Loose Strife

An MP3 blog

Sunday, October 01, 2006

#30 - Goodbye dan dan, hello higher self

The theme of this blog (a theme, at least) has always been that too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. That goes for the eponymous plant loosestrife in most ecosystems, as well as dan dan noodles w/minced pork chili vinaigrette in my personal ecosystem.

This doesn’t alter the fact that Wu Liang Ye on Lex @ 39th is the greatest Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan, probably the entire city (I need to do more exploring in downtown Flushing to verify this).

You can’t go wrong with any of the Wu’s signature dishes, or the special appetizers. The razorback clams, for instance---a wonderfully toothsome seafood you rarely find in non-Asian restaurants---are served cold in a bright green scallion-sichuan peppercorn pesto and presented like a bird of paradise, with a head carved from a giant radish with a carrot coxcomb and a tail made of fanned razorback shells. And their dan dan noodles, $4.95, are the ne plus ultra of street food: greasy, near-mushy, and smolderingly hot, with sichuan peppercorns (once again) cutting through the fattiness of the crumbled pork bits and numbing your mouth just enough to ameliorate the heat.

Ah, pork. If there is anything that can match its sublime, savory richness, I don’t know it. (Duck comes close, and these folks also do a camphor tea smoked duck, $15.95—half a lacquered bird hacked up with a cleaver---that’s like the best Southern BBQ you’ve never had at a Southern BBQ joint.)

Anyway, I find one order of noodles always leaves me two bites short of full. So last night I got two and finished both. I also finished a liter of gruner veltliner (a light, clean, sometimes faintly effervescent Austrian white which, it should be noted, goes fabulously with spicey Asian food), since it had a beer-style bottle cap and was thus impossible to reseal. Austrians must drink a lot.

(NB: I enjoyed this meal while apartment-sitting for a friend on 24th Street with a wine-fridge full of inexpensive but excellent bottles, many obtained via Wine Woot, a site well worth checking out.)

Today I feel like hell. Heartburn clawing at my esophagus, gas gnawing at my gut, chili heat singeing my---you get the idea. I feel dizzy and nauseous. And I’m thinking back to the Merzbow show earlier this year, where it seemed all the meat-eaters began vomiting just as the music reached its most intense-beautiful apex.

Looking back, it seems totally implausible that music could have such a selective effect on non-vegetarians. And yet. My yoga teacher always said it’s impossible to be a truly enlightened yogi and eat meat---the two activities are incompatible. Maybe Merzbow’s music was too intensely beautiful for the non-enlightened.

I’ve always rejected the Judeo-Christian dietary laws as being uselessly out of date and pointlessly ascetic in an era with modern food-handling techniques and advanced culinary arts.

But today, I will make a vow. (Vows are another theme of the this blog; making them takes strength, keeping them builds strength, as I’ve written before.) I do hereby forswear meat. For the next, um, year.

I will do this as a component of my yoga practice (“practice” being a good word for it, since I usually feeling I’m practicing as opposed to actually doing it). I will do this also to lose some weight, since I am now tipping the scales at, well, nevermind.

One thing: I will make an exception for bacon. Only bacon without nitrates, from organically-raised, antibiotic-free pigs.

And dan dan noodles.

Okay, okay, fine. No bacon, no dan dan. No duck. No pork.

If Merzbow and Nick Zinner can do this, so can I.


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