Saturday, March 1, 2008

An Excerpt

A good blog should ideally be updated rather frequently. Some might say every day, others every week. However, then there are the lazy folk that decide that a mediocre post every month or so might get the job done. This rationalization is highly dependent, as I like to think, upon quality.

The posts should have some substance or maybe even a useful hint or two. Maybe the writer is knowledgeable, intelligent and slightly competent in his field of studies. Yet for the many bloggers out there that possess none of these qualities, it makes you wonder why such individuals still acquire attention.

Of course, I myself have no desire to research into this subject. Instead - as usual - I have set my priorities elsewhere, mainly in the consumption of food, ingestion of miscellaneous liquids (always all natural) and the continual, cyclical yet always (ok, sometimes) enjoyable purchase of said foods.

Lately, the eating hasn't been too swell. The winter days are cold, the money is low and the desire to cook hasn't been up there with the priorities of: One, drink beer, alcohol, wine and such. Two, spend as little time as possible out in the cold. And three, spend as little money as possible on groceries in order to garner enough money for priority number one. It may seem like a sad cycle, but it's what keeps the blood warm and the mind happy. Or as others would say, "lubricated."

Some meals of the past few weeks have been notable, others not so much. There's some good carrot cake that I enjoyed at Amy's Breads, Lamb Korma at Curry Mahal Indian and a tomato-less lamb gyro from a street vendor on Astor Place (he ran out, how gypped). Nothing too amazing and nothing too expensive. The food writing at WSN is now run rampant by novice female writers, on top of the rather amateur and peevish editor who precedes them. It's a good thing I ceased from writing for them anymore. I now feel like an old man who pokes fun, if not in a rather biased and cynical manner, towards those that follow in his footsteps. What a curmudgeon.

Zen Sushi on St. Marks wasn't too bad - but also wasn't too amazing. To coincide with the fresh sushi and fish theme, the patrons are appropriately packed in like a good bunch of fish. You might have to grab your own menus if the fisherman - who also serves as your waiter - doesn't come tend to your needs immediately. Yet the prices which are always 50 percent off, if you can get over such skeptical advertising, provide good value to the food. $6.50 pitchers of Kirin await you, as do sushi rolls that range from $3.50 to about $5.00. If you calculate that accordingly, that means you get full of sushi and catch a buzz all for a little under - or over, $10. Just be aware of the St. Marks throng of sightseers. And asians.

Other than that, nothing else is too exciting minus a day when I had three slices of pizza, from three different locations, for three different meals. Little to say, I felt like a deplorable bum who needs to find a better diet. If you're curious, Ray's pizza on St. Marks beat out Solo Pizza on Avenue B and Stromboli on 1st Avenue.

Dessert hunting has been rather unexciting, with Sugar Cafe on Allen St charging too much for a mushy chocolate mousse cake and Panya Bakery on E 9th St serving miniscule portions of their own chocolate mousse slice. The former coming to $4.34, the latter $4.25. Value down, satisfaction sub-par. If only the prices reflected such a nature.

However, a usual leader in the dessert pack remains Pinisi Bakery on E 4th Street, who continues to amaze and please with the always moist and always satiating $3.50 slice of Red Velvet cake. Tender, luscious and free from red-teeth staning ability, Andi Igusti truly has done us all a favor. Am I biased because I interviewed him once? Not at all. But he is a friendly guy.

In the end, the home cooking comes out the victor because for one, I am the cook behind the stove and thus have no one else to blame but myself for the falters and follies in the kitchen. But as is expected, the tally marks for such blunders are far and few. I mean, how many ways can you mess up a sandwich - or cereal for that matter.

Thus, I shall leave with this excerpt that shows respect for the usual housewife and all her duties:

"Women, they peel potatoes, carrots, turnips, pears, cabbages and oranges. Women know how to peel anything that can be peeled. It's not hard to do. You learn when you're very young, from mother to daughter: "Come and help peel some potatoes for dinner, dear."... Women peel potatoes every day, noon and night; carrots and leeks too. They do it without complaining to themselves or to their husbands. Potatoes, they're a woman's problem... Women's domain is that of the table, food and the potato. It's a basic vegetable, the least expensive; it's the one about which you say little but that you peel and prepare in a thousand ways. How am I going to serve the potatoes tonight? That's what you call a domestic problem.

Supply. How much importance should we give supply...? "You do everything so well, honey. I love your potatoes," says the man. "Will you make me French fries tomorrow?" And the woman makes fries. The stakes are high, higher than the discussion itself: not to make him unhappy so that he'll still want me, as much as he wants my fries. And the next day, she peels again, vegetable after vegetable; she chops and slices them into small, patient, meticulous, and identical pieces. She does this so that everything is good and also pretty, well presented. Something that is well presented makes you hungry. Then you'll want to feed yourself, to food off of me. "I'm hungry for you," says the man. "You're pretty enough to eat. I want to munch on you - one day," says the man. "I'm hungry for the food you give me."

Nicole, "Les pommes de terre," Les Temps moderne.

Astor Place Street Cart
Astor Place @ Lafayette

Curry Mahal Indian
78 2nd Avenue @ E 4th St

Zen Sushi
31 St Marks Pl @ 2nd Avenue

Solo Pizza
27 Avenue B @ E 3rd St

Stromboli Pizza
83 St Marks Pl @ 1st Avenue

World Famous Ray's Pizza
2 St Marks Pl @ 3rd Avenue

Amy's Bread
250 Bleecker St @ Leroy St

Pinisi Bakery
128 E 4th St @ 1st Avenue

Panya Bakery
10 Stuyvesant St @ 3rd Avenue

Sugar Cafe
200 Allen St @ Houston St

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