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Our Gastronomical Tour of New York: Part 2

I present Highlights of Our Gastronomical Tour of New York, Part Two:

Next door to H & H Bagels in the Upper West Side is Zabar's. Zabar's, a Jewish gourmet food store which started out as a little Jewish deli way back when, also had a line out the door. Once inside, all we could do was shuffle through the store amidst all the old ladies in fur coats. Like a way less yuppie, more Jewish version of Dean & DeLuca, there were acres of cheese, olives, rugelach, coffee beans, meats, baked salmon, lox and the best damn crusty rye bread I have ever had. Though many people might think "Oh, San Francisco! So open! So diverse!" that is hardly the case. Being in places like Zabar's and the Crown Supermarket in West Hartford, CT (where I could have shed a lone, happy tear when I saw that they sold things like chicken schmaltz to make chopped liver, chicken bones to make real chicken soup, and Hanukkah presents&#41 is so refreshing after being in homogeneous, sprout-happy SF where Jewish people often pretend that they're not, and the city's exactly two so-called Jewish delis put lettuce and tomato on the corned beef sandwiches.

Our last stop in the Upper West Side was a place called Barney Greengrass: The Sturgeon King. One of Avery's co-workers suggested that we stop in here if we wanted a great plate of eggs, lox and onions. The way he described the place, it sounded like a four-star restaurant…imagine our surprise when we walked into a modest fish shop connected to a small, crowded cash-only dining room complete with Formica tables and paper napkins. We had to share a table with another couple since it was so busy, but all in all, the food was great (I had an egg salad on Pumpernickel that was to die for, and Avery had the salty lox, onions and eggs&#41 and the atmosphere was very relaxing. The couple at our table looked like a grandfather having lunch with his grown-up granddaughter, and as they finished and talked about going for a walk outside on that windy, sunny New York afternoon, I really started to miss the East Coast. There's just something about it that feels so familiar to us.

Since we're on the topic of food, after eight years of marriage, Avery and I just bought our first real piece of kitchenware together. It's so shiny, this Williams-Sonoma pot, so big and shiny, with a steamer and pasta cooker/strainer built right in. After using flimsy $9.99 K-Mart pot-and-pan sets and hand-me-down RevereWare for all these years, it's a treat to use real cookware. It took going to three Williams-Sonomas in town to find it in stock, so for all our troubles we also got a Mexican lime squeezer. As we looked at all the gadgets, I pondered why I always feel the urge to buy things like, say, a honey dripper, when I never, ever eat any honey.

Posted in Smirks.

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