Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Wed 27 Jul 2011 21:31
The Most Amazing Deli - Ever and Our Favourite Local Eateries
Soon after we arrived in New York, we took a bimble up to the "High Street". We walked out of the marina, up through the 79th Street Boat Basin Café, up some steps, crossed a couple of one way feeder lanes, crossed Riverside, crossed over West Drive up the fairly gentle hill (crosstown bus stop) and here we are on Broadway. Yes, THE Broadway. Subway entrances for downtown this side of the road, uptown on the other side.
Broadway: To take in all the sights from beginning to end, would require traveling more than three hundred and twenty one miles. Broadway actually starts at Bowling Green (a park in the financial district), runs through Manhattan, continuing for another four miles through the Bronx, then to Westchester County - where it becomes Route 9 - along the eastern Hudson River and nearly all the way to the Canadian Border.
Back to our Deli. The shop doesn't look particularly wide from the front, (top picture I'm choosing cherries far right) but this Aladdin's Cave goes back for ages, past the fruit and veg. The yellow 'cushions' on the right at the end of the veg are full rounds of cheese that you can buy.
Past the cheese counter, there you can point and a chap weighs, past the cheeses (I asked how many - "In excess of 150") on the left, breads on the right
Past the yoghurts on the left, cold beers on the right, to the back of the shop
At the back you turn right past the fruit juices and milks - many more than you can find in any large Tesco's. Each of the right turns (above) are crammed with everything else.
Turn left back past the fruit juices, past the eggs, pass the spices (another floor to ceiling extravaganza of colour) by the hot deli on the right and the cold deli on the left. Then where I bought Bear his craisins (dried cranberries - not as sweet as raisins, adding a bit of zip to his breakfast crunch) - have to push fruit on him for his gout. The picture above is just a small selection of three racks like this one, again floor to ceiling. Past thousands of these little pots in an enormous chill cabinet that contained every type of snack known to man. Then to the tills. Each carrier bag has a paper bag inserted by hand, either the lady on the till or a packer does the deed, pay by cash or card and over $25 they will deliver free in a ten block radius, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Needless to say this became our favourite stop, just steps from the subway on route back to the girl. Marvellous.
Just to the right of the Deli is Big Nick's Pizza. This was a place we ate in four times. Another skinny shop from the outside but went back forever. The most notable thing about Big Nick's was the menu, an A5 booklet in normal size type that was thirty eight pages long. We have never seen anything like it. You needed a pint of coke to read through it the first time. Pizzas made fresh to order at the front of the shop was what got Nick his history. Open since 1965. Always full of locals which we always take as a good sign.
Our last night we went in, sat at the very back, lighting always muted. So many posters, signs and photographs to take in. We had New York Cheesecake in celebration of a great time in the city
From the outside right you could get your ice cream cornet. The 'A' in the centre of the door was a sign of cleanliness. Each eatery in the city has to be graded by the council. Mmmmm, but the food was excellent. A couple of times Bear had roast turkey with all the trimmings for $8. The plate was vast, needless to say it went back not needing to be washed.
We never did ask which one hour a day Nick's was closed.
My favourite though was next door but one. A Chinese- cum-Puerto Rican fusion. Served every time we went in by our favourite waiter from Burma, I always had sweet and sour chicken, no onions, no peppers, extra pineapple and juice, yellow rice and a diet coke for $8.50. I mostly finished the rice but only ever managed half my mains. My friend always boxed up the meal and added rice to make a full takeaway. So I got supper in and supper the next night on Beez for the princely sum of two pounds and fifty five pence a piece. Bear was more adventurous and tried all kinds of dishes including the signature - pork chops in black bean sauce and rice with beans. I won't be indiscreet and mention how the air changed during the night after that little lot.
The folded white cardboard cartons with wire handles I always took my excess home in were originally developed in 1900 as pails to carry freshly opened oysters packed in ice. 100 million cartons are used annually in New York City.
ALL IN ALL JUST LIKE LIVING IN A BIG VILLAGE