Sunday, November 22, 2009

A State of Schnitzel

While I was off cavorting with the food carts of Portland, Mad Me-Shell and Zany got hungry. So, they hunted down the legendary Schnitzel & Things Truck without me. You think you know who your friends are, and then they go out and stuff their faces without you.

Suffice it to say, I am highly offended. I am now in the unfortunate position of being a “schnitzel neophyte,” the only person left on the island of Manhattan who has not gorged himself at the axels of the Schnitzel Truck. So I swallow my pride and throw myself at the mercy of Mad Me-Shell. “Show me the way to schnitzel happiness,” I implore.

She gives me that Zen, all-knowing look of hers and replies, “When Schnitzel summons, you must heed the call.” She’s also glad to hear I’ve got my truck food mojo back, as she thinks I have spent far too much time lately talking about organic vegetables.

The food truck gods have smiled on us. After hovering in the outer reaches of Brooklyn for way too long, the Schnitzel Truck now has a regular weekday slot right outside our office. The lunch hour is not yet upon us, and Mad appears at my door, somewhat agitated. “We’ve got to get down there. There are almost thirty people in line, including a guy with crutches. We’ve got to get ahead of him.” I grab my coat. Mad skips the coat and is off running ahead of me at a frantic clip. Zany is engrossed in some work project, poor thing, and gets completely left behind.

Down on 52nd Street there is indeed a feeding frenzy and a media frenzy as well. The Schnitzel Truck is the culinary darling of the New York press. Along with yours truly, there is a video camera crew and a news photographer accosting the lunchtime crowd.

Since this is my first, Mad Me-Shell recommends that I go with the basics - a classic Pork Schnitzel. “The Schnitzel’s approximately the size of your face,” she tells me.

Mad Me-Shell, on the other hand, has a black belt in fried food, so she’s graduated to the really serious stuff – and she’s ready for the Schnitzel Burger.

We get onto the slow moving line. It is a mostly male line up. Apparently, guys are into schnitzel.

At this point, I made a sweet discovery. The Street Sweets Truck is parked one spot away.

“It’s serendipity!” I cry.

“I’ve read all about this,” says Mad. “They’ve teamed up together. They’ve made friends. You can get your savory and your sweet. It’s like a curbside buffet.” She suggests – purely for the sake of time management – that I buy my sweets while she holds our place in line. I jump off briefly and purchase a Pumpkin Whoopee Pie and a Chocolate Whoopee Pie for Zany, since she had to stay behind.

We stand in line for nearly thirty minutes. “It’s not exactly fast food,” I suggest.

“But then you know it’s made to order,” retorts Mad Me-Shell.

The guy in front of us can’t decide on his choice of sides. I am about to deck him for taking so long, but I restrain myself.

We finally approach the window. The anticipation is killing me and we are enveloped in a waft of a buttery, fried, crispy and smoky aroma. “If you could eat Fall, I feel like that’s what we’re about to do,” says Mad Me-Shell, turning all meteorological on me.

Mad orders a Schnitzel Burger with a crispy bronze coating, and a pile of fries and chickpea salad.

I go for the Pork Schnitzel with Austrian potato salad and briny sauerkraut.

It is indeed, a Schnitzel to remember – piping hot, crisp and golden, paper thin, and meltingly-delicious. I devour it so quickly that it feels like an out-of-body experience. And, when I am done with the Schnitzel platter, I scarf down the Pumpkin Whoopee Pie and the Chocolate Whoopee Pie. I just can’t control my inner gluttonous self, and Zany gets nothing. Oh, well. It's the thought that counts.

“The smell of the schnitzel does strange things to you,” says Mad Me-Shell.

©2009 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


My Carolina Kitchen said...

That's some fine looking schnitzel. Looks like it was worth the wait. I like Me-Shell's chickpea salad too. I would have chosen yours - the bread would have been too much for me. I'm not familiar with Australian potato salad; it looked good too. Sounds like another successful lunch in NYC.

Julia said...

I'm with Mad Me-Shell -- very glad you've got your food truck mojo back! Sounds like a great lunch... Sounds like you can justify the virtue of schnitzel since it's "slow food"... alongside the organic food.. tee hee.

I hear my next carreer calling -- you've inspired me. I think I'll open a food truck.

veron said...

That schnitzel looks excellent! You know I'm a sucker for anything fried right. I think next time I'm in NY, we can skip the dine-in places and go visit the food trucks. :)

Zany said...

First and foremost, it's every man for him/herself when it comes to schnitzel. On the other hand...I didn't even get the dessert?!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I have this image in my head of the food trucks circling midtown Manhattan, with good food aromas coming out the back, until eventually everyone in working in that part of town comes streaming out of their offices, eager to follow those trucks anywhere. The schnitzel truck sounds like a winner!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Don't talk to me. I'm insanely jealous. OK, I don't mean it. That schnitzel is cooked to perfection. Austrian potato salad??? Tell me! I can't tell what makes it Austrian and I'm dying to know (I just blogged my mom's Bavarian potato salad, which is right across the border). I would have been a glutton, too. In Monterey, California-- things like this don't exist. Not at all. How fun!

Fresh Local and Best said...

I'm afraid if I start eating from the Schnitzel Truck that I won't be able to stop. Each of the dishes look terrific!

Kalyn said...

Oh my! I'm not sure I've ever eaten real schnitzel, but your lunch looks fantastic.

Mad Me-Shell said...

That deep-fried schnitzel burger changed my life. Unfortunately, I don't think I could ever eat another one, or else I'd have a heart attack, but it was TOTALLY worth it!