This final NYC Foodellaneous entry comes from the comfort of my couch, surrounded by the chatter of Doc McStuffins and The Kid.
We were gone for four days, which must have felt like eternity in her little head. She spent the past two days in relatives pool while in the care of The In-Laws. Last night after dinner, The Wife and I were enjoying milkshakes in Madison Square Park (Shake Shack: I went with a black and white; she had caramel) when she turned to me and said that she was ready to go home because she missed The Kid.
The capper on the food weekend in NYC was not our Sunday evening trip to Bobby Flay’s Gato or Shake Shack. It was lunch with The Sister at Katz’s Delicatessen, because why not eat a pound of pastrami before taking a five-hour drive?
Actually, it was more than that. There were pickles, sour and half-sour. There was matzo ball soup that came with The Wife’s half corned beef sandwich. There was the glory known as Dr. Brown’s.
There was the pain-in-the-ass ticket system, where staff write down your total on a carnival ticket that you present before leaving so they know how much to charge. You get the ticket whether you sit at a table or fetch your own. Lose the ticket and you’re on the hook for $50. The security guard at the door is the insurance policy for that program.
Oh, and forget about that credit card. It’s straight cash homey.
Katz’s is quintessential New York on rye bread and, for a minute, I wished that I had a Jewish mother that would make me corned beef, pastrami, brisket and matzo ball soup. Instead, I had an Italian mother who loaded me down with meatballs, marinara and Boston Cream pie. The bond that united them was the endless stream of guilt. I digress.
Yes, it’s kitschy and cliched. Yes, there is a sign over the table where Meg Ryan faked an orgasm during her iconic When Harry Met Sally scene.
But I dare you to eat the pastrami and not walk away smiling.
Katz’s came after a trip to New Beer Distributors on Chrystie Street near Delancey. Since it’s now tradition that I return home with beer from each city I visit, this was a necessity. I mean, I can’t put a hex on the trip.
In addition to a case of Abita Root Beer, I was able to procure a few other goodies to tide me through the summer. This is no palace of beer, friends. It’s a garage with racks of domestic and imported beers and sodas on the Lower East Side. You don’t buy anything with dust or from a previous season because there is no air conditioning and only a single garage heater to keep the space warm. It has the potential to be a stockpile of skunky beer, particularly after the first legitimately hot day during March or April.
New Beer is, however, the largest bottle shop in Manhattan, though don’t ask the staff if they carry a particular brand. After reading that they may have Bayou Teche LA-31 beer in stock, I asked where it would be located. The woman behind the bulletproof glass shook her head and said they didn’t have it.
I asked about Terrapin Beer Company. She said no.
Both were on the rack directly across from her. Next to one another.