Sunday, October 12, 2008

This morning, brunching on my favorite breakfast sandwich in Portland*, I flipped through New York Times travel section. It was all about visiting New York on a budget. It seemed to be written not only for tourists, but for New Yorkers who had forgotten what it's like to explore their home city with fresh eyes. What really struck me though, were not just the restaurant recommendations, but the specific dishes that were noted throughout the section (in multiple articles). BRUNCH dishes such as a quinoa-octopus salad, and the "Dominican Farmers Breakfast" of "mangu, fried cheese, fried eggs and fried salami." The creativity of these options intrigued me, but not only that, is the presumed sophistication that the editors expect from their audience. Mangu was not even defined. It turns out to be a dish native to the Dominican Republic of mashed plantains, but it seems that most New Yorkers already know that. Another article, specifically focused on the frugal angle, wrote about another breakfast experience--"we indulged in that classic New York brunch of dim sum at the shiny Pacificana, where the vast spread of dumplings, radish cakes, and really, really good chicken feet came to a puny $11.75 a person." Radish cakes! Chicken feet! He wrote about these things in all seriousness, and in an article not directed at foodies, but the general traveler. This level of comfort with food adventure amazes me.

*That would be the "mini-egg sandwich" at the Detour Cafe. Not listed on the menu, this thing is perfect in every way. Small, but packed with flavor. It starts first with a homemade buttermilk biscuit, seasoned with scallions, corn, and cheddar cheese. In between is placed a single scrambled egg, sliced roma tomatoes, fresh basil and pepper bacon. See the detail in that? Perfect every time for $4.75.

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