Thursday, April 2, 2009

About Restaurant Meals and Various Other Things

Before I go any further, let me announce that I have certain friends, one of whom is my daughter and the other of whom is so old a friend that she now counts as a sister, who are just too cute for words. Now I've got to keep the abortive "Asparagus and S" post (well, I hit the wrong button somehow and had to start over, but it ended up published anyway) because I love the dingbats.

I went out today and had one of my favorite meals. There is a joint on East 4th Street that I think has a name, although I haven't the remotest notion what it might be. The sign just says "BAR," which I feel is enough. I go there because it is next door to the La Mama theatre, where I did Three Sisters a couple of years back, which is when I discovered it has one of my favorite things to eat in the world, which is shrimp in a basket. (Hey, who eats escargot ALL the time?) It used to be that a whole lot of places did that - shrimp in a basket, chicken in a basket - but you can't find it in Manhattan anywhere these days, except at "BAR" (whatever its name is...this being the East Village, the name of the place might just be BAR, for all I know). There was one place on Macdougal just off 8th called the Shakespeare Pub which used to do it (and had the absolutely most wonderful tartar sauce I ever ate in my life), but they closed ages ago. So whenever I have a jones for fried shrimp and fries (and they really serve it in a basket!) I trot off to East 4th Street (positively). You may join me if you like next time I go.

This brings up the point I was going to make about restaurants. There are certain restaurants where I absolutely never order anything but one single menu item. Le Gamin (this year's birthday spot) is ALWAYS escargot and steak frites. Tout Va Bien is ALWAYS escargot and their magnificent filet mignon with the bordelaise sauce, unless they're doing sole amandine as a special. Cowgirl Hall of Fame is ALWAYS the pulled pork sandwich. I actually tried Cowgirl's chicken fried steak once and discovered something...I really HATE chicken fried steak.

There is a perfectly logical reason for this (well, logical to me, anyhow). I live in Manhattan. Within the five boroughs, I can find the food of something upwards of 75 countries - I think the NY Times actually counted up once. I can eat whatever the hell I choose. And with all of this sometimes overwhelming choice, I find it very comforting to know that there are certain places that will have exactly and precisely what I want to eat - particularly so given my odd eating problems.

Now if I go into a new restaurant, or a new one to me, I will most certainly poke around the menu and try a whole lot of new options. I flat out hate, hate, HATE people who go into a new place and go, "Well, I don't you think they could do me a plain steak (broiled fish, egg white omelet...)"? Why are you having a restaurant experience at all? Go the hell home and cook a plain steak. When Sarah and I went to Dovetail when our friend Shai was working there, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to eat skate for the first time...of which I am now a mad devotee. Boy, is that good.

But when I get an urge for something, it is quite lovely to know exactly where to find it cooked exactly the way I want it and tasting precisely the way it should.

Update on the mad moving Joshua out front: Last night my pal Caesar came over and the guys moved out that awful khaki colored couch that I never wanted in the first place and a horrible bookshelf that Joshua and the lesbians found on the street and dragged home, along with more boxes. This, of course...the mere notion that A. I was actually doing something about clearing out the house for sale, and B. he would actually have to perform physical labor...caused a whole new range of symptoms for today. Now we have terrible dizziness. And he has taken to walking in the shuffle of a 90-year-old man (this, by the by, combined with his baggy sweatpants in the morning, is truly unappetizing). Today he went out to lunch with a friend of us (the fact that he HAS friends never ceases to amaze me) and came back afterward and put on a show for me. I was fascinated. He came bursting through the door and then suddenly bent over double and started shoving the door and gasping and moaning and swearing and carrying on all over the place. I couldn't figure out WHAT the hell his problem was (but then I usually can't anyway). It turns out that the door had caught on something behind it, and he couldn't get it closed.

I'm sorry, but NOBODY behaves this way when a door is a little stuck. This, incidentally, followed his morning performance, when he was about to eat breakfast and couldn't find something in the icebox. Again, swearing and grunting and carrying on and throwing a box of pizza I had in there into the sink...good heavens, no wonder he's exhausted all the time. If I indulged in this sort of behavior when I couldn't find something in the icebox, I'd be tired too.

Ah,well...not too much longer. I've organized his day for him tomorrow...all around packing. Aren't I sweet?

Love, Wendy

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