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New Wonton Garden, New York, NY, tasted on February 20, 2004 This jaunt through New York City was going pretty well. We'd already eaten at 6 restaurants, we still had 10 to go. Not bad for a 3 day trip. And even though we've traveled to New York many times to eat, and we Love (with a capital "L") Chinese food, we've never really gone deep into New York's offerings of that cuisine. And frankly, we still weren't on track to do that on this trip. But we were wandering around the city and desperately hungry without a strong recommendation towards one Chinese restaurant over another. This is when it's always important to apply "the Peyman Principle". Go where the crowds are. It's easy to dismiss this sort of mob mentality, but especially when you're dealing with small ethnic restaurants, it's not a bad theory. Why go somewhere that's empty? Somebody must know something. And this is the logic that brought us to New Wonton Garden (not sure what became of the old one).

We didn't have a ton of food, but we did order a bunch of yummy dumplings. The Steamed Pork Buns were super fresh, steaming. and a slightly sweet light filling. The Steamed Cantonese Dumplings came in a fantastic savory light sauce. And of course I do love Potstickers (or Peking Ravioli as they were called when I grew up). They were coated in a perfectly fried light dough and filled with pink tender pork. And of course, we needed even more pork dumplings, so the Pork Chive Steamed Dumplings fit the bill. They filled our mouths full of flavor. And they came with a hot soy-based waterfall of goodness in terms of the sauce. We also ordered some steamed veggies. They were just ok. As good as the dumplings were, the service was a little insane. There was a lot of language confusion to the point where we needed to physically point at dishes we wanted to order. If a neighboring diner didn't have it, it was near impossible for us to order it. Still, it was well worth it. Yum.










Tastingmenu is focused on superlative restaurant experiences from two perspectives: behind the plate and behind the stove. Tastingmenu is written by Hillel (professional eater) and Dana (up-and-coming professional chef) in Seattle, Washington.

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  Garlic has long been credited with providing and prolonging physical strength and was fed to Egyptian slaves building the giant pyramids. Throughout the centuries, its medicinal claims have included cures for toothaches, consumption, open wounds and evil demons. A member of the lily family, garlic is a cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots. The edible bulb or "head" grows beneath the ground. This bulb is made up of sections called cloves, each encased in its own parchmentlike membrane. Today's major garlic suppliers include the United States (mainly California, Texas and Louisiana), France, Spain, Italy and Mexico. There are three major types of garlic available in the United States: the white-skinned, strongly flavored American garlic; the Mexican and Italian garlic, both of which have mauve-colored skins and a somewhat milder flavor; and the Paul Bunyanesque, white-skinned elephant garlic (which is not a true garlic, but a relative of the leek), the most mildly flavored of the three. Depending on the variety, cloves of American, Mexican and Italian garlic can range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Elephant garlic (grown mainly in California) has bulbs the size of a small grapefruit, with huge cloves averaging 1 ounce each. It can be purchased through mail order and in some gourmet markets. Green garlic, available occasionally in specialty produce markets, is young garlic before it begins to form cloves. It resembles a baby leek, with a long green top and white bulb, sometimes tinged with pink. The flavor of a baby plant is much softer than that of mature garlic. Fresh garlic is available year-round. Purchase firm, plump bulbs with dry skins. Avoid heads with soft or shriveled cloves, and those stored in the refrigerated section of the produce department. Store fresh garlic in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, dark place. Properly stored, unbroken bulbs can be kept up to 8 weeks, though they will begin to dry out toward the end of that time. Once broken from the bulb, individual cloves will keep from 3 to 10 days. Garlic is usually peeled before use in recipes. Among the exceptions are roasted garlic bulbs and the famous dish, "chicken with 40 cloves of garlic," in which unpeeled garlic cloves are baked with chicken in a broth until they become sweet and butter-soft. Crushing, chopping, pressing or pureeing garlic releases more of its essential oils and provides a sharper, more assertive flavor than slicing or leaving it whole. Garlic is readily available in forms other than fresh. Dehydrated garlic flakes (sometimes referred to as instant garlic) are slices or bits of garlic that must be reconstituted before using (unless added to a liquid-based dish, such as soup or stew). When dehydrated garlic flakes are ground, the result is garlic powder. Garlic salt is garlic powder blended with salt and a moisture-absorbing agent. Garlic extract and garlic juice are derived from pressed garlic cloves. Though all of these products are convenient, they're a poor flavor substitute for the less expensive, readily available and easy-to-store fresh garlic. One unfortunate side effect of garlic is that, because its essential oils permeate the lung tissue, it remains with the body long after it's been consumed, affecting breath and even skin odor. Chewing chlorophyll tablets or fresh parsley is helpful but, unfortunately, modern-day science has yet to find the perfect antidote for residual garlic odor.  

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