Below The Radar

December 29th, 2010 § 0 comments

HG gets back to New York tomorrow in time to say hello to the December blizzard.   Seems that Bloomberg (like John Lindsay) can solve human problems and financial conundrums but can’t get the snow off Queens and Brooklyn streets.   The more things change the more they stay the same. Musing about New York, HG has concluded that The Big Town serves so much food that there’s no way that Zagat, the Times, Time Out and the hundreds of bloggers can really sort it all out.   HG was thinking about three places he enjoyed some years ago.   All below the critical radar.  There was a Chinese/Cuban joint near the George Washington Bridge that caused HG to step on the brakes when going to or leaving Scenic Joisey.   Chinese ran many Havana restaurants and skipped out when Castro took over.  They brought a unique cuisine with them.  The meal HG enjoyed: Chinese butterflied fried shrimp, Cuban black beans and rice; Cuban avocado, orange and onion salad; Cuban coffee and Cuban/Spanish flan. Sensational. HG often had a hamburger at a coffee shop on Madison Avenue in the 80’s. Somehow the Greek proprietor had wangled a long term lease and was not affected by astronomically rising rents.  He would prepare a hamburger from freshly ground chuck, just fat enough to make the burger juicy.   It would go on a sizzling griddle. The exterior was charred. The interior was pink. This was a big, more than a half-pound burger. It got a topping of caramelized fried onions,  slipped into a buttered,  toasted bun and plated with a robust helping of crispy-edged home fries. HG never used ketchup on this super burger.  It would be sacrilege. At one point the Greek’s landlord paid him a million bucks to buy out his lease.  Joy for the Greek.  Sadness for HG. Then there was breakfast at a coffee shop in the East 40’s. Simple.  Three very, very softly scrambled eggs.  Two bialys (heated but not toasted).  Good cream cheese (not that Philadelphia brand junk). Strong coffee.  Simple.  But, every detail was perfect.  For HG the great food thing about New York is the fact that hundreds (maybe thousands) of unheralded neighborhood places daily serve dishes that are simple and good, prepared better than in any city HG has encountered..

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