Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dinner in the Bronx

Welcome to Yankee Stadium. An establishment founded a hundred years or so ago by Mr. George Ruth. Legendary gastronome. Peerless bon vivant.

May I interest you in some appetizers this evening? We're featuring a firm corn tortilla, presented in artful shards and accompanied by a distinctive, lukewarm sauce. It is a cheese sauce, to be frank. But it is a subtle sauce, evocative of myriad things, not least the shifting savors of the kitchen, shall we say. I mean, we like to say. It's our chef's first foray into Mexican-American fusion cuisine and I happen to be of the opinion that mere words can't describe it.

Yes, it's a favorite.

Heading East! If you're in the mood for something simpler though no less substantial, allow me to recommend a savory pastry of Austrian origin. We take a dense dough. We roll it and form it into a whimsical knot. Then I think we boil it or something, but anyway, it's great. Hmm? Oh, cold. It's served cold. Like revenge.

Fucking Sox.

What?

It's seasoned with a generous coating of rock salt, if you think that might float yer boat.

Many aficionados favor a mustard topping. If you are so inclined, might I recommend the Gulden's? Spicy brown? Not the French's, for Christ's Jesus sake. We're in New York. Deli style, baby.

Perhaps you're in the mood for something a little lighter, for the table? In that case let me draw your attention to a perennial classic of the carte. Peanuts, in a word. That's right. Peanuts in the shell from our fine, fine nut purveyor, Bazzini Nuts of Downtown Manhattan, founded in eighteen-God-knows-what. They are dusted with a fine and silty layer of salt. You heard me right.

At this juncture in time I feel it is incumbent upon me to signal to you that these peanuts may have been processed and packaged in a facility that processes and packages peanuts. Just to say. This is the allergy era, after all. I do not want to have to stick no one with no goddamn EpiPen, motherfucker. Please. Thank you. Alright.

And for the main course! I need not tell you that the specialty of the house is the frankfurter sausage. Your choices are: Hebrew National, Empire Kosher, Glatt Kosher, Imperial Hebrew, Glatt National, National Imperial, Empire Glatt, Glatt Glatt, Kosher Emperor, Kosher Hebrew, Glatt Emperor, Empire Nation – wait, that's not one, sorry – Hebrew Empire, Kosher Nation, Grand Imperial Wizard and Nathan's.

Again, please – the Gulden's.

Sauer-? Sorry, no. Sorry, I must insist. No. We don't – shh! – we don't have. No. In fact – I'm sorry – we don't ever, we don't breathe that word here. Ever. Rules of the house.

We do seek to honor the immigrants who have made this country great. First off, the Italians. Let me tell you, they do a thing with a flat piece of dough and a little bit of red sauce and some cheese. It's of an unmatched succulence. We entertained bids from scores of thousands of contractors and decided – well, "decided" might not quite be the word – it was prevailed upon us to select the fine family of Famiglia family restaurants to present to our diners a monumental accomplishment of tri-state area ethnic culture: the slice. I beg your pardon? No, that's not a typo. Thirteen dollars and seventy-five cents.

Let's not forget the Chinese and their foods that are saturated in glory. You know right away when you order something from our Wok 'n' Roll menu that you're going to get something old and something new. Something clean and something dirty. I think they call it "yang" and "yin." It's like, opposites attract. Salt and sugar. Animal and vegetable. Mineral, artificial. And when I say they, I mean them. You know. The Chinese. The lo mein in that steam tray is the product of a civilization that's thousands of years old. Gives me the chills, frankly.

Shall we discuss some beer pairings? Wonderful! The discriminating connoisseur will be delighted to see that we have a selection of beers from – are you ready for this? – around the world! You heard me correctly. Let's see we, they, our selection includes choices from... uh... England. That's one. Germany, Holland... Belgium, I think. And... Mexico. That's correct. And there's one from one of those fucking ex-commie countries too, like maybe Poland or France. And Australia too, and I think China or Japan. One or the other. That's around the world, right?

If you're in a patriotic mood we are offering a slop bucket brimming with Miller Lite and lidded in tin foil.

I have absolutely no fucking idea.

May I outline the desserts? The first one's more of a palate cleanser – enjoy it between courses! Soft, frozen, lemonade. Never did Bacchus feast on finer ambrosia. It's like someone took a delightfully refreshing summer drink and said, "It should be thicker." Genius works in mysterious ways.

Speaking of genius, let me draw your attention to what is perhaps the pièce de résistance of our entire menu. It is – oh boy, what to say, what to say. It represents a stupendous technological achievement and you can see that I'm quite breathless just trying to describe it.

Ladies and gentlemen, let Adria play with his foam – we have the future of ice cream. That's correct. Small, hyperfrozen pellets, at first glance fit for guinea pigs or hamsters. But no. No, no, no, no, no! They're for people. Yes. The ice cream of the future for the people of the present – I ask you, is there no bass-drum-beating tail to the parade of wonders that grace our age? Consider yourselves the luckiest diners in the world.

And plus you get it in a little helmet.

We stop at nothing. Nothing!

And, oh yeah – enjoy the game.

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