New Yorker in Adelaide

Friday, June 30, 2006

The last thing I remember was riding in a taxi through the nearly-deserted early morning streets of South Brooklyn. I said a silent goodbye to the black hatted Hasidic Jews, passing with their neatly folded prayer shawls tucked under their arms. I bid farewell to the stark brick high rise projects soaring beside the highway, containing thousands of anonymous inhabitants just beginning to stir. I waved to the honking cars going the other direction, carrying tired commuters from the placid suburbs to their frantic Manhattan desk jobs. JFK Airport loomed ahead of me; the remarkable New York City skyline rose behind. Turning in my seat, I blew a kiss to the Empire State Building. Then I braced myself for the long journey ahead, which would not only take me physically to the other side of the globe, but would land me a cultural world away.

So here I am – a New Yorker lost in Adelaide. I’ve learned to speak Aussie, peppering my dialogue with heaps of ‘cheers,’ ‘no worries’ and ‘I reckons.’ I’ve abbreviated all words in a sickeningly cute fashion, sporting sunnies to protect my eyes and trackies for jogging. I’ve grown fond of silver balls in the mall, green cloth sacks at Woolie’s, and a cold, savory pint of Cooper’s in the arvo. I’ve tasted wines in the Barossa and sausages in Hahndorf, been swimming at Victor Harbor and hiking in the Flinders Ranges. And I have become a devotee of the Central Markets, luxuriating in the exquisite South Australian produce and indulging in exotic fair at the Chinatown food courts and Gouger Street restaurants. Yes, you could almost mistake me for a born-and-bred Adelaidian, American accent aside.

I don’t miss the hustle and bustle of New York City. I’ve learned to appreciate Adelaide’s “no hurry, fuss or worry” that Ben Folds extols in his tribute song. But what I do miss are my comfort foods. I’d gladly die for a soft, doughy bagel, smeared with cream cheese and layered with lox. I’d kill for a perfect slice of pizza – greasy, cheesy, and not at all crusty. And you don’t want to know the lengths to which I’d go for a bowlful of steaming matzah ball soup or that heavenly combination of pastrami, rye bread, swiss cheese and Russian dressing called the Rueben. Ah, a decent half-sour pickle! A proper black-and-white cookie! For the love of God, just give me a cup of filtered coffee!

I’ve always been a girl of action, so rather than sit and lament the loss of the glorious American foods so very close to my heart, I’ve decided to embark of a quest. That’s right, a quest for the best examples of my darling delectables to be found in Adelaide. There’s no restaurant too dear, no suburb too far, no dive too dodgy in pursuit of my goal. Nevermind any preconceived notions of American food represented by Maccas and KFC. The New Yorker in Adelaide is here to give you a dose of some real American food without leaving town.