If you’re getting over the Coronavirus, have I got the place for you. Yes, it’s a Chinese restaurant, or Chinese by way of Hong Kong, located in Chicago’s West Town, called Lao Peng You. This means “old friend” in Chinese, a nod to the fact that this spot serves the nostalgic grandma cuisine of owners Daniel and Eric Wat’s childhood.
Duck blood and other mystery meats. Despite the fact that I would like this to be the name of my future band. It is not. Rather it’s a descriptor of my first-generation Polish childhood, of the tripe-filled Sunday visits to see my babcia and dziadzia (grandma and grandpa).
My country, the Philippines, land of gold and flowers, it was love that, as per her fate, offered up beauty and splendor. And with her refinement and beauty, the foreigner was enticed; Bayan Ko – a traditional Filipino song I did not grow up Pinoy. I am, apologies to all Jews and Filipinos, a pin-goy. I am the enticed foreigner, the dayuhan, or stranger, encapsulated in the lyrics of “Bayan Ko”, the patriotic anthem of the Philippines quoted above. I am mesmerized by the majesty of Filipino food.
Aaat Laaast! You’ve heard it a thousand times, probably in the background of a jewelry commercial where some rich lady’s self-worth is confirmed by the receipt of a humongous diamond necklace. There’s the string section swell followed by the dusky croon of relief from Etta James that her lovelorn days are finally over. It is an earworm of the first order.
Thomas was a third-grade thug. He was the kid who got paddled by the principal monthly for infractions ranging from taking nips of art class mucilage from Elmer’s rubber orange nipple, to contorting his face grotesquely and eliciting guffaws from fellow classmates behind the teacher’s back.