Brunch is a New York City tradition. Whether its for socializing, a hangover cure, or because you’re just plain hungry, no New York City weekend is complete without this delicious meal.
After 8 months of brunching and exploring, I have begun to play favorites…one of which is Calliope, a cute little spot in the East Village. My dad was in town visiting, so I thought, why not take him there!
Calliope is a quaint little restaurant with very intimate seating. A large table seating roughly 20 people is located in the middle of the space, with tiny little tables around the perimeter.
The menu features “European farmhouse food” that is both seasonal and delicious, and happens to be sourced from local farmers and fisherman. I don’t know what they consider “local farms”…this is Manhattan…am I missing something? Regardless, the chefs have created a delectable menu that pushes the limits of your traditional brunch.
The last two times I went to Calliope, I ordered the same thing. Proscuitto, Fontina and Egg Sandwich with Arugula. Delicious in its simplicity. So today I told myself I would “try something new”, “experiment”. So I was eyeing up the Spicy Tripe with a Sunny Side Up Egg.
Peter kept telling me I’d like it, and I generally respect Peter’s culinary opinions, but sometimes it’s hard to tell his motives. SOMETIMES when he says something “looks good”, it really means its his second choice and he wants me to get it so he can have some. In situations like this, my go-to move is to ask the waiter. So I did. His response was, “Have you had tripe before? It’s good, if you like tripe.”
I haven’t had tripe. But I think to myself: Tripe. That’s fish right? It’s gotta be good. I googled it to make sure.
Tripe (from French tripe which is from Italian trippa) is a type of edible offal from the stomachs of various farm animals — Wikipedia
When the waiter came back, I ordered Egg’s Benedict. He smiled at me and nodded.
Our food came, and it was delicious as always. My egg’s benedict successfully satisfying my brunch needs.
When I had a few bites left, our waiter came over with a small dish. He said no words, just set it down in front of me and left. It was a sample of the spicy tripe…I had no choice but to try it.
Much to my chagrin, I loved it. It tasted like a very spicy stew, with carrots and celery, and of course, stomach. And to be honest, if I hadn’t already known what it was, I would have been none-the-wiser.
The waiter came back around and asked me how it was, but after seeing a clean plate, he knew his answer. I thanked him for the sample, and his response was simple:
I just didn’t want you to be stuck in the world of benedicts”
There it was. The realization ringing in my ears.
The ‘World of Benedicts’…my comfort zone…this place I cling to as New York City continually pushes me out. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last. But each time is a reminder to be open to new experiences, new tastes, and new changes. I’m not likely to be disappointed.
But either way, I’ll always have a good story to tell.