Saturday, November 3, 2012

Peking Duck

Saturday November 3, 1:17 p.m.

It's been nice to finally kinda unwind after a week of solid teaching....or something resembling it. I showed "The Dark Knight" as the final "activity"for the morning class. It was something that most of us agreed to, and the ones who didn't were the ones who didn't show up. One of the kids brought over a box of Timbits for everyone which was really nice. However, I just wondered, though, if it would've been better if I had just taken everyone to a Tim Hortons or a reasonable restaurant for brunch or coffee instead...the gang would've, of course, had more opportunity to speak in their final class. But there have been a lot of doubts percolating through my mind over the past few months about this gig.

Barrie, which is a small city 1 hour north of Toronto, got the meteorological icing sugar yesterday morning, and even The Big Smoke witnessed some wet snow coming down. One of my students from the afternoon class excitedly told me as I made my way out of the school. Pretty early these days for even a flurry, so I'm wondering how this Winter is gonna be. It certainly did feel quite wintry out there. After my week's work, I treated myself to lunch at Yueh Tung on Elizabeth St. Of course, I had my default Manchurian Chicken on Rice. Since I got there about 12:30, the place was at full steam in terms of both customers and harried staff. It was my fourth time there, but amazingly enough, the main guy seemed to recognize me and get me a nice table by the exit.

 Now, back on Halloween night, my family had our long awaited reunion with my Vancouver cousins. My sister-in-law was kind enough to arrange dinner at the Asian Legend in Scarberia. Thanks to her father's connections, we were able to get our own room, and the Peking Duck dinner. Yup, darn scrumptious that skin and pancake first course. I hadn't seen my cousin for over a decade since my brother got married, and as for her husband, I hadn't seen him in close to 30 years. Happily, they haven't changed all that much.

Of course, the 2nd course was that delectable duck fat-cooked dish of duck meat and vegetables wrapped in leaves of lettuce. Strangely enough though, in Japan, where Peking Duck is seen as the King of Chinese Cuisine, a lot of places only provide that first course of skin and wrap...none of the 2nd course and the duck soup at the end. I'd always thought about what the cooks did with the rest of the duck. Did they eat it or did any of the stray cats in Yokohama Chinatown look a lot bigger the next day? I figure if any of my old students ever venture to Toronto, I will arrange a true Peking Duck adventure for them.

Having said that, we didn't get the duck soup. But then again, a lot of dumplings and dessert at the end more than compensated. But when our cousins came over to the house, my mother served apple pie and coffee. Even I would've declined it, but since it was crumble-top....