The Holiday Stroll 2013: Part 1

It was dark by the time we started out. Dusk falls quickly at this time of the year, and when Kira arrived at the condo the sun had been gone for several hours. Our holiday stroll weekend had begun, and we settled in for a brief warm-up before heading out. Since arriving earlier in the day, I’d had the heat up, and now it was toasty and warm and perfect for the encroachment of colder temperatures. We caught up quickly, going over the  travails of Thanksgiving, then bundled back up for a walk to dinner.

For one of the first times, I didn’t have a dinner plan. There were no reservations, and no general notion of what to eat, but we headed out onto Tremont Street, walking towards Downtown. The wind whipped around us, and we shuffled hurriedly to generate some warmth. We turned in the direction of Chinatown. Suddenly hot tea and Peking duck seemed the right way to go (as per these happy memories). For the latter, we decided to try the place we’d eaten at a couple of summers ago.

It was still open at the ten o’clock hour, and rather unpopulated (the way I like things), and we sat down in a corner booth to a pot of tea. I contemplated asking for a beer (a friend said that a beer was actually the best thing to cool off hot, spicy food), but since I wasn’t planning on going too spicy tonight, I settled for the tea and water. (Strange behavior for an alcoholic, I know.)

We ordered the Peking duck and a pork dish, and, since my eyes are always bigger than my stomach, some steamed dumplings. Kira could take it all home the next day if there were leftovers (and there would be – lots). The tea warmed us instantly, as much inside as it did cradled in our cupped hands. The dumplings arrived first, more drops of savory warmth into our stomachs. The chill of the night was a dim memory.

By the time the duck arrived, we were giddy with anticipation, and the giddiness turned to delight as we assembled the Mandarin pancakes, the filigrees of green onions, and the hoisin sauce. There’s nothing that a little Peking duck can’t fix, or a dear friend. Stuffed and elated, we sat at the table remembering things past, and then it was time to depart. The next day was our Holiday Stroll. I just hoped it wouldn’t be cold enough for a bunny suit.

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