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I had a great time, and all the people up there are tremendously respectful.

I couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks, primarily black patronship.

There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, “M-Fer, I want more iced tea.” You know, I mean, everybody was — it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun. And there wasn’t any kind of craziness at all.

Schmuel’s Kosher

I ventured down to Manhattan’s Lower East Side the other day to check out this traditional deli. Schmuel’s is famous for its breakfasts, so despite the evening hour, I decided to try some items from both the breakfast and dinner menus.

The breakfast was just terrific. I had a bagel with a surprisingly generous schmear (which is the Jewish word for “smear”) of cream cheese. I also had the potato pancakes, or Lockies as they call them. They were a bit greasy, but you slather enough sour cream and apple sauce on them and they’re a real treat.

I was then ready to try out the dinner menu. I wanted to taste their corned beef, which I’ve heard is different from the normal corned beef regular people eat, but get this: they wouldn’t let me. They claimed that because I’d eaten dairy products from the breakfast menu, it was against the law to serve me any meat! I told them I’m friends with a lot of cops, and I’d know if there was a law against eating meat. I mean, it wasn’t even a Friday!

Finally, the manager came out, and much to my surprise, he offered me a big bowl of kasha and another order of lockies, on the house! I bet that was a first, if you know what I mean.

All in all, I can recommend Schmuel’s, but watch out for their crazy “laws”.

Tony’s Family Restaurant

Tony’s is just a few short blocks from Schmuel’s and boy, is it worth the drive over. Sure, the name is a little off-putting, since the idea of an Italian “family”… well, you know what I mean. But I checked out the men’s room — no guns hidden in the toilet tanks — and made sure they didn’t seat me in a corner, so I wasn’t too worried.

They’ve got all your favorites at Tony’s: spaghetti and meatballs, ziti and meatballs, linguine and meatballs, the whole enchilada. And just in case you’re in an adventurous mood, they have three different kinds of cheese to sprinkle on top of your dish.

One little piece of advice, just to be on the safe side. Pay cash. Why risk letting them see your credit card?

Abdullah’s Lebanese Cuisine

What an eye opener! Wonderful aromas and flavors of the Mediterranean, from kebabs to stuffed grape leaves. And get this: they serve something called falafel! No, it’s not the same as that rough sponge you use in the shower. It’s some kind of beans, ground up and deep fried. Very tasty, but I couldn’t help but laugh over the name.

But the best surprise of all was that not a single suicide bomber was there, or if there were any, they were well-hidden and chickened out like the cowards they are. Everyone was just sitting there, politely enjoying the food and conversation, and they didn’t even seem concerned about whether they’d survive the meal.

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