For our monthly lunch, Barbara and I thought we would switch out from pastrami and go back to another of our usual haunts -- a NY chain called Jackson Hole, known for its hamburgers. But we don't like the hamburgers because they are too big, too thick so we always order scrambled eggs.
But, not just any eggs. I like mine soft. She likes her bacon "crispy" and her French fries "well done." I used to make fun of her until I had crispy bacon envy so I add that to my order too.
It's a weird inverse proportion deal in NY that you can make the most precise order and it will be respected. Scrambled soft, well-done fries, crispy bacon. I heard someone ordering something unusual "on the side" and later mentioned it to the waiter -- this was in a Greek coffee shop/diner -- and he laughed and said when people order things "on the side," he asks them if they want it on the right or the left side. Customer is king typically in these places.
Try ordering scrambled eggs soft in the hinterlands and you'll get a deer stuck in headlights look. Try personalizing your order and you're likely to get a "no can do" from the server -- "that's the way it's made" or "the cooks won't do that" or "no substitutions" -- go to a bagel place in NY and order a "well done poppy with lots of seeds" and the guy will go rooting through the poppy bagel wire basket and then hold up the perfect bagel for your inspection.
I don't care how many seeds are on my poppy bagel, but evidently other people do, as I've heard that order a lot -- same with "well done sesame." I guess we want our moneys-worth. I've seen people point to the precise cupcake they want when they all look essentially the same to me -- "No, not that one, THAT one..."
In a city that moves at fast speeds, there's always time, it seems, to have your food, your bagel, your coffee exactly the way you want it.