Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review May 24, 2004 / 4 Sivan, 5764

Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Froot Loops, pancakes and caviar omelets | MANHATTAN — This morning, I will do something I always swear I will never do again: Eat brunch in New York.

What's that? Why? Sorry. I can't hear you. I'm in the back of a line that spills down Columbus Avenue. This is the line for people who have reservations. People who don't just get laughed at, then splashed by a bus.

But that is only one reason to avoid a Big Apple brunch. Here's another: the Sunday New York Times. Apparently, due to some federal mandate, all New Yorkers must read the entire Sunday Times while eating Sunday brunch, starting from the front page and finishing with the lingerie ads. This, of course, takes 22 hours. Which may explain the line.

But wait. We're only getting started. And speaking of started, how about those appetizers? Appetizers, you say? For brunch? Didn't brunch used to mean that you could have eggs and French toast in the same meal? Or maybe Froot Loops and a piece of chicken? That's how I defined brunch.

Today it means something different.

Today it means "jamming garlic shrimps with white corn fritters."

Today it means "codfish seasoned with onion, scallions and three peppers, served with callallo and fried dumplings."

Today it means - and these are all from real New York brunch menus - "corn crusted calamari cracklins with chipotle and avocado cremas."

There is so much wrong with that.

For one thing, I don't know what a "cracklin" is. I know "Cracklin' Rosie," but that was a Neil Diamond song, and come to think of it, I never understood that. Or Neil Diamond. You wouldn't really call a woman "cracklin'," would you? Much less a calamari.

I also have no idea what an "avocado creama" is. It doesn't sound like breakfast. And while I have read the word "chipotle" before, to me it is sort of like "fennel." You say, "Oh, yeah, yeah . uh, what is that again?"

A dictionary is not how you should start your Sunday morning.

Donate to JWR

All I really wanted was a place that served eggs and pancakes and maybe a waffle. Someone recommended Norma's, in Le Parker Meridien Hotel, because "it specializes in breakfast." I figured, great, that would eliminate the codfish.

And sure enough, when I looked into it, Norma's did indeed specialize in things like omelets.

With caviar.

And lobster.

In fact, Norma's, we believe, has broken the record for world's most expensive omelet. It costs $1,000. It contains an entire lobster, 10 ounces of really expensive caviar, and, presumably, some eggs, although you probably can order it without the eggs, as long as you have the thousand bucks.

I asked the manager just how many people had ordered the $1,000 omelet and he said, "Three. And they were all journalists."

Not for long.

Not all brunches in New York City cost $1,000. Some can be had for as little as $795, although you probably have to bus your own table. Only in New York can you buy a bagel for 50 cents on one corner, then cross the street, put cream cheese on that bagel, and get charged $34.75.

So why, you ask, am I doing it? I don't know. I guess because, like Disneyland, enough time goes by and you forget all the lines, money, heat and parking and you keep seeing a smiling Mickey Mouse head. And enough time goes by between New York brunches that I start seeing big stacks of pancakes and French toast and cheese omelets and a bowl of Cocoa Puffs.

And not the "Maine lobster, pico de gallo and cheese quesadilla."

So as I line up for the ATM, en route to lining up for the "reservations only" line, I take solace in only this:

I have a friend who may join us and his nickname is "Rosey." And in an effort to try to convince him to come, I can, for the first and only time in my life, actually say, "It's Cracklin', Rosey, get on board!"

Which makes it all worthwhile.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Mitch Albom's column by clicking here. You may purchase his latest book, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven", by clickingHERE. (Sales help fund JWR.)


05/10/04: Why can't we stop bullying problem?
04/26/04: The professor stood for more than hockey
04/19/04: No time like the present to relive the past
04/11/04: Sister's family loves its piece of the rock
03/18/04: North and South meet at Western Michigan
03/15/04: Hockey could stop fighting in a heartbeat
03/08/04: Yeah, right, downsizing food is the answer
03/01/04: Lord of the Geeks
02/17/04: Want to get hitched? Not so fast, pal
02/09/04: Beatlemania still resonates
01/26/04: Fine, you have 110 percent of our respect
01/20/04: The sanctity of wasting our money
12/29/03: Anyone remember a concept called 'childhood'?
12/22/03: The I's have it
12/15/03: Life's brilliant on the other side of the pond
12/08/03: Squeezed by the politics of business
11/24/03: Celebs' misdeeds will make great tales for the grandkids
11/10/03: The butler did it! (But do we care?)
10/27/03: Parsley, sage, rosemary and time
10/13/03: The Kobe case: There are no winners
10/07/03: Tough choices in the not-so-amazing race
11/05/02: Everything is a billboard, even the cops
10/29/02: Nowhere to hide ... even at 40,000 feet
10/22/02: The pen isn't mightier than good sense
10/15/02: We turn our serial killers into celebrities
10/02/02: In Minnesota Vikings star receiver's view, he's king, you're dirt
09/26/01: The feds don't feel their pain
09/18/01: Some cling to life, others give it away
09/12/01: Worshipping a false 'Idol'
11/14/01: Patriotism is no excuse for stupidity
10/30/01: Dr. Dre: champ for First Amendment!
10/23/01: Terror is sugar-free
10/16/01: The army of the in-between
10/11/01: New war begins with delivery of darkness
10/08/01: Give peace a chance?
10/01/01: If this is supposed to make us feel secure, it isn't working
09/28/01: And our flag is still there
09/26/01: On the road to Ohio, life's little joys return
09/25/01: Our challenge: Not to change who we are
09/17/01: We can learn plenty from the horror
08/31/01: Back to school: Revenge of the boomers
08/22/01: The price of connectedness
08/16/01: An anniversary without celebration
07/31/01: Wanna name my kid? Pay me a cool Mil' --- OK, a half-mil'
07/25/01: Hey, there's no television on my ice floe!
07/10/01: When nobody knew what a Heisman was
07/02/01: Business opportunities for the empathy-impaired
06/25/01: Bunker mentality: At least Archie's meanness was satire
06/18/01: Famous fathers, eat your hearts out
06/05/01: 'No comment' on Bush twins is hard to swallow
05/30/01: Veteran scratches out the hatred
05/22/01: O.J.'s genius
05/15/01: No more kidding around
05/01/01: Haunted by the past
04/16/01: Before you file that extension...
04/11/01: Ever want to break an airport agent's neck? This guy did!
04/03/01: The best role models aren't on TV
03/19/01: 'March madness' is aptly named
03/07/01: I'm sorry, I apologize, I beg your forgiveness
03/05/01: Young fans' web sites become a Big Harry deal

© 2003 DFP