Great New York Lunches: Boudin Blanc & Beer at Cafe D’Alsace

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On family trips to EPCOT, as a young lass*, I would insist that my parents visit the countries alone and let me and my brother spend our valuable time in Future World. The countries, I thought, were boring: who wants to shop around England and France, when you can ride up the giant globe with Walter Cronkite’s voice soothing you into a satisfied stupor?

[*: I only now discovered that lass means young girl or woman. I was never a young girl or woman as far as I know.]

Now that I live in New York, I’m all grown up and what I love about this city is what I hated about EPCOT: all the countries represented here, squeezed together, ready for your patronage. I may as well have been in a theme park on Tuesday when, after shooting a segment for Food Network at Serendipity on 60th Street and 3rd Avenue, I walked over to 2nd and up to 88th to grab lunch at Cafe D’Alsace. The day was bright, people paraded back and forth on the sidewalk, and the restaurant had an exaggerated quality that wouldn’t be out of place in Orlando. The food, however, would put any theme park to shame.

The dish that screamed out to me on the menu was the Boudin Blanc: a pork and veal sausage served on toasted French bread with sauerkraut, mustard, french fries and a small salad. All for $8. Don’t you love this city?

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How to sing its praises? Sometimes a certain dish at a certain moment hits the spot in such a perfect way, that you can’t imagine anything better. And that’s how I felt biting into this: the sausage was flavorful and juicy, the bread crispy, the mustard zingy, the sauerkraut snappy and the french fries perfectly crispy.

Cafe D’Alsace is famous for pairing beer with its food and even though this was a Tuesday at approximately 12:15 PM, I’d finished my “work” for the day and I figured, “Hey, why not, lawyers drink at lunch, I seem to recall” and I asked the waitress to pair a beer with my lunch. She brought out the following:

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A crisp German beer from the tap–Spaten Mai Bock–it matched perfectly with the food, though I’m not much of a beer connoisseur and I’m not sure I’d have noticed a huge difference if it were a cheaper beer (this beer cost more than the food: it was $10!)

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Still, though, the experience was entirely positive. Buzzed from the beer, I journeyed out of the restaurant back into the world and smiled that I live in New York and not EPCOT. EPCOT would get old after a while.

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