Ostrich Egg

A new Whole Foods store opened right near my work. Whole Foods is an overpriced, somewhat organic supermarket, with a somewhat-premium selection. The problem with normal supermarkets is that they sell a mind-numbing variety of food that ranges from unhealthy to the point of poisonous, to very untasty at low, low prices. Whole Foods sells decent, and sometimes even healthy and delicious food, but at a budget breaking prices. They also sometimes have exotic products, and because of that provide me with material for Gastronomic Adventures.

Today on the menu: ostrich egg. It cost me $29, and apparently it was a pricing mistake – it now cost $39. Even though they are big, they are fricking expensive. Notice the “local” tag. Eating local food is all the rage these days thanks to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and apparently there’s an ostrich farm somewhere in New York.

As tempting as the microwave experiment looked, and as high as the novelty value of the Scotch ostrich egg is, I decided on a more conventional recipe.

After taking a hammer to the egg, I fried some up and baked the rest.

While the taste was similar to chicken eggs,

the texture was completely different. The fried egg white felt stringy, almost like noodles, and very, very tasty.

The baked yolk was creamy and without that sulfury taste that chicken egg yolks sometimes have. The whole thing was very tasty. If not for the price, I’d be eating ostrich eggs much more frequently.

Ach, Mate, Say “Australian for Beer”. Please?

I have a friend who married a Scot and moved away to Scotland. In fact marrying men from exotic locales seems to be a trend amongst my female Russian friends – another one married an Australian.

It’s almost ironic that my favorite bar in New York is a Scottish bar called St. Andrews (which is also a place in Scotland where my friend used to live). St. Andrews the bar is characterized by an amazing selection of whisky, good atmosphere, good food (there’s a restaurant in the back), moderate prices and friendly kilt-wearing waiters with Scottish accents.

Recently I braced myself and ordered haggis. It’s a widely known “scary” dish which is a sausage made out of various organ meats. It is served with obscene sounding “neeps and tatties” (mashed turnips and potatoes).

At St. Andrews it was served the following way : a layer of the abovementioned “neeps and tatties”, then a layer of contents of haggis sausage (which is somewhat similar in texture to ground hamburger), then another layer of “neeps and tatties”.

It certainly did not smell as some cartoons would make you believe. In fact it was very tasty. The puree/meat combination was very nice. The haggis itself tasted like very tasty hamburger. Low grade meats rule!

St. Andrews bar is located at 120 W 44th St, Between 6th & Broadway.

The most exotic Australian thing that I had was kangaroo jerky that my friend brought me from her trip to Australia. It tasted a lot like chicken jerky :)

NYC’s Syntactic Sugar

If you buy food from New York’s street vendors long enough you will notice that New Yorkers developed some of what programmers call “syntactic sugar“. As I mentioned in my post about coffee and Greek cups, “coffee, regular” stands for “milk, two spoons of sugar”.

There’s a more extreme example. I gained a bit of weight recently after I started to have “low carb” bagels from a nearby bagel store for breakfast. I highly suspect that those things are a low carb version of non-fat yogurt from that Seinfeld episode. But while having breakfast there I remembered another example of New York’s syntactic sugar. “Bagel, scooped”. From what I hear a scooped bagel is New York-specific.

Here’s how it’s made : the bagel is cut in half, and then each half is hollowed out with tongs. When you put the two halves back together the hollowed out space forms an empty channel inside the bagel. Thus altered topology of the torus is highly conducive to non-falling-out of cream cheese or egg salad. Indeed, a scooped bagel with cream cheese is much easier to eat on the train without violating the rules about littering. (Although I’ve seen MTA ad signs that say that eating in subway is prohibited there seems to be no rule against eating and drinking non-alocoholic beverages in the Rules of Conduct).