I am a creature of my own habits. I go to certain restaurants with certain friends and we always sit at the same table and order the same thing. Sometimes I think I live in a city with 40,000 (really) restaurants and I go to a handful of them.
So today, I was having my monthly lunch with my friend Barbara and she suggested we try a new place. She suggested a deli on Broadway between 82nd and 83rd called Artie's. Check it out at www.arties.com.
Well, I had the most wonderful lunch. I really do love deli food, and Artie's is a big old-fashioned place, much more authentic than the "name brand" delis in Midtown. This is the sort of place where they put two little dishes and a bowl of cole slaw and a bowl of pickles on the table as soon as you sit down -- and lots of both.
Barbara had a soup and half sandwich -- chicken soup which I tasted... which was really pure heaven. REAL carrots, carrot slices that come in all sizes, not uniform "carrot-like food product..." those skinny egg noodles and chicken-y taste. You know when you taste something real and it prompts a memory of "oh, yeah, THAT'S what chicken broth tastes like --- I remember this now."
So the sandwiches were wonderful, those iconic 5-inch tall deli sandwiches, and I took about 2/3rds of the meat off my sandwich and took it home with me.
Then the waiter came by and asked if we wanted dessert and I said no, but Barbara said to me, "Do you want some chocolate pudding?"
Wow, of course, I said yes, because she really wanted it (turns out she was eyeing it in the deli case while waiting for me to arrive), and heck, I'm willing to go halfsies on chocolate pudding. However I said to Barbara that I literally do not remember the last time I had chocolate pudding... 1965?? Really.
The pudding arrived with whipped cream, and it was so delicious, light fluffy, chocolately. I think it's safe to say it was the best chocolate pudding I've ever had in my life, but since I haven't eaten any since the old days of Jello pudding that you'd stir on the stove, there wasn't much competition. This stuff, though, was great.
So on the way out, I had my doggie bag of pastrami wrapped up by our waiter and I bought two poppy bagels and some cole slaw to take home. When I have my leftover pastrami on the poppy bagel, I will add the cole slaw to the sandwich and eat it with cole slaw juice dripping down my chin with a bunch of napkins on standby -- way too sloppy to eat like that in a restaurant, but in the privacy of my home... well, that will be one great meal!