Gripes about groceries

I’m hungry
By Starving Emmet

The high cost of food is driving me crazy. It’s almost as bad as the gas at Fowlie’s Overpriced Emporium.
Back when I was the fastest bagger alive, working at the Dedham, Mass. First National Store, we used to figure on $10 a bag…not these dinky plastic bags that hold a banana and a coke can. These were manly, heavy paper bags, if you can imagine.
Now there is no telling. When Blue Eyes goes into Hannaford for bread and (soy) milk, she can come out $80 lighter. I buy nothing organic or healthy, strictly pasta, English muffins and butter, but every visit costs close to $30. I cannot imagine how that beleaguered mother does it, pushing an overflowing grocery cart through the register with two screamers in tow.
Seeking solace in this matter, I have scanned the globe (actually the Internet) looking for relief. Well, I found no relief, but I found outrageous examples of food prices that make Fowlie’s pale by comparison.
I have been waiting for a visit to New York for decades. But I fear stopping on my annual pilgrimages to Ft. Myers because by vehicle is usually loaded with recreational vehicles like bicycles or kayaks, which will disappear at the first red light. If I ever do stop in Gotham, I will make it a point to stop for a bagel at the Westin Hotel in Times Square. Gotta have a bagel in The City, right?
Bring all your credit cards.
The Westin has a bagel all right. Frank Tujague’s bagel. He is the executive chef with a great sense of humor. Frank’s bagel comes with white truffle cheese, goji berry jelly and gold leaves. I usually just have a schmear. Are you ready? This breakfast special will set you back $1,000. But as you are being royally fleeced, be aware that the money goes to Les Amis d’Escoffier Scholarship, a fund for impoverished culinary students. ( I didn’t know there were any.) A Bagel at Camden’s Bagel Café will run you 80 cents. That’s right, 80 cents.
Well, what will we do for lunch? How about a hot dog, now that we have blown a grand on breakfast. (I’m still hungry.)
Let’s cab over to the Serendipity 3, a New York institution since 1954. Everyone has dropped by, like Marilyn (You have to ask?) Jackie (ditto) and Andy (same). You may not be surprised to learn that the restaurant was the setting for the movie “Serendipity” starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsdale. (Never saw it, either.) Owner Stephen Bruce also has a great sense of humor. On National Hot Dog Day in June of 2010, he added a $69 hot dog to the menu. What a card. For your information, it is a foot long (I would hope) hot dog, grilled in white truffle butter, covered with black truffles and foie gras, which may or may not be ground goose liver. I will take mine at Wass’s wagon in Rockland with mustard, relish and grilled onion, please. Bruce got the last laugh. His hot dog was named the world’s most expensive by the Guinness Book of World Records.
There is something to put on your tombstone.
I’m a little wacky about my coffee, I must admit. I survive on the Dark Star cooked up by Rock City Roasters in Rockland. It’s about $11 a tiny bag, but worth it. If I am organized, I will order the Sumatra beans from the World Market, at about $10 for a lusty, big bag. Thrifty Blue Eyes thinks I am mad. But some things, like morning coffee, are a must. When and only when, I win Power Ball I will splurge on Asian Palm Civet coffee. It must be sensational, at $600 a pound.
I hope you are not eating. The coffee beans come from coffee cherries that are grown only in Southeast Asia. The tree is inhabited by a weasel (not David Grima) known as the Asian Palm Civet. Are you ready for this? The civet eats the cherry and “excretes” the hard cherry pits. No record on the first native who decided to make coffee from the “excreted” pits, but the resulting elixir can cost $50 a cup, or $600 a pound. I thought Dark Star was expensive.
Man cannot live on bread (or bagels, or hot dogs, or coffee) alone. He must have mac ‘n’ cheese, the ultimate comfort food. My personal favorite “mac” is at Café Miranda in Rockland. I can never finish it and always take some home for lunch, the best lunch ever. I think it might be $12.
That is bargain shopping compared to Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica. I have never been to Santa Monica, but if I go, I must stop at Melisse which has won not one, but two Michelin Star Awards. It has been rated as the number one eatery in the city by Zagat. The menu, please. If you go to Melisse from October through December, when comfort food is needed the most, you can get the macaroni and cheese, with those damned truffles again. You better bring your American Express because that plate will cost you $95.
There. Don’t you feel better? I will never complain about the prices at The Bagel Café, Wass’s Wagon, Rock City Roasters or the Café Miranda again. Fowlie’s ? That’s different.