Thursday, 4 November 2010

New York (and no, I haven’t forgotten there’s a Barcelona Part 2).

Pastrami sandwiches, knuckle sandwiches*, cocktails, cupcakes; you name it - the BSG’s maiden sojourn in the Big Apple had it all. And man, did we chomp our way through the city. Forget the excess baggage; I’m certain my own bodyweight must’ve merited more fuel on the return flight.
After dropping through thick cloud onto the hitherto invisible JFK runway slick from torrential rain, I’d felt relieved to have packed my umbrella but the next morning the city made its entrance under a high blue sky and in dazzling sunlight, which stayed throughout our stay. New York had dressed for the occasion and the BSG had her best side. We spent the days wandering her ordered streets, the concrete seemingly unrolled over the island like a sheet, coating every yard of it save a few green breaks and countless steaming drain covers where the hot realm beneath stole its respite in long sighs. Our moments of recess generally took the form of refreshment; Katz’s Deli was a must and the first mark on our map. I must admit that it was a lot bigger than I’d imagined it, appropriately loud (and that was just the staff behind the counter) and brash; utterly at home in this city, then.
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I had pastrami on rye. I refuse to call it a sandwich because the hand versus cutlery debate didn’t even get a look in. Even the ‘regulars’ employed the metal, like overweight climbers with crampons, to climb this exquisite mountain of warm, spiced beef (and in my case, tomato, Swiss cheese and lettuce; strangely, adding extra, non-meaty ingredients made me feel more virtuous, albeit adding to the workload). Thank goodness we’d covered half the city on foot beforehand; the thing was huge, but my golly it was sublime – I don’t think I uttered an intelligible word over one syllable for the duration. The BSG had the brisket on rye, but no amount of tangy, yellow mustard-aise could make up for his obvious food envy – luckily I needed help. I took a photo, but the perfection didn’t translate and I’m not sure I can find the words either, but you gotta trust me. Iced tea was the perfect choice to wash it all down. Oh, and a plate of crunchy gherkins pickled to varying degrees. Yup, I ♥ NY.
A lunch at Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles seemed a great lunch spot and didn’t disappoint. My steak tartare, mixed ‘tableside’ was hot and salty and had my first invasion of anchovies in the dish; they were very welcome. The BSG, undeterred by a solid few days of grazing big ordered the choucroute but still couldn’t get over his phobia of that bright, tight-skinned orange US staple, the frank (not Joan Rivers). So no, there were no ‘streetside’ snacks for us, not even so much as a pretzel - no room - and I’m still not sure what a corn dog is.
* These were very much on order in the Rangers ice hockey game we saw one night - a game where fighting is positively encouraged and seen as a great skill. Still, preferable to a mouthful of puck I suppose…

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, must check out these places next time I'm in the big apple. Haven't been for years, you've filled me with a proper yearning...