In late 2001, I came up with the idea to gather together friends who, like me, enjoyed finding, out of the way, unusual, usually ethnic, usually cheap eats throughout New York. To add to the experience, I suggested that we meet together every month or six weeks with one of the members of the group picking the destination. I targeted friends, or friends of friends, who were uninhibited about their food choices; meaning they had to be open to any type of food, meat, fish, spicy, raw, whatever. Anyone whose diet had restrictions due to health, philosophical or religious reasons where wheat, red meat, pork, shellfish, entrails or any other food product were prohibited really could not participate. Thankfully, that did not stop any of my first choices. Eventually, our original group came to six men.
Part of the loose criteria I came up with in my “proposal” for our group, was a $20 food limit per person, excluding beverages. So wherever we choose, it had to meet or come very close to that dollar amount. Also, I made it clear that we should steer clear of restaurants that had already been “discovered.” We wanted to find places that were under the radar; that had not yet been written up by Eric Asimov of the New York Times, the then “$25 and Under” column writer in the paper’s weekly Dining section, New York Magazine, or any other major publication. This was well before the internet explosion of food related websites like Chowhound, Grub Street, Eater, Serious Eats, and Yelp to name just some of the hundreds out there now discussing new restaurants including the type we were pursuing.
The six men, who comprised the original group, leaving their last names out, were Charlie, Rick, Gerry, Eugene, Zio, and myself. The only change in the group over the almost nine years we have been doing this was the loss of Charlie, who moved a couple of hours outside of the city making his commute for our gatherings not very practical. He was replaced by a friend of Gerry’s we call, Mike from Yonkers.
Since we began these expeditions, I chronicled each restaurant we visited with a sometimes brief, sometimes wordy summary of our experience at that restaurant called Adventures in Chow City. In this blog, I’m calling Fried Neck Bones…and some home fries, in honor of the Willie Bobo song of the same name, I have posted the original summaries and will continue to post all new and forthcoming Adventures in Chow City.
Along with the Adventures in Chow City posts, I will have some fun with the current food culture, though keeping it, for the most part, strictly low end. I promise not to ever give a star to anything I cover and I’ll really do my best to avoid lists; no top tens, fives, eights or any other number. I seriously take not taking the food universe very seriously.
Within these electronic pages you will find musings on baccala and beef brains, cachapas, congee, and cow foot, fazool and fish stomach, bizarre foods and bad verse, happy hours, hot peppers, and hot pots, pupusas and pasta, rotis and rum punch, to name just some of what has already been covered. I will do my best to embarrass myself and my companions by taking pictures wherever and whenever I can to better tell the story of whatever it might be I am reporting on. The goal here is to entertain and hopefully Fried Neck Bones…and Some Home Fries will succeed in doing so.
Always feel free to leave comments. I might even respond to them. If you prefer to reach me outside the blog, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.