Today I decided I wanted to take it easy because of my neck situation. I felt capable of moving around the city today, but not up to doing anything too extreme. It's so ironic that the night before the great muscle spasm, I wrote a post about how I was going to go jogging the next morning. The universe heard me and yelled "Ha ha sucker, no you ain't!". Anyway I was able to accomplish one thing that was actually on my list (okay, accomplish is maybe stretching the meaning of that word a little when you think about this task) and I went to a place I had read about somewhere that I knew would be right up my alley; a restaurant that is all about macaroni and cheese called S'mac. And the best part is that the one I read about is somewhere downtown, but an upper west side outpost has recently opened up, so I only had to walk down to my old neighborhood in the 80's on Columbus to sample the cheesy goodness.
The place on Columbus is actually both the macaroni and cheese place combined with a pizza place, and it's on the upper west side, so it was filled with kids. The restaurant is replacing a place I used to go to all the time called Columbus Bakery, so I was a little sad when I noticed one day that Columbus Bakery had closed. My sadness was very quickly replaced by joy, however, when I learned that all different types of mac and cheese were served there, and the joy was replaced with anger when I realized that just when I moved out of that neighborhood they decided to open up a restaurant with one of my favorite foods. But anyway, when I went in there yesterday I discovered that they had all different macaroni and cheese combos - some with just cheese and some with complimentary ingredients- some italian mac and chesse, some indian, some french, etc ad infinitum. I had a very difficult time deciding because if you put any cheese and pasta together and bake it, I like it, but I ended up settling on the french version with brie, figs, rosemary, and roasted mushrooms. It was deeee-lish, and served hot out of the oven in one of those cast iron skillets topped with bubbling cheesey breadcrumbs. I will be going back there to try all the flavors, and each time I will lament the fact that this joint didn't open up until after I had moved away.
I did a little shopping afterwards, and on my way home walking up broadway, I passed this guy who was selling oriental rugs out of a very narrow little storefront and on a table on the street. I stopped because he had all these hallway runners, and in my apartment there is a very long hallway that I have been meaning to cover with a rug ever since I moved in. I just wanted to look at what he had, but he was going for the hard sale. I wasn't trying to haggle, I was just hesitating because I wasn't planning on buying a rug, but as a hesitated, he kept going lower and lower with his prices. You have to imagine this all with a persian accent:
Him:" I give it to you for $120 - that is 50% off retail, but this is sample sale!!! No, okay $100 for you only today. Okay, okay, $75 but don't tell anybody I give you this price. Is practically stealing!"
Me: "Well, the thing is I really need to measure the hallway to see what size runner I need because it's kind of.."
Him: "OKAY! You killing me - I give you for $60 but it's crazy I tell you!"
Me: Well, I just really need to measure"
Him: " Forget measure. You take the rug with you, no pay me, see if it fits - if it does, you bring me back $60."
And with that he rolled up the rug, put it into a bag, and basically shoved me down the street as I mumbled "Not pay you and just take it... okay...." I was so shocked by this guy, in new york city, just giving me this rug, and trusting that I would bring him back the money, but it also made me grin all the way home. I mean - what a tactic! This guy is an expert! He knows that if I bring the rug all the way home, that whether it fits or not, I'm going to feel obligated to pay him. And so of course, I unrolled the rug, it was a little short, but I went back and payed him anyway. And then I looked at the rest of the rugs, and somehow got him to give me a square one for my bedroom for 30 bucks even though he originally wanted $100. Obviously I'm not the one getting the bargains - this guy must have gotten all these rugs for free - like they fell of the back of a truck or something - but I was so taken by being in New York City and having somebody trust me, that I bought two rugs when I didn't intend to buy any. But you know what? They are really beautiful rugs, and I couldn't have found cheaper ones even at IKEA, so I'm just going to enjoy them and not question what the hell happened to me. Maybe we should try that tactic with operas ; "You come, don't pay anything, then only pay at the end if you liked it." Maybe we could fill every seat that way!