Tag Archives: bodega

Best Bodega Ever

I know I talk about bodegas a lot, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever defined the term for any of you who aren’t East Coast dwellers. Here ya go:

“ghetto 7-11”

Yes, this does sound like a Middle American gas station, but I can assure you that a bodega is far more complex. The thing about suburban gas stations is that they’re either AMAZING (eg. QuikTrip, WaWa, god I miss them) or they are depressing pieces of shit that you’re forced to shop at because you’re in Kansas and that’s where the church camp bus stopped. Gas stations are black or white, while bodegas are all sorts of shades of grey. More than fifty, for sure.

Bodegas exist in a land of plenty. In New York we want for nothing; Ethiopian food, alcohol and juice cleanses are available almost 24-7 by delivery or just down the block. Discovery has lost its novelty and I’m pretty sure that’s why there are so many secret bars. Even those are still one Google search away. A good bodega creates within its visitor a sense of adventure. The bodega engages the inner hunter, reminds its patron that among its dusty, cluttered shelves hidden treasures abound.

I was thinking about this last night, when I went to my bodega for snacks. The management has changed, and what was once a top-notch establishment has become a sad shell of a sandwich shop. I wouldn’t call it the worst bodega ever yet, but I fear for its future. Once the previous manager’s Gouda and diet popsicles are gone, I’m not sure what to expect.

So what exactly makes the best bodegas? Here’s my criteria:

#1 –  Massive amount of old, off-brand snacks. When hunting for treasure, one needs the unwanted items to search through. Without the lows that come with rifling through a pile of nacho cheese “onion ring” bags, how can one experience the highs of discovering that one bag of artisan popcorn?

#2 – Artisan shit. In small quantities, ordered infrequently so each discovery feels like A Win.

#3 – A top-notch frozen foods and beverage section. The best bodegas have Ben & Jerry’s flavors I’ve never seen before, the occasional vegan frozen dinner and Woodchuck Crisp Cider, which is inexplicably low calorie and delicious.

#4 – A cat. You’ve gotta have a bodega cat.

#5 – Funny stuff from other countries. My favorite bodegas in Boston sold hookas and tourist trinkets from all over the world. I’m pretty sure one of them had t-shirts from the Moscow Olympics. The one on my block now has an assortment of male enhancement supplements with names like “Extreme Dragon” and the rest of the text in Hindi or whatever. 

#6 – Friendly staff who don’t care that you’re drunk. I have made so many bodega friends in my day. The ones on my block liked used to give me free candy because – according to them – my terrible photo on my ID reminded them of a Bollywood star whose husband was incredibly charitable. 

#7 – Sandwiches. This is not a necessary requirement, as I find most bodegas with sandwiches don’t have as many wonderful other things. That being said, the Best Bodega Ever would have all of the above and the Spicy Special. I assume that’s the bodega in heaven.

Peace, love and Did I miss anything? 

BWCE

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Notes from the week

The past week was full of important landmarks for me. Here’s a list of them, as well as some not-so-important but noteworthy items:

1.) Weekend wins: Some of my favorite friends came to visit New York last weekend, and we didn’t waste a second of our time on things like sobriety or culture. It was one of the best weekends I’ve had since moving here. As a result of all the drinking, I made two bodega stops over the course of the weekend and BOTH TIMES I WON. The less exciting win was the discount I received on an arm full of candy I purchased – “All of this is five dollars, but for you, I charge three.” #fatwin. The super exciting win happened around 4 AM on Friday night, when I was waiting for my spicy special, philly cheesesteak and mozzarella sticks to finish cooking. A drunk, old fat man walked into the bodega to buy beer. He looked me up and down and walked to get his six pack. He must have been struck by my beauty; I was wearing a skimpy peach minidress and clinging to an assortment of cookies and candy… Sexy, right? Anyway, he walked up to the counter and says, “This beer and everything she’s having.” The clerk looked at him like you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into buddy, and goes, “Nonono. She has many other things.” The drunk man waved his hand up as if money was immaterial, purchased my $30 worth of drunk binge food and disappeared into the the night. Now I understand the allure of a sugar daddy…

2.) Summer’s arrival: Sure, it rained all week, but last weekend I got a fucking sun tan. I can honestly tell you the last time my skin was anything but disgustingly pale was two years ago. I’ve started carrying printer paper to the Duane Reade so I can make sure I’m properly matching my skin tone to my makeup.

Of course, along with the heat comes the need for an AC, so on Tuesday night I carried my window unit down our long hallways and propped it up in my window. I love my AC so much that I named him last year.

This is Coolio-

Welcome back Coolio, I’ll sing the theme song to Kenan & Kel to you all summer

3.) I STARTED MY NEW JOB!!!!: I’m super excited about this one. After a week of not fielding angry phone calls and emails from everyone and (sometimes literally) their mom, I remember that I like working. On top of that, working for a more established company comes with big perks like A KEURIG, AN IT DEPARTMENT, A REGULAR SIZED REFRIGERATOR, FAST ELEVATORS. I even have an ID badge to get into my building. Bad. Ass.

4.) Failing at the Financial District: I’m working in an entirely different area of town and it’s really cool to be somewhere new, especially a place that’s so iconically New York. On my walk to the subway every night I stare up at the new World Trade Center, and I walk past all these beautiful historical churches and cemeteries every day. That being said, it’s a confusing area. It’s not a grid, there are tourists everywhere and I keep fucking up with the subway.

Example 1 – There are like 14 entrances to the Fulton Street station, and I found a new one that’s super close to my gym yesterday. I was feeling so cool and I was so enthralled with playing Angry Birds on the platform/train that I wasn’t paying attention to anything going on around me. About 20 minutes later I looked up and realized I was not, in fact, almost to 23rd street, but instead I was deep in Brooklyn.

Example 2 – Earlier in the week, I’d found another entrance to Fulton Street that was more convenient than my first station and I hadn’t yet remembered Angry Birds, so I was very focused on my surroundings. As soon as I swiped into the station I realized that I’d swiped into a platform with a train only going in one direction. I wasn’t sure of the direction, and rather than asking someone I decided to walk out of the station and check for myself. It turned out it was the correct direction, but when I went to reswipe my monthly MetroCard I got the stupid Just Used message that turnstiles give you to avoid people sharing MetroCards. I’m poorer than anything right now, so rather than purchasing a one ride ticket for $3, I walked the four blocks to another station.

The turnstiles are smarter than I anticipated. I got the Just Used message from that one too. After a few very frustrating minutes of waiting, I saw a Youth jump over one of the turnstiles. I looked around, waited for all the people in suits to swipe in, and then attempted to jump over the turnstile. It turns out I do not have the tricep strength, and I ended up having to crawl underneath the turnstile. I got through this way, but not without awkwardly getting stuck underneath it for what was probably five seconds but felt like a minute.

Lesson learned (I think). I will be more conscious of my surroundings and I will not try to swipe in twice.

5.) Flailing at the gym: Now that I’m in a new area, I’m also going to a different gym than I was going to before. On Tuesday night I tried a class called Abs & Ass. There’s a couple men who like to teach classes in a ‘military style’ at Crunch, but like any other aerobic instructor they are still definitely gay. Imagine listening to a techno remix of Michael Jackson’s Black or White while some super-effeminate yet totally jacked guy yells, “Left, Left, Left Right Left!” at you. That’s really all that happens.

Eric, the Abs & Ass teacher was one of these. I’m fairly new to fitness – I started working out on a regular basis about two years ago with an amazing trainer I had in Atlanta named Ali. Our training sessions involved him making me do really simple things like squats and then laughing at me. He once said to me, “When I started training you, you were so weak that I didn’t understand how you could walk.” I miss Ali. While I’ve gotten a lot better – I can run several miles, I don’t throw up every time I work out and I understand that the elliptical was something invented so fat people can feel better – I’m still clumsy as fuck.

Eric had us doing these plank exercises that involved us laying on our side and then lifting our hips. It should have been simple enough, everyone else seemed to have no problem with it. I, on the other hand, could not manage to keep myself laying on my hip. I’m not talking about the actual movement he wanted us to do (a side plank), I just couldn’t lay on my side. As Eric walked around the classroom and yelled that we were not trying hard enough, I was continually trying to roll myself to my side, falling over onto my stomach and flailing my arms in attempts to regain my balance. Pathetic, Tiffany… Pathetic.

6.) My first Katz Deli experience: Katz Deli is super famous because it was the setting for Meg Ryan’s faked orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally. On Thursday night, I got to try a pastrami on rye sandwich from the deli for my first time. HolyFuckingShit. I don’t even like pastrami OR rye, but oh my god this sandwich was amazing. Sidenote: It does cost $18…

I stole this photo from a google search

7.) Last, but definitely not least, my street interview: About 30 minutes before my Katz experience, I was standing outside of a concert in the LES, smoking a cigarette I’d bummed from some guy who seemed like he was giving me the cigarette just so I’d leave him alone. Another guy comes and stands next to me and introduces himself. He was a Bangladeshi masseuse who was very drunk. He offered me a free massage (which I declined) and somehow, despite my tremendous arsenal of standing outside a bar talking to a stranger questions, the conversation veered very quickly into him telling me that he masturbated a lot. It took him saying this three times, because it was hard to understand his accent, so I can assure you that it wasn’t one of those drunken word-vomit situations. He definitely meant to tell me about his extensive ‘personal’ time.

He then proceeded to interview-style ask me a number of questions about my sexual history, preferences, etc., including but not limited to asking if my gay roommate sleeps with girls too, if I like to sleep with girls and how my one-night stands have gone down. I answered far too many of these questions (mainly because I still had cigarette to finish, but also) because I figured at a certain point there would be no more questions, but the Bangladeshi guy was full of them. I eventually had to run back into the concert and hope that he wasn’t secretly a Candid Camera person asking me all about my sex life as a joke.

 

All in all, it was a typical New York in the summer kind of week. I’m so excited for so many more of them this year.

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The Gansevoort On Park Ave Is like the hotel california, and other notes from the weekend.

Baby Alexa turned 23. To celebrate we brought her lots of goodies from the Mexican dollar store on our block. Stolen Equal packaged and priced at $1.25, anyone?

The As having a Worst Club Ever experience in the line at the Gansevoort on Park Ave. It was equally as hard to find our way out, surprisingly enough. It's like the Hotel California, with a longer line to get in but a promoter grabs you and brings you in after five minutes of standing in the rain and bouncers keep telling you the doors that say Exit aren't really exits so you almost start crying because you think you're trapped in the Gansevoort and all you want are chicken wings from the Bodega.
So, pretty much the same.

Making this super small because Austin will hate me for posting it. Austin, you really wanted me to take a picture with the most bruisedbanana.
You were disgusted by the bananas.

Evidence that a Saturday night crime was committed.
Late night eating, I hate how much I love you.
The existence of this photo made me realize how annoying I am when I'm taking photos of stupid shit and I'm all, "OMG YOU GUYS I'M GOING TO PUT THIS ON MY BLOG."

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Oh Drunk Girl, we are the same

As you know, I’ve had a hard week at my job dealing with the mounting stress of Valentine’s Day. There are problems in life that involve effort – making a plan about resolving them, listening to ‘You Can Do It!’ music while running on the treadmill, etc. Then there are problems that you just have to let wash over you and know they’ll end in a matter of time. This is the second type of problem, and I’ve decided to let it wash over me and wash it down with a lot of vodka.

I feel encouraged by the fact that I didn’t have a hangover yesterday, in spite of drinking almost that entire bottle of Skyy Vodka, smoking cigarettes and eating only raw food all day… and chickpeas, which Franklin told me aren’t raw, damnit. I think my body is telling me that YES, this is exactly how I need to proceed through this stressful situation.

I started out the weekend with the intention of drinking heavily and guess what? I succeeded!! I ended my night by breaking my vegan diet and eating a spicy special on my couch, but how I got to that point is so awesome.

First off – I saved a drunk girl! I don’t know from what, but as I was leaving my friend’s apartment I happened upon this:

Looks like a crime scene, no?

Anyway, after the several minutes it took to figure out whether or not she was actually dead, I saw her apartment keys and let myself into her place. I tried to get her to stand up and walk to her bed, but she didn’t even want to get off the floor . Our conversation went something like this:

Me – Hey, hey! Let’s get you inside.

Drunk Girl – I uhhhhhhh, nooooas;jkfs;jkasf

Me – No, you really wanna go inside your apartment. Let’s get you inside your apartment.

DG – Nouehahahheeeeekkksdf;kafd;kad

Me – Oh, honey. You really don’t want to be out here in your hallway (starts to pull DG up)

DG – ;jadfs;dfkldfjkldfjkladsfjlkdfskljkjdfuhhhhhhhhh

I ended up having to pull her into her living room by picking her up and dragging her into her apartment.

After throwing her keys on the floor and going over the Angela’s, I continued my quest to drink heavily. The funny thing about helping drunk people when you’re about to get drunk is the very limited amount of time that you have to feel self-righteous. It took all of an hour before I fell in the bar and Austin and Angela had to help me off my knees – I apparently decided hanging out on my knees at the empty bar was a good choice.

Shortly after that I headed home, “decided” to break my diet and buy a Spicy Special and cheese fries, and went to the bodega. While I was waiting for them to make my sandwich, the cashier walked away from the register. It was at this point that I realized the chocolate bars by the register were good for the taking, and I decided to steal a chocolate bar. I slipped one into my purse, and after the cashier returned, didn’t notice and left again, I took a second.

When I woke up this morning and surveyed the wreckage in my living room (somehow I put away the rest of my sandwich and fries, but left my underwear in the middle of my living room) I saw the two chocolate bars sitting on the coffee table. They serve as a great reminder that on any given night I’m only one failed attempt at opening my door away from being the drunk girl I helped.

Yes, there is a price tag on my sweatpants. In case you’re wondering, it says $2.99.

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Ryan and I decided to be friends

I woke up at 5:30 this morning absolutely hating myself for getting drunk on a week night. It doesn’t even matter that I got myself home without getting a bunch of bodega food, at a decent hour, with all my belongings AND managed to put my mouthguard in before falling asleep with my alarm set – all things that wouldn’t have happened in college. Waking up hungover solidifies for a few brief moments the deep-seated fear that I will never be a functioning adult.

As I laid there suffering, the conversations from last night started pouring in along with some more self hatred. Really? Did we really discuss preferred types of porn? (Angela, this further answers THIS question.) On a first date? I remembered a bunch of other embarrassing things I said (and tend to say after a bottle of wine) and then I remembered that right before sliding into my cab I asked Ryan if we could be just friends.

He was all about the idea from what I remember, but in my sobriety I wonder if he really felt the same way or if he agreed because there’s not really anything else you can say to someone saying they’re not interested in you romantically.

I’m hopeful it was the former because while Ryan was a perfectly normal (and nice!) guy, there was absolutely no connection there. Aside from the fact that he did this hand motion a lot

 and I found it distracting, talking to Ryan made me feel like a weirdo.

In my day to day I don’t think of my friends or myself as quirky, but I guess that we are. Ryan talked to me about the type of things you ‘should’ talk about on a first date – how many siblings he has, what he was like in high school, etc. In the middle of my talking animatedly about Austin’s temporary paralysis and why that’s resulted in us throwing a knock-on-wood-themed New Year’s Eve party I realized this is not what you’re supposed to talk about on a first date, I guess? At the end of the story I had to clarify with “… we have a morbid sense of humor.”

If I were to chart out our back and forth, I think it would look something like this:

(I know I misspelled religion in the chart… I don’t feel like fixing it)

I left the conversation thinking about all the ways I didn’t feel understood by this other human and how for some reason not feeling understood for a few brief moments makes you feel totally alone in the universe.

Then I came home to my roommates, who were eating some of the novelty candies we buy from the bodega and I remembered I’m not alone. Not alone in my quirkiness at all.

To Ryan: If you do decide to be my friend, below are some future conversations you can expect.

  • Why geese are awesome
  • All the reasons I’m sure my retinas are detaching even though the eye doctor says they’re not
  • All about my friend named Hibben and probably some pictures of her to prove she’s real
  • About my dog that we’ve renamed ‘Die’
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