Let’s talk about living (and eating) in New York City.
We have a lot of perks here. It is the center of live theatre, the shopping hub of the Northeast, and the bars don’t close until four in the morning. However, for about five months out of the year, it starts to get dark at 4:30 p.m., and by 5 o’clock, it’s pitch-black, and it might as well be midnight. Not what this West Coast transplant would call a perk. I already invested in a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lamp and try to think repeated “awake” thoughts every time the sun starts to set, but that does nothing to quell my hunger. Yes, hunger. Because as a visual person, I get hungry when the sun goes down.
It doesn’t matter if I just ate lunch an hour before. When the sun starts to set, my stomach rumbles, and I start dreaming of warm sourdough bread dripping in butter. It’s a sad confession, but I need to eat dinner by 5:30 p.m. in the winter. And you know what that means: I need to have second dinner around 9 p.m. And second dinner isn’t vegetable juice and rice cakes. It’s chili con carne, crowned with cool sour cream and pickled jalapenos. I want pork braised in soy and star anise, served over sticky white rice, fat melting into the stark white grains. I want chicken roasted with gobs of sweet garlic and onions, cooked over potatoes that crisp in the animal’s own fat.
When it’s cold and dark outside and I spend the majority of time in a coat that makes me look like the Michelin man, I want comfort food. Fatty, animalistic, comfort food. And, don’t forget: I want it once at dinner, and again at second dinner. And who am I to deny myself that? It’s secretly one of the best parts of living in New York. The fact that I need to wear pants without a zipper all winter because I gain a cute little spare tire? Well, that’s another post altogether.