Featured, Theory & Essay

One Man’s Quest To Find The Perfect Batch Of Mac And Cheese In New York City

(I first read this cautionary tale last week at Colored Boy and Friends: Mental Health Edition in New York City with the help of Bondfire Radio’s Tasty Keish.)

INT. NIGHT – KITCHEN

Alex is seated on a designer high stool from Tarjé at a marble counter in a tidy kitchen (with clean baseboards, thank you very much) that appears to also serve as a plantain warehouse. A mid-sized plate piled high with ravaged chicken bones rests at his right. At his left: collard green-scented candles and a flute of the finest red Kool-aid. Luxury, ho. Trillville’s “Some Cut” plays softly in the background.

I love food the way Donald Trump loves the applause his anus-mouthed ramblings elicit from his loyal, unmoisturized flock of Fuckboy Franks and Dumpsterheart Debbies. My devotion to food mirrors the potential Dickhead-In-Chief’s passion for masking his stage four melanin envy with his special brand of short-dicked xenophobia — the pestilent, rabid kind that convinces me that if reverse racism were real, more often than not, it should probably look and feel like a baseball bat to the motherfucking face because fair is fair.

My gluttonous reputation is internationally known, pleighboy. I get DMs with the raunchiest recipes instead of sexytime offerings. The people of Internetland tag me in food-related posts — “Alex, have you seen this nine-tier red velvet Oreo wedding cake/chicken castle/solid gold nacho situation?” or “This cheesecake eating contest/30-pound burger/chicken wing festival reminded me of you, Alex!” — day pon day via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text and carrier pigeon. So while I relish any opportunity for midday calorie-fueled wet dreams, I’m never not hungry or plotting my next meal(s). Y’all are such enablers.

And I still have more pictures of food in my phone than of homies, Janet, and glorious melanin-rich menfolk, combined. I also recently created a separate Instagram account dedicated to my food victories and greedy nigga exploits. This ain’t no ordinary love.

I say all that to say: food is my life.

As such, I am spiritually mandated to try the macaroni and cheese 8 out of every 10 times I see it on the menu in a restaurant UNLESS the establishment’s reputation or reviews from trusted sources discourage or explicitly prohibit dancing with the devil. It’s a rule in the Handbook For Inwardly Obese Food-Obsessed Persons. This same handbook also gives me thug motivation and guidance each time I engage my waiter in an ultra-serious discussion about the quality and configuration of the macaroni and cheese assemblage in question. Some of my go-to fact-finding tactics:

1. Do you eat it? An easy leading question. It’s more pointed than “Is it good?” and body language reveals all. Maintain eye contact and try to detect if the mofo is telling you whatever it’ll take to get you to order some high-priced fuckshit. Do their eyes shift? Do they start to sweat? Do they stammer and claim to not understand the question, Racheldolezalingly? Be attentive.

2. Is it baked? I’m working on my self-care and that means avoiding pot-to-plate macaroni trauma at all costs. I want the same for you.

3. Assuming you love and aren’t trying to murder them, would you feed it to your mother or your children? Obvious.

And so forth.

Look. I don’t care about your doings and screwings, but I believe with every piece of my Black ass being that Saint Moms Mabley would want us to bake our macaroni and cheese. Let’s be real. And not just for a cute kiss of crispness on top. Bonding and unity among the cast of ingredients: super muy importante. And: seasoning matters, folks.  We can agree on this, yes? If you agree, say, “I love myself!” We is free now and must start acting like it. That means pay your bills, teach the babies, and season your food like you respect yourself. Grow up.

Food recommendations are serious business. I still don’t speak to the baldheaded scoundrel who recommended the putridness at Copeland’s in New Orleans. She’s lucky I didn’t get a restraining order or beep Homeland Security about the gastric warfare she subjected me to.

no

Nobody told me mac & cheese was made with spaghetti and hatred in New Orleans.

I won’t even get started on the spaghetti-based devastation I faced at Verti Marte that legendary meandering, zooted Christmas Eve when I attempted to eat and drink my way around the French Quarter in a night. And I’m still healing from another grand betrayal: the much-hyped, muy regular chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House, also in Nola.

“Food Network said it’s the best chicken in the country!” those hateful ho-ass rat bastards told me.

And that was the last time I took food advice from an Ashanti fan.

With that mighty preamble out of the way, submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society, I call this story, Close Encounters of The Macaroni and Cheese Kind.

(Lights dim)

EXT. NIGHT – FRONT PORCH

Alex is seated in a rocking chair with twice as many collard green-scented candles as before and Trump supporter teeth-as-confetti scattered around the porch. Covered by a couture Gordon Gartrelle poncho, he is wearing a vial of artisanal white tears around his neck. A pitcher of sweet tea rests seductively on a speaker plugged into nothing in particular. Rockin Sidney’s “Don’t Mess With My Toot Toot” softly plays from a boombox.

Peaches Hot House, Brooklyn.

Last summer, after a handful of recommendations, I went to investigate this allegedly magical chicken at Peaches. To, you know, see what the fuck. I was once a hot sauce-abusing Negro who adored spicy foolishness, but in recent years, I prefer to taste my food. So, while others flocked there for the famous hot chicken, I opted for regular ol’ fried chicken — chicken chicken, if you will — with mac & cheese, butter beans, and cornbread. The chicken was a win: crispy and yummy and seasoned with love and dignity.

The mac’s consistency was great, because creaminess is the way to true freedom, but sadly, the only discernible flavor was cheese. Mac and cheese should be more than just cheesy, folks. It has tons of praiseworthy potential, and being small-minded with your preparation is a crime against humanity. Anyhow, when I went back a few months later, the chicken was as dry as an Alicia Keys a Capella double album, but the mac & cheese was on 184 thousand dozen hundred. I don’t know.

There’ve been some solid victories here in the city, though.

I went to Miss Lily’s, a Caribbean spot with Manhattan prices, with a group of friends to catch up and be loud and aggressively Black in public because self care. I don’t believe in paying $20+ for fucking oxtail as a free Negro in the United States in the 2000 and the 16, so I went with the jerk wings and macaroni and cheese. Before confirming, I asked the waitress straight up. “Look. Do YOU eat the mac and cheese?” Without missing a beat she replied, “Yes! It’s not like Bed Stuy and it’s not like going to somebody’s mama’s house, but it is so good.”

crisp

And dammit, I believed her. I felt her. It’s all in the eye contact. And she was right.

The mac and cheese at Sweet Chick, the restaurant franchise that Nas co-owns, uses fontina, gruyere, and aged white cheddar, and is delightful.

nas

The chicken and waffles is dope, too.

The Mexican Mac-and-Cheese with chorizo at Dos Caminos which uses wagon wheel pasta, sharp cheddar, a Mexican cheese blend, GARLIC, jalapeños, cotija cheese and other goodness, is also fantastic.

mex

I took a squad of greedy folks there for the churro ice cream sammich, which you absolutely need in your life. I fully appreciated the magnitude of Saint Damita Jo’s love and glory that night.

And then there is the stuff at places like Island CZ Café. I knew upon ordering this what my complaint would be, because it’s a frequent complaint when I try macaroni & cheese from a Caribbean spot: lack of seasoning. A handful of Caribbean folk have tried to come for me over this stance. I said what I said. Fight me.

brick

Oh, so y’all just gon’ me charge $700 for a weapon-like brick of cheese with flecks of pasta tossed in? Word. It definitely came sliced like a loaf of bread. Unsurprisingly, the texture and the creaminess were a win here. But involving anything other than noodles and cheese would have made a world of difference here. When in doubt, salt will work it out. Thankfully the strength of the drinks made up for the food.

And then there is Sid Gold’s Request Room, at 165 W 26th St, New York, NY.
A few months back, fellow VSB contributor Natalie Degraffinried invited me to Sid Gold’s for a storytelling showcase hosted by writer and teacher Tim Manley. Adepero Oduye, who starred in Pariah alongside Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell, was among the participants. Great show. Naturally, I had to assess their mac situation, which they made with fontina, Parmesan, and cheddar. Cute combo. Impressive flavor. However, it was a bit more soupy than my spirit could bear. In fact, I described it to Natalie as “soupy nonsense.” It was better than “what the hell is this?” but like hearing Mary J Blige’s Christmas album, I’m in no rush to do that shit again.

It was obviously baked more for cosmetic reasons, to lightly brown the top, than to bring order and unity to the soupy nonsense within. Oh, and those overcooked noodles? Chile, bye.

It wasn’t horrendous, but I wouldn’t even suggest it to the most fervent and obnoxious and reality-averse Iggy Azalea stan, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

And then, I went to Billie’s Black, at 271 W 119th St.

If you, someone running an enterprise in the business of offering yummy food in exchange for money, give an item its own section of the menu, it better be nutbustingly good. If you then mention the specialness of this separate section-deserving dish, as a hungry and joy-seeking customer, I want to skeet across the room upon first taste, okay? I want joy and the love of the ancestors to wash over me as a quartet of becornrowed angels performs Janet’s “Runaway” on harps. Give me fire and desire. Give me fever. Something. A tingle?

In a perfect world, sure. In a world where Itchy Amelia the rapping Australian White Walker is free to release her sonic torture unto the world at will? Nah.

honey

The honey BBQ wings were on point. But that mac? The texture was misleading: it was sufficiently cheesy, but not overwhelmingly so. It was baked. I was hopeful. But a Taylor Swift dancehall album produced by David Foster would have more flavor. It was like discovering that the that ultra fine thirst trapper you just followed on Instagram sends weekly tithes to Umar Johnson’s “school” and is as witty as a pile of toenail clippings. And the waiter was clearly employed because of fineness and not for demonstrating even the most basic ability to pretend to possess the slightest desire to develop a hint of a concern for cultivating any sort of skill. Go-Go-Gadget: Supreme Disappointment. Apparently the catfish is impressive. Or something.

Verdict: In the words of Miss Sofia from The Color Purple, “Don’t do it Miss Celie. Don’t trade places with what I been through.”

And then there was Junior’s.

My homegirl Shawnda and her boopiece came up from Richmond, Virginia to chillax and to watch Lupita act her damn face off in Eclipsed. She, being “touristy,” as she put it, wanted to go to Juniors. Fine. I wasn’t pressed to have the cheesecake. So, because I didn’t trust anything else on the menu, I decided on chicken wings, like a real nigga. We were all curious yet unsure about the mac and cheese. Shawnda and I agreed, given the menu, and the fact this is was an item in a famous restaurant that I’d never heard mentioned by anyone ever, this was a risk. An adventure. Before deciding, we sought out the nearest, most trustworthy-looking Negro employee in the vicinity. “Hmm. Lemme ask this clean ass brother with the black ass lips. He looks sensible enough,” I thought. I told them, “I got this.” We signaled him over and I asked him straight up. “Look. What’s the deal with your macaroni and cheese situation.” He paused and looked at each of us. “I mean, it’s good.”

My grubmates and I exchanged nervous glances. He continued, “It’s not quite homemade, but it’s close.”

Note: Using “homemade” to indicate high quality or trustworthiness is dangerous because: what if their home is a burning dumpster in some abysmal land where hugs and seasoning will earn you a trip to dungeon?

After surveying the scene and the food I saw passing our table, I opted for wings, the safest choice. Shawnda got BBQ chicken and ribs. Her boo got the brisket.

In retrospect, most of the tragedies I’ve faced in life could have been avoidable if I had trusted my gut. I’m a smart motherfucker. I’m great at surviving. And part of surviving means steering clear of ashy dicks and heeding red flags. After we ordered, instead of bringing, you know, some crumpets or perhaps some yummy pumpernickel bread to the table as our snack, do you know what they brought us? If not, I will tell you: beets, pickles, and coleslaw.

The motherfucking horror. That’s when I knew that it was all a setup.

pickle

On the debut episode of my podcast with Jay Connor, “The Extraordinary Negroes,” which features Damon and Panama, los Very Smart Brovas, we somehow wound up comparing artists to foods and places. Someone said that Beyoncé was bacon. I suggested Chris Brown was oatmeal: aight when you have it, but he ain’t necessary at all. But the most important agreement we reached was that Azalea Banks was beets, because beets don’t go with shit, any potential positives are washed by the shitty texture and they fuck everything up.

And those beets almost fucked up my vibe on that day, but I decided not to let Mr. Junior and his white gastric nonsense get me down. And so we cackled and were way Black and loud in the place to be despite the impending terror.

Then the food came.

nune

And here are my questions.

Why, Mr. Junior, are you attempting to pass raggedy ass pot roast off as pricy delicious brisket?

Mr. Junior, if my sisterfriend’s chicken is covered in BBQ sauce, why is the only thing we taste chicken rub? What kind of water-based BBQ sauce fuckery is this?

Why serve wings with yawn-worthy fried carrots when there are sweet potatoes in this world?

And what the fuck kind of terrorist camp of a family were you raised in where American cheese is a thing that goes in mac and cheese not being used to feed your pet subway rats or poison your arch-nemesis?

This was the worst of all the disappointments because it felt like a dropkick right in the spirit. That nigga with the black lips looked the three of us right in our faces and said it was CLOSE to homemade. So we’re here envisioning somebody’s nice, good-smelling grandma with a moomoo and ashy heels and diabetes in the kitchen whipping that work with the sharp cheddar and perhaps some garlic and such. And his monkey ass is over there envisioning the terrorist camp home situations that brought us the likes of George Zimmerman and that scoundrel ass Russell Simmons, who brought you the Rush Card, inaccessible funds, and eviction notices.

Here are my takeaways:

One. When restaurants are known for one thing, you really can’t be mad when you get adventurous and everything except that one notable thing is fucking terrible.

Two. Ordering macaroni and cheese in public is always a risk. Even when the waiter is cute and has kind eyes.

Three. If you put sugar in your grits or intentionally listen to Flo-Rida, the stuff at Junior’s is what you need in your life.

And lastly, Diddy didn’t make those poor kids from Making The Band walk to Junior’s for the lackluster chicken or the fucking mac and cheese. He sent them for the cheesecake. Remember that.

Let my cautionary tale guide you on your journey through the Land of Gluttony. Don’t make the same mistakes I made. You know what danger looks like. I beseech thee: heed my warnings. I did that you so don’t have to go through that, y’all. Know yourself. Trust yourself. And watch for wayward biking gentrifiers high on privilege when stepping off of the curb.

Amen.

Alex Hardy

Alexander Hardy is the dance captain for Saint Damita Jo Jackson's Royal Army. He is a writer who escaped Hampton, Virginia and is now based in Panama City, Panama. There, he runs The Colored Boy, and consumes copious amounts of chicken. He has written for EBONY.com, CNN, Gawker, and Huffington Post among other outlets. Alexander can likely be found daydreaming about his next meal or Blacking It Up on someone's dance floor. He also doesn't believe in snow or Delaware. Read more from Alex at www.thecoloredboy.com

  • Other_guy13

    Without reading this yet I’m sort of afraid to dive into this…my heart cant take much more…red pill or blue pill….

  • Kas

    Great article, though the title had me very worried. Damon has managed to make mac-n-cheese a trigger phrase for most of us.

    • Other_guy13

      I’m shook…wont lie.

      • Tambra

        These people like to see the world burn. But I am keeping out.

        • Kas

          It is just about food. It is safe to read.

          • Tambra

            Is it just about food? Think wings and potato salad.

            • Kas

              Don’t let a little war scare you.

              • Tambra

                I know my fighting abilities, so I know when to sit out.

            • Kas

              Because

    • Mizwest

      Seriously, I was like uh oh where are we going with this, lol.

  • OSHH

    I never expect much from restaurant mac n cheese, like a good salmon cake, it can only be done right at home.

    • miss t-lee

      You just said a word.
      Plus, I’m not paying exorbitant prices for salmon croquettes that will not be nearly as good.

    • IwanttobeaRizpah

      Salmon? Like a cake with fish in it?!?

      • Val

        Salmon and other ingredients are made into a patty and fried. It’s very good when done right.

        • IwanttobeaRizpah

          Ooooooh!! I love those!! K.
          ?!!!!!

  • Lowkey, the hot bar at Whole Foods has the best mac and cheese I’ve had in the city. And it’s healthy-ish so you’ll probably fart wheat grass and Vitamin A.

    • Klynnmac

      OMG! I also love their mac and cheese! Thought I was alone…lol

    • Abby

      OOoh, I was going to say that but thought I’d be shamed for the bougie wench that I am. But, Whole Foods has some good-ass mac and cheese.

  • Buster Cannon

    Nobody told me mac & cheese was made with spaghetti and hatred in New Orleans.

    I won’t even get started on the spaghetti-based devastation I faced at Verti Marte that legendary meandering, zooted Christmas Eve when I attempted to eat and drink my way around the French Quarter in a night. And I’m still healing from another grand betrayal: the much-hyped, muy regular chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House, also in Nola.

    Mac and cheese using spaghetti noodles?

    http://i.imgur.com/srEFtcw.png

    • Guest

      Yeah, New Orleans people use spaghetti noodles in Thier Mac & cheese. I NEVER saw that UNTIL I saw New Orleans people cook, but New Orleans ppl Mac & cheese taste better than anything I’ve had in NY, but New Yorkers swear their food is the best…..

      • Sweet Potato Kai

        Oh boy. Why would you come for New York?

        • He knows not what he does.

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        • Guest

          Because I felt like it, but Is there a problem?

          • Sweet Potato Kai

            Nope. None from me tough guy.

      • Where da lie?

      • IwanttobeaRizpah

        Our pizza is BOMB, thin crust….

      • ramen and cheese just doesn’t sound right.

        • Guest

          Yes it does sound good, but you gotta try it.

      • Asiyah

        New Yorkers don’t swear their food is the best. We swear our pizza is the best.

    • miss t-lee

      I’ve seen it.

  • MALynn

    Mac and cheese is the name of the dish. Not Noodles and cheese. Therefore I can’t for the life of me understand the spaghetti non-sense. For why? There are black folks in NoLa…why don’t they march and expose this mess?

    • Val

      “There are black folks in NoLa…why don’t they march and expose this mess?”

      Lol!

      • MALynn

        You laugh, but listen I’d raise he!! and ask for my money back if they brought it to my table. I’d be all “this aint my order honey…*mac* stands for macaroni”

        • Kas

          Stuck a feather in his cap and called it spaghetti, don’t make no kind of sense!

          • MALynn

            Not one lick…I’ve been to Nola and the food is sinfully yummy so I dont understand this mess. Sounds like some gentrifying BS…

            • Kas

              Sounds like someone accidentally ordered spaghetti instead of macaroni and decided to let the fukcery ensue.

    • Kas

      I blame the Creoles.

    • It broke my heart everytime. Every. Other. Thing. I ate there was magical. But that? I just don’t get it.

  • I read this like there was a pop quiz at the end… and was enthralled through and through.

    I DON’T PLAY AROUND WITH MAC AND CHEESE. It. Is. Life. I couldn’t get down with that Mexican mac and cheese because I need chorizo and jalapenos to stay out of my relationship with cheese and pasta. Also, any place using spaghetti noodles for mac and cheese needs to be shut down.

    My love for comfort food is beginning to be overshadowed by its constant disrespect of my waistline tho. But not enough for me to do anything drastic… like, eating sensibly or anything. So I felt this entire post on a cellular level.

    • Buster Cannon

      I couldn’t get down with that Mexican mac and cheese because I need chorizo and jalapenos to stay out of my relationship with cheese and pasta.

      THIS! If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

      • Gbadebo

        Don’t hate on jalapenos…..put some spice in ya life

        • miss t-lee

          Thank you.
          Love me some jalapenos.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            mmm jalapeno & bacon mac & cheese

            • Das tew much. That’s not mac and cheese that’s a jalapeno bacon noodle casserole.

              • miss t-lee

                I agree. I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to my mac and cheese.
                Save all the extras for a casserole.

              • Kas

                I agree with Rewind, but your comment was too funny not to up vote.

                • RewindingtonMaximus

                  Her shade against my greatness is always too comedic based for me to be mad.

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                No it’s not! It’s just extra goodness. Light sprinkles of both. Not literally having the mac drowning in that stuff.

            • miss t-lee

              no.

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                Yes. It works.

                • miss t-lee

                  no.

        • IwanttobeaRizpah

          Just, no.

    • PhlyyPhree

      “My love for comfort food is beginning to be overshadowed by its constant disrespect of my waistline tho. But not enough for me to do anything drastic… like, eating sensibly or anything. So I felt this entire post on a cellular level.”

      This here.
      Alas, I still have dreams of being a stripper turned vixen who ends up finding Jesus and selling books and slimming tea on IG, so I’ve given up the ghost and turned to a life of portion control and limited alcohol intake. It’s horrible

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        I need you to begin the stripper route ASAP.

        • Tambra

          Wut?

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            I want to see this plan come to fruition, so I need her to get cracking.

            • Tambra

              Oh I see.

        • PhlyyPhree

          Ha! I have to keep fighting the good fight against this Mac and cheese tho. It’s looking like I might don’t make it.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            might have to do sit ups and eat at the same time.

      • I can’t. Eventually I’ll start running 10 miles a day to support my food habit (and stripping career) if I have to. Or I’m finding a club for big jawns and calling it a day. But I’m not giving up on deliciousness yet.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          Slight work

        • PhlyyPhree

          They have clubs with big girl strippers?
          Asking for myself and not a friend cause…..

          • They do! And it’s def gotta be a thing in Philly so if/when you ever visit here I’ll do some research with you lol.

          • Lets be headliners bew.

            • PhlyyPhree

              You already know I’m down if you down

        • Me and my friends have decided we’re just going to be in Miami this weekend with all of our cellulite and jiggle on full display. Who has time for all that tryna be sexy s hit when there is cheesecake, beef ribs, bacon and delicious cookies waiting to meet my acquaintance? Who am I to deny myself culinary goodness for the pursuit of vanity?!

          • I’m not about to cover up while on vacay for a bunch of people I’m never seeing again antyway. Nope. Take ALL this jiggle ’cause I don’t like tan lines neither.

      • Nik White

        As long as your butt is bigger than your waistline you good (at least here in Detroit).

    • BIIHHHHHH.

      One of the hardest parts of my weight loss has been letting go of so many of my comfort foods. I really need food as a crutch to help me get through life. I’m skressed today, so I bought 2 cookies. Hep me, hep me pleeease!!

      • You know what girl?? Dieting is not for me right this minute but I support you. No cookies formed against us shall prosper. Get your 2 cookies in then continue to get your life on the straight and narrow. You badder than any cookie any way!

        • I try not to use the D word because it scares me, but i’ve adopted the “train dirty, eat clean” motto and that’s worked so far. the kid lost 18 lbs!!

          • Get it girl, that’s great!! I’m almost bout to get in formation with you, but… not quite yet. And mum on the D word. I feel you.

            • Thank you! I really just got tired of feeling bloated and immobile all the time.

          • IwanttobeaRizpah

            Wait. D?! Oh you mean diet or is it dyck?!?

            • Diet lol

            • NonyaB

              Why not both? Increase chances of gwood results n sh*t. ?

      • Nik White

        We fall down (get 2 cookies) and we get up!

        • For a saint is juuuuuuust….

      • LMNOP

        What I want to know is why would God have made cookies so delicious if he didn’t want us to eat them and be happy?

        • One of the universe’s great mysteries, I tell ya

    • will_the_thrill

      I, too, felt this entire post “on a cellular level.” Alex, I live in NYC too. Feel free to slide in my disqus inbox whenever you want and we will eat and drink! This is what I live for. This is why God placed me on this earth. To eat and drink voraciously.

  • MissusMaxwell

    Thank you for making the distinction between that stuff cooked on top of the stove and actual, real, honest to goodness mac & cheese that’s baked in the oven. That stuff on top of the stove is the same s h i t you can get in a box at the grocery store. THAT ain’t mac & cheese and bringing something like that to a potluck is akin to bringing nasty a s s potato salad. Don’t do it.

  • Ess Tee

    Now I want some mac and cheese and wangs.

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    ” . I don’t believe in paying $20+ for fucking oxtail as a free Negro in the United States in the 2000″

    Is why we can’t have nice things

    • Kas

      It’s amazing how expensive oxtails are. It’s the tail, what the hayle!

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Like when arrancheras became skirt steak, price went up. I bought a pound of oxtails for 8 bucks. Smh

        • Tambra

          That’s what happens when these things become the next big thing. The people who traditionally eat them can’t afford them . http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/quinoa-superfood-now-too-expensive-for-poor-growers-to-eat-20150114-12nxyb.html

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            Hence why you just need to go back to the islands and eat. The plane ticket costs damn near as much as your plate anyway

            • Kas

              Just booked tickets to Jamaica. Not, I repeat not cheap!

              • AnswerMe

                Yes. I want to go back there (and my roots soooo bad) but them tickets tho. Every time I navigate away slowly.

                • Kas

                  Family of four = brutal

                  • AnswerMe

                    Can’t even imagine.

                    • Kas

                      Splinters of bamboo under each of your nails is the most apt description.

                • RewindingtonMaximus

                  Mid-fall only. I dunno what it is with these a s s raping prices they got going on now, but that’s when it gets cheaper again

                  • AnswerMe

                    Went to Barbados last year so I guess I made out ok with my ticket.

                    • RewindingtonMaximus

                      yea there were no holidays, that’s why.

                      This summer there’s two national holidays, which is a first from what I remember.

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                Bruh my tickets for Barbados for Cropover are already at $1100

                • Tambra

                  Well make the most of it.

                  • RewindingtonMaximus

                    I’m abandoning the dream. I’ll go to Toronto instead.

                    • Tambra

                      Caribana?

                    • RewindingtonMaximus

                      Indeed

                    • Tambra

                      Have fun, at least you are able to unwind.

                      edit: I said rewind at first, lol.

                    • RewindingtonMaximus

                      You should have left it like that! That’s an epic pun!

                      Thank you darlin. I’m gonna jump though, I can’t go and simply watch.

                    • Tambra

                      On carnival day, once I am looking at Mas, I am looking at mas. I love costumes, especially the older ones, not much of the beads and feathers girl. I do not want any random wining on me. If I am jumping that’s a different story and even then… But I understand, music is very infectious.

                    • RewindingtonMaximus

                      Well as a woman, I can only expect that the literal s e x u a l harassment yall receive from every man trying to whine up on yall is enough to make you want to punch people in the throat. For me, I just wanna jump, dance to some soca, and drink in the hot sun.

                • Kas

                  I truly understand your pain.

                  • RewindingtonMaximus

                    It’s for a family reunion. I can’t even book my hotel until this ticket situation is sorted out.

            • Tambra

              Why are you people complaining. Inter island travel is probably more expensive.

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                Of course it is, but once you’re there, you more than make up for it wherever you turn.

                As much as I love West Indian food, if I had to move to a section of the US where nobody cooks it, I’d rather just pay to go to the islands and eat the food there. No matter how broke it would make me.

      • Tambra

        Offals and other, what was traditionally slave food such as salt fish, are very expensive. But what can we do?

        • Kas

          Riot, revolt, kill gentrifying chefs that keep appropriating our cheap sources of protein are my first thoughts.

          • Tambra

            Not with food. Food is good source of control. Remember the saying ” a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, so do the math ( and the spending).

        • miss t-lee

          Buy directly from a processing plant.

    • PhlyyPhree

      Man I REFUSE.
      I love oxtails but not at the price of the whole da mn ox

      • Kas

        Imma see what I can do with the hoof. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

        • Tambra

          Cattle/pig foot souse.

          • Kas

            Shouldnt you be on a mountainside tending a “crop”?

            • Tambra

              Lol, when ever I climb that volcano, I see the men coming down with their sacks, I nod politely and move along, that’s as much as I know about that crop. You want?

              • Kas

                I’m good. I don’t want no trouble.

                • Tambra

                  Good. Cos I know I would be the person who gets picked up if I ever tried handling that stuff.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        When ninjas will pay good money for other cuisine but won’t for soul food, Caribbean, Indian, Chinese, anything ethnic – then all you will ever see is bulletproof glassed carry outs.

        Half y’all spent more than that at Cheesecake Factory. But mad that the local sweet potato pie lady upped her price a quarter.

      • miss t-lee

        The price of oxtails in the grocery store is highway robbery.

        You wanna p*ss off my grandmother? Get her to talking about oxtail prices….lol

        “Heyll, we used to get that sh*t for free, now the white folks discovered it, and now it’s higher than giraffe azz”–my grandmother

        • PhlyyPhree

          LMAOOOOO!! Your grandma aint never lied. I don’t even bother anymore. I get oxtails at funerals and tax time now. DASSIT

          • miss t-lee

            Dawg…she goes innnn.
            I only eat oxtails that she makes anyway. We buy them for her, and she hooks them up.

            • PhlyyPhree

              I feel like that’s a better deal for everyone. Grams doesn’t have to spend that dough and you don’t have to spend that time in the kitchen.
              There are only two places that I will eat oxtails from.
              One is a restaurant that has been closed for over a year now and the other is my child’s paternal family.
              Needless to say, I ain’t had oxtails in over a year.

              • miss t-lee

                I feel ya.

          • Kas

            How you upthread being vegan and downthread eating oxtails?

            • PhlyyPhree

              Because I only get them at tax time and funerals.
              No one has died in a while and I had to save my taxes for something else this year.
              It works in my mind.

              • Kas

                Carry on

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      A plate of oxtail aint worth $20 when the fucking pound costs $30. They need to stop playing games.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        I can’t endorse Miss Lilly’s on a taste level, but Manhattan commercial rent is not cheap. You have to get on a train to get Caribbean food.

        But black cultural food can never get a seat at the table if we won’t support it.

        Folks will pay 20 for a plate of noodles with at best a quarter pound of meat, and do so happily. And they get to enjoy that in a neighborhood with nice amenities.

        Our parsimonious ways hold the community back cause we don’t invest in each other.

        Marcus Samuelson had to make Swedish food in order to be taken n seriously. But if he went straight Ethiopian from jump, he’d have a hard time because the price expectation for Ethiopian food is stuck in the gutter.

        If we won’t pay top dollar for our own, who will?

        • Kas

          For starters, we can’t use semi-rude wait staff as a marker for good ethnic food. Also presentation and atmosphere count. I don’t want to spend $50 – $75 a plate for a vibe that I could get at the crib.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          I agree with you 100%. My only issue with all Black restaurants is, from top to bottom, what you offer me should reflect the price you’re charging me.

          Your restaurant should not be dingy. Your staff should not be rude and ill-informed. The service should be respectable. And the food should be up to snuff. Too many Black establishments go guns blazing with this “whatever, I don’t care” mentality and then expect everybody else to be on board. It aint happening. And on the flip side, yes too many Black folks want hand outs but never go to White establishments expecting the same thing.

          One hand has to feed the other. That’s all I know.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            Tabernacle! I find that black business and black consumers have an unfortunate antagonistic relationship. Goes beyond eateries.

            Read yelp reviews for Asian spots. Vietnamese and Koreans customers will go hard at some of these places. So it’s not just us.

            Honest and delicious product at an honest price with fair service.

            Expectations need to be appropriate on both sides.

            Solid fried chicken. Not as good as granny’s but no one should be pretending that it is.

            But that’s really too much to ask

            • RewindingtonMaximus

              Exactly! And I get that the mentality goes with all race groups, we aren’t exempt, but we aren’t as good at business as we think we are, and if we don’t fix that, we will always be paying other people.

          • Bklady

            Yes! Take a Bow cause you SAID that!

    • Jennifer

      STILL remember going to a Cuban restaurant in Manhattan 20 years ago with the fam. I tried to order some $20 oxtails. My mama was like, “biiiiiiih, you betta wait until we get back to Houston and cook some yourself for $5 a pound.” She was right though.

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