Cooking The Books – Emmie Dark

Chef with cookbookIt’s not often I get a Billy Joel earworm but this week I have Harlequin SuperRomance and Destiny Romance author Emmie Dark to thank for putting me in a New York State of Mind. When she told me she was headed to the Big Apple, I asked her to be our correspondent. I begged her to do some very New York eating at a typical NY deli. I wanted brisket, pastrami and pickles. As you will see, she’s lukewarm about the pickles but I can’t think of Crossing Delancey without looking at pickles as a fabulous way to a woman’s heart. Welcome Emmie!!


Adventure at Artie’sEmmie Dark

by Emmie Dark

Louise sent me off to New York with a pretty specific mission for this blog post: I was to find and document a meal at a traditional New York deli. Never one to turn down an adventure, I agreed and, last week, set off to fulfil my commitment.

My first task was to chose where to go! I did a quick Google search on “Best New York delis” and luckily the number one on the list just happened to be in the same neighbourhood as some other places I wanted to visit. So it was off to “Artie’s”.

Arties NYC

Artie’s is on the Upper West Side and I caught the subway to get there. I felt like quite the local, because I’d used the subway a few times in previous days, so I actually knew where I was going and which train to catch. I was even confident enough to pop earphones on for a bit of subway soundtrack.

(As an aside, don’t you love it when your “random” music selection throws up the perfect song for the occasion? I got two Aussie songs that felt particularly right for my subway trip: City Calm Down’s “Pleasure and Consequence” made me feel like I was in an indie film (“lone but scrappy gal takes on big city and wins!”) and Hilltop Hoods’ “Nosebleed Section” had me right at home with a little hip hop amongst my homies.)

The inside of Artie’s with its red Laminex tables delivers the true diner/deli experience. Inside Arties NYC

And I loved a couple of the signs around the place – particularly the one advertising their catering service: “My son’s becoming a doctor party! Deli platter with Artie’s famous pastrami, corned beef, fresh turkey breast & corned beef!”

Because I was looking for breakfast, I steered away from the sandwiches. But I knew Louise expected a traditional deli meal, so I chose a pastrami omelette. All meals are served with pickles and coleslaw, which are brought to your table as soon as you order.Arties NYC - Condiments

Pickles? I don’t mind them, but these were especially vinegary and sharp. Not for me. And the coleslaw was very creamy and pretty tasteless to be honest. So also not for me. So far, strike one for Artie’s.

There were various sides you could order with your breakfast. I went for potato pancakes, not entirely sure what to expect, but I did think they would be something between a traditional pancake and a hashbrown. No. They’re more like potato croquettes and they’re served with apple sauce and sour cream. I didn’t love them, but I didn’t hate them either. Arties NYC - Breakfast

As for the omelette? Seriously, this was one of the most unusual breakfast foods I’ve ever eaten. It wasn’t, as I’m used to, a folded-over melding of eggs and extras (pastrami in this case). Instead, it was more like a crepe – a very fine layer of egg folded over and over, with chunks of pastrami between the layers.  Someone told me this is an Italian way of making omelettes, but I’ve never seen it before.

(I’m not sure if you really wanted to see a close-up of my half-eaten breakfast, but this was the only real way to show you the layer thing I’m talking about.) Arties NYC - eaten breakfast

Despite the unusual construction, the omelette was quite delicious and the pastrami chunks were satisfyingly salty.

I also managed to get a cup of herbal tea – although judging from the somewhat crumpled tea bag, I got the feeling it might have been dug up out of a jar put to the back of their darkest, dimmest cabinet with a label that said something like, “Fancy schmancy tea for uppity people who think they’re too good for our coffee” or something similar.

Unfortunately I was full and didn’t have time to fit in dessert. But I really wanted to try another New York staple, the black-and-white cookie. Luckily I got to have one a week later…

The Ritz - tea

…during afternoon tea at The Plaza. Yes, just a little different from Artie’s! But that’s another story…

Emmie’s latest SuperRomance release “Just For Today…” came out in June and is available now in North America, Australia and New Zealand or online. []

You can find Emmie on the web:






27 comments on “Cooking The Books – Emmie Dark

  1. Oh Lord! It looks like this little vegetarian wouldn’t cope too well with U S cuisine. What are they thinking? Pickles, coleslaw, apple sauce and sour cream for breakfast?? That menu doesn’t even cut brunch in my books!

    • Hi Kate,
      Not for the faint-hearted, this breakfast. Every time I look at that photo I burp. Thanks for visiting!

  2. I wanted the ‘diner’ rather than the ‘deli’ experience while I was in the States. Found a 24 hour one in San Francisco and had an amazing breakfast there (so big that Sally Pearson couldn’t have hurdled the hash brown stack) – but didn’t see Richie or Fonzie… Love the look of your experience, Emmie. What a fun post, thanks Lou and Emmie.

    • Hi Christine. I’m looking forward to some diner experiences on my US trip in Sept. I used to eat at a ‘greasy spoon’ in Chicago years ago. Massive servings and very American food. A fantastic, artery-clogging experience.

  3. Kate — any kind of special diet is tough in the US when you’re eating out all the time! I try to stay gluten and sugar-free and that was near impossible!

  4. Thanks Christine! I did a diner experience on my last couple of days — eggs and bacon “Hi-Dry”. I had to ask the waitress what that meant, and it was simply eggs, fried or scrambled, and bacon and nothing else. (No toast, pancakes, potatoes or hashbrowns.) I ordered that and a bowl of strawberries and it was pretty much my best breakfast for the entire trip!

  5. I can’t get over the pickles and coleslaw. What a strange starter. And you just eat them on their own? As usual, my vego diet would be a right hassle, so it’s great to experience it vicariously! I definitely love it when songs fit the situation – I had that the other day with Emiliana Torrini. And Nosebleed Section is always a winner. Thanks for sharing Emmie (and Louise, for hosting). x

    • It’s so very NY, isn’t it? Have you ever seen the movie ‘Crossing Delancey’? If not, check it out. It’s all about finding love with a pickle man 🙂

  6. Hi Emmie,
    Your food expedition sounds fascinating, but I think I like the sound of the black and white cookie the best.



  7. It sounds like quite an experience. The italian omelettes that I grew up with were a plate size thick crepe — a cross between a crepe and a pancake — my Mamma used to stuff them (caneloni style) with spinach and parmesan (not ricotta) and covered them with either Napoli or Bolognese sauce, as the mood caught her. (I preferrred my Mamma’s homemade mayonnaise). I doubt the tomato sauce was very Italian ;-P

    Must day I like your Hi-Dry breakfast —hold the bacon and eggs and leave the strawberries, please.
    Great blog, Emmie.
    Louise, thanks for having Emmie as your roving reporter 🙂

  8. I’d better clarify. I left out some information because I got distracted.

    My brother used to prefer them plain and smothered in good ol’s Aussie tomato sauce. (I preferrred my Mamma’s homemade mayonnaise). I doubt the tomato sauce was very Italian.

    • Hi bella. Well those Italian omelettes sound yummy. Not sure about the tomato sauce although Napoli sounds pretty good. Eggs are such a great carrier of flavours and ingredients. The perfect food in many respects. Thanks for visiting!

  9. Rachael, I have to admit, I think those potato pancakes would make a particularly good afternoon snack, even if I wasn’t that keen on them for breakfast.

  10. Thanks Madeline! I thought the coleslaw and pickle starter was a little unusual. Pickles are pretty commonly served with hamburgers in the US, but for breakfast??

  11. Thanks Margaret! The black and white cookie was pretty amazing, I must admit. I think I need to go back so that I can have one from one of the traditional delis!

  12. Serena — Ah, so the person who told me the omelette was more traditional Italian might have been on the right track then. It was quite delicious, but I certainly do like the idea of one stuffed with parmesan and spinach with sauce on top!

  13. I’d like to do a food tour of New York (actually I’d do a food tour of anywhere :)) No matter how adventurous we are with food though I think we always want the familiar for breaky. I get angsty if I have to go too many days without vegemite toast. Coleslaw and pickle with scrambled eggs and pastrami sounds a bit… challenging.

    • Hi Melinda. YES! Food tourism rocks. Forget art galleries and churches. Just point me to the nearest good café or restaurant. And let’s face it, you can learn a lot about a culture while sitting in a café eating and watching.

    • Hi Cathryn, can just imagine the look when Emmie asked for tea. I did that once in the US and got a glass of iced tea. They know no other 🙂

  14. Melinda — I meant to do a food tour while I was there — so much I didn’t get to do! And I must admit — I had vegemite toast for breakfast this morning. It’s a treat!

  15. Cathryn, as you know, my tea proclivities are very important to me! Although this trip I did find a place that I adored that specialised in serving tea — I went there so often, the staff began to recognise me. 🙂

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