Another rule was that you couldn’t share a sandwich. Once for the shear joy of it I tossed a couple of f-bombs his way. He loved it
Fabulous video of the man himself, at work.
Cranky, earthy - and yet so quietly skilled and smart! See him moving the pancake turner to the right and dipping it? I think he’s dipping it in the deep fryer, to heat it up and get extra oil, to make the flipping easier.
Thank you a million thanks for sharing this. He just oozed skill, didn’t he? I’m even MORE glad that we got to eat there a couple of times.
So so jealous that you got to go there, multiple times.
And so happy that you DID.
And yes, I think he was quietly brilliant. He didn’t make a fuss about it, was way cranky and yet? Brilliant.
My husband (not a foodie my any means but loves good comedy and good people) has never forgotten this practical quote from a long ago Calvin Trillin essay -
"“Essentially, if anyone asked me what I did for a living, I said I sold mayonnaise—mayonnaise with chicken, mayonnaise with shrimp, mayonnaise with eggs, mayonnaise with potatoes. The key was that essentially you sold mayonnaise for eight dollars a pound and everything else you threw in for free.”
I loved that quote also. And the sandwiches were darn good.
I get a personal kick out of the fact that the person who recommended Shopsins to us is a very la-dee-dah person from a pretty famous NYC family (who of course shall remain nameless). I’ll take that kinda rec over the expensive places any day.
I’m sure the sandwiches are just as good but anyone who didn’t ‘connect’ with him really missed an experience. Thanks for sharing this. I shared it on FB also.
Oh that was a wonderful read, thank you!
And here are my two fav quotes from there -
On improvising in the kitchen:
“Once you have a solid foundation which is uniquely your own, once you feel really comfortable with your ingredients and your ability to actually physically cook, it’s really easy to fuck around. And it’s enormously fun. And it will take you more places than the magic kingdom will.”
On finding comfort:
“My lifestyle and the way my restaurant looks, cluttered and all that — I like that. Like is a mild word. I love that. I feel really happy there. When I’m in my place, surrounded by all the tchotchkes in the window. Too many packages, too many aprons stacked up, avocados here and there — I love that. It’s my place.”
So many folks talk about his crankiness (with good reason!) but when you read these, there is such joy. No wonder he cooked for as long as he did : )
I have the sense that the people here on FTC haven’t been there. Here’s the MENU!
Hoping to get back to NYC in the fall and will check it out. It won’t be the same but I bet the food will be. Or I hope it will.