FROM THE DESK OF: Deo
Any time I go to Trader Joe’s and see a line that wraps around the building, I say the same thing to myself: HELL NO! Then, out of spite, I will go to the nearest bodega and buy spam and eggs and eat that with rice for dinner—cause really, spam and eggs with rice is still amazing.
I love Trader Joe’s—they have the best stuff, they treat their employees well (who in turn treat the shoppers well), and they’re relatively affordable. With that said, however, there really isn’t any reason you should be waiting in line outside, in the middle of winter, just to get eggs, frozen veggies, and what is essentially gourmet TV dinners. Why do people put up with this? Is this like an adult version of Splash Mountain? Well, they both have some similarities: there’s the long lines, the fake nature decorations, the animatronic woodland creatures (hipsters), and when you make it towards the end, you throw your hands up, scream, and pray you don’t wet yourself. Can I get a fast pass up in here?
Some people say TJ’s is over rated, others say it’s under rated. I say they’re properly rated: overrated when you have to deal with lines, underrated when you don’t. That brings them to about even. Both camps win! I’m such a good mediator.
Anyway, in New York, there are a lot of places that are overrated, underrated, and properly rated. Lemme tell ya’ about ‘em, Johnny!
Repeat after me: OVER-RATED (clap-clap clap-clap-clap)
The Halal Guys
Blasphemy! How dare you! But The Halal Guys are the bomb, you say. I go out of my way from a different borough just eat it, you say. You better shut up or I’ll stab you with a jagged knife, you say. Woah, okay, fine! Put the knife away. Let me back up. Yes, their food is pretty damn good. The portions are big and they let you go to town on the white sauce. That is awesome.
But, here’s the thing: have you ever tried the other halal carts? The ones with no lines? Let me fill you in on a little secret: they’re almost exactly the same as The Halal Guys. This might sound completely ignorant (and in a lot of ways it is), but I’m pretty sure the other carts have the same meat, the same rice, the same veggies, the same sauce, the same equipment, and, hell, even the same quality of cooks. Unless you can tell me The Halal Guy’s chicken comes from some local free-range organic farm upstate, I’m going to assume it comes from the same dumpster outside of Costco just like all the other carts. But seriously though, do a taste test with The Halal Guys and another truck and I’ll be damned if you can tell the difference. The only reason their lines are so long is because they have a cool name. You can sell any food if you include “Guys” in your name. I bet there’d be a long line if there was ever a “Your Mother-In-Law’s Leftover Turkey Lasagna Guys” cart.
There’s that knife out again. Please put it away, okay? I’m only ranking them as overrated, not cause they taste bad, but because their lines are too long when you could easily go to any other cart with no lines and get the same delicious food. Unlike TJ’s where sometimes there are no lines (and you can get food that you can’t get anywhere else), The Halal Guys have lines all the time. Overrated!
First of all, this isn’t even the real Grimaldi’s Pizza. The real Grimaldi’s Pizza, owned by Patsy Grimaldi, is next door, and it’s called Juliana’s. The original Grimaldi’s Pizza was sold to Frank Ciolli in 1998, but after a dispute about pizza quality, Patsy Grimaldi wanted his good name back and opened up Juliana’s (he’s legally barred from using his own name). The line for the fake Grimaldi’s consists of tourists who think they’re visiting a legendary pizza place. Forgive em, Johnny, they don’t know any betta! Anyway, the line! Don’t be fooled by their damn line! Do I have to write about this again? Is waiting two hours for what is essentially bread, tomato sauce, and cheese worth it? Especially when next door has the original owner and is a better quality pizza?
Coffee Shops That Serve Wine
Where else can you drink alone pretty much all day and actually look like you’re smart and cultured instead of just a raging alcoholic loser? There are a few of these all over town, but they are all underrated. I’m not naming any of them because I don’t want you to find me there. Anyway, bring a book, your laptop, do some writing, meet a friend, people watch, whatever. You can’t go wrong.
That Corner Bar Next To A Really Popular Bar
That really popular bar has all the hip, attractive people, and they’re all laughing at each other’s jokes, and whispering witty things in each other’s ears. The corner bar next to it is a place where you don’t have to worry about all that. Sometimes, it’s nice to drink alone without feeling the pressure of looking cool or being social. You can just hang out and watch Jeopardy with the bartender while the gay couple next to you works on the NY Times crossword puzzle, and you have a drink and kill some time before you meet your friend for dinner.
They used to be overrated because, you know, the line thing, but now that there are like a thousand Shake Shack’s, the line has dispersed throughout the city so you can get your food without having to bring binoculars for bird watching as a way to better pass the time while you’re waiting in line at the park. Their burgers are still the best, but now they also have a chicken sandwich that can rival Chic-fil-A. Except supporters of marriage equality won’t feel guilty for eating it. It’s Chic-fil-Gay!