Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Duck, duck, greet

Peking duck, Amazing 66
After many emails back and forth and one near-mixup with dates, RL, DW, and I finally met up at Amazing 66 two weeks ago for a business lunch of sorts. As the essay and fiction editors of a new literary journal, we had all been communicating over email for some time, but RL and DW had yet to meet each other in person. A meal of Peking Duck seemed like a fine activity over which to have a meet 'n' greet. What better ice-breaker than stuffing your face with roasted fowl while savory fat drips down your elbow?

Not that I was the one who planned it, or anything. All I did was suggest.
Beef pan-fried noodles, Amazing 66
As the sole Mandarin speaker, RL and DW stuck me with placing our order with the waiter. I asked for the Peking Duck right off, not knowing how long it would take them to prepare it. And though I had assured RL the night before that I would not be partaking in any pan-fried-noodlery, RL and DW agreed on an order with beef anyway, which came out promptly.
Chinese broccoli in garlic sauce, Amazing 66
So did our Chinese broccoli in garlic sauce, which we had ordered to make it a "healthy" meal.

They also brought out a bowl of soup for each of us. The clear broth was earthy, almost medicinal, and slightly sweet from dried red dates. It struck me as being an unusual choice to include with the meal (no wonton, no egg drop?) but maybe that's an indicator of the restaurant's focus on Chinese palates.

We made our way through the soup, the veg, and the noodles...and then finally, out came the Peking Duck. There was some surprise when we realized we were getting a full instead of a half, but our "dismay" quickly disappeared as the waiter efficiently transformed the whole roasted bird into a pile of juicy meat and crispy skin.
Peking duck, Amazing 66 Peking knife action, Amazing 66
Check the cleaver action, yo.
Peking duck, Amazing 66
As we began stuffing the soft pockets of steamed mantou with roasted duck, hoisin sauce, and slivers of cucumber and scallion, all editorial conversation stopped entirely. Amazing 66 doesn't serve the finest version of Peking Duck I've ever had, but it was certainly better than what I've gotten in many other restaurants (ducks soggy and thick with un-rendered fat, the entire point of the dish undermined).

(See those elbows in the picture? Our friends SYB and VI, who randomly appeared at the restaurant! I'd say they were following some kind of Peking Duck sense, except they declined to have any of our bird.)

It took some time before any of us were able to do anything else but eat, but eventually, over the last few duck legs, we finished our discussion. RL and DW each had a new face to put to a name, we'd run into some friends, and we had bellies full of the emperor's dish. All in all, a good meeting.

And did we want to take home the bones to cook later? Definitely.


  1. i'm so jealous, i haven't had peking duck in such a long time...

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. sorry about all the typos in the last comment, but don't qsoz and vipnyc get a mention for our surprise visit?

  4. Have you been to Peking Duck Forest?

  5. tl: It had been a while for me too, before this!

    qsoz: I left you out because you chose to go meatless, yo. I felt all rejected...

    Jessica: Hmmm...no! It's good?

  6. Yea, my family likes going to Peking Duck Forest. It helps that it's close to my parent's house.


    I like the peking duck at the famous peking duck house too but they only have one other dish I like. Most of their other options aren't that good.

  7. did we manage to get anything done that day? not sure, I was too busy gnawing on various duck bones.

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  9. Mabel, Mabel, if you’re able
    Get your elbows off the table
    This is not a horse’s stable
    But a first class dining table

    Alas, Mom would be so disappointed.