Saturday, April 18, 2009

Shopsin's, part deux

After our Shopsin's trip in February (click here), Kenny Shopsin saw my blog post and posted a comment inviting us to return for an avocado shake on him. So yesterday, at the end of my spring break and during Priya's too-brief reprieve from thesis hell, we did just that.

We arrived around 11am and didn't have to wait too long for a table, tucked in the back in the miasma of Saxelby's cheese odors. After much debate, Priya eventually ordered her usual blisters on my sisters, while I selected the shakshuka. I really like the shakshuka I've had at Israeli brunch places and, a few days prior, had purchased a bunch of peppers from the co-op so I could maybe make my own, but I wanted to see Kenny's take on the dish. We also got our (free) avocado milkshake--Kenny seemed to remember instantly when I asked for it.

The avocado milkshake was a lot less sweet & green than previous avocado shakes I've had (which included sugar syrup--I think this one was made with just avocado, milk, and ice cream). I liked the not-so-sweet aspect of it, but I think Priya would have liked it sweeter.


Priya ordered the blisters "7" hot (on a scale of 1-10); last time, she'd asked for "6" and I had made some vaguely disapproving comments about it not being hot enough, so "7" was a step up. Surprisingly, it was barely spicy at all--definitely much less so than the "6" last time. It was still great, but would have been markedly improved with more chiles.


My shakshuka was totally different from what I'd expected. When I think shakshuka, I think of a red puddle of roasted/pureed tomato and pepper sauce; floating in the sauce are baked/poached eggs. Shopsin's variant is much simpler: two sunny-side-up fried eggs on a bed of fried onions, peppers, tomato, and zucchini, with some pita on the side. I was a little put off by the fact that it was $15 for basically fried peppers and fried eggs, but it grew on me as I ate it--delicious, perfectly caramelized onions/peppers that created a brown, highly flavored scum on the bottom of the skillet that was great sopping material for the pita pieces. I don't quite think "shakshuka" when I think about the meal, but I do think it was very good.


As usual, the goings-on around us were at least as interesting as the food. Some mild-looking thirtyish white dude was sitting at the next table, photographing the menu, with what appeared to be his mother and his little (eight- or nine-year-old?) brother with him; clearly he lived in the city and they were down for a visit and he'd dragged them to "this great place I know...", and the mom was looking kind of shocked at the loud cursing coming out of the kitchen until Kenny's son was thoughtful enough to shut the door.

Also, some kind of doofy guys sitting at the counter made some painfully obvious attempts to draw Kenny into conversation ("So, we were talking about this friend of ours who did XYZ... what do you think?" "I think it's a mistake for you to be asking me what I think.") which eventually did bear fruit; they somehow steered the conversation onto the topic of parents and sex, and Kenny had a lot to say about that and how he and his wife had been very open, culminating in the memorable line "My kids would ride on my back while we fucked!"

I can't wait 'til summer break when we can hit Shopsin's at off-times during the week again.

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