Sunday, February 14, 2010


Saint Valentine's Day and Lunar New Year, observed by many Asians. I'm sorry I had no way to wangle an invitation to the local Vietnamese social center for their Tet celebration. I went one year acting qua reporter but ate the great food qua guy who likes to eat great food. About a week ago, I was in a little Asian market in Rockport buying coconut milk and like that and the proprietor showed me a stack of little red envelopes, said she was selling a bunch of them because of the coincidence of New Year and Valentine's Day. On Lunar New Year, you're supposed to give gifts of money and gifts of money are supposed to come in red envelopes.
The best little gig I ever had was writing restaurant reviews for Third Coast mag in Austin. They gave us 150 bucks a month and expected about five reviews per month. We were expected to pay for the meals out of the $150. One year, we all got an invite to go to a big Chinese restaurant for the Lunar New Year celebrations. It was some fantastic food and a chance to get a little peek at someone else's world for a couple of hours. Lots of red envelopes passed out to the employees.


Sugar Magnolia said...

I always wondered, besides through good living, just where you achieved your finely tuned palate. That stint in Austin now gives me a clue. Would love to hear of some of your restaurant/eating adventures at a later date. You always have an interesting perspective.

Truth Ferret said...

Happy New Year to you, Loon.

I attended a wedding where the bride was Chinese. Her husband had a pocket full of red envelopes to pay the organist, pastor, etc. I thought it was cool when I realized that it was a cultural thing.

Three years ago when our daughter got married on Valentine's Day, most people wore red and Cupid had decorated the venue wonderfully. Red accented all the love. It was soooo cool.

Loon, how is that new Lamb pot working out for you? Is being a food critic where you fell in love with good food or did the love for food lead into your food critic job?

Have a good one.

The Loon said...

I did a story once, interviewed a guy who had made a bundle doing salvage diving and bought a game ranch out past Kerrville … exotic game, sold venison to high-end restaurants. I asked him when he got interest in food. He said, "About 20 minutes after I was born." I concurred. Always had a high regard for my stomach, wake up worrying about what to cook for dinner. I've been working at it since I was in my twenties and have accumulated a bunch of cookbooks. When we travel, our questions are 'How's the food around there?' and "Is there a track running?'

The Loon said...

erratum: 'interested in food'