south beach: big pink.

Well, we did it: beach vacation in progress. It only took us 5 years. At some point I'll get around to trying to understand why South Beach works for us, but for now I'll just be happy that it does. It definitely doesn't hurt that our room is simply awesome, 50 yards from brilliant turquoise water that we can see and hear from our windows. It also sports three windows that open (!), which allows us to set up crossbreezes of scarily windtunnellish proportions. I awoke to see my cash money flying around the room this morning in a worryingly unstable cyclonic formation...I managed to secure most of it without incident. Anyway, I wish you all could be here.

Eating: against all odds, one of our favorite emergency grub places down here is Big Pink, a 20.5-hour diner (you know, vs. 24-hour) that combines a vast menu of competently-prepared gourmandized diner food with a stainless steel industrial vibe and a full bar. I've heard some terrible things about the service here, but in the 8-10 times I've been here everyone has always been exceptionally nice to me. And this was even before I'd gotten used to Amsterdam service.

Example: yesterday I ordered a glass of sangria (which may or may not even be on the menu, I'd just spied this empty pitcher labelled "sangria" behind the bar and assumed there was some more of it laying around somewhere) because I'd been walking around for 90 minutes in jeans and a black long sleeve shirt looking for flip-flops (long story). The bartender said that they didn't have any sangria, but that she'd be happy to make me a glass of it. This kind of thing does not usually happen in Amsterdam.

Anyway, Big Pink has great salads (including this soy-marinated mushroom kebab appetizer served on bok choy with a feta dressing that shouldn't work at all but is very very good) and red velvet cake. The only disappointment we've had: "Nemo" polenta fries with a spicy ketchup. The ketchup was like a European version of tomato salsa, sharp and overcooked, pointlessly spiced; the fries were sadly tasteless.

The Nemo referenced in that dish refers to Big Pink's parent restaurant, Nemo, where in the past we've enjoyed many slow, expensive evenings at the bar. We should find ourselves back there any minute now, I'll let you know how it goes.

UPDATE: An hour after my "isn't South Beach wonderful" moment above, I was nearly killed in what I'm sure will eventually be a deadly altercation between the possibly violently racist Cuban counterman at Washington Ave. Food Plaza and a black patron of questionable sanity. Why neither of them riddled the other one (and in all probability me) full of bullets remains uncertain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you, my friend, are hysterical. I've never enjoyed a review more.