Saturday, January 21, 2006


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:



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.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Have you ever had a booty-call IGNORE your advances?! Totally harsh, right? Well, it happened to me for the first time yesterday, and in the spirit of having my late-night plans botched I had to look for a replacement activity. Luckily, an acquaintance of mine was celebrating his birthday down at The Back Room on the Lower East Side. I'm glad I went, because the bar, on Norfolk and Delancey, was EXCELLENT, with the exact kind of trappings and trimmings I go for. Wood burning fireplace? Check. Mixed drinks served in tea cups? Check. Bouncer carding me very intensely because he just can't believe I'm over 21? Oh yes...Oh thank you bouncer...Check.

I had the house drink: a Cherry Bourbon Manhattan, which disappointed me. It was basically a regular, slightly bitter Manhattan with a single cherry in it. ONE cherry?! THAT IS NOT GENEROUS! I am a GIRL and if something promises the taste of cherries it better have FIVE cherries in it or closely resemble a Shirley Temple. This did not. But there's something about putting alcohol in a coffee cup that confuses the mind -- I drank my cup of disappointment as quickly as I would a mug of Chock Full O' Nuts, and it was at this point that I became INCREDIBLY HUNGRY.

I think I spent a good hour convincing my party to leave and get some food. NO ONE wanted to go! That's when I knew I was surrounded by a bunch of dingbats: when not a single soul wanted to give up his precious drinking for a trip to Chowtown USA.

So I took matters into my own hands. I left. And I knew EXACTLY where to go at 1:30am for my meal: PUNJABI!!

Punjabi is a 24-7 Pakistani counter on Houston between 1st and 2nd, and it caters primarily to cab drivers who need a quick, cheap meal in between shifts. It also caters to ME, because there's no place I'd rather go spend $2 late at night than at my beloved Punjabi. I've seen drunk hipsters there, but last night I was surrounded by Pakistani cab drivers. It was great. For $2, you can choose from about 6 different vegan entrees over rice. I'll admit the microwaved styrofoam presentation isn't much to look at, but $2 isn't much to spend. I always get a combination: something spicy and wet, and something mild and chunky. Last night I had spicy lentils and a potato cauliflower curry combo, and it was perfect. Punjabi also has samosas and cucumber and yogurt salads, but I've never needed more than my $2 bowl. If you're feeling adventurous (and I was, once), try the Thums Up, their version of Coke. It is totally harsh but, unlike some disappointments, in a really great way.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Most people -- besides teetotalers and children -- have an edible remedy to cure the painful effects of too much drinking the night before. An old roommate of mine swore by bacon-egg-and-cheese on a cheap roll and Gatorade. Another friend drinks Ensure, that adult formula. And for me, nothing less than a full-on brunch at Prune will do. I'm a believer in "the hair of the dog that bit you," and Prune's got the best Bloody Marys that I've ever tasted, and -- get this! -- they serve theirs with a shot of Red Stripe beer on the side! Okay, so maybe that's more than a single "hair" -- but it goddamn works.

In any case, alcohol-induced hangovers are common, as are people's personal remedies for them.

But what about a LOVE HANGOVER?

Aren't there nights where you've had a little too much of, you know...The Sex?
And you wake up RAVENOUS?
And you have a black eye and you don't know where you are?

In these (fairly rare) occurrences, I find the best remedy is a GIANT VEGGIE BREAKFAST BURRITO, made fresh and costing no more than $3, from Puebla, on 1st Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Street. It's a tiny mom-n-pop (or bro-n-sis) place that DOESN'T HAVE A REAL OVEN OR STOVETOP. Everything that's prepared here is made either by hot-press or microwave. Now I know that sounds terrible, but hear me out: Puebla is AWESOME! I don't know how the two people who work there manage to prepare consistently hot and tasty Mexican food with the tools I have in my own kitchen, and honestly, I don't want to. All I care about is getting that $3 tortilla -- filled with fresh spinach, eggs, black beans, cheese, onions, green peppers, and hot sauce -- jammed into my pie-hole.

You can get these breakfast burritos with chorizo or ham, but for my post-coital purposes, I prefer to go all-veggie. After a night of the Making of the Love, I've pretty much had all the meat I can take.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


I love going to B&H Dairy, on 2nd Avenue right off St. Mark's Place, for my Sunday meal. It's my local, old-fashioned luncheonette, and even though I basically love ANY old-fashioned luncheonette, this one is my favorite 'cause it's cheap, friendly, and I can always get a seat at the counter. I love sitting at counters! That's the kind of personal detail that demonstrates how fascinating I am!

Like the name implies, B&H Dairy is strictly dairy, so you won't be able to get a burger or turkey club here, but no matter, because you will be able to get peirogis, blintzes, tuna-melts, smoked fish sandwiches, potato pancakes, omelettes, and the kind of hearty homemade soup and challah bread that often trumps meat-based dishes.

There are about six different soups at any given time: usually mushroom barley, lentil, matzoh ball, cabbage, hot borscht, and vegetable. I'm a fan of the latter two; bright magenta and filled with big potato chunks and just the right amount of dill, the borscht is best consumed after a funeral, as you won't want to be wearing anything other than basic black. Today I had the vegetable soup, which could actually qualify as stew: it was so thick I hardly had any broth to soak up with my challah, so I made a mash of the potatoes, green beans, carrots, and cabbage and just smeared it on my bread. This resulted in something highly delicious.

Now about this challah bread: it's awesome!

Super-thick, super-fresh, perfectly crusty on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, B&H serves their challah free with most dishes, and they don't scimp on the portions, either -- you get four thick slices, and nobody flinches whenever I ask for more, and I always ask for more. Because it's SO GOOD! I get mine buttered, even though the generosity of their buttering borders on the obscene; I mean, NOBODY needs to consume that much butter. But when the butter melts from the heat of the soup into the sweetness of the challah, which becomes soft from the veggie liquid -- that is my definition of synergy.
I love their challah so much that I dip it into my coffee: another fascinating personal detail!

Honestly, I'm pretty sure that there isn't a liquid on Earth that wouldn't taste good after a proper sponging from B&H's challah. Maple syrup? Turkey gravy? Soy sauce? Congee? Mulligatawny soup? Gasoline? I think I'm right about this. If you can prove me wrong I will simultaneously admire you and wonder why you have to be so competitive.

B&H, 2nd Avenue, just south of St. Mark's Place, in the East Village. If you go, sit at the counter, and prepare to be social with the'll enjoy yourself more if you are.