So as you may recall, I had a goal of running 100 miles in May. A modest goal, no doubt, but for one so ample of belly and short of restraint, it would prove difficult. And so it was – as the LA/Vegas/AC trips cost me 10 days of running. I still had 20 miles to go after running a 6 miler Wednesday. How best to apportion those remaining miles when you are sore as hell with four days to go?
Four 5 milers seemed logical, but I sensed that I needed a day off in there, as I am lazy and needed some drinks too. Two 7 milers and a 6? Nah – I went straight Hoover High/Slim Shady on the motherfucker. Two a day Thursday. 8 mile. Central Park outer on Saturday (with no shirt, giving something back to the bear lovers out there) and a little 6 miler on the t-mill sunday. Done. Now I’m shooting for another 50 before the next trip to The Cove on the 12th. We’ll see, it’s possible I’ll need full shin/calf transplants soon (getting old blows).
So after the second 4 mile run on Thursday, I decided to reward myself with a little bit of wine and some homemade tacos. Settled in to watch The Cougar and So You Think You Can Dance. I know that night sounds pretty wild, but honestly that’s kind of the norm around here. Unemployed life is basically Plato’s Retreat reincarnate – such hedonism will likely result in the fall of society as we know it. The wine was delightful and was paired well with two Coronas and two enormous Dark and Stormies. Ultimately, it was one of those nights when you have this conversation:
Me: “I cannot believe it’s 4:00 AM already, I’m not even tired.”
SO: “Yeah, let’s watch Harold & Kumar 2.”
So why am I telling you all this boring shit? Basically to establish my excuse for not posting on Friday – it’s pretty difficult to post when you wake up at 2:30 PM. But I did have a pretty sweet day after finally waking up, and it’s the kind of purely NYC day that you can’t experience anywhere else.
A Friday Afternoon in the Life
2:30 PM: Where to eat? SO suggested the quaint little French place down the street which serves a pretty strong croque monsieur. Not a bad idea, but I had a better one. That’s modest – my idea was essentially a quantum leap forward on the gastonomical spectrum. NYC has some specific strengths as far as food goes: a wide diversity of offerings, plently of expensive highbrow fare that actually tastes like shit and the occasional hidden delight that gets overexposed and eventually turns shitty. Cheap, quick food – almost “fast” – is not found in abundance, with the exception of Subway. (I believe they just opened a Subway in our bathroom) Anyway, on this fateful Friday afternoon, I recovered a repressed memory at the optimal time (and it didn’t even involve getting beaten with a hanger!).
I recalled seeing a Taco Bell in Union Square. Now, if you are reading this in Bumfuck, Egypt or wherever, that may not sound like a big deal. But in NYC, traditional fast food spots are on the major wane – THERE IS NO ARBY’S IN NYC NOW! Plus, I had stopped into this place (full disclosure: T-Bell/Pizza Hut) when I initially saw it to verify that it was suitable for food consumption. It was clean, well-lit, had an operating restroom, and only 2-3 homeless people appeared to be squatting there. Usually I’m not a fan of these “combo” stores – the T-Bell/Dunkin Donuts on 8th and 30th is a less appetizing place to eat than a turkey processing plant – but this place was legit.
And, as you may be aware if you have a television or are otherwise subjected to advertisements, Taco Bell has a new menu item out: the Volcano Double Beef Burrito. I am morally and contractually obligated to try any new T-Bell item and this thing looked pretty fucking delicious. Apparently the lava sauce is much hotter than even their Fire sauce (800 Scoville units vs. 500 for Fire) which I find to be decently warm. Plus – tortilla strips inside the burrito! Fuck yeah! I am a big proponent of chips inside burritos, even though this controversial stance has cost me some good standing within the U.S. Burrito Commission.
So how was it? Well, let me say that the pic below came from grubgrade.com (thanks!) – mine definitely didn’t look like this. Mine looked a lot like a folded up tortilla – literally halfway through I was still all dough. Was okay once I got to the heart of the matter, but it was no Cheesy Beefy Melt (that thing was uber-delicious but made you feel 1-2 minutes from a myocardial infarction). I was pretty disappointed, honestly. Will I try it again? Maybe, we’ll see. The T-Bell was decent though; maybe the Pizza Hut classes it up a bit. Oh yeah – Pizza Hut, how about bringing back the pork topping??? That shit was awesome – thin crust, pork+mushroom was the bomb.
3:30 PM: What now? I strongly considered a nap, but we decided to carpe diem the motherfucker. “Let’s go to Trader Joe’s” she said. Unsuspecting, I agreed. Now, I’ve been to Trader Joe’s once before, in LA, and it was a madhouse, but I attributed that largely to the insanely high concentration of granola hippies in California. In NYC, once the newness wears off, the crowds typically swarm to another hipper, more expensive destination in an effort to attain the holy grail of apparent exclusivity. Since the NYC Trader Joes had been open for about three years, I wasn’t really sweating it.
Um, I was fucking wrong. The technical term for it was gagglefuck. The line permeated through the entire store, to the point where two employees had to walk around with signs on poles showing where the current end of the line was. The line seriously wove through the entire store, up/down every aisle. I find the food offerings at TJ’s to be pretty weak, it looked like a bunch of shit you don’t really need (save produce, but I don’t really need that myself) that they wear you down with as you wait in the interminable line. Since I was all good on the “gorgonzola, organic chicken and pear frozen omelette” front, we decided to get the fuck out of there.
Props to Trader Joe’s though, for pure marketing brilliance. They have convinced the masses that they have the highest quality, most environmentally-conscious products at the absolute cheapest prices available on the planet. You’re doing a great thing by shopping there – getting healthier, reducing dolphin asphyxiation and keeping a few sheckels in your bank account to boot! Unreal. Good thing you guys are reading this website, which is free, is full of health tips and is environmentally friendly (I turned off most of the lights to write this. But since it’s 4:51 AM i guess that doesn’t count for as much). Whole Foods, you could’ve learned from TJ’s – you wore the mantle of “a little more expensive, but worth it” a little too smugly.
4:00 PM: We stop by the farmer’s market at Union Square. There is a gentleman in a Boba Fett helmet playing Star Wars tunes on the accordion. He is accompanied by a homeless man wearing sandals (apparently he was an uninivited guest rapper of sorts – nice dance moves though). I liked his rendition of the cantina song.
4:30 PM: Cocktail hour. I did buy some wine at the Trader Joe’s wine shop. They have the best wines at the lowest prices! And they have quirky written signs all over the place with folksy witticisms. Joy! Through this experience I learned that “table wine” means “god awful-tasting liquid.” Got better by the fourth glass, but still.
5:30 PM: Text some folks, try to line shit up for the evening. Feeling a bit sleepy.
7:00 PM: Arise from short nap. Since 85-90% of my meals consist of some combination of: chicken, hot sauce, rice, tortilla I decided I needed to try a little variety. Indian food would be a nice departure from my norm, wouldn’t it? I recall something I read on Midtown Lunch. Phall curry at Brick Lane Curry House is alleged to be the hottest in NYC (they even give you a free beer if you finish it!). My man C to join us even though he has already eaten and the trip to the dreaded east side will be about 8 hours round trip for him – way to man up C!
7:30 PM: Have a Dark and Stormy and read some of the internet that I haven’t read yet.
7:52 PM: Have a Corona (yeah, I’m on a bit of a Corona kick right now) and read some more of the internet.
8:10 PM: Have a Dark and Stormy and read reviews of this shirt. Consider buying 3-5 of these shirts.
9:00 PM: Get our Brick Lane on. They have a disclaimer that the Phall actually tastes like shit and is just really, really hot. I love Vindaloo. Love. I’m torn, I wanted to try the Phall to see what is what. Bloody brilliant – a side order of the Phall for $5! Vindy+Phall = a whole new kind of eating sensation! Chicken, rice, potatoes, naan – this is a massive departure from my norm! I’m basically Anthony Bourdain! (Although I’d probably prefer warthog rectum to some onion/tomato mixture)
9:10 PM: Damn, that Phall shit is hot. But they are correct, it’s all fire, no real taste. Reminds me a bit of Dave’s Insanity sauce.
9:12 PM: Dude, just drop the pitcher off here, okay?
9:20 PM: If I had a hat on, I would have sweated through it. The verdict? Fucking delicious. May not need the Phall though, it appears the Vindaloo can stand on its own. I only ate about 1/5th of the Phall anyway, using it in a condiment-like manner, as this place is Sriracha-free.
9:20 + PM: I’ve already written 1700+ words on this night, so the rest will have to remain a mystery. Let’s just say it involved a Trailer Park, a jump rope and three boxes of cat litter.
Chilly17, one who has wasted potential