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Posts Tagged ‘restaurant culture’

I just got back from a long weekend in New York City, where I ate large quantities of food at many of my favorite restaurants. A sampling: crispy squid with salt and pepper and hollow vegetables with garlic at New Pasteur in Chinatown (Vietnamese); borscht and pirogies at Cafe Relax in Greenpoint (Polish – and a great new restaurant find for me); and of course, knishes and pickles at Yonah Schimmel on Houston St. (kosher).

I’ve never had an opportunity to develop a taste for fine dining. For me, a restaurant experience is truly pleasurable if the food is both delicious and remarkably inexpensive (example: more Polish food than four people can eat, for less than $25). I find a three-dollar kasha knish at a diner far more exquisite and thrilling than a thirty-dollar entree at a stylish restaurant. The same applies when I travel. Eating street food and the other everyday meals of ordinary working people is pretty much my favorite part of traveling to other countries. On a recent trip to Mexico City I avoided street food because I am pregnant and didn’t want to get sick. No churros rellenos! No elotes! I was absolutely miserable – the joy of travel was gone. (Incidentally, I got horribly sick anyway).

I’ve always been secretly proud of being this kind of non-elitist foodie. “I’m not a food snob. No conspicuous consumption here. I just know great food when I find it.” But this morning, as my husband and I were recounting all of the culinary delights of the weekend, I realized I was evincing another type of food snobbery – pretensions of authenticity. (more…)

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