'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

The first dish to arrive was a palate-preparer of sliced cold cucumbers with pepper sauce.

Every year some friends and I stage an afternoon banquet called "Escape From Christmas." This year for a second year in a row, we had it at a Hong Kong-style restaurant with the quizzical name of Dining Room Management Group, which is now also called Yong Gee. We ate course after course until we nearly burst. Here is a visual record of what we downed this afternoon.

'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

We shared two giant tureens of West Lake beef soup, a pillar of Zhejiang cuisine, made with a light broth, egg drops, ground beef, and tons of cilantro and scallions. Very refreshing! It's sometimes considered a variant of egg-drop soup.

'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

The 11 of us nearly demolished a whole duck.

'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

We downed a couple of plates of pork pot-stickers with black vinegar.

'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

This was the only dud of the afternoon. We'd asked for shrimp with X.O. sauce and we got this pallid stif-fry -- not bad, just not distinguished. The pea pods were the best part.

'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

The pea shoots were excellent, but they shot by so fast, I didn't have a chance to take much of a picture.

 

'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

The clams with black bean sauce is one of the Cantonese dishes that forms the backbone of Hong Kong cuisine.

'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

Southern Chinese lamb casserole contains big wads of bean-curd skin, and lots of tender lamb. The Northern Chinese version would be laced with Asian cumin.

'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

The waiter didn't want to serve us shredded pork and preserved vegetable mei fun, but we stuck to our guns and it was divine.

'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

The ultimate course -- and probably the best dish of the evening -- was pan-fried flounder with garlic chives. Most of it was crunchily edible, including spines, head, tail, fins, and skin.

'Escape From Christmas' Chinese Banquet, 2011

This was our second year at Dining Room Management Group, a very good and relatively unknown Hong Kong-style restaurant. The meal came to $23.11 per person, including a round of beers.

Dining Room Management Group (a/k/a Yong Gee) 104 Mott Street 212-925-2986

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Follow us on Twitter if you dare: @robertsietsema [Robert Sietsema] @chantytown [Chantal Martineau] @ldshockey [Lauren Shockey] @ForkintheRoadVV


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