Saturday, February 14, 2009

irish soda perfection

tonight in a random old-fashioned deli in long beach, i found club lemon soda, which promised (and ended up delivering) "real lemon bits". the briticism "bits" made sense when i saw it was produced by Britvic Ireland, Ltd. i've never seen this soda here, nor did i in england, where i enjoyed coca-cola's lilt (pineapple/grapefruit flavor) among other citrus brands.

club lemon basically tastes like a fizzy version of homemade lemonade. it is the finest lemon soft drink i have ever consumed. not without reason does wikipedia deem it "so popular a drink with Irish people that it is one of the most sought after products by Irish expatriates".

i hope very much to find and try club orange, club rock shandy (an irish term for an orange/lemon mix), club apple, and club pomegranate & cranberry. the soda does have the most calories of any i've seen (255 per 500mL bottle), and it cost $2.00 (though it might have just been an expensive deli). but if your waist and wallet can afford it, i heartily recommend this irish product.

Monday, February 9, 2009

fish and deli - fries and steam

this is from yesterday, and it's been somewhat overshadowed by today's events, but let me not forget to give my first mini restaurant review to the magnificently named "Fish and Deli - Fries and Steam" located at 90-71 sutphin blvd. in jamaica, queens.

say you're heading from long beach to brooklyn on the LIRR. or maybe you're going from hunters point ave. to amagansett. and you find your train of choice has a transfer in jamaica. you may start to feel sad. but do not despair, commuter!

when it comes to restaurants, you can usually judge a book by its cover. while amazing food places might have ho-hum exteriors, excellent signage very rarely fronts a mediocre eating establishment. (similarly, i usually select wines based on the label, though i've been told, and am starting to believe, this doesn't work so well.) in this case, the crimson awning offering four disparate categories of tempting treats was visible from inside the station, and drew me outside.

i can only speak to the fish. if you go for whiting, you get three pieces. there's also red snapper, flounder, and my choice, bluefish, which was two pieces for $3.50. fried in front of you, friend, and slapped on top of white bread (or wheat, if you insist). you add the hot sauce yourself, and then she wraps it. she's asian, the guy in the more deli-ish (and probably equally delish) front section is more judeo-hipster. out on the street they're mainly black, and you're golden, as you head back to your platform with a delicious and bargain lunch.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

a snowy, stressy day

i've been in new york (long beach, long island is where i've been staying) since friday, and it's tuesday night now. i've had two days of work, and already have had moments of questioning whether i've made the right decision. the adjustment to an actual job work day (8:30 to 5) is proving, so far, harder than i thought it would be. the days seem very long and i feel lost at the bottom of a vast bureaucracy, which i will be able to learn only slowly, and where my opportunities for advancement, mastery, and creativity may not be what i had optimistically hoped.

but the hardest parts of my day came when i went outside, first for lunch where i was faced with an incredible array of expensive food choices in every direction (i went with a bowl of black bean chili at a diner, which cost $7.00 with tax and tip). i did mail a card that i wrote on the train ride in, and i also made semi-successful inquiries at the t-mobile store (i brought my nokia 6500 back from england, complicating my choices with respect to a new cell plan).

after work i debated - that sounds dispassionate, but actually i was quite overcome with anxiety about it - whether or not to meet karen and go to a mixer at the yale club. in the end, i did both, and i'm glad i did. i don't know why this transition is proving so much harder than when i moved to england a year ago. i'm pretty sure that then i found an apartment and started work without too much psychological distress. that came later, and was of a different kind.

as you know, it's not like me to be afraid to run into friends or to make plans with people.

a symptom as well as an additional cause of the stress is my stomach, which has been bothering me every day except when i pummel it into submission with over-the-counter medications. duane reade is a place i feel quite comfortable, though of course it is no cvs.

when i hesitated about getting on the subway downtown after work, i looked up and saw the empire state building through the snow. its old, familiar presence felt stable and reassuring. it made me feel like eventually things will work out. i could somehow moor onto it like the zeppelins used to do. or actually, as the internet has just informed me, they never did. but still, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city helped me to think that i will settle in eventually, and get on with figuring out what i need to get on with.