Hats, Churros, Soul Food, and the Truth: Gustav and I are not engaged.

Dish 87: Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce at Café Apamate, South between 16th and 17th http://www.cafeapamate.com/  and Dish 88: Turkey Wing, Ms. Tootsie’s Soul Food Café, South between 13th and Broad

Hat.

This is me in a hat, made by Gustav. Feathers and veil to come.

Ladies, when was the last time your man made you a hat? Last week? Last month? Never?

Precisely. **Gustav and I are not actually engaged, nor are we dating.** He is my stylist and close friend from working in theatre. We both adore spandex and sarcasm.

So, Gustav and I went out for some featherweight churros to break the monotony of his enslavement, working on my hat for an upcoming event, only to find that the churros were eh and the waitress—the only waitress, as we were the only customer—was ever-so-awkwardly a close friend of his latest ex-fling. Thankfully the kitchen is visible to those sitting at the counter, and, to my knowledge, there was no funny business or churro-tampering whatsoever. That said, the churros were dense and greasy, not weightless and unearthly like The Hat—and the dipping sauce? Bitter Swiss Miss. Skip it.

Gustav, Churros, and the truly delicious- his graduation gift, a Michael Kors watch.

As soon as we finished, I hustled Gustav back to his sumptuously decorated sweatshop, cracked the whip several times, and headed out for dinner with Brian, to Ms. Tootsie’s Soul Food Café. Years ago, Tracy and her family went to B.B. King’s on 42nd St. for the famous brunch with the Harlem Gospel Choir (they sing every Sunday, you absolutely have to go at least once if you are in the area), and she raved about it. I convinced Dad (with fourteen straight days of aggressive suggestion and possibly a five paragraph essay) that we all needed to go for Mother’s Day, and it was a blast. That day marked the introduction of soul food into the Irish Lynchian diet. We were never the same.

Surprisingly dry for something so greasy.

Ms. Tootsie’s is a contradiction of down-home cooking, scooped from vats of goodies in the back, and a swanky, clubby atmosphere. This place would not survive in certain neighborhoods. There are certain demographics that would not consider eating a thigh-padding, tush-cushioning meal before a night of mixing and mingling. (I am among these demographics.) I can’t speak for the nightlife, but clearly the place is doing well, as evidenced by the euphoria present on the glowing faces of the patrons, the unchained groans of ecstasy escaping from their throats, clearly- clearly there is a market for a solid meal followed by a solid drink. As for the rest of us—we’ll simply have to eat  early and take a nap before we go out.

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