My best gay friend, Mike, lives in the area between Williamsburg and Bushwick. (Yes, I have separate categories for “Best Friend,” like the Oscars of porn movies do.) Perhaps there should be a separate name for this area because it feels very different from both. I’ve been coming to his house since the early 90s, and I’ve noticed that the neighborhood has been changing very slowly. It’s not easy to tell which side is creeping in. Some businesses feel Bushwicky, while others feel Burgish.
But I didn’t expect a Taiwanese restaurant to pop up there.
The lady who owns the place may not look like a typical Taiwanese hipster, but she clearly knows what’s up. I believe she also has a food cart on Astor Place selling potstickers. She is not shy to talk to anyone although her English isn’t very good.
I didn’t see popcorn chicken on the menu, but I saw that someone posted a photo of it on Google Maps. I asked her if she can make it. She was like, “Where are you from?” Maybe she thought I was Taiwanese. I told her I’m from Japan. She wasn’t shy about speaking bad Japanese either. I wish I were that comfortable with myself.
Braised pork, popcorn chicken, and potstickers were all excellent, but next time, I will take it to go and eat at Mike’s using proper plates and utensils. I think her food deserves it.
Afterward, we went to one of the craft beer breweries in the area. Mike pointed to the building where Kenny Scharf used to have a studio. We could still see one of his pieces on the nearby wall. He then pointed to the strip club where he once had to go because his straight friend urgently needed to go. (That’s one of the ways you win the title, “Best Gay Friend”.) He described in detail his inner conflict, having to shove cash in between the tits every time they came around to him. His being Jewish might have contributed to that anguish too. After all, what exactly was he paying for?
Mike sent me home with the baguette and croissant he had bought for me earlier from La Bicyclette Bakery. Given that gender is becoming increasingly complex, I might have to do away with those categories. If that happens, Mike would be a contender for the title of Best Friend, period.
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