Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Made in Woodstock

May 21, 2007

I like to wear a burgundy T-shirt that trumpets “Made in Brooklyn” across the front.  I especially like wearing it in Manhattan.  A long time ago I, too, was a Manhattan snob who rarely ventured to the other boroughs, but now I am a big fan of all the ethnic neighborhoods off the island.

My shirt is a paradox, like René Magritte’s iconic picture of a pipe that has the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (or “This is not a pipe”) written below it.  The shirt may have been made in Brooklyn but I certainly wasn’t.  I was made in Woodstock, NY.

I have a very complicated relationship with the famous hamlet that I’ve frequented or lived in since the time I was an embryo.  I like the physical beauty of the woods and rugged mountains.  I like the creativity and open-mindedness of its inhabitants.   But I scream inside at all the flakes.

I was sitting on a bench this evening outside Taco Juan’s, a purveyor of ice cream, sorbet, inexpensive tacos, and tofu chili.   A sketchy-looking woman walked by, and I remembered the time, a decade ago, when I was sitting on the very same bench and a woman who had two small children in tow stopped in front of me.  She gazed over my shoulder at the menu items listed on the chalkboard in the window. 

“That’s the problem with this town,” she said to her kids.  “The stores should be more careful with their signs or you’ll never learn how to spell.  It’s absurd they spelled quacamole with a g.  It’s not guacamole.  A Mexican restaurant, of all places, should know that it’s spelled with a q, like the word queen.  It should say, ‘Quacamole and Chips.'”  And words, for once, eluded me: I sat there in surreal silence.

Half Truth

May 16, 2007

Last night I was carded, for the first time in years, at the Half King, a tavern owned by scribes and filmmakers.  I was thrilled: maybe the Ponce de Leon rejuvenating herbs that I had purchased online from the Nigerian oil minister were finally taking effect.  I was enjoying the moment.  Alas it was only a moment.  My dining companion, who had also been carded, gave me a patronizing, don’t-flatter-yourself look and proclaimed that the Half King’s policy was to card everyone.  I said that it wasn’t.  But I had no idea—she might have been right.  I lost myself in the crab cakes, which thankfully were moist and crabby and not the dough pucks so often turned out by inferior kitchens. 

I was wondering who this Half King was, and the restaurant’s Web site helpfully provided half an answer: 

The eighteenth-century Seneca chief known as “The Half King” is a figure so obscure that no one knows his real name – it was most likely Tanaghrisson, or something close to it.  Tanaghrisson stepped into American history in 1748, when the Iroquois League designated him leader of the Senecas and
Delawares who had migrated to the upper Ohio valley. Ordinarily an Iroquois headman who acted as an official spokesman for the League was called a “King”, but because the Ohio Indians were hunters and warriors without permanent council fire, Tanaghrisson enjoyed only an abridged authority; hence his title, “Half King.” 
 

Click here to read more.

Food Outing I

May 14, 2007

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I love ethnic food and ethnic neighborhoods.  After helping my friend Damian (who snapped this picture) take publicity photos of his actress friend Shelly (on my right) in the sands at Brighton Beach, we headed back under the elevated train and ate cherry pelmeni and mushroom julienne at the Oceanview Cafe, a favorite restaurant of mine, albeit one that, despite its name, has no ocean view.