Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Cheap Eats Club

If you are what you eat, then tonight I was cheap and easy.  After candle-lit yoga with the weird moans, groans, and scents of strangers, I decided I needed dinner on the fly.  

2 Bros. Pizza is so good to me, and it is located just 535 feet from my my apartment.  The grand opening special seems to have stuck and slices come in at a whopping $1.  This place is perfect for a recession.  I usually meet one of my fellow runner pals at 2 Bros., but she was out of a table for one it was.  The pizza is everything you would expect for a buck: cheese, a slightly tangy sauce, and crust.  Nothing spectacular, but it sure beats the dollar menu at McDonalds.

I sat down tonight by myself and overhead two girls talking about their Thanksgiving break. One of the girls had called her aunt to wish her a happy birthday, and her aunt was "stoned or really messed up" when they talked.  Apparently, her aunt said, " how are you" in a rather loose voice.  In my opinion, I think her aunt probably didn't want to talk to her annoying younger niece that was intruding on my pizza experience.  Then, I realized that all the tables in the back were full where I was eating, so I gave my table up to a punk couple that seemed to be on a date after getting their shoes spray-painted on St. Marks.  She thanked me and felt bad for making me move, but I didn't really mind.  

My meal was over, and I will continue to eat on the cheap (well...maybe) until Wednesday when I have my dinner for one at Momofuku Ko!

The Perfect Rainy Sunday Meal

I got up at four a.m. to make my way back into the city of food.  As soon as I arrived in the city, I went uptown to help little buggers with ADHD paint ceramics.  After doing a physical restraint on my favorite hyperactive 7-year-old and listening to hours of what each kid ate for Thanksgiving (vomit), I found myself to be extremely hungry.  The rain outside had added to my exhaustion, so the only cure I could think of was 2nd Avenue Deli.  I love sitting at the counter here because there are usually a few other lone diners there on a similar mission.  One time when I was there, Parker Posey sat to enjoy her meal at this counter, and I was appalled when a tourist decided to gawk at her presence for 5 minutes immediately behind her.  Let the woman enjoy her pastrami in peace!  She too, is one of the lone diners that I can look up to, yet I presume that she is more self-actualized than me.
I never quite liked deli food as a child, but that was probably because I was scared of pickles and french fries that had ungodly fringe and this reddish-brown tint on the outer layers of their spuds.  2nd Avenue Deli always amazes me because they are fast, consistent, and friendly.  Anyone who says that a real NY deli has rude waitstaff has not been to the cream of the crop, 2nd Ave.  I only wish I had been to the original 2nd Avenue Deli when I was younger instead of drowning amongst a sea of tourists at the infamous Carnegie Deli.

I plopped myself into a seat at the counter, and I got my usual matzo ball soup and half a turkey meatloaf sandwich.  The matzo ball soup is perfect and not too salty with square noodles and carrots.  Here, simplicity is the key and it wins my heart.  The inside of the matzo ball gives off a yellowish glow that likens itself to the amount this matzo ball should be worth in gold.  As I slurp the soup, I eat two of my favorite complimentary dishes here: health salad and gribenes.  The health salad is comprised of green cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and onion lightly tossed in vinegar.  It is more inviting and healthier than your typical cole-slaw because it is mayo-free.  This way, you can really enjoy the texture of the vegetables and the vinegar makes them taste sweet and light.  The gribenes on the other hand may just be the best thing that 2nd Avenue Deli has to offer.  Gribenes are chicken skin that is deep fried and finished with caramelized onions from the chicken fat.  It's really a heart attack on a plate, but I pop those babies in my mouth as fast as I can.

At this point, I always think I have eaten too much.  My waitress today is young and genuine.  She gently tapped me on the shoulder to check on my meal, and this raised her tip to 30% in my delusional state.  She brings me my turkey meatloaf and it turns out I do have enough room even though the sandwich is still bigger than my mouth.  2nd Avenue Deli's turkey meatloaf is juicier and tastier than a turkey burger or normal beef meatloaf.  I know turkey gets a bad rap for being dry sometimes, but if done right with carrots or something to keep the meat moist inside, the tasty bird can be your best friend on more occasions than Thanksgiving alone.

As I was biting through my sandwich, a crying two-year old sat down with her mom at the counter next to me.  I was too into my meal to really notice and ignoring proved successful.  Kids are great, but I won't let them ruin my meal.  The meal was over with their signature chocolate soda, and I headed back downtown for a post lunch nap.

Eat in Peace

I do it before class or after a doctor’s appointment. I do it on a Saturday night, and I refuse to be ashamed by it. I have even done it after completing a 20-mile run and candle-lit yoga down the block from me. I eat alone. It’s not because I don’t have friends or because I am unpopular, it is due to my love and devotion of the beauty and charm that is found in a New York restaurant.

Some people meet at restaurants on a date or to catch up with an old friend. I want to make love to the food and catch up on me eating! Many believe that the guy or girl eating alone is lonely (my neurotic mother included,) but this is purely a myth. I think those who dine alone are the happiest eaters in the world. We don’t have to listen to someone shoot the shit, and we can eat or drink however we please without anyone knowing or remembering us besides those who work at the restaurant. By eating alone, I focus on what I want in my meal and it’s another hour or so in my day when I can decompress and rejuvenate.

I still don’t think I have introduced myself sufficiently. My name is Josh Korth. I live in the East Village and go to school at NYU. I am studying psychology, art history, and child and adolescent mental health studies when I am not eating my way through the city. I am originally from Rockville, Maryland outside of the nation’s capital. I am Jewish, gay, and single. I run marathons, and I just qualified for the Boston Marathon. I enjoy going to free yoga down the street from me on St. Marks Place. My favorite beverages are green tea and beer.

I will keep you informed of my eating excursions with and without companions. I will also update about past experiences as a foodie. I hope you enjoy, and I’ll take a table for one, please.