So I made my way there, the very next night after having seen the show, and I entered the place full of gastronomic anticipation. I expected my senses to be overwhelmed by the sight of the delicacies, the aromas of the many cheeses and meats, and hopefully by the flavors after a taste of this and a taste of that. What I had not been expecting, but will admit I had given a passing thought to, was the other customers who would be shopping therein. So when I walked in the door, and almost had to push my way inside because of the crowd, I was - to say the least - disappointed. I grabbed a number from the glossy red dispenser on the wall just inside the entrance, and they immediately called a number. Heck it was about 20 ahead of mine! I decided to take my number and take a walk.
I walked toward Canal Street on Mott, or maybe it was Elizabeth, but it was southbound. There were a lot of Chinese markets mixed in with the occasional Italian business. Over the years Chinatown has expanded northward to include much of what was once hardcore Little Italy. What a blend - east truly meets west - and when you think of Marco Polo - what could be more appropriate! Yet there have been some hard to blend issues among the Italian Immigrants and Chinese Immigrants, they don't always blend so well; yet I think they get along pretty well all things considered especially because they all they wanted to do was to become Americans. Two groups of immigrants that came to the USA with the same goals -seeking to better themselves and both groups offering their unique cuisines to the rest of New York. I was about to take advantage of one of them, but not the one I had expected.
As I walked along checking out the Chinese vegetable, meat and fish markets, my eye was caught by some movement. There in a bucket inside a fish market was a drum full of frogs. Nice, big, fat, frogs, with pretty good sized rear legs. My mouth watered, I had not eaten frogs' legs in probably 20 years or more. I thought about it for a moment. It would mean buying at least a few live frogs, transporting them home in my car, then keeping them alive until I decided to cook em. Of course this also would mean that if my wife saw em I might be outside in the cold really quickly - she has had enough of my pets, or at least thinks I have enough of them. Heck, there was only one or two other customers in the store, and Di Paolos' probably still had a good 12 to 15 people ahead of me since I had only been out of there for about 5 or 10 minutes at most. It was an easy decision, I bought three frogs, then I headed back to Di Paolos'. I turned out they had only gotten past two or three numbers, I walked back out and headed home.
Now three frogs is not enough to feed even one person on frogs legs even if they are big ones. I had thought I would be buying a few other things at Di Palos' but it just did not happen. So I headed home and figured at least Brendan and I could get a taste as an appetizer to something else. I guess that was Tuesday night. On Wednesday I decided to head back to the same area. I did not even give Di Paolos' a thought, it would be there when I again get a hankerin for Italian fixins; this time I headed right toward some Chinese fish markets on Canal Street this time coming from the other side of Chinatown. Nope, I was not going to the same one where I had bought the first three frogs, they had ripped me off, or tried. I had thought the frogs seemed lighter than that for which I had been charged, and I went back and asked them to reweigh them. They did and refunded me a couple of bucks. So on Wednesday night, I headed for place that I sometimes shop in for fish. No luck finding any frogs there; but I got some nice shrimp - 2 pounds of it. I made to yet another place. They had plenty of frogs and I got another three of them. Then I spied a container of sea scallops in another store and I got a pound and a half of them too. I also picked up some hot pepper sauce with crushed hot pepper in it. That was not for the dish I had in mind though. For the frogs, shrimp and scallops I figured to do something along the lines of sauteed
I got the three new frogs home, and put them into the tank with the three I had already purchased. They did splendidly together. As the night wore on, at least one of them started to croak and sing his froggy song to the ladies in the tank. Lord knows what else happened. Little did they know this was to be their last such encounter, but such is the life of a Bullfrog - which by the way is the type of frog that they were. They grow fairly fast from tadpole to adult maturing in a year or two, they have a furious ferw seasons of mating if they have any luck at all and are not eaten by something else first. They can live up to about 8 years in the wild; in captivity, when kept as pets, they have been known to live much longer. Bullfrogs were native to the eastern and central United States but their range has spread markedly across many parts of the USA and sometimes across the oceans to foreign lands. They did not increase their range by themselves, they had lots of help in the form of people who liked to eat frogs' legs. They are the largest native North American frog, and tey eat a lot to gain the size they can attain. As nature would have it, it is often the destiny of the Bullfrog to eat other smaller creatures, only itself to wind up being eaten by other larger creatures. In this case these were destined to be eaten by other creatures - me, Brendan, and maybe even Linda and Celina.