Not too long ago, I was craving noodles. Since I am fortunate enough to live close to Chinatown, finding fantastic hand-pulled noodles was a no-brainer. My husband and I dashed over to 88 Food Sing Corp, a small noodle shop at 2 East Broadway. It just so happened to be a Friday night after a busy workweek, so we were also hoping for a glass of wine to go along with our noodles. I decided to see if 88 Food Sing was open to a BYOB philosophy.
Knowing that they would likely not have a bottle opener on hand, I packed my bottle of white along with a corkscrew and set off to satisfy my appetite for slippery, chewy noodles and spicy broth.
The waitress was happy to see us when we got there, since she remembered us from previous visits. After we ordered, I politely asked if it would be ok to open our bottle of wine. She looked at me, and contemplated the question, really struggling to give me a response. She told us to wait a minute and went to speak with someone. Moments later, she returned and said, “ ok, but not too much,” with a parental tone. I instantly felt like a child and assured her that we would be responsible.
Then I asked her for some glasses, at which point she said they didn’t have any. I repeated the question, thinking perhaps she misunderstood, because how would we even be able to drink responsibly without glasses? (We were not desperate enough to drink out of the bottle.) On the second request I hand signaled that I needed to pour the wine into something. She smiled and nodded and rushed off, returning with two 1-ounce plastic cups, the kind that you sample food in at Costco.
Well as the old saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers, and we graciously accepted the cups and poured away. With each sip, my smile grew bigger; I had not enjoyed a dining experience quite that much in some time. But the waitress kept looking at us. Now I wondered, did we do something wrong, were we eating our noodles improperly? Not slurping enough or perhaps too much? Not spicing with the appropriate condiments? Why was she staring at us? About two 1-ounce sample cups through my wine, she came over to the table and asked, “How is it?” to which we replied, “Fabulous, delicious, the best noodles ever!” to which she said, “No, not noodle, wine. can I try some?” We felt ashamed we had not offered to share sooner and responded, “Of course, yes, please, sorry and would you please offer some to the noodle maker in the back” she nodded yes, and brought 2 more sample cups which she ran back to kitchen to share.
When she returned, she said, “Thank you, I never had, it’s good, and he liked it too.”
At that point, I figured that it was best to cork the rest and leave it for them to share — since after all, she cautioned us at the beginning not to have too much. My noodles were the best ever and now I know that on my next visit, should I be craving a little wine, it may be best to byob and byog!
Cheers to 88 Food Sing Corp!
Claudia Sidoti, Recipe Developer