Friday, August 25, 2006

Travelogue IV

Before I get into the bounty that is Carmine's, let me tells youse about da best non-rollercoaster ride dis side of da countree. That's right, a good old New York taxicab. Buy some rubber shorts or live your fear behind, it's all out of your hands anyway.

The first time I rode in a NYC taxi, I couldn't believe that the taxi we rode in, along with two others, all simultaneously made a left-hand turn into the same narrow one way street. As of our last trip, I've learned to just go with the flow and to leave my eyes open. You see, in Italy, they know what they're doing with their near misses and until last year, I realized that the NYC cabbies know what they're doing too.

If I could liken it to anything, I would liken it to "near-miss bumpercars" or "Super Chicken (not the cartoon)," because somebody always backs down at the very last second before they trade paint. And if you disagree with my rollercoaster analogy, all you need is a street that goes slightly up or down. Because the cabbie's gonna hit sixty in the middle of the night and you will either go airborne, or you will bottom out.

Just a block from the Museum of Natural History, an NYC bus pulled into the bus stop sideways, with its rump blocking the lane. That's illegal, of course, but buses lose time when they have to pull back out into traffic and no one will let them. Not to mention that there's isn't a cop or parking control officer in the world that will cite the buses for it.

So there we were, stuck in the intersection and the bus was blocking both lanes of our side of the two-way, four lane street. Waiting to make a left turn into the intersection we were currently stuck in, was a cab and he occupied the left hand lane of his direction. Behind that cab were some more taxis that were rapidly approaching.

Without a second thought, our driver backed up a few inches and he drove around the cab that was waiting to make a left hand turn. Of course we were going the wrong way in the right hand lane of traffic traveling in the opposite direction and the approaching cabs speed up as if to finish us off, once and for all. It was something out of the car chase scene of
To Live and Die In L.A. Only, it was in Manhattan and none of us were moaned like a wussy, ala John Pankow. Hell, Procrastinator Jr. and I cheered the driver on.

Good stuff and cheaper than any Six Flags or Paramount attraction.

So after we hit Starbuck's, it was off on the subway to
Carmine's, where the food is good and plentiful. It's right off Times Square and there's always a long line, for good reason. Not only is the food excellent, they let you stay and enjoy it, unlike other restaurants. You see, when you serve such monster portions, you can't actually roll everybody out of there. So, they actually let you digest your food.

We had garlic bread, baked clams and calamari fritti to start with. Let me tell you how good the calamari was, my nieces and nephews ate it too...of course we didn't tell them that it was squid or we'd have problems. Then, penne ala ragu and it was real ragu. Veal, pork and beef cooked for at least three hours.

Penne ala vodka with vodka and cream. So perfect and succulent that you didn't need to add parmasean cheese. Spaghetti and meatballs for the kids, with a porterhouse for Procrasinator Jr. because he didn't like the other dishes. Now, let me mention that this is "family style" dining, which means huge portions on a platter which everyone shares. In Italy, this would be "home style," as opposed to trattoria style, where the portions are not three times the size of American portions, as the former is.

A great meal and my brother-in-law, Frank, used his athletic prowess to wrestle the check away from us before we had the chance. Not to mention that he instructed the waiter beforehand not to give it anybody but him.

Everybody went home to the Island or Jersey, leaving the Missus, Procrastinator Jr. and me to take in Times Square. We hit Sbarro's because Jr. didn't like the blackened part of the steak, then to Jamba Juice as we always do, because Jr. doesn't like his veggies.

When we checked out the next day, the same non-hustling, hustler bell boy was still there (how's that lint filling your pocket, son?), but we got a new indifferent desk person. She didn't say "hi" or "bye," or even "thank you." What, is there someone with a gun pointed at them, ready to plug them in the gut if they're nice? Or will they be beaten to a pulp after their shift is over?

To provide a contrast, even at Burger King on Eight St. they said thank you. If the so-called "lowliest" fast food worker who are famous for indifference elsewhere, can say "thank you," why can't some in the so-called hospitality industry do the same?

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5 Comments:

Blogger is that so wrong? said...

I didn't know there was a Carmine's near Times Square, but the one further uptown has left me very full (too full, really) with delicious food on more than one occasion. How can you go there and not order the Titanic?! That delicious multi-brownie ice cream concoction. So amazing, and a sure-fire path to a diabetic coma.

Fri Aug 25, 10:57:00 AM PDT  
Blogger John Donald Carlucci said...

You didn't have the ziti?

JDC

Fri Aug 25, 04:23:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

ITSW,

"How can you go there and not order the Titanic?! That delicious multi-brownie ice cream concoction. So amazing, and a sure-fire path to a diabetic coma."

We ate so much that we could barely breathe, there was no room for dessert.

Gian Don,

"You didn't have the ziti?"

Heh-heh-heh, no! You'd think that they would've served it to me automatically.

Fri Aug 25, 08:25:00 PM PDT  
Blogger katie schwartz said...

what a fabulous time you are having! did you leave the city to go back to the eyelindah? how long are you east for? are you taking any road trips? can't wait for the next update! I will be checking in tomorrow, wp. I expect a full report, bubbie!

ps: don't you love vodka penne in a pink sauce? I could swim in it. such a shame I can't eat it! argh. but I can live vicariously through you.

Fri Aug 25, 09:38:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

Katie,

"did you leave the city to go back to the eyelindah? how long are you east for? are you taking any road trips? can't wait for the next update! I will be checking in tomorrow, wp. I expect a full report, bubbie!"

Update coming soon, and yes I'm back on the "eyelindah," with an update coming tonight.

"ps: don't you love vodka penne in a pink sauce? I could swim in it. such a shame I can't eat it! argh. but I can live vicariously through you."

As I live the single life through you, get crackin' ;)

Sat Aug 26, 07:22:00 AM PDT  

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