"In your review you can write, 'My whiny friend made me eat at this diner.'"
And that's how Ken and I ended up at Americana Diner in Bay Ridge during this past Saturday's chilly afternoon. We had been wandering for
miles upon miles across scorched earth with only a vial of water to share between us about one and a half miles past countless restaurants in search of an adequate lunch with only Ken's stomach to guide us. What did it (repeatedly) say? "Tuna melt."
Actually, it was probably yelling, "HOLY SHIT, I AM SO FUCKING HUNGRY, OH GOD, GIVE ME A GODDAMN TUNA MELT BEFORE I START KILLING PEOPLE," but Ken toned it down to a PG-rating.
When Americana Diner crossed our paths, my first thought was, "Am I still in New York City?" Barely. It looked like it came straight out of the suburban New Jersey of my youth and semi-present. I rarely went to diners as a teenager—didn't really have any friends in high school to eat with, you know, HA HA HA ha awkward (I'm not joking, but I should clarify that most of the hanging out I did was in New York City, not locked in my room)—so diners fail to hold any sort of special place in my heart. I just like knowing such places exist: thriving restaurants with impossibly large menus that are open 24/7 and don't look like they've updated their appearances in two or three decades.
Where else would each table be equipped with a CD jukebox?
Are three little buckets containing pickles, chickpeas, and coleslaw a diner staple? (It's a serious question.) I had never seen such a thing until the waitress plopped the trio of sides on our table. It ain't Korean banchan, but it's way better than free bread. I passed the time by alternating mouthfuls of crunchy pickles and coleslaw with mashy chickpeas.
It's hard to mess up a grilled cheese sandwich. This was nothing special, but perfectly fine, fulfilling the main points of grilled cheese-dom: hot, gooey, cheesy, soft, slightly crunchy. I wouldn't have minded more butter on the bread, but I could say the same about most sandwiches, or anything involving butter. Grilled cheese sandwiches are the only sandwiches I will willingly ask to include raw tomatoes—the tomato's unappealingly slippery texture is canceled out by the molten cheese, whose glue-like properties keeps the tomato slices from slithering out the butt of the sandwich. (I hate the "tomato runs.") Cheese and bread alone tastes pretty good, but the tomato adds another level of...something. It just works.
Ken fulfilled his tuna melt craving to an acceptable degree. He was hesitant to eat at a diner because he said no one in New York City makes tuna melts as well as they do in New Jersey. As he predicted, sometimes was missing from this tuna melt that only the Garden State's loving bosom could provide. I have no idea what; I'm not tuna melt connoisseur. It was still satisfying though, besides that Ken was starving and couldn't help could eat the whole thing. I helped by eating 75% of his fries—put crispy, fried sticks of potato in front of my face and you've sealed their fate of dying in a horrifically painful stomach acid bath. It's all fun and games until someone dies in a stomach acid bath.
And then we went to Amy's house just a few blocks away and played Guitar Hero. As a first time GH player, I almost hate to admit that pressing a bunch of buttons on the neck of a toy guitar is more fun that I predicted. Dammitthey'vesuckedmein.
That night Amy and I went to the Blip Festival to bask in blippy goodness (that is, music that harnesses the blip-tastic, 8-bit power of video game consoles/computers from decades past). What did I learn? Blip music fans really like moshing and smashing into people. Repeatedly. (But they tend to be polite about it, apologizing after careening into your spine.) I felt a bit out of place as a sway-er, not a "gonna jab you in the ribs"-er. The highlights for me were Bubblyfish and Nullsleep, our favorite durian hater.
Bubblyfish seemed to be the only female performer during the festival. If Amy or I ever figure out how to use the copies of Little Sound DJ we bought, we might be able to increase the XX representation. Alas, I need to get a Gameboy first (currently bidding on one on eBay; wish me luck).
Once again, it is 2 a.m. and I have yet to shower. Fail.
6501 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220