Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I was addicted to comic strips and comic books as a child, but my tastes were poor. Like, really, really poor. I was a Garfield Girl, and I also had a serious collection of Archie comic books that rivaled, and continues to rival, anyone I knew or currently know.

One of the reasons I so enjoyed Garfield and Archie, I think, is because a lot of their subject matter concerned food. Garfield, you'll remember, was obsessed with lasagna. I could relate to that, in spite of my deeply-evolved and completely justifiable hatred for cats. And in Archie, Jughead was always looking for a good meal, and he and Archie, Reggie, Betty, Veronica, and sometimes even ugly Ethel would gather at Pop Tate's Chocolate Shoppe and sip milkshakes and eat hamburgers. I envied them.

I desperately wanted a Pop Tate's Chocolate Shoppe of my own, and I was intrigued by the spelling of "shoppe" because it connoted the shops of the past. A past I had missed by being born too late in the century. I was, I'll admit, a rather nostalgic child, but my nostalgia was not limited to my own experiences. I was nostalgic (and I continue to be) for that which I hadn't experienced. Old soul, you know? So when I read about Pop Tate's Chocolate Shoppe, I yearned to sip a milkshake and eat a hamburger at a Chocolate Shoppe of my own.

Now that I'm a grown-up and nostalgic for my past as well as other people's, I try to frequent as many Olde Timey Food Purveyors as I can. I like the atmosphere. I like the food. And so when my friend Becca invited me to join her for lunch at Cafe Edison today, next to the Edison Hotel on 47th Street, I jumped at the chance. "You'll love it," she said, "it's right up your alley." Well, she didn't say "up your alley" exactly, but she easily could have. And she was right: I DID love it. It had all the trappings of Olde Timey-ness that I really go for: the walls were pale pink, the ceiling blue and vaulted, complete with original moldings and relief paintings and brass lighting fixtures. There were booths and a counter and wooden tables and chairs, and the menu advertised the food of The Aged: borscht, cheese and cherry blintzes, chopped liver, individual tuna salad platters, matzoh ball soup, and, I'm not kidding, stewed prunes. There were liverwurst sandwiches and hot pastrami sandwiches and tuna melts and beef tongue triple deckers and kasha varnishkas and salami and eggs and cherry lemon rickeys and...well, I fell in love with the place. Bad, slow service notwithstanding.

Becca got the cheese blintzes and matzoh ball soup, and I got tuna salad on rye and cabbage soup. Both soups were excellent. Blintzes: perfect. My sandwich? SHOCKINGLY dry. Normally I find tuna salad too wet; most places get a little crazy with the mayo, but at Cafe Edison they were really playing to their demo (those with artheriosclerosis, maybe?) 'cause my tuna salad had little to no mayonnaise in it. Eh, who am I to complain? Becca's mom joined us and finished the other half of my sandwich and then treated me to lunch even though Becca had already offered. I suppose the tree doesn't grow far from where the apple falls. And, I suppose, I have come one Cafe closer to having a Shoppe of my own.


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