Ever want to love a restaurant? That’s the way I felt about chama mama (What’s with the lower case letters?) at 149 west 14th Street, a few doors west of the YMCA. The staff is charming, the ambiance is sophisticated, the food is Georgian (Russian). I’ve had lunch there several times. Tarragon is a favorite herb. That neon green bottle is a tarragon based soft drink. So, lunch is a winner. Dinner is another matter. chama mama is noisy even by Manhattan standards, the food is too salty. I never thought I say that being a lover of salt. With regret I wouldn’t go near the place after six p.m.
el camion cantina (Once again, what’s with the lower case letters?) is at 194 Avenue A and 12th Street. Noisy, of course. Wonderful staff: professional and pleasant.
Great margaritas and great food. I’m like an eight year old. I order the same thing every time. el camion has a delicious duck, smashed sweet potatoes and perfectly cooked french green beans. Don’t forget the Elote. Its grilled corn on the cob with mayo and cheese.
Moral: Lunch at champ mama and dinner at el camion cantina.
The winner: Shu Han Ju is a Szechuan restaurant on 11th St and 6th Ave. Chinese cuisine has at least eight culinary traditions. Spicy Szechuan is one of the favorites. To name a few on the extensive menu: scallop pancakes, cucumber w spicy garlic sauce, shrimp with cashew nuts, fresh mussels w black bean sauce, Dan dan noodle. What a wonderful restaurant. Best food I’ve had in ages. The staff is helpful and knowledgeable and She Han Ju is quiet.
Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder.
Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.
Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.
Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ? His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School? Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook?