Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reunited and it feels so good

I just spent the past five minutes singing a random string of snippets from various love songs from the 70's and 80's. Somehow my typing "Reunited and it feels so good" managed to trigger a run of songs that played during a compilation box set commercial from when I was young. I seem to have memorized one particular ad, so I figured I would share it, for those of you who also saw this ad growing up. Bonus points for anyone who can dig me up a you tube video of said commercial, cause g-d knows I'm too lazy to do it.
"Reunited and it feels so good" into
"Alllll I neeeeeeeeed" into
"I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you" cut off by
"When I need you" into
"Darlin' if you want me to be, closer to you, get closer to me"
I think that was the end of the commercial. But I also recall a part of it that went:
"Nights in white satin" into
"I've been waiting for a girl like you" into
"Cherish the love we have"cut to
"Precious and few are the moments we two can share"
Whenever I hear any of those songs that played while the titles and artists scrolled up the screen, I am forced to recite the whole thing, or what I can remember of it.

But that's not what I was going to talk about today. Jeez... talk about short attention span. I'm already way off track and I haven't even started yet.

I had a reunion with a large group of friends from college last weekend. Brought together under the worst circumstances imaginable: the passing of a mutual friend, we all met up to memorialize a wonderful girl, catch up and reminisce. It was great to see those friends... I would have said old friends, but I hate to think of us as old. Of course the fact is I've been out of college over 3 times as long as I was in college... *shudder* But we're not old. Really we're not. Well, we're not that old.

It was amazing to reconnect after all these years. We were able to share a few good laughs too, which was much needed, given the nature of our reunion. I definitely need to steal more time to reminisce about those carefree days of yesteryear. Now I know what you're thinking: "You just said "yesteryear." You're f-ing old." You may be right. But I wasn't always. These girls lived with me when I was young, silly and fun.... blackout drunk most of the time, but young nonetheless. The truth is, I am still fun... but I can remember most of it now.

Having good friends makes life much richer. People who share in the things you love is a wonderful thing. I love food. Not in a fancy foodie way, but in a "get in my belly" way. My eating habits are nothing short of sick, but in the best way possible. Somehow, through some miracle of life, I have found other women who not only don't get sick at the thought of partaking in a massive food tour of New York, but who relish the opportunity. (mmmmm... relish!)

So, the day of the night of the reunion, a few of us got together for what we have since dubbed the inaugural Fat Ass Food Tour of New York. The tour kicked off in the wee hours of the morning when I joined my pregnant friend, who was already waiting in line for 20 minutes, to queue up for a Cronut. By now you've probably heard about the Cronut. If not, let me fill you in. It's a hybrid baked good: croissant-like in buttery flakiness and donut like in shape and filling/topping capability. The bakery only makes about 300 a day and they typically sell out pretty quickly. They only make one flavor every month, and you get what you get and you don't get upset. Fortunately the flavor gods were smiling on us, and while we could have had the crushing disappointment of say: elderflower or passionfruit, we were graced with a heavenly salted dulce de leche... salted dulce de leche, for those that missed it the first time. Heavenly! There are still a few days left in November... get there now. For as much as I didn't want to believe the hype, the Cronut is every bit as good as the hype would suggest. It was buttery, slightly crunchy, sugary and salty, the filling was light, creamy and not overly flavored... it was amazing. I am glad they are such a huge pain in the butt to get or I would have a legitimate problem on my hands... and on my thighs.

After standing in line for almost two hours, seeing this sign is the emotional equivalent of "hearing about a great aunt passing," according to my friend Jenna. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that she is right. After the initial shock and sadness, we had to reconcile our disappointment and anger, which were both real and fairly embarrassing once we acknowledged it was for a pastry... and once we discovered they weren't actually sold out.

Hello Cronut deliciousness!

At our second stop we met up with two more fat ass friends at a place that sells tiny bagel holes filled with different flavored cream cheeses. I feel bad for the bagels, since we all went straight from savoring the Cronuts to squirting cream cheese on our hands and laps when we attacked them all wrong. I'm not sure what food could follow a Cronut, but I wouldn't want to be the bagel hole that tries. As a sidenote, the best bagel flavor was the traditional everything bagel with veggie cream cheese. Who knew?

Assorted bagel holes. The best flavor? Cronut residue in the back of our teeth.
Our next stop after the bagel place was Brooklyn to meet up with a few more Fat Ass Tour participants and experience the Smorgasburg. We got sidelined on our way out to Brooklyn and found ourselves forced into trying a "meatball in a cup." Seriously, we were on a Fat Ass Food Tour and we saw something called a "meatball in a cup"... what were we supposed to do? Obviously we had to deviate from our schedule and try it. We did make sure to note the time: it was 11:08 am, so we weren't that disgusting for doing it. By our calculations, the 11 o'clock hour is practically lunchtime.
We threw away most of that focaccia, so we're not that fat.
A few subway detours later and we found our way to the Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. Mid-November scared a few of the vendors away, but there was still a really nice representation of good bad food (read: delicious, but by no means healthy). One could make a food tour just out of a visit to the Smorgasburg. Not quite enough for us, but I'm sure "one" could.

Smorgasburg is a great place to go when you have no idea what you want to eat, but you know you want to eat a lot. The ramen burger was the item that piqued our interest and brought us out there, but it didn't take much convincing to stay for the fried chicken, grilled cheese and eggplant parmigiana. We chose to line up for the ramen burger as soon as we got there, and without asking, one girl goes and gets cheese fries (really good ones) and another gets pigs in a blanket. Precious moments like that when you know you've got the right friends. That and knowing you can call them "fat asses" throughout your blog post and they will take it as a compliment.
Ramen noodles make up the bun encasing a cheeseburger. Interesting, but not the highlight of the day.

Damn good fried chicken and cheddar waffle.
Sounds like a lot of food, right? Well it didn't stop us from a last spin of the place to assemble a dessert buffet including: S'mores, two more donuts (to accompany the final Cronut), cheesecakes (3 flavors!), crumb cake and a nice juicy orange. Ha ha ha... yeah right. No orange, but the other stuff was there, and it was tasty. Ultimately, the Cronut may have been the star of the whole day. But feel free to ask any of the other tourers. And if I haven't totally grossed you out, let me know so I can include you on the FAFT 2014!

Goodbye Cronut magnificence!
Reunions are a funny thing in the age of Facebook. I have to admit it is nice that we immediately skip ahead to knowing, for the most part, where everyone is living, approximately how many kids they have and what they've been up to. It left more time for fondly reminiscing about youth and silliness and fun. Sometimes you meet friends to whom you are forever bound by both your shared experiences and your pursuit of the same happiness. Back in college that pursuit had us huddled together outside of bars during snow storms, wearing tube tops and black pants, passing back fake ids to get into the same places week after week before setting off for late night cheese fries. We can still gather to laugh about those times, and share some new comical pursuits of happiness as well.

To the ladies I got to reconnect with, thank you for making a lovely event out of a tragedy. I hope there will be a next time with everyone that wasn't able to make it this time. Sooner than another 14 years and without the sadness of losing a beautiful sister, woman and friend.

With the first food tour done, I hope we can extend it to include more of our like-minded friends next time. Assuming there are others out there who don't find that day appalling, but appealing. Because having great friends means never having to say "are you gonna finish that?"

**Oh, and as it turns out, I am actually not that lazy... after much searching, here is the commercial I was looking for, and while it is cut off at the end, I absolutely nailed it! Why was I able to sing along with each line upon re-watching it for the first time in years? I remember where each song cuts in and out, yet I can't remember the names of some of the teachers at my kids school. Hopefully someone else can appreciate this one too. The aggressive lunge should make you laugh whether it's your first time seeing it or four hundredth.

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