Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My Proustian Moment Go-To

Forgive me.

I'm writing about black and whites again. I can't seem to let go of one of my first childhood favorite food experiences. By the grace of the black and white, I become Marcel Proust connecting to La Madeleine, the cookie from his childhood, whereupon, one bite of a Madeleine dipped in tea, would transport him back to his aunt's kitchen. Black and whites transport me to my childhood. For this, I am indebted to the bakers and purveyors of the black and white.

Typically when visiting New York, I search for the best B&W. This time, simply by sending into the universe (google), the question: Who makes the best B&W in New York City? I was rewarded.

The universe responded with a plethora of answers--pages of debate, raves, and recommendations. But one stood out...I just had a feeling. My intuition was on point.

It was 46 blocks from our hotel, but I was undaunted. One of my favorite adventures is walking Manhattan. It might take a half hour each way. But then Mom and Sister wanted in on the adventure, so I was stuck in a cab, albeit with my favorite people, and the cab took as long, if not longer than a swift walking pace.

The cab dropped us off right in front, and I stepped out of the car with awe. I'd been dreaming about these cookies for six months, and I was here at the doorstep of possibly the best B&W in the city. The interior didn't let me down. Shabby. Shabby. Authentic. Old. Delightful. No remodeling needed here. The goods brought the customer, the goods kept em coming.

Moishe's had only opened the day before because of Passover. Everything was awesome-fresh. Mom picked out a cherry danish, a slice of cinnamon bread, Loraine a rugelach, and for me a black & white. Mom looked at me like I was lacking intellect: "Order three." She wasn't coming all this way for me to buy only one B&W.

With our bags in hand, we crossed the street to sit at a sidewalk cafe. Loraine ordered an espresso, Mom a hot white-chocolate, and for me a steamed milk. I pulled out my fresh and soft cookie--anxious, worried, it wouldn't live up to its expectations. Ahhhhh, it melted in my mouth. I was a child standing at the Jewish bakery during my lunch break from Crestwood Elementary. Linda, my best friend, a recent immigrant from Paris, was at my side.  I started on the second cookie, dipping it into the hot milk. Heaven and earth met at the corner of 7th and 2nd Avenue.


The next day, at a play, we sit next to a woman who grew up in Manhattan, left, then returned in 1979. Assuming she knows the city and its delights well, I ask, "Where can I find the best black and white."

She smiles, "Moishe's."

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