Five Phases in Five Months
The five eating phases of moving to New York City:
Phase 1. Food Thrill-Seeking. Eat everything, everywhere. Make rookie mistakes, like grabbing a giant hoagie and attempting to eat it on the train. Three meals in a day translates into three new restaurants per day. The only rule is never eat at the same place twice. Enter a state of perpetual shock and awe with each exotic flavor. Discover a sixth taste, and name it “unctuami.” Gain 5-10 pounds, cancelling out increased level of daily activity. Render futile the term “walking it off.”
Phase 2. De-tox/Fruit and Vegetable Foraging. Spend the day planning a home-cooked meal and eating baby carrots. Switch to green tea. Discover the “salad bar” of pre-canned vegetables at sketchy and rudely staffed local chains such as Hale and Hearty or Chop’td. Become overwhelmed by starvation and restlessness on the subway ride home. Ditch all cooking plans. Discover vegan meatballs at ridiculously named vegetarian restaurant in your Brooklyn neighborhood. Buy a BPA-free water bottle in an attempt to lose “water weight.”
Phase 3. Setting Limits. Make declaration of Two Nights Out Per Week. Using simple math skills, add on days equal to Cook At Home Three Nights Per Week. x + Takeout = Cook on Sundays. Develop tricks of the locals such as buying a $2 bag of day-old bagels, to freeze and toast at one’s leisure. Rejoice at your adaptive abilities. Discover local parks and urban biking.
Phase 4. Becoming a Regular. Eat at the same establishment over 3 times in one month. Introduce yourself to the host and bartender. Purchase Rosetta Stone for Japanese, and introduce yourself again so you may be understood. Sit at a table, and then ask to be seated only at that table forever, sometimes waiting 1-3 hours for “your” table. Only eat after the dinner rush, or before the dinner rush. Order everything on the menu, decide on your favorite item, and continue to order that same item until it becomes known as your ‘usual’ meal. Smile hugely, and tip lavishly. Forget your cell phone and ask to use the restaurant’s landline. Get seated as an incomplete party, and while everyone stares anxiously at the empty seat, steadily order appetizers until the party is completed, and when you don’t get kicked out, declare victory.
Phase 5. Joining the Park Slope Food Co-op. Discover fresh salads, soups, and sandwiches at the small, friendly caterers down the street from work. Discover wonderful, friendly local coffee shop near work. Learn about grocery store delivery. Begin to eat like a normal person. Visit the Union Square farmer’s market and discover a new heirloom variety of jerusalem artichoke (similar to the other, but in red!). While there, drink hot grape juice. After five straight months of forgetting to visit the website for the Park Slope Food Co-Op precisely at 4:00pm on Sunday exactly two weeks before you are able to attend an orientation, suddenly and without warning, remember. Anticipate this final phase, and wait for the moment (two weeks from 4pm Sunday) when you will be henceforth, a New Yorker.