This is the first photo in my ongoing project exploring finished plates. And as such, I believe it warrants some type of introduction.
Behold. The finished plate. It is not empty. Actually, there’s quite a bit of “accessory” food still left. Look at all those pickles! But if you had seen the main attraction, a gigantic pastrami on rye, you’d understand why the pickles were left nearly untouched save for one half-eaten spear.
I have no real aim with this project. These photos are meant to allow you to interpret what you want. But I was there, so I can tell you some details about the meal, if you’re up for a very short story:
Katz Deli is a Jewish institution on East Houston Street in New York City. The place is loud and cluttered with fussy old men and napkins. You order your sandwich at the station of your choosing, which allows you to stare down all the meat slicers beforehand and choose whose got the chops enough to make your meal. This is the most chaotic part of the experience. Once you’ve gotten your food, next comes the task of finding a table. If you haven’t waited at host’s station for a table, you’ve got to scope one out yourself.
That leads me to Ariel. He sat down next to me and my dad, and when I saw his lanyard with a Nickelodean ID attached, I chatted him up. I wasn’t writing notes because that would make this poor guy uncomfortable, but I’m certain his job had to do with helping select animators for the network’s cartoon shows. He had business in New York, which is why he was at Katz devouring a pastrami on rye. (From the plate photo you can see he likes his with mustard.) It was a treat for him.
Ariel finished his entire sandwich — my dad and I split one and were still fit to burst — said goodbye to us and left the table, leaving his plate for me to marvel at.
And that’s pretty much the end of the story. I hope you enjoy looking at more photos of finished plates.