Well, it’s official. I am no longer a vegetarian. I was getting tired of being hungry all the time and constantly feeling sick due to lack of adequate protein. Now, mind you, I have only re-embraced fish and fowl. I haven’t consumed beef, pork, lamb, venison, elk, buffalo, etc. for nearly four years and have no plans to do so again (although bacon might be an option in the near future because … bacon.) I am also quite pleased I don’t have to pay a ridiculous ransom for frozen veggie burgers and faux chicken patties ever again.
So, my mother invited me to the Oy Vey Buffet again; however, this was not on New York Deli night but, instead, on Saturday seafood night. Seafood?! What excellent timing.
There I was. Standing in the middle of the buffet in a sea of round, little “active seniors” with fish in all directions as far as the eye could see. I was, like, literally, in the ocean. An ocean of old Jewish people (seriously, it smelled like denture cream, name-brand analgesic rub, schmaltz, and chutzpah). Okay, well, the fish was only in three directions and as far as my eyes could see because I hate wearing my glasses unless I truly need them. Regardless (not “irregardless” as a former supervisor used to utter ad nauseum, likely to make herself feel smarter), here I was—vegetarian non grata.
First stop, the cold snow crab legs. As my mother tried to balance what amounted to approximately 12 crabs on a salad plate before awkwardly schlepping her pyramidal conquest back to our table, I took a few claws before proceeding down the cold fish section of the salad bar—a salad bar that had been both my best friend and enemy over the past several months. Whitefish salad, gefilte fish, pickled herring, smoked salmon/lox (which is divine with a toasted everything bagel, sliced red onion, cream cheese, and capers), mussels on the half shell, and peel-and-eat shrimp. Yes, I know shellfish isn’t kosher, neither am I. Hush, I’m hungry.
As I skipped back to our table with my delightful appetizer—my stomach humming in joyful anticipation of what it was about to receive—I perused the other options for round two. Warm crab legs, cioppino, fried shrimp, baked salmon, tempura calamari, and Asian clams and salmon in black bean sauce.
Let me tell you, fish has never tasted so good. Never. Truly. At least I think so, as I inhaled it so quickly that I, honestly, don’t remember that first plate. Round two landed some clams, salmon, calamari, broccoli, and a few pieces of tofu (for old time’s sake) atop my plate; but, alas, nothing else looked as appetizing as the salad bar’s cold fish selection. I could actually taste it this time and, oh my goodness, I felt as though I were in heaven. In nirvana. In Jewfish nirvana.
We have since returned the past few Saturdays (and likely for the next several Saturdays as, remember, my mom gets free shit all the time). And every single time my meal consists primarily of cold Jewfish. And broccoli.
“Seafood is one of the easiest things to digest – a bratwurst is really hard on the body.” ~ Joey Chestnut