When you’re coasting until the next payday, you do what you can to budget your meal expenses, not just to stretch the paycheck, but so that you can afford to splurge a little for something better.
Half of the dinners in the past week were home cooked. Wednesday was free dinner at work provided by the student government. Friday was free dinner at NYU’s Asian Pacific American Studies Institute, which celebrated its 10th anniversary by bringing back many of its former faculty and resident artists, and recently moved to the newly formed Department of Social and Cultural Studies.
Tuesday’s splurge: prix fixe at the French Culinary Institute. $35 for 5 courses – a big steal, especially for French food. There are some flaws because they are students: the menu had way too many rice dishes (thai rice, rissoto, then chicken and rice – enough already), our server had to juggle 9 tables by herself and her classmate wasn’t doing buptkus. One of the student chefs blew the budget by putting on 2-5mm slices of truffles on the side of the dish instead of shaving them. The deserts all had custard in them as the theme. Mind you, the dishes were well-executed, but they didn’t get the harmony down pat.
Saturday’s budget eats: The Taste of Chinatown – $1 and $2 dishes of tasty Asian cuisine. The ultimate was the $2 Peking duck – the line went down the block for half an hour. Recommended.
Sunday’s splurge: dimsum in Flushing at Ocean Jewels Seafood Restaurant
133-30 39th Ave. This is how dim sum used to be. Good, attentive service, no plate more than $3, and very inventive and well-executed dishes. Recommended.