Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pain (Xi'an Famous Foods)

Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles

Coach Boone: What is pain?

The above, of course, is from the movie Remember the Titans, which is one of my favorite movies. To the five people out there who actually read my blog, forgive me for my lack of content over the past couple of weeks. I've had a lot going on these past couple of weeks, and right now, I'm gouging my eyes out studying for a monstrous 132-question neurology exam on Monday. I found it amusing that some of the lecture topics -- most notably, sleep disorders and pain -- are particularly salient in the lives of medical students.

It's common knowledge that medical school is supposed to be hard, and that it's supposed to be draining. No surprise there. Well, nothing I knew or thought I knew about the difficulty of medical school beforehand could have prepared me for the sheer grind of it all. Learning the material itself isn't necessarily what is so challenging and draining; taken separately, each unit has been, for the most part, doable. What makes medical school so hard is that this shit keeps coming wave after wave, with no chance to ever really catch your breath. Frankly, it's exhausting -- physically, mentally, and emotionally. I know that we'll get worked to death in our clerkships, but I'm really looking forward to not having to listen to more lectures about cellular mechanisms I don't give two hoots about.

Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger

Anyway, since this is a food blog, let's talk about food. Xi'an Famous Foods started out in the Flushing Mall, but it became such a huge success that it expanded into Manhattan. I've been meaning to try it out for ages, and I finally made my way over there during lunchtime recently. I opted for an order of the Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles and the Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger. The noodles, pleasantly bouncy in texture and not soggy in the slightest, were dressed with some chili oil and other "proprietary sauces." There was enough spice to cause a tingling sensation, but it wasn't to the point where I was in pain, which, in case you were interested (you probably weren't), is picked up by the Trigeminal Nerve (CN V). So while your taste receptors are innervated by cranial nerves VII, IX, and X, the sensation you get from chemical irritants such as those found in spicy foods and minty foods are picked up by CN V. Cool, huh? Maybe not, but at least you can take this tidbit to impress a girl on your next date.

The Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger -- it's more like a sandwich than a burger -- reminded me of a Jamaican beef patty. A really good Jamaican beef patty. As the name indicates, you should be prepared for a hefty hit of cumin, as the lamb meat is seasoned heavily with the spice. For $3, it's a good value.

I don't know if this post has any semblance of a theme. In fact, it probably is pretty disjointed since I'm writing this after a day where I spent 10 or 12 hours studying, so forgive me if you have no idea what I was trying to convey with these words because I'm not quite sure, either. I guess if you want a take-home message, it's that Xi'an Famous Foods is pretty good, and you should give it a shot. Oh, and medical school is painful. Don't do it.

Xi'an Famous Foods
81 St. Marks Place
New York, NY 10003

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