave Maria is still in the 17:30 time slot. The Moon is full and there are 53 days until the end of the calendar year. It is the Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran. Also, we venerate, St. Theodore a soldier martyr in c. 306 and Maria and Neon in the 3rd c.

In other news, I’ve been canceled… again. This time not by a wobbly bishop, but by a hurricane. I had notice today that my flight home was canceled and I’ve been rebooked to tomorrow.

When I left for Rome, there was a hurricane that moved my departure by a day. Coming back, the same. Perhaps I have an unexplored and unexploited superpower! In any event, I am with a friend here in NYC and well cared for.

Yesterday was pretty quite.  We went to a diner for an early lunch/late breakfast.

The coleslaw was quite good.  The soup and the BLT… meh.  I was asked what bread I wanted, which was rye.  Toasted?  No.  So, I got toasted white bread.  Hence, only the coleslaw is on display.

Why pink, I wonder?

Meh… but I do like diners.  I don’t know how they maintain inventory considering the extent of their menus.  In these diners you can get almost anything you can think of.  It’s not always perfect, but you can get some iteration.  Anyway, I am a great fan of diners: they are honest, no pretenses.  “You want that?  You got it.  Not perfect, you still got it. We can bring you somptin’ else or you can go … your self.”

Last night we, with a seminarian, trekked north to Flu Shing for Chinese.  I wanted to go back to a place where I’ve eaten the best Xiao Long Bao you would ever want. Eh-vur.

I was apprehensive about changes during COVID Theatre.  I checked online and the results were as unhelpful as they were for most Chinese restaurants.  I was worried we might not get a table, but, to my dismay, we got one right away.  Why?  We were the only people there.  Not a good sign.

Another bad sign was the “CASH ONLY” sign on the door.  “Hmmm….”

My heart fell as they gave us drastically reduced menus.  They had gone in the dim sum direction and not in a good way.  To my lasting horror… I can hardly bring myself to type… in addition to the several other variations of xiao long bao they were offering, on the wall there was written “chocolate xiao long bao”.

But there we were.  Should we stay or should we go?

We stayed.

We tried some standards… guotie.. jiaozi… meh… the signature xiao long bao were very good but they weren’t as good as they were before.

I asked the two workers if there had been a change of owner and cooks.  Grinning and nodding they said “No!”  I believe I may have been lied to.

Let’s get to the images.

Guotie on a fancy-shaped dish.  Fancy-shaped dishes in a place that is otherwise linoleum and formica are not a good indication.

Good?  Sure.  But I could and have made better.

Again.  They lacked … zip.

The signature dish trailed off the page, I’m afraid.

Again, good but a shadow of their former glory.  And the tops where the gather is were tough, which means that they were made in advance (for an empty restaurant) and injected and steamed later.  Good but … meh.

The seminarian wanted the beef and peppers and it was a good choice.   This was good.

Crispy spicy chicken.

This was also good.  Crispy was surely there.. indeed crunchy.  I think that, in the final analysis, it might have been over fried because it had a hard crunch rather than a soft crunch.  The flavors included cumin, which was welcome.  Good but I think they fumbled slightly with the timing.

This was something they had on the older menu.  The beans were excellent and abundant.

Crispy pork.

Here is a puzzle.  There was delightful crunchiness and sweetness to these shreds.  However the shreds were so fine that one wondered sometimes whether there was pork under that layer.  There was, but pork flavor took a backseat.  This was pretty good, all in all, but it could have been slightly more substantive in a porky way.

Walking back to the car we passed this place.   I asked a young Asian fellow, guiding his elderly cane-wielding grandfather (probably) if the food was good and he uttered an enthusiastic yes, with a nod and smile.  Who knows.  Maybe next time.

There wasn’t much else to the day other than a substantial jet lag induced nap.

Speaking of puzzles.

Black is threatening checkmate in one.   That means we better have a forcing check.  The force helps you discover the solution.  It isn’t hard, but it does have classic tactic.

WHITE to move.
NB: I may hold comments with puzzle solutions a little longer than others so there won’t be “spoilers” for others.

Priestly chess players, drop me a line. HERE

3:16 isn’t just in John.

Please remember me when shopping online. Thanks in advance.


Thank for this day, O Lord, even with its setbacks.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. VForr says:

    The hurricane is also impacting my trip too. My mom, my sister, and I are in Miramar Beach, Florida, and leaving Friday for Boone, North Carolina. Unfortunately the last day of our beach stay and almost the entirety of our mountain stay will be a wash. Wishing you safe travels when your flight does depart! You have been in my prayers.

  2. OzReader says:

    It’s a shame your Chinese restaurant wasn’t the same as it used to be.

    Down this way, the hallmarks of the ‘good’ eateries are usually that they’re in a less-desirable area, have very basic settings (a hole in the wall), have a small menu, only take cash, and most importantly, the place should be busy, and NOT with white folk! Actually I suspect that’s pretty transferable to anywhere, really.

  3. Neal says:

    1. Qf8+ Kh7
    2. Ng5+ hxg5
    3. Qxf1

  4. hwriggles4 says:

    Fr. Z:

    One Knights of Columbus fish fry we made Cole Slaw with purple cabbage. It was a hit! People enjoyed it – we will probably give it a go at Lenten Fish Fry’s again. Obviously that’s why the Cole Slaw had a pinkish color.

    Welcome back to the United States. Staying in Brooklyn you can recover easier from jet lag (and drink Chock Full of Nuts coffee if you need it.)

  5. Kentucky Gent says:

    Black is going to be so disappointed.

    1.Qf8+ Kh7 (only move)
    2.Ng5+ Kg6 (another only move)
    3.Qxf1 e3 (to protect the rook)
    4.Bxb6 axb6
    5.Nf4 and black can resign with a clear conscience and a sad memory of what might have been.

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