New York WeddiMoon: Day 9
… in which we praise and curse Andrew Zimmern in equal measure.
You know Andrew Zimmern, yeah? He’s the host of Bizarre Foods, which is sort of a cross between Iron Chef and Fear Factor. He’s the guy who won’t let an episode go by without mentioning that he’s Jewish, frequently alludes to a troubled past that may have included living on the street and/or a drug or alcohol problem and/or all three and who, no matter where he is in the world, never fails to remind you that “here, they use every part of the animal.”
As food shows go, it’s not infrequently kind of a train wreck, and never more so than when Zimmern gets himself invited to some Mississippi Klan gathering-slash-barbecue and nevertheless pretends to be extremely excited to go out into the swamp with two guys named Earl and find animals to kill, preferably either with a crossbow or with one of the surface-to-air missiles that Earl 2 got at the local swap meet and has been saving for a special occasion.
Anyway, this season Zimmern has been doing a USA-only show with all episodes dedicated exclusively to the foods of AmerIca. Several months ago, when we were in the early stages of WeddiMoon planning, we happened to catch the episode on Queens, New York, and thus an obsession was born. He was particularly taken with a series of small, funky places located more-or-less along the 7 line (almost but not quite the one Jenny-from-the -Block used to take) from Long Island City to Flushing.
So we decided to follow in his footsteps. We started with Cositas Ricas and passed through Sammy’s Halal Food Truck, Namaste Tashi Delek Momo Dumpling Palace, and Xi’an Famous before running aground at another hole-in-the wall Chinese place off Main Street in Flushing where the atmosphere was so hostile that a lot of the fun kind of drizzled away.
We rounded out the day with the Circle Line Tour, which I had done once before in 1981 and had somehow remembered as great fun (aren’t we just adorable when we’re in our early 20s?). If you’re thinking of visiting NYC and you get it into your head to do the Circle Line, two items are indispensable: industrial-strength earplugs and a fistful of Quaaludes. Unfortunately, though the latter may actually explain why I had such a good time in 1981, they can no longer be had for love, money, or the promise of love or money, so my advice would be to skip the thing entirely.
But presuming that you aren’t going to let the likes of me dictate your travel plans, at least trust me on the earplugs. That’s unless you actually think you’d enjoy hearing a guy with a voice like a bad Jay Leno imitator describe the wonders of New York with the words best, most, biggest, longest, highest, tallest, and first thrown around like they were punctuation marks instead of adjectives. Though one thing I did learn is that, in New York, they use every part of the animal.