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The Dragon's Head Blog: Chinese New Year Banquet in New York City

To ring in the Year of the Fire Monkey, the Tristate Branch (comprising New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut) held its annual Chinese New Year Banquet, Auction and Raffle on Sunday, March 6. Having outgrown the James Beard House, the historic culinary center where we have held banquets in years past, we ventured farther downtown to the new facilities of the Institute for Culinary Education (ICE), located in Brookfield Place, a sleek office building in the Ground Zero complex with beautiful views of the Hudson River and New Jersey. With multiple kitchens for preparation and cooking, as well as ample space for the silent auction setup, banquet tables, and entertainment, not to mention an incredibly helpful staff, ICE proved a perfect locale for the festivities. The extra space and a few delivery challenges meant we were able to engage more volunteers in the banquet production than before. All of which, no doubt, helped make this year’s event our most successful ever, with 113 guests in attendance.

As those guests arrived at Brookfield Place, they were greeted in the lobby and on the ICE floor by volunteers. Pencils sharpened, everyone was encouraged to browse and bid on the auction items, which ranged from a private glass blowing class to an array of exquisite art objects and jewelry. Dumplings and sesame walnuts were served as a nibble, providing energy needed to bid high. By 6:15 pm, guests were seated and welcomed by our co-MC’s, Jamie Lima and Carol Dacey-Charles. Branch Leader David Goldberg read a proclamation from The Honorable Gail Brewer, Manhattan Borough President and a letter of recognition from The Honorable Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President, then acknowledged our special guests who included Northeast Regional Management Committee and Instruction Committee members Carol Anne Gallagher and Paul Rubin, both of whom led a regional intensive the day before. David also acknowledged Arthur Kluger, an active member who passed away late last year. Arthur’s widow Susan and son Dan joined us for the evening, as did Master Moy’s nephew Harry Lew, who was accompanied by his wife and children.

Preparation of the twelve course banquet was overseen by Tristate Branch Council member Mitchell Davis and a team of volunteers, who chopped and stir-fried and pleated dumplings and plated food all day and all night long. After dinner, performances included classical music solos and duets by Oren Fader & Miguel Zapico, Nancy McAlhany & Larry Fader and Richard Frank, along with dramatic readings by Marjorie Conn and Merel Julia. As people left, stopping to pay for and pick up their auction items, there was already talk about next year’s event for the Year of the Fire Rooster. Roast chicken, anyone?

Here is the event’s menu.


Menu 菜單

Hors d’Oeuvres 餐前小食

Cook and Sell Dumplings • Guǎngdōng Shāo Mai 廣東燒賣

Sesame Walnuts • Zhī Ma Hú Táo 芝麻胡桃

First Courses 頭盤

Spicy Cucumber Salad • Là Qīng Guā 辣青瓜

Pickled Vegetables • Sì Chuān Pào Cài 四川泡菜

Dan Dan Noodles • Niú Ròu Dàn Dàn Miàn 牛肉担担面

Pressed Tofu with Preserved Mustard and Fresh Soy Beans • Xiěcài Máodòu Bǎiyè 雪菜毛豆百叶

Roast Pork • Mì Zhī Chā Shāo 蜜汁叉燒


Sour and Hot Mushroom Soup • Suān Là Shān Zhēn Tāng 酸辣山珍湯

Main Courses 主菜

Braised Lamb Casserole • Hóng Shāo Yáng Ròu 紅燒羊肉

Vegetarian “Gong Bau Chicken” Mushrooms • Gōngbǎo Jīdīng (Sù) 宫保雞丁 (素)

Stir Fried Watercress • Qīng Chǎo Xī Yáng Cài 清炒西洋菜

Ants on a Tree • Mǎ Yǐ Shàng Shù 螞蟻上樹

Steamed Rice • Mǐ Fàn 米飯

Dessert 甜品

Yin Yang Cookies • Yuān Yāng Qū Qí Bǐng 鴛鴦曲奇餅

Orange Sections • Xiāng Chéng Bàn 香橙瓣

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