The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Friday, May 04, 2007

geographically inaccurate (and ok with it) + today's lunch

After weeks of pondering, I'm unable to come up with a good enough new name that reflects our new zip code. So I guess we'll just stick with the Park Slope Gastronome, especially considering starting a new blog would mean losing comments like these. Also apparently Clinton Hill is already the most blogged-about neighborhood in the country.

My what to eat for lunch dilemma from the other month is no longer since I started working in a real office again. The new commute sucks, but I love my new lunch options. Right up the street from me is a cluster of Japanese owned businesses, including a small grocery store that also serves dons and udon, a sushi place that happens to make a ymmmy tiramisu and a juggernaut called Cafe Zaiya. There's also a great used bookstore called Book Off. I was psyched to discover this block and did so because I have been experimenting with routes to work. For a week straight my morning routine included a mochi donut from Zaiya. Feeling a bit muffin-toppy of late, I've purposely not walked down this block for the past few days. Anyway, Zaiya reminds me of the food court at Mitsuwa marketplace in Edgewater, NJ. Instead of all the stores and stands being spread out over a couple thousand square feet, they are all jammed in a space the size of your average Starbucks. You can get cream puffs from Beard Papa, a steamed green tea bun or fancy Opera cake from the bakery, a protein and two sides from the hot lunch counter in the back, pre-made sushi and tea sandwiches from the refrigerated case or one of the many room temperature bento boxes and dons from the metro shelving that divides the bakery section from the make your own salad area. Yes, there's also a salad bar. The food and prices are both solid so this place attracts a ton of hungry mid-towners.

Luckily for me, I take my lunch later (1:30 at the earliest) and the scene is a bit more calm then. This morning however I had skipped breakfast so I wound up eating lunch around 12:30. Holy shit, Zaiya was a madhouse. Granted, there were bento offerings I had never seen before, but it was a ridiculous scene. I attempted to make a quick lunch decision, but with all the never-before-seen offerings, I failed. I finally decided on a mixed bento box which contained the following: white rice with a little mount of chopped oshinko atop; a tiny scoop (size of a squash ball, maybe?) of potato salad/mashed potato hybrid; more oshinko; a panko-crusted fried shrimp, a slice of shio salmon, a small slice of some sort of meat loaf, a piece of karage, a hunk of simmered bamboo, two tiny sausages (sadly, not cut to look like an octopus or penguin); chicken and sauteed onions (basically oyako-don without the egg or rice).

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