By Ben Adler
Spencer, you said you would recognize my Old Bay opinions when I dropped knowledge on beef patties. You think that just because I grew up on what was then the ass end of red-lined Park Slope — it was more like “South Brooklyn” when my parents moved in — instead of in some big suburban style house next door to a famous neocon by one of those streets with fake British names, that I can’t represent New York? Yeah, I know your type: the kid from one neighborhood deeper, whether it’s Sunset Park or Flatbush. You went to Kinderland and magnet schools and shows at Wetlands and were just like every kid from the Slope except you loved to talk about you were realer than them because you happened to live an extra stop or two out on the train.
Well, I been knowing about beef patties, since the days when a slice was a dollar from the window, a drink was a Tropical Fantasy and a snack was a five-cent gum. I started out with the generic ones at pizza places, like Antonio’s on Flatbush Ave by Brownstone Billiards, and at Roma’s, which I know Spencer recognizes is the best slice in the world, despite it being from the Slope he so despises. But the truth is that the beef patties, and chicken patties are much, much better at Christie’s Jamaican bakery, which just happens to be located on Flatbush Ave and Sterling Place, right up the block from me. The meat is thicker and spicier, the crust has a more complex, buttery flavor, and the coco bread is as soft as a newborn baby. Now, I haven’t been to every single Caribbean eatery in Flatbush or East Flatbush, so I’m not going to try to claim Christie’s is necessarily the best in whole city, although New York magazine thinks so.
I’ve never even thought to complain that, except for one place I’ve passed, and never tried, on H St, NE, D.C. appears not to have any Caribbean food at all. I don’t need to be educated on Mount Pleasant’s awesomeness. I love my neighborhood in D.C., with its tree-lined streets, proximity to the park, stately row houses, and diverse mix of hippies, yuppies, working-class families and immigrants. It reminds me a lot of… Park Slope, when I was a kid, before the last 10 years of invasion by Brown alumni turned it into what used to be Manhattan. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Radius, where one can find D.C.’s best pizza by the slice, is in Mount Pleasant. And I love my neighborhood not least for the delicious free meals I get to enjoy in my capacious group house, courtesy of Ezra, Ben Miller and the other talented IFA members who are kind of enough to join us, especially Spencer.
I think the truth is that Spencer knows that the merit of my position on Old Bay has nothing to do with the quality of my New York credentials. He just happens to disagree with it, and he wants to use what I readily concede is his neighborhood’s stronger claim to realness to make his point. Now, I’m not the one claiming that Old Bay is good or bad because of where I’m from, I just do not like it on my fresh seafood. Spencer is the one playing the sucker’s game of authenticity, instead of making a convincing argument that Old Bay on crabs is actually a good thing. I stand by my position that it isn’t.