Screw You, New York Food Scene
I have serious issues with the New York food scene.
Maybe you’re thinking that New York is the epicenter of American food culture. Maybe you believe that the variety of offerings — from haute cuisine to pushcart street food — is the best thing since sliced bread. Perhaps you really can’t get enough of all the quirky, fun little culinary trends. That’s one way of looking at it.
Another way to look at it would be that, for all the great things about NYC food, the whole accompanying “scene” is insufferably self-important. Being only an hour away, I’m close enough to be subjected to the new-hot-now attitude that permeates the city, but I’m far enough away to have some perspective. Trust me…you don’t need to be a suspicious mid-westerner to think that New York is impossibly self-indulgent and obnoxiously trendy.
I feel quite strongly about this and I know that I have logic on my side, so I present to you a five-point argument explaining why Gotham’s insufferable food culture needs to be taken down a peg:
- I know this won’t make me popular here on ES.com, but the whole cupcake thing needs to stop. It’s the perfect example of the oh-so-freaking-clever New York food trends that’s more about style than substance. You know who loves cupcakes? Third graders with birthdays. You’re an adult…eat regular cake with utensils like the rest of the grown ups. You won’t even have to deal with the dry, icing-deprived part that falls below the paper insert. The cupcakes are obviously not only a New York fad, but it started there and I’m holding New York responsible.
- I’m all for conducting a reasonably healthy lifestyle, but there’s nothing in the world that will harsh your foodie buzz quicker than being clobbered over the head with calorie amounts plastered all over the menu. It’s really hard to enjoy that iced caramel macchiato when you realize that it contains four days’ worth of calories. What the hell? Schools are polarized over the food served to kids and I can’t order a burger without a side order of shame and self-loathing. I expect this shit from San Francisco, but I thought New York was cooler than this.
- Every nine months or so, there is a hot new ethnic dish that spreads through the foodie scene like a wildfire. We’re currently on the downswing of a bahn mi hysteria that had all of the hipsters in Williamsburg and DUMBO rushing to discover what people in Vietnam have known for about 50 years.
- Not content to have three restaurants on every block, there has been an eye roll-inducing rise in the popularity of quirky and higher end food trucks — everything from tacos to pizza to coffee. In theory, this may not seem to be a problem, but I can’t shake the feeling that nagging question: Do I want to eat from a restaurant that is theoretically able to roll away when the heath inspector is in the neighborhood?
- I love Grub Street like a junkie loves his dealer. New York Magazine’s food blog chronicles all of the ins and outs of the Big Apple’s restaurant world, so it’s the place to go if you hate (but secretly love) reading all about this stuff like I do. I mean…where else can you stay ahead of all the other hipster doofuses and know that “whiskey-infused rice krispie treats” might just be the next big thing? Grub Street does for the current NY food scene what Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities did for NY’s Reagan-era society, chronicling it in all it’s wonderful, horrible glory. Anything this ridiculous should be preserved for posterity.
So, there you have it. That kind of lock-solid reasoning has the fooderati bailing on their precious cupcakes in favor of the next big thing: crullers.
Let’s hear it! Is there something that bugs you about big city food that you need to vent about? Do you want to pick up the mantle for Manhattan and tell me why I’m wrong? Have at it in the comments.