Saturday, January 21, 2006

TOO MUCH STEAK

I'm a self-diagnosed hypoglycemic. So what if the blood tests say there's nothing wrong with me? I know the truth. If I'm at all hungry, I feel dizzy, anxious, and 100% bitchy. I cannot focus on anything other than getting food into my stomach. And once sated, like a heroin addict getting her fix, I am relaxed, dreamy, and incapable of falling down.

So yesterday my first meal of the day was at 5pm: it consisted of a simple tuna maki roll and a cup of Dunkin Donuts' coffee. I was pretty much starving afterwards, but had made dinner plans with a former co-worker for much later in the evening. Being the disciplined lady that I am, I held off on grabbing a slice of pizza or a Papaya dog, even though I really really wanted both.

Cut to 10pm, in a shitty Chelsea bar that will remain nameless. I'm surrounded by former co-workers and am very slowly nursing a $4 well bourbon and Coke that's so terrible I'm forced to CHEW GUM AS I DRINK IT to alleviate the horrible taste it's leaving in my mouth. Here's a breakdown of what's happening:

Orbit gum + Early Times = Penisbreath.

And I am not happy. I am starving.

At this point I'm finding it impossible to be pleasant to people I genuinely like. All I can focus on is getting some food in my belly, and I've decided that the only food that will satisfy is a steak.

I harass my friend into leaving and demand that we go to Florent, in the Meatpacking district, so that I can get a good steak for a reasonable price. Here is where you, dear reader, come to understand me as a high-maintenance bossy-pants. But it's only because of my hypoglycemia, okay? On a full tank, I'm an absolute delight!

Florent is packed, but the gods are on my side because we sit immediately. I'm still jonesing for a steak, but start to worry that maybe a HANGAR STEAK, FRIES, and DAILY VEGETABLE won't be enough food for me. I mean, I'M REALLY HUNGRY. So I suggest we share an appetizer, and I suggest that the appetizer be composed of 99% animal fat: the pate sampler. Duck Mousse pate, Pate de Campagne (a country pork pate), and, in what is a regrettable kindness to my friend, GOAT CHEESE. Don't get me wrong: I love goat cheese, but it has no business being on a pate sampler. It's just not...pate. It's cheese.

Anyway, our appetizer arrives quickly with freshly-baked bread, and I show no restraint in eating it. I basically turn into the Tazmanian Devil. My friend gives me a look but I do not slow down, and when the dust settles I've eaten about three loaves of bread and a lot of animal liver/fat. I'm even reworking some olive pits, hoping for any sign of olive residue, and I've begun to dip the lettuce garnish into pile of mustard on my plate and eat that, too. Once again, if I weren't so hungry, I would be a delight.

And here's where I should have quit while I was ahead, because my HANGAR STEAK, FRIES, and DAILY VEGETABLE (GREEN BEANS) arrives, and though ordered medium, the steak is quite rare. But I don't send it back, because I'm still just too hungry to wait for them to cook it. And my hunger becomes my downfall: the steak is overly fatty, stringy, tough, and not at all good. But it's hot, which fools me into thinking it's palatable, and so I EAT THE ENTIRE THING. I eat ALL of my fries, which are perfectly crisp, and I eat ALL of my green beans, which are doused in garlic butter. And I IMMEDIATELY begin to feel nauseated. Suddenly all that fat in my once-empty stomach is doing a good job of turning it, and I begin to genuinely wonder if I'm going to vomit into my plate in the middle of a bustling Florent. Is there any way to be discreet about it? Should I just chuck into my napkin? I'm scared to stand up and make for the restrooms; Florent is tight seating, and on my way I might just unload a torrent on someone else's table. I've yet to actually go into panic mode, but if this nausea doesn't quit I will.

Then I get an idea, and order what, for me, is the ultimate panacea:

COFFEE!

Right?!

It's not like the little bit of cream that I'm pouring in is going to bother the olives or mustard or cornichons (my favorite tart little pickles) that I housed just minutes before...

And it IS my cure. The coffee is gorgeous -- very fresh, very hot, and so aromatic that it tastes like cinnamon chicory perfume. It's perfect. I have three refills, and the pukey feeling goes away. Success!

But am I delight after all this? No -- I am exhausted. I make my way home, and sleep coma-style. When I wake up, I am STARVING. AGAIN!

Florent, 69 Gansevoort Street, btwn Greenwich and Washington. Open 24 hours, and always busy. Do as I didn't, and show some restraint in your ordering. But definitely get some coffee.

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