Monday, November 21, 2005

More Pastrami, Meester Creosote?

What a truly wretched start to the week. Roger Clark is being sent to Japan to file self-consciously wacky reports from halfway round the world. All the blogs are boring. And we can barely keep our eyes open.

There should, of course, be a comedown associated with a rock-pig weekend such as the one we most recently completed. But we feel that being a moderately solicitous and inventive host should entitle us to at least a small measure of relief from the effects of our exertions.

Not a bit of it. And in fact, this is one of these rare occasions when we still wish we were an idiot. In the olden days, a gringcorp would drink a while, more often than not fail to eat anything more substantial than a monkey nut, and go to bed. The painful, screaming hangover would then be dispatched using well-judged pinpoint strikes from various forms of fat and sugar.

Oh, and sleep. The more the better. Brisk walks maybe. So, what has changed? The feeding. What really seems to have upset our equilibrium are the quite gargantuan quantities of food we recently have been consuming. Including a first ever visit to the Carnegie Deli.

We've never really been that into the Carnegie, mostly because of the two levels of snobbery that it offends. The first, inverse snobbery, dictates that Katz's, which is downtown and near some edgy stuff, is likely to be more hardcore than one located on 55th and 7th. The second is that premium delis should not really need to regale diners and potential customers with a video of how amazing they are.

In our opinion, the pastrami is slightly less chunky and slightly less moist than the competition - and certainly the place is very cramped. The waiters are all very entertaining, maybe even echt, but sticking one's feet out after devouring a couple of pounds of cured meat is much less pleasurable when it means kicking one's fellow diners in the rude bits.

But the sandwich is certainly revoltingly big, a good ten inches tall, and bracketed by the most token, feeble, pieces of rye we have ever encountered. Not a figleaf for an assault on one's sense of shame, so much as garnish at a roman orgy. We took the Woody Allen, a mixture of corned beef and pastrami named after some guy from Coney. After about three quarters it was only a dismal sense of duty that kept us eating. The hateful solitary slog through the last quarter was enough to tar the experience in our mind permanently.

We had finished a impressive pile of pancakes the morning previously at Tom's, and cackled mercilessly as we dispatched plates of appetizers at Oliva, and plates of purest steak at Azul.

It is important, you see, that we not engage in the needless wasting of food, and in any case our upbringing, while secure, was frequently populated by sparingly-applied institutional food. Carnegie, however, proved that we must sometimes scream "halas", before collapsing in a booze-soaked, spent, heap.

By the time we shepherded the limeys down to the mighty Stone Park for brunch, the acquisition of meat had become a joyless and painful process, albeit a strangely compelling one. "Your biscuits with sausage gravy, do they have some sausage as well? No, only some sausage in the gravy? Well, we will need actual sausage as well on the side. Aaaaarrgh"

It was all we could do to avoid begging them to slip us some ham on the way to the bathroom, although such a question might have been open to misinterpretation. A tour round the park, and even the rest of the day in bed, have still not brought us back to humanity.

Some of you might be thinking, maybe they had a bit of help? No. We. Didn't. You. Impertinent. Whelps.


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