The current, Chinese-owned grocery looks out on a high school and on Sara D. Roosevelt Park. It's a good bet that if you step inside (I didn't), you'll still find chocolate, java, and pop, and many more packaged snacks and soft drinks, too. The grocery's much older predecessor, whose surviving signage can also be glimpsed at the far left of the first photo, may well have been a pizzeria. The curve, below and to the left of the "big cans" sticker, turns out to be a capital "C" when the deteriorating facing is bent back (it doesn't bend far). C-a-l-z ... "calzone".
Hatch chile peppers — an umbrella term for several varieties of medium-hot, very flavorful chiles grown near tiny Hatch, New Mexico, and still uncommon in New York — are the namesake attraction. They dress up the Southwestern frybreads called sopapillas (three for $9), for this order stuffed with "hand-pulled" chicken that was duly chunky but otherwise humdrum. Next time, maybe the carne adovada.
Zia Green Chile Company At Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave. (North 7th-North 8th Sts.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn Saturdays during the warmer months www.ZiaGreenChileCo.com
This advertisement for cut-rate shellfish brings to mind the oft-told tale, from days of yore, of too much lobster on the weekly menu. A typical version, cited by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, asserts that in colonial times the crustaceans were so plentiful that they were considered "poverty food," and that indentured servants, compelled to eat them again and again, "finally rebelled. They had their contracts state that they would not be forced to eat lobster more than three times a week."
To be sure, lobsters were easy pickings four centuries ago. James Rosier, the official chronicler of Capt. George Waymouth's 1605 expedition from England to Maine, documented one evening's catch:
"And towards night we drew with a small net of twenty fathoms very nigh the shore: we got about thirty very good and great Lobsters, many Rockfish, some Plaise, and other small fishes, and fishes called Lumpes, verie pleasant to the taste: and we generally observed, that all the fish, of what kind soever we took, were well fed, fat, and sweet in taste." (Original capitalization, spelling, and punctuation preserved. Evidently homely "lumpes" not identified.)
The rebellion part of the lobster story — more often, in fact, a salmon story — "is one of the most frequently told about New England seafood," Sandy Oliver writes in The Debunk-House. But lack of primary evidence, Oliver elaborates, would indicate that it's just not so. No minutes have ever emerged of a meeting between the indignant diners ("pick one," she invites, "the apprentices, servants, boarders, lumbermen, occupants, prisoners...") and the officials in charge of the menu, and no such ordinances have been uncovered. Even the Department of Marine Resources doesn't claim its own account for Maine — it was "in Massachusetts [that] some of the servants finally rebelled."
As for these latter-day lobster tails, I know nothing more about them except by association. One neighboring flyer holds out the offer of "all cash" for your house, building, or land; another promises "cheap divorce." This cut-rate lobster may well be perfectly palatable, but you wouldn't be blamed for testing the waters elsewhere instead.
Burrito de cecina ($7.50), featuring salty dried beef. I don't know that this presentation qualifies as "wet" — typically that style of burrito is drenched in red chili sauce, not lightly dressed with sour cream — but eating was a knife-and-fork operation.
Guadalupana Deli & Victoria Restaurant 3825 Broadway (159th-160th Sts.), Manhattan 212-928-5989
Midday meatloaf, stuffing, and collard greens ($8.50). The meatloaf, especially, could have been much better seasoned; even the finely chopped collards were tweaked only with a little onion.
Better to have arrived at the cafeteria earlier, for the Sunday-only breakfast service that offers the likes of salmon cakes, chicken livers, and stewed apples, or later, when opportunistic food vendors by the entrance, downstairs, had kicked into gear. One was grilling ribs; another was setting our sweet potato pie.
United House of Prayer for All People 2320 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (124th-125th Sts.), Manhattan 212-531-4418
Hoboken Italian Festival Thursday through Sunday, September 4-7, various hours Vicinity of 5th St. and Sinatra Dr., Hoboken, New Jersey www.HobokenItalianFestival.com Free admission
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church Festival Thursday through Sunday, September 4-7, various hours St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 721 Rahway Ave., Union, New Jersey www.StDGOCunion.org/festival.html Donation: $1
Opening Day: Mad. Sq. Eats Friday, September 5, 11:00-9:00; continues daily through October 3 Worth Sq., near Fifth Ave. and 24th St., Manhattan www.UrbanSpaceNYC.com/mad-sq-eats Free admission