Monday, June 27, 2011

Feast of (Regularly) Kings

So I decided I'd like to get back into writing a little bit more, and what better way to do it than to write about food? I said to C.-- yesterday that I'd call this section of the blog Feast of Kings because the eats would come from Brooklyn, but of course the inaugural post isn't going to come from Brooklyn at all, so I present to you:

Feast of (Regularly) Kings or FoRK.

Last week on Serious Eats, where I no doubt will get many of my future inspirations, I read about the breakfast sandwich from Cheeky's on the Lower East Side. I'd first been to this Louisiana-style sandwich place with M.--, who told me about it last year. We met for lunch and I had a tasty fried chicken biscuit. But it's a little bit of a trek for lunchtime so I was glad to realize there was a breakfast option as well. If I actually got out of bed when I tend to wake up in the morning (about 45 minutes before my alarm goes off), then there'd be plenty of time to pick up a sandwich before work. Which is exactly what I did this fine morning, walking at the blue beginning of an early summer day from the B train to Orchard Street to friendly blue and white Cheeky's. While waiting for my sandwich, I read (appropriately enough) Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, a detective novel I'm enjoying set in, yep, New Orleans. Though I've never visited that city (I would like to), I felt I could almost imagine myself there, amidst Claire's talk with wheelers and dealers and the warm smell of freshly cooked bacon.

At my desk I unwrapped the sandwich. It's on a nice dense biscuit, and the bacon, as Serious Eats reported, is of a good consistency. There is a bit higher of an eggs-to-rest-of-sandwich ratio than I'd like, but then, I haven't been a huge fan of scrambled egg sandwiches ever since I ate one while I was sick a couple years ago. (Not that it made me sick, mind, but the association is still there somehow.) The layer of muenster cheese at the bottom of the sandwich goes a ways toward making up for the eggs--glorious flashbacks to the muenster bagel lunch days of high school past. Overall, the sandwich is salty and peppery and would probably be washed down better with the chicoried very creamy coffee that Cheeky's sells than the diet orange soda I've got in the fridge here...but I've given up coffee because of the headaches. But that's a story for another feast...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sunrise Park

On 37th Street there’s no sidewalk next to the cemetery, so you walk alongside the railyard. The windowless train car—“not in service” where a letter bubble ought to be—approaches, dragging its chain of flatbeds, and a man steps out like it’s the front door of his house. He climbs down, picks up something from the tracks I can’t quite see, and gets back on board, easing up to the end of the line. More “not in service” cars proliferate, then the yellow-and-black striped work cars, some red-and-white ones. Notices on the sides warn that no crew member is to get on a crane car while in motion. A crane car! The cranes are slumbering, though, in the early morning heat, alongside the warren of trailer cars and mysterious little boxy buildings. A D train emerges out of the greenery on the other side of the yard, heading for the elevated tracks of New Utrecht Road. Not so delightful as my favorite Old New Utrecht Road, but not half bad.

Heading downslope, the railyard expands until you reach the open gates. An orange security guard sits idle near the entrance. So many people are out sitting on stoops and ledges this morning, and it’s not even 8. What do they do all day? The headstones sit, too, awash in foliage, neat wrought-iron signs denoting idyllic lanes. Not to be outdone, the railyard has a sign too: Burma Road, it announces, black letters on white.

Last week, filming for Men in Black III rendered downtown Brooklyn years younger, proliferating vintage subway signs and the borough’s old blue-and-white street markers. Stepping off the bus and noticing the first green subway entrance, still dazed with sleep, I did a double-take, half-believing I’d entered another world. The railyard too is another world, less artificial but just as unusual. Coming out onto Fourth Avenue—oh, okay—I reenter reality: crush of the N train, tunnel, Brooklyn Bridge. The day’s already heating up but somewhere work trains still rest within the shade.