I blame all my dining out proclivities on my dad. He's not a gourmet by any means, but as a divorced dad with two elder sons oftentimes doing their own things, my dad took me out to eat a lot. That is not to say he can't cook; my dad was famous in the North End of San Bernardino for his Indian Burritos. Friday mornings at Our Lady of the Assumption catholic school were often filled with the banter, and even bragging, of who was invited to dinner and how many burritos were consumed at one sitting. Memories. But, at least once per weekend, and oftentimes more, we would go out to eat at one of our favorite spots in town. There was DJ's, Lucy's, Mexico Restaurant, The Castaway... we had a couple of places for ribs... Chinese... pizza... and there was The Mug. I believe The Mug is where I learned about Italian Food, cheesecake, and Frank Sinatra. I learned that my dad enjoyed Frank's music, so I would always go to the jukebox and play "New York, New York." What a grand place this must be! "King of the hill! Top of the list! A number one!" "If I can make it there, I'm gonna make it anywhere!" It was already one of my favorite places in the world by age twelve, and I would not yet actually visit there for another decade. New York City - Frank's Town... and one day it would be mine.
As Providence would have it, I now spend every day of my life in a restaurant... or at least 360 out of 365. Italian is my favorite food, and New York may be my favorite city. Luckily, NYC is just a short bus ride or train ride away. (I flew once, but in reality doesn't save much time.) I will look for just about any excuse to go to New York: a wine class, a party, a friend's band's show, a lecture at Columbia University, a birthday... dinner. Yes, in this town on any given block there is an electronics store, a take-out, a salon, a bar, and a restaurant. There are like a MILLION restaurants in New York! And, competition is fierce with the so-damn-high rents and New Yorkers' discerning palates... the place is ripe and lush with culinary delights. My uncle Sam came here for Broadway; I go for food. I like Central Park, taking photos, wandering, yadda yadda... but I really can't wait to get a sandwich from Porchetta (East Village), or a meticulously constructed dinner from Public (Elizabeth St, near Spring), or a pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge (always forget the name, but I'll remember it later).
My stomach is starting to growl, so I'll close for now. Be there soooon!
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