I have a confession: I wasted three years on bad sandwiches. Although I visit the Upper East Side once a week—for the museums, not the boutiques!—I have struggled to find acceptable lunches. Dean & Deluca? A dirty water dog? Once, I stooped so low as to eat a cinnamon raisin pretzel from the cart outside the Met instead of wandering Madison for more wholesome options. After the Whitney Biennial, I had a salami and cheese sandwich at Neil’s Coffee Shop. Squished between slices of spongy rye, the soft pink meat (like a little finger sliced open and made pate, or a slimy alien fillet) was no Hebrew National. To my left, a 75-year-old army vet ate a raw hamburger with a fork and knife. The claustrophobia depressed me. I will also admit to the occasional eclair at La Maison du Chocolat. There is no shame in excess confectionary, though the subsequent walk across Central Park induced light-headedness, a mild stomachache, and hallucinations. I saw hundreds of Santas and sexy elves heading down Park Avenue. Later, I learned that a charity encourages people to dress up like Santa and get drunk—a portion of proceeds go to the cause! Three boozy Santas accosted me on the subway. I accepted the ho-ho-hoing and the whole pseudo-psychotic episode as just punishment for poor lunching habits. As you prepare for a move to New York—albeit not my New York, but the New York of my dreams, somewhere south of Columbus Circle, a land Columbia students only know from rumor and rain-soaked copies of the Village Voice—I am writing to caution you against settling for improper and depressing sandwiches. Finally, I have found a paninoteca perfectly suitable for post-museum lunches. Via Quadronno, an inconspicuous restaurant on 73rd Street, will save you years of wasted eating. At the risk of sounding disingenuous or pedantic, I will suggest that Via Quadronno’s paninis stimulate the spirit like a good linger before some Roman sarcophagi. Just as a man, who having lived his hours in solitude discovers true love in the twilight of his years, I now feel immeasurable regret. What lunches I have squandered! Continue reading
Tour de Hamdel is a national treasure.
Last time I had the Lewinsky.
I have spent a day in Philadelphia without sampling a single cheesesteak. In fact, prior to this evening, I had never eaten a Philly cheesesteak, authentic or otherwise. Although I consider myself an aficionado of America’s rustiest, crustiest cuisines, the prospect of beef shards smothered in government cheese ties my duodenum in knots. I never sought out the cheesesteak, and one never found its way into my hungry hands. The Tour de Hamdel is, however, merciless—its nauseating path forces encounters with your very personal, very horrible culinary nightmares. Despite my initial hesitations, I am happy to report that Hamdel’s Philly Cheesesteak, if far removed from the “City of Brotherly Love,” is not an entirely unpleasant sandwich. Continue reading
An announcement of Tour de Hamdel candidacy.
Last time on the campaign trail: the Tuna Melt.
I watched PCU while running on the treadmill and don’t remember much besides George Clinton’s appearance at a Port Chester University kegger. If only parties at Columbia could hijack Parliament-Funkadelic for impromptu concerts. Alas, we’re stuck with a nightmare set of top 40 hits. After attending one too many Parties in the U.S.A., I swore off frat row. To revise, after suffering through one “Party in the U.S.A.” playlist, I abandoned the possibility of entertainment along 114th Street. Operation Ivy League turned a once greasy skeezing block into a ghost town. Tumbleweed substitutes for empty beer cases on the street corner; bustiered harlots no longer beckon from Campo’s swinging saloon doors. It’s a quiet semester at Columbia so far—we badly need Mr. Wiggles to make the Mothership Connection. We want George Clinton. Someone start a write-in campaign. Continue reading
Everything you always wanted to know about the Tour de Hamdel (but were afraid to ask).
Last time I tried the Tex-Mex.
When Fat Man detonated over Nagasaki at 11:02 am on August 9th, 1945, the world already knew the power of nuclear weapons—Little Boy had dropped on Hiroshima three days earlier, ushering in a new era: the nuclear age. After World War II, nuclear power was considered a viable, and in fact desirable, energy source; the United States government promoted the development of nuclear energy, at least until public opinion shifted dramatically. Over the past two years, negative public opinion towards nuclear power has decreased in intensity. Many American (did) consider nuclear power a pathway to a greener economy. Following Japan’s latest nuclear crisis, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, public opinion has once again turned against the nuclear industry. History (namely the Three Mile Island incident) indicates that nuclear energy public opinion is “asymmetrically elastic”—negative opinions about nuclear energy are more lasting and more difficult to change than positive ones. But I have a solution for the nuclear industry: feed consumers Hamdel’s nuclear weapon, the Fat Boy. Continue reading