Wednesday, June 21, 2017



[Addendum in this post: A Fading fragrance

Uncle's on Waverly and Clay, in their final iteration closed three years ago. For a long time it had been a lunch counter and bakery with good pies, and endless coffee. It's now a Szechuan something-or-other.
Sun Wah Kue Restaurant, on the corner of Washington Street and Ross Alley, had an orange chiffon pie which no one else does and many people fondly remember, as well as chops, ox tail, and the best waffles. Many old timers fondly remember the waffles. Booth seating, and a side door. Baked goods, daily lunch specials. A great place to dawdle over coffee and pastry on a rainy afternoon. The interior was formica, and plain white paint over wood, yellowed a bit and softened by the years.
New King Tin further down closed after a run of half a century, the restaurant that went in was a chachanteng which is now also gone.
Golden Dragon Barbecue on the upper corner of Washington Street and Waverly became a shop selling tacky souvenirs, and is now a discounter of large porcelain whatchamacallits.
Sun Hung Heung below Grant Avenue became a restaurant which in big bold characters (川味) tells the local people that they should not go there, Szechuan Taste! It caters entirely to gullible tourists and visiting provincials, and from what I hear the food and service are frighteningly awful.
Once upon a time there was delicious suckling pig.
Silver Restaurant changed hands and name, the food is decent, nice people work there, and they are open till ten.
Nam Yuen has been an empty building for over two decades.

Tao Tao Restaurant (陶陶茶樓), named after a famous dining spot in Hangchow (杭州), had existed since the very early thirties; the exterior recalled an elegant multistoried mansion in the Chinese style. It shut down a generation ago, and the paint-peeling building housed a bookstore and pop-music emporium for a while. It is now a general services centre, offering translation, tax prep, marriage introduction, job placement, immigration help, official forms, etcetera, while Woey Loy Goey (會來居) next door in the basement changed ownership and Chinese name, and hasn't served prime rib or beefsteak for an exceedingly long time.

New Moon Restaurant: changed hands at the beginning of the year, the Chinese name is different now, the roast ducks, barbecued pork, and hanging chickens are a glorious memory. The duck was that good.
It was delicious. I should have gone more often.
I wonder what happened to the people.
Empress of China Restaurant: closed in 2014.
New Lotus Garden: long time gone.

That place where I got a monumental MSG headache is also past tense.

Ping Yuen Bakery on Jackson closed very many years ago, and is sorely missed. Endless coffee, open til nine, a very long counter at which a single man could sit after work doing crossword puzzles before going to the Great Star Theater a few doors down for a gangster movie. The Shanghainese noodle place is gone. The DPD is gone. You can't get those lovely pastries and dumplings at Yong Kee Rice Noodle Co. up the street anymore, they finally quit after three generations. Preserved egg in a flaky puff-crust, chicken buns, and Toishan daai bau.

Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the place which served 'rice paddy chicken'. They brought them out for us to choose, and one them hopped out of the basket, then sat staring at us with big placid eyes.


All of the movie theatres are gone, of course.

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