Ratting out hairdressers, DJ’s, and underground standup comedy club organizers in Manhattan to the cops or Department Of Health in a post COVID controlled universe gone wild isn’t Kosher. My 4-year-old son whipping out his schmekel in the kitchen before I suck down my 1st Nespresso shot in the morning is, “Not Kosher baby.” At the same time, the same son busting my balls as I bonded with mommy over watching an old episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations in Burgundy later this morning after our 2 other ones got on the bus is Kosher, especially when he delivers hilarious lines such as, “Daddy your head has a moron inside”, or when he referenced the oyster dish Tony was eating on his show with a bunch of French chefs from Burgundy when he says, “Not Kosher Daddy”. In other words, don’t even think about it because nobody likes a fake news Koshertarian Comedian.
Reality is, all my favorite food memories before my Koshetarian Comedian book journey began didn’t involve Kosher food at all, sorry mom. Do I have pleasant memories of eating mom’s brisket for Passover? Sure, but those memories with family don’t compare with eating a grass-fed rib eye with an old dear high school bud at Smith and Wollensky’s in Manhattan, after almost not getting out of LA alive. The fact my Larry Sanders loving, lifetime basketball bud Jesse paid for everything on his FX expense account helped my enjoyment factor tremendously to. Growing up, if we went out for a Kosher meal as a family, we’d go to Epstein’s on the derelict, shabby downer section of Central Ave close to White Plains, NY, which failed to give me sustained stiffage ever. How can you compare the climax free experience of more obligatory, rubbery blubbery nosh size bites of Kosher certified Pastrami at Epstein’s, on borderline depressed, flavorless rye to more howl rich, late night drunken gorge feasts at the local Mont Greek dinner on Central Ave with your entire high school crew there in attendance, for your standard order of not one but 2 bacon and egg and cheese on bagels, which required zero nudging to inhale whole?
Was the always crackling crispy, always well-seasoned, clean tasting rotisserie chicken at the zero frills Kosher butcher on Yonkers side of Central Avenue a respectable, borderline enjoyable Sunday afternoon nosh treat? Yes, but it didn’t compare to more late-night drunken revelry with my meathead friends at local legend bar tavern haunt the Candlelight Inn, for more delectable beef gyros, American Cheese laden, grilled stringy onion topped, hot sauce drabbed cheesesteaks, fries in cheese and gravy, on top of those steaming, extra meat piles of hot wings whose fame extended all the way to hill free suburbs of yenta country in Long Island.
Did my dad manage to fire up tolerable edible Hebrew National dogs on the grill, devoid of blistering burnt marks as a whole during the summer for the 2 days I was home before they shipped me off to sleepaway camp for 3 months a summer for a decade straight, so I could feel smug superior about being the second worst athlete there compared to the sheik’s son from Great Neck but not really? Yes, but memories of my Dad’s Kosher grilled dogs on semi-stale buns suffering from severe shrinkage problems off the barbeque will never match the warm-hearted memories of grabbing those scrumptious, airy light, always bomb fresh, Cheese Dogs at the Left Bank in the town of Lake Forest, Illinois with my college freshman roommate Kowal as a couple of pot smoking, long haired hippies in the making.
My fondest dining memories growing up with my mom, dad and younger brother was at red and white checkered tableclothed draped Italian joint off the Grand Concourse where Italian cooking love is made. We’d load up on New Zealand style mussels, the size of fucking canoes, garlic crispy, breaded backed clams and the most slurp worthy linguini in white clam sauce ever concocted. Before I’d go in for the kill and manage to eat at least 75 percent of my pounded think veal scallopini stuffed with prosciutto in a white wine mushroom, cream sauce, mama Mia, what a country. My high school buds were in awe of the place, especially my friend Ari, who was a 50 percent Heeb like myself, who literally looks and sounds like Harvey Keitel with a far, better proportioned head.
When I reflect on the good old days with my Pinko crew of buds of yesteryear, I become smile rich inside, when I think of our dear Korean American friend Clark, who would whip up us batches of fried rice with Kimchee before it became a thing, at his parent’s apartment after we all collectively lost our shit from watching Dazed and Confused at Phil’s apartment next door prior over some sprayed weed form the Bronx that tasted like Windex.
How can I forget my end of summer goodbye date at the fanciest restaurant in Chatham, Cape Cod with my dear fabled Katie King? Until then, I had no idea 3o bucks could score you one whole, lumpalcious crab cake to share. I’ll always cherish these Kosher free memories with old school brothers in arms and past summer loves before social media or even smart phones existed, when face to face quality hangout time with our favorite people in the universe couldn’t be beat. Back when everybody wasn’t consumed with the propulsive compulsion to document every parcel pixel of their fucking social lives. Checking beer scores for more obscenely overpriced 4 packs of hazy, New England brews on Beer Advocate was the farthest thing from my mind in 94. The predominant governing thought on my mind in 94 was what time my friends were going to pick me up for more bar crawling adventures along North Avenue in New Rochelle or throughout the never asked for ID bars such as Kelly’s Corner in the Upper East Side instead because they were all far better drunk drivers than me. Hazy IPAs weren’t a thing a yet either, nor was there a Beer Advocate website, let alone a barely functional Internet back then, equipped with an AOL modem, which took longer to load than Sammy Hagger after running of out of gunk from banging endless groupies after shows after the release of 5150 but you get the gist.
I don’t care that these bonding memories with decades old friends were alcohol fueled or not. We were hanging out more for each other’s company and accessibility to available, less annoying girls from our senior class, more so than obsessing over social bragging props about where we partied the following day. Although a good sign of a night out in the city, is not recalling the name of every place you danced to rum shaker either. The thrill of drinking all night till daylight started to break with your high school brothers in arms, when birds got up, chirping sweet, soul music throughout, our leafy suburban wonderland, helped our mutual enjoyment factor long time to.
Hitting up Papaya King on our way back from the city was far from Kosher baby yet at the time, blaring 36 chambers by the Wu Tang on the FDR Drive home back to Westchester with a sports playing, fun loving, tight crew of buds was all we needed to get through the night with ravishing over the top glee. Oh Lord, I love upholding your Kosher law to make you happy and feel like a less all over the place Jew. But boy or boy, those were magical, bonding cementing days to.