I've yammered on at some length about the fact that there are some things that I like to buy and that we like to eat which simply aren't available in our neighborhood -- but that has changed. As of a couple of weeks ago, we now have a Gourmet Garage in Spanish Harlem. Of course, they'd probably say they're in Carnegie Hill or Upper Yorkville (depending on what's the most fashionable realtor-speak at the moment) or if they're trying to appeal to the set who likes to have street credibility, they might say SpaHa, which is El Barrio's moniker du jour. But as far as I'm concerned, they're on the north side of 96th Street, right where Park Avenue starts to go downhill, both in terms of literal terrain and real-estate dollar values -- but not in the sense of a great neighborhood with a lot of history, heart, funk and flava. East Harlem: the Great Divide has been crossed. And the heart of the matter is that I now have a reasonbly local place to buy what G likes to refer to as my "Yuppie F*cko Organic Gringo Groceries". And you'll notice that he doesn't complain when the meals are ready. I'm now within walking distance of organic milk, creme fraiche, imported cheese, artisanal bread, good olive oil, etc. The down side is that they're pricey and they're small, relative to the acres of bounty available at my beloved Fairway. So no, GG has not replaced Fairway in my affections -- but sheer convenience can be a real blessing on occasion.
I was walking up Park Avenue the other day, from the Carnegie Hill side toward East Harlem, planning on a quick Gourmet Garage stop on my way home. Two Upper East Side mommies were trilling excitedly about the wonders available at GG. "Have you tried the baguettes?" one shrieked. "Oh, I know, and the CHEESES!" the other one swooned. Her preteen offspring viewed her with disgust. "God, mom, you are so pathetic if that's what excites you," he said. I like to think of myself as street-fightin' woman, but sudden revelation was upon me. This is what excites me also, therefore...I too am pathetic. Such a moment of self-knowledge can be quite crushing. But it doesn't last, especially against the cheer imparted by finding my favorite imported-from-Edinburgh shortbread fingers on the Gourmet Garage's shelves.