The story I am about to tell starts on an up note and ends in a bit of a fart, to be completely blunt. Here is how it went.
I went to New York for a job interview. I was bright eyed and not at all bushy tailed. Actually, I was pretty well-groomed. I was really intent on landing the job in question, I had spent an entire week on preparing for the interview (instead of writing my dissertation. Oops), and tossing and turning all night because I am just compulsive like that.
I arrived in New York with a Boston chip on my shoulder. While I usually have an ok time in NY, I am very happy to get home to Boston – clean, unsmelly, comfortable Boston. Well, this time was a little different. This time, I walked the streets constantly trying the city on for size and summing up, trying to decide if I could live there, for real. This time was different in that I loved it.
I don’t know what changed. I loved New York best when I was walking around the city by myself, most of the time with very little idea of where I am. I loved all the shops and all the little (and big) streets, the amazing food, and the people. Aaah, the people. I, for one, don’t need strangers to smile and say hello to me. It weirds me out.
Well, if this preamble hasn’t been foreshadowing enough, let me cut this short by saying that the whole job business crashed and burned (no, I am pretty sure I did not get the job. No, I do not know what/who I am going to be if/when I grow up). Herein lies the fart of this story. It has got to be the peak of irony that the moment I become completely excited about moving to New York is the moment where my chances to do so fall through. I don’t get it. Bah.
I do have some awesome food to remember New York by, however. Kalustyan’s was the result of lone city wanderings, carried out on approximately 5 hours of sleep after closing down a couple of bars the night (ok, morning) before.
The little Middle Eastern spice shop is packed to the gills. There is practically no air left inside. It’s filled with spices and ingredients I have only read about and never seen. Huge raisins in clear glass bins, teas made of barely distressed whole tea leaves, and something like twenty different sugars. OMG. There is a teeny café upstairs with just three tables lining the window.
I ordered a baba ganoush sandwich and kibbe, sat by the window for a couple of hours reading another rationing of Jane Austen (Persuasion, this time), thinking about the city and trying not to think about the next couple of months. It was serene. The sandwich was amazing. Such unremarkable ingredients (pale tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, ordinary pita) blended into the best wrap I have ever had, ever. Home made hot sauce of incredible depth and complexity of taste drowned the anemic tomatoes and spilled onto the smoky, creamy baba ganoush and cooling, crunchy lettuce. It was by far the best baba ganoush I have ever had.
The kibbe was warm and moist, like a little fatty meat foil to the creamy baba ganoush sandwich. It was perfect and perfectly New York.
I may have missed my goal of relocating this time around, but I hope to my way over there eventually. Luckily, Boston is a pretty close second. I am happy here, for now.
P.S. HTML has gotten the best of me yet again. Sorry that the font looks weird. I ran out of patience while trying to fix it.