Thursday, June 17, 2010 – I knew this day was going to be great because I woke up to bright sunshine and zero humidity, and I already knew that the evening was going to end in much happiness. A surprise 30th birthday bash was being followed by a surprise engagement celebration (one of my best buds was proposing to the bday girl). I had a lot of last-minute things to do in preparation for both events, and I started to worry I couldn’t pull it off. But everything that happened in between turned out to be extremely serendipitous.
One such moment was walking past Taam-Tov by accident because my colleague gave me the wrong street for the 99-cent store. On my way to the store, I remembered the restaurant being in the vicinity – in the Diamond District (ahem, another coinkidink – I was looking for cheap candles to set up the proposal later) – but couldn’t remember exactly what street it was on. I walked all the way across 47th Street and didn’t find the store. But I found Taam-Tov! The store ended up being a block south. This was one time I was thankful for bad directions; otherwise, I would’ve never gotten soup!
On my way back, I stopped by to get some Kharcho soup ($4). After going through the unmarked doors and up the stairs to the third floor, I walked right into Taam-Tov’s take-out window. I had already been out of the office for a while, so, instead of turning left to go into the main restaurant, I ordered my soup to go.
When I told the guy, yes, I’d like some bread, he relayed the message: “And add a small piece of bread, too.” I was expecting the typical tiny roll, especially after he said “small,” but I was pleasantly surprised when I found a three-inch thick, giant piece of lepeshka bread in my bag. Toasty on the outside and soft, dense and slightly sweet on the inside, it might’ve been the best bread I’ve ever received with soup.
Upon opening the plastic container, I started drooling over the brownish-red broth and fresh green cilantro floating on top. I scraped in all of the cilantro that was stuck to the lid, too. (If you can’t tell by now, I LOVE cilantro.) Then,
with a big swirl of the spoon, I discovered chunks of beef, rice, celery, carrots, onions and green pepper. I couldn’t wait to dig in but I had to take a photo first for you fine folks, and, boy, did it take way longer than necessary. Limited to one hand since I had to hold the spoon in the other, I kept shaking and taking blurry shots. Finally, I just didn’t care anymore. I wanted to eat.
I dug in and tried to get as much as I could onto the wimpy plastic utensil. Mmm, “I wonder if that’s cumin I’m tasting,” I asked myself. That was really the only question I had before I lifted the whole container to my mouth and guzzled down all the rich flavors. The stress lifted a bit as a warmth enveloped me, and I continued on with my planning.
A birthday party, proposal and engagement celebration later, I went home, shut my eyes and smiled. Happiness and love abound.
41 West 47th Street
New York, NY 10036