Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dinner And A Movie: Counter & "Hot Fuzz"

105 First Avenue

New York, NY 10003
(212) 982-5870

FIRST OF ALL, "Hot Fuzz" is the best movie I've seen since "Children Of Men," which was only a few months ago, I know, but I've seen a lot of great movies lately so let's not get too picky. From the master-creators of "Shaun Of
The Dead," this cop movie send-up features one of the single funniest moments I have ever seen committed to film: an old woman getting flying-kicked in the face.

Now, Mom, before you yell at me, this woman is trying to shoot the film's hero with a shotgun and she's also responsible for the deaths of several other innocent people. She has it coming. Fast. And jumping through the air into her face. It's hilarious! And she's okay afterwards, she just goes to jail. I'm not ruining anything, I promise. I'm sorry, did you say, "decaffeinated?"

Aaron S. Hitchcock has a great take on this film also. You would all do well to read it and then buy up all of his artwork. It's good artwork and will appreciate in value at approximately 6% annually. Not a bad rate, I'd say.

After the film, Mint and I attempted to go to the Organic Grill since she was in the mood for vegan food (not a mood one is frequently "in" if one is not vegan, I assure you), but the two women working at the Grill informed us they were closed... twenty minutes before the sign on the door said they were so they could get home early. Which brings us to this very important announcement:

The Official Mike Eats Food! Boycott of Organic Grill is now at Day 1!

With two whole exclamation points, Organic Grill now joins the ranks of other such boycott-worthy establishments including the Pinnacle Deli on Third Avenue (for charging $0.10 to toast a bagel), Wasabi on Manhattan Avenue (for not being Sapporo Haru), and MacDonald's everywhere (for ruining modern civilization). Congratulations, jerks! I even started a Citysearch account to tell everyone how much you suck!

And so we ended up at Counter.

Looks fancy, costs fancy

Mint had the meatloaf special (made with house-made seitan) with an order of Counter's enormous hand-cut pommes frites (note: you know you're paying to much for french fries when you have to italicize them in print), and I enjoyed the hearty, pesto-tastic soup au pistou and the East Side Burger made from light mushroom pate and seitan.

Everything was delicious and the wine selection was fantastic, but my main concern with Counter is that vegan food isn't necessarily its greatest as haute cuisine. I mean, this is the food of hippies and neo-socialists, folks with no money and no jobs. Seventeen bucks for an entree isn't exactly keeping to the budget, let alone the spirit of saving the world through food. That doesn't mean creating accomplished seitan doesn't require a four-star chef (double negative!). So, the anti-establishment needs an well-established one to do things properly? That's the kind of oxymoron that makes Counter's take on vegan cuisine ultimately confusing.

MIKE EATS NEXT TIME: I probably wouldn't, but the East Village is running short on organic options... eh, Organic Grill? I anxiously await your apology.

Photos from Rouge Pictures and Counter/Organic Wine Journal


Aaron said...

Holy GraySkull!!

Elissa said...

i think your reason for boycotting Wasabi is stoopid.

Mike said...

Dear Elissa,

The servers at Wasabi do not call me "sweetie" and feed me pieces of my friend's shitake roll when she's finished eating them. They don't yell out, "what are you, lesbian!" when another female friend laughs and says she loves her. No, Wasabi is none of this.

Besides, Wasabi has a place in Williamsburg. They don't need no extra cash.

Mint said...

How about that Vegan Sangria?!

Can someone please tell us how to make non-vegan sangria?

Anonymous said...

Wines, including those used in making sangrias, are clarified, or cleared, after fermentation. The following ingredients are often used in the clarification process: edible gelatins (made from bones); isinglass (made from the swim bladders of fish); casein and potassium caseinate (milk proteins); and animal albumin (egg albumin and dried blood powder). None of these items are vegan.

Thankfully for vegans, many wineries no longer use these ingredients. For details, go to http://tastebetter.com/features/booze/type=wine.

basil said...

you're mad because the employees of that restaurant closed early so they could go home?
wow... the homogenization of americans is getting pretty bad. i live in france, and there seems to be an understanding here that restaurants are owned and operated by PEOPLE, some with families or other obligations.
it sounds like you are a very spoiled american kid, who should probably keep mcdonalds on your list of places to dine. at least the empoyees there are desperate enough to adhere to strict hours of operation.

Mike said...

Dear Basil,

I certainly appreciate your consideration of my blog as worthy of representing all Americans. It's not a body of work I've ever felt aspired to such an audience, but I'll carry the burden as best I can.

As for France, I've never been. From what I've experienced of Spain and Italy, however, the people are wonderful and you are quite right--many of them do own restaurants. I should expect nothing less of France except for maybe a bit less pasta.

I'm not sure how to assure you that I'm not spoiled, but you're right about me being American. And I don't know if you consider 25 to be the age of a "kid," but if so, you've got two out of three. Not bad.

As for the "boycott," let me see if I can explain my reasoning a bit:

Aside from being generally humorous, in an ironic why-would-you-bother sort of way, in a city like New York, where there is certainly no lack of good food, good people and excellent restaurants, there is also no shortage of places to spend your money. This is both the blessing and the curse of capitalism. Personally, I find it wasteful to spend hard-earned money (and I do work hard to earn it) at an establishment that does not respect me as a customer. I would argue that "PEOPLE" respecting "PEOPLE" as "PEOPLE" runs both ways, especially in the service industry.

Which brings me to one last point: I have worked in a restaurant myself. Two of them, actually. I know how annoying it can be to be closing up and then have to stick around for a few more customers. But I signed up for my job, and so I did it. Begrudgingly, perhaps, but I did it. It's the Golden Rule, after all, to treat others as you would yourself.

Lastly, it seems you have skipped over the part of the post where I mentioned my boycott of MacDonalds. Really, that place is just gross. I assure you it is not on my list of places to dine, and I sincerely apologize for the fact that it exists in France. In fact, I apologize on behalf of all Americans.

In closing, I still find it quite rude of The Organic Grill's staff to have turned us away, but I suppose that I offered them as much rationale for choosing to eat there with twenty minutes left in their work day as they did for turning us away--none. But will I end the boycott?



Mike E. Food