In which the Chef becomes an American citizen in age of Trump, we eat Cajun food and visit my enthusiastic 89-year-old mother in her nursing home. More than a "snack attack," a meditation on what it means to become a citizen for my husband, for me and for my old American mom (with some thoughts on gumbo and po' boys thrown into the stew!
When the Chef and I travel to the Upper Hudson Valley or the Berkshires, we try to stop at Millerton, a colorful half-in-the-past town in Duchess County. Along with two ancient menswear stores, and the magnificent Oblong Books there is a Harney’s Tea emporium complete with tasting room, gift shop and restaurant. We had just come down from Mt. Washington, Massachusetts, and we were famished.
I had the Chobani café in my sites as a snack destination as soon as I saw the small, clean, well-lighted place while getting my Target adrenalin rush. I loved the café wall papered with photos of “nazar boncugu”—the Turkish blue and white evil eye talismans meant to ward off bad luck—and the wooden tables lined with real limes, lemons and oranges. The vibe is sleek, healthy, corporate, but the offerings are anything but standard.
The Chef and I are heading to Jamaica, Vermont and Mt. Washington, Massachusetts. I'll resume snack reporting upon our return. Many snack journeys to come, because being a NYC snack aficionado means taking time to get OUT of the city and eating one's way up the thruway and at unlikely venues off meandering roads. We ate very well in Vermont last year, so this time I'll be snapping pics, Instagramming and reporting upon our return. Stay cool. Stay Snacking.
But as happens in New York City, there is always something new to take you out of your old aches and frets. In my case it is usually a snack. Crossing Clinton I saw Tramezzini NYC, a small space with summery white exposed brick walls, two counters and a blackboard outside advertising iced coffee and Venetian sandwiches. In fact, Tramezzini, stands for a particular kind of Venetian sandwich, made of soft olive oil bread—in this case, flown in from the Veneto.
You enter Orchard Express on the Lower East Side, as if opening the tent flap of a Moroccan souk. Men of indeterminate ethnic backgrounds are hunched over sewing machines or gossiping and laughing both in front of and behind the counter. No matter how many people are clogged into the narrow aisle of the shop, I know I will get my pants marked with a chalk slash and hemmed within a half hour ($5/hem).Which leaves me with time for…a snack! But where to go? Fortunately, Russ and Daughters Cafe is across and a little down from Orchard Express.
Bread doesn’t have to be perfect and from an artisanal bakery to make a perfect sandwich, but perfect bread can elevate plain ingredients—like radishes and butter—to the sublime. This is certainly the case with Orwashers raisin walnut pumpernickel bread. Founded on the Upper East Side in 1916, Orwashers bakery has a place in my own personal New York City history. I lived on E. 78th and 2nd Avenue in my first and only solo apartment, and Orwashers was one block away.
Junzi kitchen had its soft opening June 14th. Only four blocks north of the the hot pot venue, Junzi is world’s away in that it is a “concept” Chinese restaurant, translated for American palates; think a Chinese Sweetgreen or Digg In. The founders, Yale University graduates, opened their first “fast casual” Junzi kitchen, now hugely popular, in New Haven.