Quick New York moment to share before I get into the slightly longer New York moment I have to share. I was on the subway this morning minding my own beeswax when the woman in a power suit and tight bun sitting across from me removed the lemon wedge from her cup of McDonald's tea and popped the whole thing in her mouth. She didn't wince, she just chewed and chewed, then swallowed. Then she spit a seed into the cup.
Now that I've grossed you out first thing on a Monday morning (you're welcome), I would like to inform the world that there is scaffolding outside my building that is both unattractive and I have no idea why it's still there. The fancy bra store has its new giant neon sign that glares into my neighbors' apartments with its glaring fancy bra. While workers were renovating the sign, this layer of its history was unearthed. My building used to house a Kosher dairy restaurant. Huh. How about that?
I totally belong in the Zabarhood, specifically in that building. Not that I keep it Kosh (ever), but I seriously, seriously love Jewish food of the high-end deli variety (see: this scene from Louie with Parker Posey, which basically made me weep with joy) and of the comfort food variety, both of which can be found at a Kosher dairy restaurant. Here's the menu from Steinberg's, courtesy of the New York Public Library's positively epic vintage menu catologuing program.
Quick Kosher recap: Kosher spots are either meat or dairy — they literally cannot be certified as both. Thankfully fish aren't considered meat, which is where the whole bagels and lox (fish and dairy in general) concept comes in. My Upper West Side neighborhood always has been and still is full of delightful old Jewish people who are very particular about their appetizing needs. Appetizing in this context means "from the smoked fish store," like whitefish salad, caviar, all manners of herring, deli salads, latkes, etc.
Having resided in the Zabarhood for some time, I too have developed quite the palate for this cuisine. I could absolutely wreck some lox right now, for instance. But now that I know my studio was converted from …some odd upstairs part of a restaurant that could only fit an exceptionally small bathroom, the spirits of those golden smoked sturgeon and visions of cucumber salad will gently lull me to sleep. Maybe those are the spirits responsible for waking me up at 3:30 in the morning to raid the fridge. Maybe it's time for a loxorcism.
And hey, now you know where I live (at least until August, but I'm going to try to stay in the hood because my priorities lie firmly with quality hand-sliced smoked fish), so please don't stalk me or my fictional beefy dude I keep around will pummel you.
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