Sunday, January 25, 2009

Things Grad Students Love, Part 4

Fare thee well, Winter Break, for tomorrow, I embark on my first day of my first spring semester as a graduate student. And to ring in the fresh start, I've decided to showcase all the amazing cultural cuisines I've sampled, enjoyed, and fallen in love with since I've moved to this city. Which brings me to Part 4 of Things Grad Students Love:

Eating food beyond one's cooking abilities and usual financial limitations.

Now that I'm back on the East Coast after having my fill of Mexican cuisine and, well, more Mexican cuisine, I've began exploring and experiencing food far beyond what I would eat on a normal basis. Usually my daily food intake looks something like this:

Cereal with soy milk, or
Cereal bar
Orange juice if I have it

More tea
Over-easy eggs over a tortilla smothered in Valentina hot sauce with a small green salad, or
Mac and cheese, or
Tuna melt

Pasta with some green vegetable (zucchini, broccoli, etc.), or
Grilled ground turkey with assorted vegetables in taco form with cheese, lettuce, and a whole buncha Valentina, or
Assorted vegetables stir-fried in soy sauce over white rice.

And really, that's about all the selection I allow myself. Anything else requires too much effort, and, for that matter, funds.

If I'm out drinking I'll grab a slice at about 3 in the morning, and occasionally a friend will want to go to a coffee shop to get some tea or a pastry or something. Now that I'm kinda seeing someone I'm sure it will become increasingly difficult to NOT eat out places, especially since this guy never cooks for himself and is also bursting with a wealth of interesting places to check out or visit or eat at. But either way, I've definitely been exploring and trying different food lately that I normally would never think of trying/allow myself to consume.

Case in point: Chicken and waffles.

Now, I've had chicken and waffles before at one of the more famous chicken and waffle joints in California called Roscoe's. But seeing as this dish was invented in Harlem in the fair city of New York, it's no wonder that Roscoe's simply pales in comparison to Amy Ruth's, a two-story mecca of soul food found in the heart of Harlem just off 116th (waaaaay uptown) and Malcolm X Blvd. Myself and 20 other friends (yeah, we were at 3 separate tables) took the trek up to Amy Ruth's this afternoon, and since the god damn unreliable piece of ass L train wasn't running past Union Sq. we had to take a bus across town to the 2 train which only had local service since it was a Sunday and therefore took us to every since stop along the track only to dump us off at 96th to take a shuttle (which, in the city's defense, was free) up along Central Park to 116th and Lenox WHEW!...Sorry, that got a little ranty and ridiculous, but honestly, the trip took about an hour, and as we walked into the cloth- and plastic-lined entrance way to the restaurant I was literally about ready to kill someone over a basket of corn bread.

Suffice it to say that I obviously ordered fried chicken and waffles, I obviously ordered tea and it never came to the table (such is the luck of a lowly, unimportant tea drinker as she bows to the might of the coffee consumer), and our table of seven people obviously finished the entire syrup container in a matter of a half an hour. I, obviously, was in a sugar- and lard-induced coma that lasted the rest of the day, going home immediately after to change into my comfy clothes before heading to my neighbors to watch The Dark Knight, after which I came home to lay on my bed and listen to music for about 3 hours. If one is looking for a time suck, look no further than a meal of fried chicken and syrup-slathered waffles.

Might I add that the texture of these waffles was simply perfection. Some of those crap Eggo waffles get all hard and chewy and unsatisfying, and I almost never order waffles just for that reason, but this place knows how to make a mean waffle. Fluffy, easy to cut into, and just the right thickness to act as a base for a piece of crispy, sticky, glistening chicken, Amy Ruth's waffles are, to put it mildly, the shit.

This soul food adventure was far different from my Ethiopian food venture I embarked on in Midtown a few weeks ago with my neighbor and a friend from out of town, vastly different from the Greenwich Village sushi restaurant with the beautiful and delicious mochi (note to bank account: these were both free! Thanks, out-of-town visitors!), almost as indulgent as the Belgian french fry place with the most amazing poutine I'll probably ever eat, just as bad for me as my favorite lasagna pizza slice, and decidedly less healthy than The Hummus Place on St. Mark's (who knew I could crave chick peas and falafel in my sleep?).

I really have to chalk one up for this break, without which I would currently be violently ill when looking at my depressingly boring slab of turkey meat in my fridge and the same old boring vegetables. Here's to more fantastic food adventures!


Diana Marie said...

oh man. chicken and waffles put you out like a light. i still need to take sergio there...miss you!

n/a said...

After the original chicken and waffles bit in some Atlanta restaurant, the Man vs. Food guy actually went to chicken and waffles in New York, but it wasn't at Amy Ruth's but instead Sylvia's restaurant, about 11 blocks up on 127th and Lennox.

Looked quite a bit ritzier than Amy Ruth's for the record.

Katharine Relth said...

I think the non-ritz factor is what made the Amy Ruth's experience so great. Eating chicken and waffles on a starched white table cloth? Impractical! In fact, inconceivable!

Princess Leah said...

I am pretty darn sure that you have to take me here the next time I visit.