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June 10, 2010 / howardmestas




I apologize in advance to all I may offend.

Our trip through the Lower East Side was enjoyable and educational as expected but the lunch ordeal at Katz’s Delicatessen was not one I enjoyed.  Not only was the menu limited to all the same choices, but the prison like method of food dispersal and the subservient method of acquiring portions made me appreciate all the bad restaurants I have ever been to.  The whole experience revived chilling flashbacks of junior high lunch lines at Catholic School Catechism where nuns would beat you to paralysis if you smiled or breathed out of your appointed air space.  At least then you were allowed to carry your own trays through the line and were able to point to the gruesome options before you.  Here you had to wait until the gulag guards felt you were worthy of that distinction.  Then, reeking with graveyard humor, they asked about what species of pickles you wanted.  There were semi-raw pickles, off color pickles, tomato pickles, pickled freeze dried pickles on a stick, and so on.  As the lines slowly inched forward, the elevated dispersers came into view and then they would glare impatiently until you were demoralized into making your bad choices.  And then suddenly it all came rushing toward me, like a subway train emerging out of the darkness.  With terror I realized my server was the Soup Nazi!  I remember he was out of a job when the Seinfeld series ended and here he was, back in the lineup and he’s face-to-face.  What happened next is hard to remember as I may have blacked out; but I hastily paid my bill and left the confines, running out into the street without looking for cars.  I survived Soup Nazi Death Camp and I have a story to tell about the Lower East Side!




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  1. dderbigny / Jun 18 2010 3:26 am

    Whenever I am in a city other than NYC and I order pastrami on rye it is call The New Yorker. Did you order a bagel with lox and a smear? The is Jewish soul food and super delicious. Try one before you leave.

    • howardmestas / Jun 18 2010 8:53 pm

      Jewish soul food? Wow, I need to go to New York with you, you seem to know all the best kept secrets of the city. I really didn’t enjoy Katz’s, but everyone else seemed to. I went to an awesome pizza place called Grimaldi’s. Seriously, for a while I thought I died and went to heaven. I will never look at pizza the same way again. New York pizza was totally superior to Chicago’s.

  2. brettbridgeman / Jun 13 2010 11:25 am

    Interesting comparison Howard. I heard that the Soup Nazi actually does have a restaurant in New York, but was unable to find it and ran out of time. That is probably a good thing though. Sorry your experience at Katz’s was a drag. I liked their pastrami sandwich.

    • howardmestas / Jun 14 2010 12:54 am

      I wished we could have gone there too, but there were so many other things to do. I hope the guy who was my waiter doesn’t read the blog and decide to seek revenge. I realize the pastrami was good, I probably just got a bat batch. We’ll have to keep watching Seinfeld reruns to see all the kooky things in New York…now that we can identify with the culture.

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