Entry 848: Stop Poisoning My Food

Restaurants in New York City are getting dangerous.

This was demonstrated to me when my wife took me on an overnight excursion for my birthday. We drove into the city from our home in the suburbs, had dinner, saw a show, and stayed in one of those boutique-style hotels. The following morning, we went for breakfast to a place called Lexington Brass. The eatery is on Lexington Avenue so that part of its name makes sense, but I don’t know where the “Brass” comes in, unless it refers to the balls it has to charge $19 for an omelet. But that’s not my complaint.

My gripe is with menu items like the “Fresh Fruit Bowl,” described as a “seasonal assortment + banana, pomegranate, hemp, goji, acai, flax, toasted almonds or shaved coconut.” Why would anyone want a bowl of fruit with two ingredients–hemp and flax– that you can make shirts out of? If they served me something like that, I might try to use the hemp to make a rope with which I could hang myself when I saw all the healthy stuff they were trying to poison me with.

As I’ve said often in this blog, I do not like eating food that was not around during my formative years. The last time I lived in Manhattan, in the 80s, I may have had to deal with streetwalkers and squeegee men, but I did not have to live with gojis and acais. I think those are berries of some sort, and that they are supposed to be beneficial in some way. But I’ll have the last laugh when somebody does a study and discovers that they cause cancer in rats . . . if scientists can get the rats to eat the things.

My favorite part of eating breakfast out is usually hashed brown potatoes, but not at Lexington Brass, with its Sweet Potato-Quinoa Hash Browns. What the hell kind of abomination is that? And the other “Sides” are no better. How can two eggs be “for the table?” (“Oh, yes, just put those sunny-side up eggs in the middle. Dig in, everyone!”) And who the heck is Neuske, and why should I want to eat his or her bacon?

Jeez, even if you just want an order of toast, you have to choose between gluten-free toast or “Smashed Organic Avo Toast.” I know some people have allergies, but I personally think the glutens are the best part of toast. And I wanted to tell them where they could stick their avos instead of in their toast and in their “Spinach Power Bowl,” with toasted white quinoa, spinach pureé, avocado, pine nuts, soft boiled egg, sesame & hemp seeds.” That might be appropriate if breakfast was supposed to be the most disgusting meal of the day.

Anyway, I was sitting there eating the most normal thing I could find on the Lexington Brass menu and I happened to glance through the window to the storefront across the street. “Ole & Steen” was the name of it, but there was a word underneath that I couldn’t make out. It looked like “Lagkagehuset” which made no sense. So I asked my wife if she could read it.

“Lag-kag-e-hu-set,” she replied.

Okay, so there was nothing wrong with my eyes. There was just something wrong with the proprietors of the store.

“What the hell is that?” I asked my wife while pushing around the salad that had been misguidedly placed on the plate with my $19 omelet. “Is it a thing? A person? A place? An Indian tribe?”

Out came her phone, because in today’s world, answers to stupid questions are instantaneously available 24/7. “It means ‘layer cake house,’” Barb replied after a moment.

Of course it does. Why didn’t I know that? Still, if that meant it was an alternative to a gingerbread house, it sounded like a great idea, because layer cakes are yummier than gingerbread.

“It’s Danish,” Barbara added, and then continued reading from her screen. “‘Ole & Steen is a pioneer in the resurgence of artisanal and handcrafted baking practices in Denmark.’”

I’ve written recently about my dislike of the word “artisanal.” I wondered what kind of baking practices Denmark had before the resurgence. I mean, I’ve always thought the Danes made a nice cheese Danish.

But Barbara was still busy swiping. “‘Enjoy colorful, creative salads, soups, and sandwiches,’” she read, “‘like our heirloom carrot steak sandwich with artichoke, harissa, cured olive, rocket, and soft Danish cheese.’”

I was so discombobulated over the concept of a carrot steak sandwich, I didn’t even ask what rocket was. Or harissa.

“Did you say ‘carrot steak sandwich?’” I said. “Please tell me that’s a steak between two slices of carrot . . . ?”

She was holding up her finger for me to wait a second. Then she handed me her phone so I could see the picture she had found of a carrot steak.

“You can’t be serious. Is it a vegan place?”

She took back her phone. “Nope. You can get a roasted chicken sandwich with bacon, kale pesto, butternut squash and Gouda cheese.” We both gagged at that. Neither one of us likes kale and believe it is a horrible joke played on the public by the cabbage industry.

But you see? These restaurants are trying to poison us with their kale and their quinoa and their various weird berries and their shirt material. And in case their poisons don’t work, they’re evidently also putting rockets in our food so that we will explode.

See you soon.

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