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. []

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