NEW YORK CITY
My friend Jeffrey Steingarten from Vogue magazine asked me to meet him on East Houston Street (205 East; (212) 254-2246) in front of Katz's. It was a rainy Saturday around lunchtime, so I stepped in out of the rain…
Holy smokes! It was like the subway in Paris during a strike in there. How many of us were there? Hundreds! In clusters, clots, conglomerates! I wondered why Jeffrey had insisted we meet here. It all became clear to me when we stood in line. It was super-sized, an all-American immersion. For someone who eats like a bird - a starling, let's say - I found myself standing in front of a wall of lard, a cascade of calories. Jeffrey has always dreamt of seeing me add a few notches to my belt.
This seemed like the right place to start. Eating with our hands, we bit into "delicious" pastrami sandwiches with giant pickles. Since I was belly-down pleading for an immediate cease-fire, Jeffrey suggested I taste a celery drink. Ick… Why not marshmallow steak, chocolate leg of lamb and trout cinder blocks while we're at it?
Between two foaming bites, I asked Jeffrey why there is only one Katz's address in the world. He answered with his mouth full: "Probably because they're honest." I like Jeffrey's sense of humor. On the wall you can read the words "Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army!"