New York – the culinary capital of the world. This is where esteemed chefs from the finest cooking institutes showcase their talents to the gastronomical delights of hungry diners; New Yorkers, tourists, and wannabee foodies alike. So, given the choice in fine dining this city has to offer, it may come as a surprise to some that Adam and I went on the look-out for just one thing the other night …. Gyro. What is gyro? Basically, it’s the Greek word for a kebab sandwich. This strange New York street food sparked my curiosity during an episode of Seinfeld when Elaine Benice hungrily devoured it on a subway train whilst unknowingly dripping white sauce all over Frank Costanza’s TV Guide. Naturally, it was on my list of things “to-do” whilst in New York.
Big mistake. Our selected gyro vendor operated out of a small steamy mobile van on Broadway that looked like the mobile breast screening clinics that often roam around Sydney. We watched in horror whilst our gyros were being made. Perhaps it was witnessing the bare unwashed hands lift the hunk of hot lamb straight off the skewer or the beads of sweat dripping onto the roll which caused my enthusiasm to sour quickly .. almost as quickly as the white sauce we saw in the huge plastic ice-cream vats.
Now, I don’t profess to be a healthy eater and I have had my fair share of pretty bad food, but this little food experience topped it all. The gyros were wrapped in wax paper and then a layer of foil, but that still didn’t stop the grease from escaping into the paper bag and then proceeding to drip onto my jeans whilst we walked to nearby Madison Square Park. My silly need to tick off to-do list items got the better of me and the gyros were unfortunately consumed. There was no napkin strong enough to absorb the resulting residue that glistened on our hands and lips so we rushed back home to bring out the heavy artillery – soap, shampoo, Ajax.
I was happy the experience wasn’t re-lived later on that night in half digested form. All in all, it was a strange and funny night, and my to-do list is looking fine!
-posted by Trinh