Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dancing with the Wurst: A Day at the 9th Avenue Street Fair

The trucks have arrived with their greasy, quivering spiral mounds of sweet and spicy Italian sausage. They're on every street corner, those huge white behemoths of schlock on wheels, filling the air with the sickly sweet aroma of burnt vidalias and charred sausage.

Where else am I but New York, the cultural capital that can't seem to offer up a single decent street fair? Go figure – the world's most ethnically diverse city, the center of the food revolution, conquered by a fleet of shitty sausage trucks. Like a summer nightmare, a blight on an already humid, stinking city built on what used to be a malarial swamp.

But the 9th Avenue street fair is billed as something different, and I've headed up here with a sense of hope and a healthy appetite, ready for anything. Because like the Atlantic Antic, that one bright spot on the calendar of otherwise characterless festivals, this is one time we actually get a dose of some serious personality: the restaurants on the block will be cooking for us?

Strangely or perhaps not so in New York, when culinary personality does pop up on the street, it tends to manifest in seriously barbarous form: severed animal heads, whole spitted piglets and seriously medieval South American barbecue. Go figure.

Nestled in the carnage of the day, and tucked between dancehall DJs and "buy one bra get two free" deals, we hit some truly New York gold: homemade mochi and even more homemade pupusas. But really, and truly, I had come for the currywurst.
If you'd like a history of the currywurst, I'm not exactly the expert you want to talk to, but it's one of those glorious cross-cultural amalgamations that make the ravages of centuries of vicious colonialism, culture conflict and globalization just oh-so delicious. To put it basely, it's just a hotdog doused in curry, but that's like writing off Venice as a stinking, glorified fishing village on stilts – which it is, I guess. But because I hate hotdogs, and I love currywurst.

The right sausage, crisp, so ready to burst you've already grabbed a napkin to wipe your face before you even buy the thing. The bread is crisp and dense, a welcome departure from the wonderbread fluff that turns to playdough in your stomach. The sandwich almost overwhelmed by pickled red cabbage slaw and a seriously delicious onion relish. A blast of curry.

Why the curry? If you have to ask, you'll never know. But really, it just works. This sucker is GOOD.

And then we bump into this. Oh, New York.

Although after the fat tranny hooker I ran into that morning, gut bulging in a cut off mini tee...New York, I love you for it all, but please, please, please, get rid of the sausage trucks!

No comments:

Post a Comment