Friday, January 7, 2011

I Loosened By Borscht Belt, Indeed

Veselka Coffee Shop

Hello from snowy New York City!

My dearest friend and colleague and I abandoned the quaking, rain-drenched hills of San Francisco for the blustery cold of New York. I wish this trip were for nothing but culinary tourism but -alas- we are at a craptastic conference filled with a bunch of douchebags and bullshit. Such is life.

No matter, said friend and I are committed to one delicious Manhattan or Brooklyn meal a day. I scoured all my food books, magazines, special food editions of The New Yorker and watched multiple episodes of No Reservations all about New York and the Outer Burroughs. I also asked friends for suggestions. Categorized by neighborhood, I have a detailed list of over 30 places I'm dying to eat in ranging from the reigning queen of soul food in Harlem to giant knishes in the Lower East Side to Eric Ripert's house of mastery in midtown.

Friend and I also decided to eat only one meal a day. Not dining out once, just one meal period. Our low blood sugar and grumbling peko peko stomachs gave us a HIGH all day! For every meal we skip, we get a cigarette and more coffee! Only when we decided we've truly trounced hunger do we decide to feed our crazed bodies. Then we feast and experience the chemical shift of a brain receiving sorely-needed nutrients and fat. I don't recommend you do this, judgey reader, but it's working for us.

Day 1 Meal- Veselka
Accidentally, Friend and I ended up in Brooklyn rather than the Lower East Side. [MTA -1, Travelers - 0] Luckily, we didn't lose our fare and could hop the return train to nearby Chinatown and intuited, yes, fucking intuited our way toward the Lower East Side. Truth be told, we've both been here before but probably during a time when we were both fed and hydrated properly so believe me when I tell you this was a feat. Some people can't even send a text message when they're hungry.

We thought, 'What best to end our fast?' What else? Kielbasa, pierogis, challah and other light fare! Plus, lime rickeys!  I decided I'm almost 32 and could spare the extra $1 to have a bowl rather than a cup of matzoh ball soup and was also given a small green New York salad (read: sad and probably just a garnish) smothered in a dill slime sauce that I loved.  We split a grilled link of kielbasa (or, as my Pittsburgher father called it- kielbasie) slathered in spicy mustard which was divine and at this point my body responded to food substances and I realized I was in New York all of the sudden.

A recently lapsed lacto-ovo-vegetarian then pescetarian with terrible dairy problems, I opted for the Meat Plate Combo. To my delight, I was handed a plate filled with 2 potato pierogis, 2 meat pierogies and meat stuffed cabbage. By now, senses and faculties regained, I could really taste again. Delightful!


Also, why don't I live in the Lower East Side? Besides the cost blah blah. Why would a person live anywhere but New York? Dare I betray my beloved San Francisco?

I didn't take any of these photos, even the old-timey one. I never seem to have a camera but luckily none of my ideas are original and all are well-documented on the internet.

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