Klime Kovaceski, chef-proprietor of Crystal Café, dismisses those kinds of guilty pangs, both from a business side and a consumer point of view. A Macedonian, he has lived with unsettled violence as a fact of life. "I grew up with the fighting of wars," he recollects. "It's pretty scary, and it obviously affects everyone. But going to restaurants and ordering a cognac and talking for hours is all part of the [wartime] fabric." He notes that his clientele hasn't really fallen off; rather people seem to be dining out as an act of confirmation of life or rebellion against the loss of it.
So while things may not seem so rosy -- or rosé -- at the moment, it is within striking distance that South Beach will manage to emerge victorious from the slump. Of course we must do our part as locals and show some loyalty to our hometown eateries. As a bonus you can also help out by exhibiting an appetite. On October 11 a national campaign will mark the inauguration of the Window of Hope Family Relief Fund, which will aid those who lost relatives who worked in Windows on the World and other culinary support systems of the World Trade Center.
Restaurants, which will include Pacific Time (restaurateurs interested in participating are invited to contact Eismann), will donate monies made on this night, the one-month anniversary of the catastrophe, to the fund. And it may indeed be self-serving to consider helping the victims' families in this way. But no doubt Eismann's pan-Eastern fare is a reward far more singular than the Oreo and juice you get for donating blood, which is never going to make it out of South Florida anyway.