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Need Suggestions for Monthly "Risk-Your-Life-For-Food-Night"

amy tarshis Mar 24, 1998 04:53 PM

Every month I try to get a few people together for what I call a "Risk Your Life For Food Night". The idea is to go out for a great meal in a really bad neighborhood. It's a lot of fun and, there's safety in numbers. Does anyone have any suggestions? Know any out-of-the-way places? Funky dives in a desolate part of town? The riskier the better. Pls. advise if anything comes to mind. Wd love to know of some uptown and Queens and Brooklyn places.

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  1. a
    Alan Divack RE: amy tarshis Mar 24, 1998 05:25 PM

    When I saw the title of the posting, I thoought that
    you had in mind eating to extreme excess!

    8 Replies
    1. re: Alan Divack
      Josh RE: Alan Divack Mar 24, 1998 05:43 PM

      Whereas I thought you meant eating food at restaurants
      of dubious cleanliness.

      1. re: Josh
        Frank Language RE: Josh Mar 24, 1998 11:25 PM

        I hate to break it to you, but you're too late, Amy:
        all the bad neighborhoods in New York have been cleaned
        up. Now how about that killer cholesterol? Sautéed
        brains with hollandaise, maybe?

        1. re: Frank Language
          Sandy Paik RE: Frank Language Mar 27, 1998 01:47 AM

          I also originally thought from the title that you
          meant going overboard with the eats rather than the
          travels, and had a slightly negative reaction to the
          actual message, I don't think it is worth getting
          worked up into a huge frenzy. Though I must say that
          someone saying all of the neighborhoods have been
          cleaned up is a bit inaccurate. There are still some
          neighborhoods that people are trying to get out of or
          are trying to clean up.

          That's the last socially conscious email I intend to
          post here. I'm all about food. Bring it on!

          1. re: Sandy Paik
            Alex Wolfman RE: Sandy Paik Mar 27, 1998 08:16 AM


            1. re: Alex Wolfman
              pat hammond RE: Alex Wolfman Mar 27, 1998 10:17 AM

              Now that all of the spleens have been sufficiently
              vented, how about an answer for John Rikkers??

              1. re: pat hammond
                amy tarshis RE: pat hammond Mar 31, 1998 12:15 PM

                There are two ways to get a reservation at Rao's...1)Know Frank and the crew there 2)Know someone who has a standing reservation there and tag along w/ them but...above all, you must be willing to RISK YOUR LIFE FOR FOOD!(Okay, that's the final thing I'm going to say about that topic. Who knew it wd prove to be such a scandal.)

                P.S. Frank is coming out w/ a Rao's cookbook and a CD of songs that they play at the restaurant. If you can't get a reservation, preparing their food at home will be the next best thing to being there.

                1. re: amy tarshis
                  pat hammond RE: amy tarshis Mar 31, 1998 04:28 PM

                  How about if I know the dog?

                  Thanks for your note. I'll watch for the cookbook.

                  1. re: amy tarshis
                    Lisa R. RE: amy tarshis Apr 4, 1998 10:38 AM

                    Their jarred sauces are pretty darn good, especially
                    the puttanesca.

      2. j
        jonathan gold RE: amy tarshis Mar 25, 1998 12:01 AM

        I'm sure Amy is a kind person, and I've enjoyed
        the knowledge she's displayed in her other
        posts, but I find the idea of a `risk-your-
        life-for-food night' incredibly offensive
        and dehumanizing.

        I don't mean to get all PC about things:
        If you want to eat Haitian food in Washington
        Heights, great. If you want to look for pizza
        in Harlem or mofongo on Avenue D,
        wonderful--that's what this forum, I think,
        is all about. It is amazing, the amount of
        culture you can absorb over a dinner table.

        But nobody chooses to live in a dangerous
        neighborhood; poverty is not a tourist
        attraction. And if the revolution ever comes,
        it well may be sparked by the sight of
        half a dozen upper-middle-class white folk
        congratulating each other giddily on the
        bravery of eating octopus tostadas in a
        guarded restaurant on a block where you
        happen to live.


        9 Replies
        1. re: jonathan gold
          Alex Wolfman RE: jonathan gold Mar 25, 1998 08:21 AM


          If Amy is in fact white and upper middle class, as are all her dining companions, and they plan on congragulating themselves on "surviving" an "ethnic" meal in a dangerous neighborhood, then ignore the rest of this post.

          I don't think that your reply is PC, as much as full of assumptions. You jump to a conclusion without even questioning her further about her post, which was very vague and non-specific. You assume, without knowing, that Amy and her friends are all white, and all upper middle class. Nothing in her post gave you such information.

          This is simply my take on the situation, and in no way is meant as a personal attack on you or your views. And again, if your reading of Amy's post is correct, then I would agree with your sentiments.

          1. re: Alex Wolfman
            jonathan gold RE: Alex Wolfman Mar 25, 1998 09:25 AM

            Actually, it wouldn't matter if they were
            penniless Zambian performance artists living
            on the sixth floor of a cold-water Loisada
            tenement--though we know damn well that they
            aren't. The idea is still offensive.

            1. re: jonathan gold
              amy tarshis RE: jonathan gold Mar 25, 1998 09:41 AM

              I guess that means that you won't be joining me for dinner at Rao's the next time your in NY?

              1. re: amy tarshis
                John Rikkers RE: amy tarshis Mar 26, 1998 04:46 PM

                If you know "Frankie Cigar" or any other way of
                obtaining a table at Rao's, please advise.

                1. re: amy tarshis
                  Pete Feliz RE: amy tarshis Mar 26, 1998 06:58 PM


                  Better yet, let's fix up Jonathan with Gwen Jolicoeur of "Critiquing Suggestions" fame. They seem to have much in common.
                  FYI: I lived in Washington Hts for close to fifteen years till 1992, both my wife and I were mugged (I at gunpoint, she on Christmas Eve) and my next door neighbor, a doctor was shot and killed as he was on his way to the hospital. Risking our lives were a very real and daily event. We survived it by joking about it. If someone choses to find that offensive, then they know nothing about living in a bad nabe. I'd prefer the company of your friends than he.


                  1. re: Pete Feliz
                    Alex Wolfman RE: Pete Feliz Mar 27, 1998 08:14 AM

                    As a follow-up to Jonathon's comments: No, I do not know "damn well" that Amy and her friends are not a bunch of upper-middle class white girls. And neither do you.

                    Maybe Pete, Amy and myself should take our ignorant and offensive selves out for a nice dinner, and leave Jonathon and his assumptions at home.

              2. re: Alex Wolfman
                amy tarshis RE: Alex Wolfman Mar 25, 1998 09:47 AM

                Dear Alex,

                If I ever have the pleasure of meeting you, remind me to completely make out with you. Thanks for your support. All of my intentions are good. I'm just a curious person who likes to explore. That's all.

              3. re: jonathan gold
                Gary Cheong RE: jonathan gold Mar 25, 1998 12:01 PM

                Jonathan -- I know Amy personally, and I can assure
                you and others that she does not have a racist bone in
                her body. She has a wonderful curiousity about all
                kinds of food, and will go anywhere to find it. I
                KNOW she does not go to blighted neighborhoods to
                laugh at the people there. Perhaps the term "risk
                your life for food" needs to be changed to something
                that is inoffensive.

                I think that there should be more people who are just
                as comfortable eating at Le Cirque 2000 one night, and
                eating a $3 plate of food the next night at some hole-
                in-the-wall in Ave B. Believe me, I've had more than
                my fill of coming across snotty, ignorant people who
                say to me "When we go out, we DINE". Now I find that
                offensive. As if monetary value is the sole arbiter
                of great food -- how ridiculous !

                1. re: jonathan gold
                  Sandy Paik RE: jonathan gold Mar 27, 1998 01:39 AM

                  word....i have to say, my reaction was quite similar.

                2. c
                  Christina Zompakos RE: amy tarshis Mar 25, 1998 06:49 AM

                  What to risk your life for food? Go to Le Cirque 2000
                  and order the most expensive food and wine available.
                  Then try to leave without paying the bill.

                  1. p
                    Pete Feliz RE: amy tarshis Mar 25, 1998 08:21 PM

                    What comes immediately to my mind is Wilson's @ 158th and Amsterdam, though better Southern cooking can be had at the place Jim mentioned. Still, the neighborhood for Wilson's fits the bill.

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