Sunday, June 25, 2006

Pickle People

This afternoon my apartment-mate Jon and I left the haze of a quiet Sunday at home to go on a very important journey. We emerged from the subway in the wilds of lower Manhattan and walked a few blocks over to Essex Street, constantly speckled with rain despite a bright sun peaking out from behind the clouds. We made a beeline for the pair of weathered, wooden barrels we could see perched outside on the sidewalk. They were in front of a bright green awning, emblazoned with yellow block-letters: The Pickle Guys.

We were on a quest for pickles. And we were in the right place.

Walking into the small open store room I was immediately hit with the briny, savory scent.

Can you smell that? Jon asked, laughing a little at my dumbstruck face.

My God can I ever. I was surprised with the intensity of the vinegar and garlic registering with my olfactory neurons. I could practically taste the odor, just standing one step in the store.

The Pickle Guys have one room, filled with uniform orange barrels and laden with pickled things. Pickled everything. The pickles themselves (new, sour, hot) were a range of greens – from vibrant spring to muddy earth. The pickled tomatoes floated nearby in their vinegary baths – small oval boats of red and green. Barrels of olives (green, greek, kalamata, stuffed with garlic or jalapeno), peppers (jalapeno, pepperoncini, cherry and sweet), soft white mushrooms and transparent pickled celery, vats of sour kraut and horseradish filled the room.

Jon and I have similar taste buds. We share a passion for mustard, ginger, pickles. Between the two of us (and I'm talking solely in the last seven days) there have been four batches of beets roasted in our kitchen’s oven. And this was a week in which the thermometer never seemed to dip below 90. How lucky that we understand each other’s culinary insanity. And can bond over trips to the pickle mecca of New York City.

The jovial pickle man lording over the barrels at The Pickle Guys gave each Jon and me a sample sour pickle to eat as we waited for him to load up our half gallon bucket with an assortment of pickle varieties. It was crunchy with a perfect sour bite.

After a quick stop at a nearby kitchen supply store we made our way back to Brooklyn – Jon carrying the load of pickles and (smaller) container of sour kraut, me with a newly purchased muffin pan (which I desperately needed, of course).

This evening pickles were consumed. Beets, too. Perhaps a freshly baked muffin thrown in on the side. And we now have an official The Pickle Guys business flier hanging on our fridge. Looking it over we saw announced, in bold type, that the store is under the Rabbinical Supervision of Rabbi Shmuel Fishelis and now Jon is perhaps contemplating a career change. Because if one result of rabbinical school is the responsibility of overseeing pickle production, how great would that be?

The Pickle Guys
49 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 656-9739
[they ship across the country]

[and, on a side note, in this post of around 500 words, I used "pickle" 19 times; pretty impressive.]

1 comment:

Dragonet2 said...

That sounds to totally awesome. They've been featured on the Food Network and a I so thought "I so want to go here," and then went,'well if I just induge myself a little bit i'll be okay (I'm being treated for hypertension fairly successfully with two pills a day, but since I got diagnosed and treated, I'e had a couple of days where indulgence has made me feel "you know, you gotta cut that the hell out because it can FSCKING KiLL you.