New Food for Thought

| 05 Jul 2020 | 06:32

Into the future - It’s good to see that the pandemic hasn’t forever dampened the spirit of some restaurant owners and other entrepreneurs. So it was heartening to see that there’s a new restaurant on the block, make that corner of 88th and Second, right next door to what was formerly Elaine’s and is now The Writing Room. The location was empty for what seems like years and I don’t remember what was there before. It may have had several incarnations. No matter. The newbie’s open and thriving. Tables outside on Second Ave. and around the corner on 88th St. Recently boarded up and on its way to another location is Cafe D’Alsace. Now open and bustling, too. Hope they stay open as they relocate. Even better, stay open, and move uptown, too. Another local stalwart, as previously reported, is Sable’s. They’re moving from their present location to Third Ave on 77th or 78th in September where they’ll be serving up sturgeon, smoked fish, bagels and a smidgen of lobster salad “to taste” while waiting.

All day every day - The UES’s Esther Yang’s days are mostly virtual. Except when she’s out volunteering to aid in the COVID crisis or campaigning in real time for the November election. Think speed dial. Think Energizer Bunny. She helps the rest of us who are stuck at home make it through the day. How? First, I’d say, by boundless energy and know-how. Fully focused and stuck at home herself, she’s unable to go to museums, movies, Broadway shows, and without a TV forever, she started daily noontime virtual yoga classes for adults and kids. “Being a yoga teacher for 20 years is something,” she says, “but teaching it virtually? Say what!” The parents of the kids she teaches asked her to have an after-school virtual class for the kids where they could meditate, learn about the human body, make masks, and engage in a variety of other activities. One afternoon, it was reading “I am Rosa Parks.” Added value for the grown ups - time out to exhale knowing the kids are learning and engaged in worthwhile activities.

Esther’s day doesn’t end there. She’s cooking, creating recipes in the tradition of her “herbalist grandmother,” which are time-saving, less than 20-minute recipes, where she uses the sweet, the sour, the bitter, the spicy. And each recipe falls into a descriptive category - like Quarantine Cooking, Meatless Mondays, Wellness Wednesday. Her “eureka moment” came when she made bbq spareribs and a to-die-for bbq sauce. Ingredients, she’s not telling. Don’t be surprised to find Paul Newman’s Own sauces competing for shelf space with the intrepid Esther Yang’s bbq sauce. Just saying.

On/Off the Spectrum - For starters, I’m a Spectrum customer. One, because I’d have had to opt out by using some other cable provider, and two, I’m no go-it-aloner when it comes to things like that. And, truth to tell, I couldn’t live without NY1 and Errol Louis and they are only on NY1. So I stay. And suffer. Spectrum’s a nightmare. Daily, within hours of tuning in or turning on the TV, they post a message advising that, if you don’t hit SEL or some other key on remote, your tv will shut down. And shut down it does. Goes off, until you find the remote to put it back on. Presumably, they are doing some sort of public service. However, TV’s go all day and nobody’s sitting in one spot. If you change channels and want to get back to where you started, good luck. You’ll have to click your way through a series of station names before you find - if you find - what you’re looking for. An exercise in futility.

No more Fox, 44, CNN, 78, MSNBC, 14. Don’t bother trying to make sense of the new grid. You’ll find yourself, well, off the Spectrum. Reading this will give you no clarity, I get it, but that’s life on the Spectrum.