Alright. So your probably wondering why it is that you are staring at a picture of fast food nachos when last I told you I was standing in front of the Mermaid Inn getting ready to wash down half a dozen oysters with a couple of glasses of Sancerre. I have to admit that I too found myself wondering, how did this happen?
So how did it happen?
We walked through the front door of the Mermaid Inn and were greeted by an overly cheery host. “Did you guys want to sit down and eat?” she asked us bursting with glee. I shook my head yes, “ well you can’t, because the kitchen is closed.” Her unapologetically dopey smile threw me and I could not for the life of me figure out if she was being malicious or was slightly brain affected. I looked over at Andrew, his face was now twisted into a disgruntled knot and his eyes were glowing red with anger. “ Yes I know, we had a table a Thai Son” I replied, placing my hands in the air in defensive fury. It was overtime alright.
Now at this point, it was clear that we had only two options. The first was to throw in the cards and go home with empty stomachs. Because I've never been much of a , go home with an empty stomach kind of girl, so we opted for the second, Veselka, the funky Ukranian diner on 9th st and second ave. Veselka has really been there for me over the years. There Challah French Toast was a breakfast staple when I was living down town. It has also served as a late eating spot after a night of drinking. Their chicken soup has been a great comfort on may a cold night and, most importantly, Veselka has always, always been there for me when other dinning plans get shot to hell. It is part of the collective unconscious of this City that, when all else fails, there is always Veselka.
And so, like a couple of refugees seeking asylum from our own bad luck, Andrew and I walked threw the front door of Velselka only to find the counter full, and a huge line up for tables. " I can't believe this!" shouted Andrew, finally losing his temper. "It's pretty unbelievable" I replied lacking the sustenance for an energetic answer. This is when Andrew kicked it into high gear. He leaned over and began clapping his hands together like a football coach, "So here is what we are going to do." he shouted like a drill sargent, "We are going to go down the block to San Loco, get an order of nachos and some beers and wait it out. This will clear up in a half hour or so." And that is how I went from oysters to melted cheese sauce and a card board carton of chips.
Eventually, around midnight, the powers that be must have put down their ping pong paddles and called truce because Andrew and I finally made it to Veselka and enjoyed a fabulous second course of Chicken Soup and Perogies accompanied by Obolon beer.
That night I went home with a full stomach and a humbled ego. From then on, when sitting down to a meal that I decided to eat, at the restaurant I decided to eat it at, I would remember that it was not only my will that got me there, but the graciousness of the Gods who allowed my wishes to be fulfilled. Going to sleep that night, I couldn't help but feel a little nostalgic, a little sad. It was as if somewhere within the remodeling of my faith from my will to a higher power, I had lost something important, something genuine.
That night I dreamed of lemongrass , chilies, and the sweet smell of basil, and when I woke up I had made an important desicion. This ping pong game was far from over! I raced down to Canal street to Kam Man (and Asian food market that carries everything from shrimp paste and pig ears all the way to glazed ceramics) to pick up a few essential ingredients, then I swung by a the Park Slope Food Coop to pick up the fresh produce I would need to finally take my dining fate back into my own hands. How did I finally do it? How else, I made my own Thai Red Curry.
The Curry was great, but what was even better was having my faith restored to its original residence, my will. Oh the sweet smell of success bears a striking resemblance to aroma of the sweet basil in my Thai Red Curry.