Monday, August 28, 2006


Avoiding one's domicile forces one to eat out. A lot. Yesterday was quite the splurge day, increasing the size of my midsection in direct proportion to the thinning of my wallet.

It started with a brunch at Norma's, in the Parker Meridien. I treated my friend Matt because he is always treating me and also because he had never been there, which is a shande considering that he's as much of a food fag as I am. We had to wait an hour for our table, but it was completely worth it because Norma's brunch menu is outrageous in all the best ways. Nevermind the expense of "hotel" dining (coffee is $5, a side of bacon is $7), because there is a gourmet chef with a charming sense of humor in the kitchen. Matt ordered Duck Shepard's Pie, which was a new menu item, and I had Berry Brioche French Toast, which is an unusual choice for me (I generally prefer savory over sweet, but I've had a rough week.5 so I decided it would be okay to have dessert for breakfast).

Matt's dish was a reasonable portion and really yummy. Can't really go wrong with creamy mashed potatoes and luxuriously fatty duck meat. But my dish was out of control, both size and taste-wise. The kitchen basically sent out an entire loaf of ridiculously thick slices of brioche, like, unecessarily huge, drenched in a pool of warm berry compote. And they didn't skimp on the berries (straw, blue, rasp, and black)! I made a promise to myself before I dug in that I would not finish it, but I guess I am not that good at keeping promises because all of a sudden the obnoxious loaf was inside of me and my plate was practically clean. "Well," I thought, "there is no need to eat anything else today. I can't imagine ever being hungry again."

Guys, I am not smart. Especially when it comes to anticipating how I'm going to feel in the future based on current feelings. I am a TERRIBLE predictor of my own later behavior, even though I'm not a terribly spontaneous person. Why would I ever think that eating the equivalent of an enormous seven-layer-cake in the mid-afternoon would satiate me for the rest of the day? Is it because I'm in denial that my stomach is a hedonist? Yes.

Later that evening I met up with my college friends Nate and Luke. Luke lives in LA and I see him about once a year so I took it upon myself to make sure he ate well during his little NY visit. As we shmied around the West Village, we walked by Roll and Dough, a new bing stand off 6th Avenue and 3rd Street. Bings are flattened, sesame-encrusted Chinese "hot pockets," and are as delicious as a fresh Krispy Kreme donut. Bings are also incredibly cheap, so even though nobody in our party was especially hungry, I bought a spicy pork bing because it was only $1.75. And also because my stomach needs an intervention. All three of us shared it, biting into its chewy dough and making a mess on the street as its oily, fragrant meat juice burst out.

A brief sojourn for some happy-hour pitchers got us thinking about dinner, and Luke wanted Malyasian. "To Nonya!" I declared. I don't often make such dorky declarations, but when I do they are truly humiliating. The boys let me order for them, which was great, because I love being in charge at a restaurant with which I'm familiar. We got a spicy curry noodle soup, some Roti Canai (that awesome flatbread bread with the curry dip), a "room temperature" chicken with salty-spicy sauce, and, 'cause Luke was pushing for it, Mee Grob, a spicy noodle stir-fry. Aces all around. The boys were psyched. Luke ate like a bird and Nate and I cleaned up. Even though, at that point, it was completely unecessary for me to consume anything more that day. "Why don't you eat more?" I said to Luke, because I knew he liked the taste of the food. "I want rice pudding after, and I'm saving room," he said. It made sense. On our way to Nonya we had passed Rice To Riches, and Luke got excited. Like, REALLY excited. I'll say no more about that.

So: we went to Rice to Riches. At this point I was stuffed to the gills -- I mean, my body was still negotiating its cake-breakfast, but Nate wanted to share, and I didn't want to NOT share because that would be selfish. So we split a marscapone/cherry flavored rice pudding. Luke got chocolate chip. I ate a lot of his, because it was delicious and seriously: Luke eats REALLY slowly and I hate to watch good food oxidize. At this point I got the sleepy feeling that comes from eating too much and also sleeping fitfully on one's brother's couch to avoid having one's blood sucked, so we said our goodnights.


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