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Dos Factotum » Archive » The Luncher #2: Bratwurst at Café Sabarsky

The Luncher #2: Bratwurst at Café Sabarsky

March 4th, 2008

A segment in which marginally experienced webeditor and novice blogger Ryan Grim describes his lunch, briefly at first and then in ridiculous detail.


The Skinny: I ate bratwurst at an Austrian place in the city.

The Fatty: After spending the better part of a Sunday afternoon at the Guggenheim, my friend Nick and I walked a few blocks south on Fifth Ave. towards the Neue Galerie’s Café Sabarsky, in search of sausages and hot chocolate. Scratch that. I was in search of sausage; Nick’s a veggie and came along because he had nothing else to do.

I should mention that my weekend feeding schedule is fucked. I eat one large meal before (or while) drinking, any time between 9 p.m. and 2:30 a.m., and then another meal around 4 or 5 p.m. the next day. So waiting in line for a table after a two-cigarette breakfast was not my idea of fun.

It soon became closer to my idea of fun once Nick whispered “Natalie Portman’s in line with us,” or something to that effect. I looked back. Indeed, the lovely Ms. Portman was also waiting to eat sausages and drink hot chocolate along with two older types we assumed were her parents. I did a double take, just to confirm. Her head was surprisingly small for a full-grown woman—the same size it had been in The Professional. We locked eyes for a second. I think she mouthed “I want you, Ryan Thomas Grim,” but it could’ve been the hunger-crazies.

Nick and I were shown to our booth. We both ordered hot chocolates and picked at the very legitimate, possibly homemade whipped cream with our spoons. We realized early on that the predominately Aryan wait staff was content to ignore us: butter never came for the bread even though it was asked for twice; one waiter would repeatedly see my raised hand and then turn away as if I were shooing him rather than asking for service. But what did we care? Natalie Portman and family(?) had been seated in the booth next to ours. Their bread basket came with butter.

For those of you that care, she was wearing a black and white something something and jeans, I think. Possibly dark blue trousers. Or a small dress. Or was it a bikini? No, I don’t think so.

She and her parents(?) were reviewing promotional literature about Israeli travel, or maybe a Jewish foundation like the hole I used to work for. Either way, it was in Hebrew, which is boring. Back to the food!

The bratwursts predictably came with a small portion of roasted potatoes and pool of mustard. The Riesling ‘kraut was sweet but dull, nothing like the impressive slop the sausage station at Radegast Hall & Biergarten serves up. (Yes, I’ve been eating more than the recommended amount of sausage recently. The last four meals I’ve prepared for myself at home have been hot sausage and muenster sandwiches.) Sausage addiction is also boring. Back to celebrities!

According to Nick, who was facing her, Ms. Portman, upon looking over at the cafe’s entrance, said “Holy shit!” or “Oh my God!” Then Nick, also looking at the entrance, said something like “Oh, wow,” but softly. I turned around to see about the hubbub. The hubbub was Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal.

The gracious Ms. Portman rose from her chair to greet them. Mr. Gyllenhaal chatted with Mrs. Portman as if they were old sorority sisters catching up. Ms. Witherspoon excused herself from the “oh my God, what a coincidence!” small talk and sat down at a corner booth. Mr. Portman didn’t do or say much of anything.

Some people that aren’t celebrities are under the impression that famous people in L.A. and New York are always lounging around spas, going to clubs and celebrating their kids’ birthdays exclusively with other celebrities. This, of course, isn’t the case, which makes the Portman-Witherspoon-Gyllenhaal Austrian café coincidence so weird.

Or maybe it makes perfect sense. Like I said earlier, we were eating very late in the day; Jake and his woman walked in around 4:30. Perhaps famouses intentionally go out at off times, in hopes of avoiding assholes like me that will make their appearance and, in this case, a chance meeting with other famouses, public record.

Moral: If you eat out at odd times, you will see a celebrity. And later on, if you’re lucky, even more celebrities will show up and talk to the first celebrity and her mother, but not her father.

Grade: A-.

That’s what I ate for lunch last Sunday. I also had some tap water.

Now read the first Luncher column.

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