Recipes for Trouble

New York Travelogue 2: American Food

American food. Is it paella, Piedmontese pasta, or grits?

One morning, we converged on Peels, a “regional American” restaurant on Bowery. Dessert chef Shuna Lydon, my blogger colleague, works there. I follow her to whatever restaurant I can.

As usual, her oeuvre blew everything else out of the water. The “Ironsides” (skillet eggs with mustard greens, cheddar and grits) were fine, but Shuna’s Parker House Rolls with her mind-blowing citrus marmalade, her intriguing muffins (buckwheat, rosemary, lemon marmalade), lemon seed cake and the doughnut she ceremoniously brought us, filled with dulche de leche-banana filling were an adventure in contrasting flavours and textures, a multi-valenced expression of Shuna’s ever-expanding culinary wisdom.

She looked pretty good in her snappy whites. We asked her about the sparkles on her face. I. Work. In. A. Sub. Sub. Basement. she said happily. It’s. A. Way. To. Bring. In. Some. Light.

My final morning in New York I abandoned Feminist Lawyer to her newspapers and had a delicious greasy spoon breakfast in a diner. Perfectly poached egss, great rye toast, coffee, all for $4.95.

The sun made the rain-soaked pavement gleam. People rushed to work. I could hear clicking heels, horns blaring, the swoosh of buses.

I was heading home, but this place would always be a reference point for me. Food, art, fashion, and a niece sending music like heart medicine through the underground veins of the subway, calling me back every time.

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