Best Delicatessen (2006)

Arnie and Richie's

The first symptom of the craving is when everything else you eat suddenly feels like chewing chalk. You suddenly understand why people are addicted to getting tattoos and body piercings -- that desire for stimulation sets in. Mustard and horseradish and onions, endowed with unnamable healing properties, begin appearing in your dreams. Or perhaps it is some primordial connection to the sea, this sudden craving for brine and salt and fish oil that insistently pesters and will not shut up. This feeling can be satisfied only by entering Arnie and Richie's and witnessing the slabs of Nova Scotia and belly lox and sable sprawled in a glass display case and sniffing that smell, the one that separates the lover of flavorful food from the finicky hipster. You sit down and await your platter; spread the cream cheese carefully on your toasted onion bagel; layer it with the pink fish, a ripe tomato, and some onions; love that you are going to smell like this all day. One bite and you're transported to the tenement housing of your ancestors, to their love for the pungent, for the pumpernickel and rye. You utter a silent thanks for their persistence, which took them from the ice fields of Eastern Europe all the way here, to paradise, where you honor them through eating. Most dishes cost less than $10; breakfast ranges from $3.50 to $7.


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