Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waffling back and forth

Isn’t there something delicious about the idea of chicken and waffles? Redolent of delicious baked goods, pure maple syrup, perfectly spiced and crisped and tender chicken…but that’s just the idea. In practice, chicken and waffles are a much drier affair. From Harlem to the stands of the Pennsylvania Dutch, I’ve always been disappointed with the results. Doughy waffles, overfried chicken with the bones left in, and the most dreadful woe of woes, fake maple syrup. But I keep wishing and hoping, finding myself lured into ordering this most promisingly decadent of dishes from brunch menus.

So thank goodness I’ve found Astoria’s Queens Comfort. I hope you will not think less of me if I tell you I first heard of the restaurant because they serve Robicellis’ delicious cupcakes. I took the Queens-resident R.—’s there a couple weeks ago for dinner and really enjoyed the crispy pork with my namesake grits, as well as the couple of blueberry sourcream biscuits we all split and the bubbly soda Iron Brew (not to be confused with Irn-Bru). So imagine my joy to find that brunch tasted even better. Raving to C.—, my gracious companion in the multiborough trek, I declared that it was the best brunch I’ve ever tasted. Half a week out, I still believe it. In any event, it embodied all of my chickeny, wafflish dreams.

In an unexpectedly successful move, QC sandwiches the chicken in Eggo waffles. Rather than detracting from my expectation of homemade goodness, I found that the lighter, crispier nature of Eggos enhanced the experience, thin enough to actually eat with a bite of chicken, but still able to soak up the melting maple butter (maple butter!!) without collapsing into a soggy mess. A large piece of fried chicken comprises the sandwich meat (though good luck eating this maple-dripping concoction with your hands), gently crispy, not overdone, full of fresh white meat. And underneath the chicken was the true genius of the thing.

You might call me a heretic for asking, but aren’t some brunch foods just too sweet? French toast buried in syrup, compote, and powdered sugar. Pancakes drowning in chocolate chips, waffles awash in fresh fruit. In dazzling contrast, enter the light note of—that’s right—Tabasco sauce undercutting the sweetness of the waffles, mixing with the maple butter for a whole new sensation. It made me want to run to the kitchen and start feverishly experimenting with sweet and spicy concoctions of my own.

I’ll say that the dish wasn’t as much of a gut bomb as I expected, but I have to admit I didn’t eat the whole thing, delicious as it was. There was plenty to share with C.—, even for a greedy foodie such as me. I had been afraid that the $8 price meant it would be a tiny delicate sandwich, but I was gloriously proven wrong. My only disappointment with QC is that it's located so far away from my cozy Brooklyn home. Then again, the weather is ripe for exploring and I think it's time to learn more about Queens, don't you?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Om nom nom

O dear reading public, would you be interested in restaurant reviews/recommendations if I posted them here? It has come to my attention that this may be interesting to some. Please let me know if you would read such an endeavor and I will get on it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Patchwork homecoming in early spring

I. F train climbing the viaduct:

(from Maggie Nelson's "Subway in March, 5:45 PM)

I take the long way home, knowing
I am free to choose happiness

or wander off into the tunnel...

... all I want is to stay focused on everyday life

What other kind of life is there?
All the world knows it, it's a miracle

The blue womb of evening
The nimble sparrow, the smug duck in the pond

The eruption of flowering quince
O shackle us to the rock of it

we will try to love each other
though there's wind on our heads

and we cannot read minds
The train jumps above ground

and stripes the car in gold light
It's the light of early spring

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I should've really called that post "A pilgrim on a pilgrimage walked across the Brooklyn Bridge."

A new Paul Simon album!

And I walk through the streets I love

Yesterday: the kind of day that’s an imperative to keep moving. Heeding it, I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to drop off my manuscript, then walked right back again over the Manhattan. I feel a bit like Benjamin Braddock in these moments; traveling one way to the strains of “Parsley, Sage” and then—cut—back again, same tune as ever. Perfect bridge weather, low fifties. I see a fast-moving woman and follow along behind her, glad to hand over the decision work of bobbing and weaving. I pass one guy, lone parade, carrying a placard for n+1. And then get near-about trampled by a march of union workers. Ah, Brooklyn. please let me skip a line?For my return route, I hit the Manhattan Bridge, the Brooklyn’s secret cousin. Here, the foot traffic’s minimal, commuter rather than tourist. I wonder why more of the tourists don’t hit up this walkway, what with the Brooklyn’s current cover of construction boards. Maybe the sway and rumble of the trains has something to do with it. I strain to hear Belle and Sebastian over the power surge of the Q. c'mon, please? why won't you let me skip a line?Then back in lower Manhattan, the neighborhood embodying spring. The rock sculptures on the median a saluki, a nativity, a symphony. Old men doze on benches or chatter into cell phones while the young overspill the cafes, trendy Atlas overflowing onto the sidewalk. I pick up a cupcake for my mother who’s sick in bed; I pick up a copy of my friend’s zine from Bluestockings. I wander into a deli to get a coconut water; by the time I step out, the sky’s darkened. These things always happen suddenly. c'mon already, why won't you let me skip a line? I like paragraphs. This morning, I step out the door, note the spooky sky, and immediately it opens on me. There are cherry trees again; the ones by Columbus Park are already working up a bloom.