Playing Catch Up

Wow!  Only one hour after publishing my first post and the response has been great!  Now that everyone is up to speed about what this is, let me catch you all up on where I’ve been.

When I got to thinking about places I enjoy going to and that would be receptive to something like this, I thought The Queens Kickshaw was the perfect place to start.  But because it was opening night, I thought there needed to be a big splash, i.e. many recipients for a grand kick, if you will.  Another place that I adore and think is very deserving is the brand new brewery, Singlecut Beersmiths.  I had also been taking things to Sorriso’s Salumeria for many months and included them in my big start.  And what a perfect representation of myself and my loves: good coffee, good beer, and good food.

I was uncertain how this would shape up and asked Jennifer at TQK who she thought would be appreciative of something like this.  I had already anticipated that people might be a bit skeptical (they are, more on that later) so I needed someone with an open mind.  It seems that Jennifer read mine and sent me to SITE, adorable boutique on 34th Ave where I has purchased a bunch of Christmas presents.  I had a great conversation with Makenzie there and decided to make this part of the project, that this week’s business has to recommend the next place to go.

She sent me to Astoria Wine Bier and Cheese on Broadway, a place that I’d been meaning to try for months but hadn’t gotten around to it.  Did you know they not only have a fantastic selection of cheeses and beers, but they also have a case of cured meats with SPANISH SERRANO HAM.  I love almost all cured meats, but this one has been my favorite for years.   I used to have to go to this little hole in the wall cheese shop in Manhattan in the 60’s off of Lexington to get it, but no more!   Not only did they love the cookies, but the project was working already for me personally – I now have a place to get my ham.

The folks there thought that my next stop should be Il Bambino on 31st, a kind of panini place.  Here is where I first started to encounter the skepticism.  I swear, the girl that I dropped them off to thought I was the Una Bomber, or that the cookies had anthrax in them.  I honestly would not have been surprised if they threw them away after I left.  But I went in with a friend a few days later to grab my plate then head out for brunch, but we decided to stay and give them a fair chance.  The food was, of course, delicious, and after speaking with manager for a bit, I left with a much better feeling about it and realized that what I’m doing really might be somehow off putting and strange for people to accept. That I don’t want anything from this, I’m not selling anything, there’s no catch.

The next stop was Sweet Afton on 34th Street and 30th, a bar known for their fried McClure’s Pickles and pickle martinis.  Dropping off there also gave me an unsettled feeling, like maybe this wasn’t being viewed how I thought it might or that people didn’t really understand.  It also made me say, Ok Renee, you’d really better get this blog going so that people have a way to let it sink in what this is all about.  Really people, it’s not complicated 🙂  I came back on what i thought would be a good time, Monday night around 8, but they were pretty slammed.  Timing is everything.  I got blank stares from a few people working there and when i did explain to one person, she said, Uh, I don’t get it.  Riiiight….I finally got to speak with the guy I dropped them off to who told me they broke my plate.  Not really a big deal, it’s a plate.  I can get another one.  But it was the manner in which the conversation took place, Whoops, we broke it, sorry.  Not sorry, can we replace it, sorry how about have a beer, just, we broke it, sorry.  The rest of the conversation was pretty unproductive (there was not a lot of listening and much of my repeating going on) although I finally got my next location out of them.  My lesson learned was time my drops and pick ups better – long days and busy establishments make for the staff not listening to or caring about what’s happening in front of them if it’s not a money/business related matter.  Although TQK was pretty busy when I came in and Jennifer still took the time to be a gracious, normal human being.  That place is just above awesome in my book.

So, regardless of my experience at Sweet Afton, I came to this week’s drop with a hopeful excitement that maybe it would be different here at Sparrow Tavern on 29th street and 24th Ave.  And it was!  At first, they thought I was a new bakery promoting an opening or selling something but after I sat down and order a beer (Singlecut’s Mahogany Ale) and had a chance to explain it, they realized there was no catch and enjoyed the cookies!  That’s definitely a place I’ll be back to, even though it might as well be in Brooklyn as far as I’m concerned for the distance it is from my apartment.  It has a vibe mixed between a bar’s bar and a cozy establishment.  And next time I go, I will definitely be trying the food.  Lamb chorizo tacos?  Yes please.

I’ll swing by in a few days to pick up my plate, and they’ve already given me my next assignment – Hell Gate Social.  Also a place I’ve been meaning to try for forever…noticing a theme?  I’m sure there will be a lot of that.  But for now, I’m looking forward to spreading more joy, trying new places and changing the tide of our thinking.


Copyright 2013, Renee Heitmann


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