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Ground zero for halal food

I received a phone call just minutes before wrapping up in Jackson Heights. The guy couldnt get online so I told him I would sort everything out for $60.

It sounds basic, like a router that he forgot the password to. Upon arriving at 9:30, I realize that his computer is fucked, has no data on it what-so-ever, and tell him for an additional 60, I can get everything up and running better than ever. He agrees and now here we are 2 and a half hours later….sorted. I ask him if he is going to drive me to the train station to which he replies he will drop me off anywhere on the way to manhattan.

“whats in Manhattan?”

“going to get a bite to eat, there is this food cart, have you heard of Bilal?”

“You’re gonna drive all the way from Long Island into Manhattan at midnight on a Friday to eat from a food cart? This has got to be some food cart”

Apparently there is a Halal food stand (chicken and lamb on rice) at fifty third and sixth ave run by a guy named Bilal, which is rivaled by none other. I tell him I will join him, and thats the cue, we are off.

In the car we debate movies and Avatar came up. I told him I had no intentions of seeing it, and that if there wasn’t going to be a decent script and/or decent actors, I had no idea how they expected me to sit thru three hours of that hog shit without having some desirable actress take off her top. Then we debated who we would like to see topless. He chimed in with Charlize Theron. I told him it’s just because he was Haitian that he found her attractive. He wasn’t sure what I was getting at.

“It’s because she’s white, you know how it goes. Visually we scrutinize our own race way more than others.”

He laughed, agreed then asked if what I wanted to see was a video vixen. Of course I did, but they always wound topless enough. Hmmm let me honestly try and think of someone in Hollywood I wanted to see naked. Jesus, I couldn’t think of anyone… Then it hit me: Jessica Biel. He smiled big, we had found a middle ground.

About twenty minutes later we are heading west down fifty third street passing fifth ave till we come to a long que of people in front of a halal lamb/chicken stand. we double park, get out and que up. So apparently I have missed this phenomena, but Bilal, has stand at both the South-East and South-West corner of fifty third and sixth ave, and both stands have a que that stretches halfway up the block. The wait time was about twenty minutes, I grab a combo on rice, went back to the car and decided to sample the hyped up fare.

I put too much hot sauce on mine. Jesus christ I put so much on I was hiccuping uncontrollably. But I couldnt stop eating it was so good. I reminds me of the Pancho Villa Taqueria on 16th street in San Francisco. They had this green sauce which was just out of control hot, but it was so good, you just couldnt stop eating it. So word to the wise, Bilal is just another spot added to an ever growing list of spots to eat at here in the city, and as far as I am concerned, you can never have too many options.

So my client drops me off at the 8th ave L train stop, its after 1am and the night still isnt over. I climb down and walk through the A train station, Hey..is that Alyssa Byrd? Well I’ll be damn. I make my way onto a train and find myself a seat in the corner. I sit down and know that within a few minutes i will begin my final descent homeward bound. Just then some drunk hipster stumbles into the car and looks around for a seat. I am in the corner in a 2-seater with a space next to me, however i am sitting in the center, just sort of staring off. The dude looks at me for a sec and then approaches me and without a word waves his arm back and forth signaling for me to move to the side. Ok now i know this dumbass is drunk and all, but I know he didnt just shoo me to the side. So of course, I don’t move and instead just say to him “what?”

He mumbles something inaudible and I say

“What did you say?”

“I’m sorry can you please scoot over”

Ok thats more like it, yeah sure I’ll move over but this train ride hasnt even begun and it doesnt take long before more riff-raff comes along. Three dudes in the center of the car all laughing out loud, and in the middle, the tallest one holds out his ball cap announcing “ladies and gentlemen, I’m collecting money for my basket ball team, I don’t fucking dance, or have any candy to sell, but i am still collecting money for my basketball team.”

Just then the subdued dead drunk next to me rises and yells across the car, “I’ve got drinks if you want some?”

The 3 guys walk over and the guy next to me breaks out a silver flask. One of the guys questions the drunk next “dude are you sure you can spare any?”

The drunk simply reaches into this pocket and pulls out a second flask and boats

“what? do think i dont come prepared” as the train begins to move.

“awesome brother, what did you say you name was?”

Jesus, I thought they knew each other, but apparently its just a bunch of fucked up kids in the city. As a way of reciprocating the tallest of the 3 guys who was earlier begging for change breaks out a small bag of cocaine “eh man you want some ayo?”

Dipping his key chain into the bag and pulling a bump out at which the drunk happily indulges himself while the other guys are drinking from his flask. Just then another guy break out a little vile and exclaims “how bout some K?” I shit you not….this was all happening right in my fucking face, and what the fuck am i gonna do, i just laughed. I thought it was kind of nice to see complete strangers being so generous with their drugs.

The drunk wouldnt touch the K, but the guy who had the coke had no problem sticking his key right in the vile for a bump. Luckily for me they got off two stops later at union square, laughing and talking about absolutely nothing.

So yea, I like the whole lamb & chicken with rice. My brother told he won’t eat it, something about this article that says it’s two thousand calories right there. Well, you don’t have to eat the entire thing. I for one never finish my plate, the portions are too god damn big, and this is just New York. It only gets bigger once you leave the five boroughs. You should have seen the massive sizes they brought out when I visited Houston last month, the food should have come with a snorkel.

I went back to fifty third and sixth ave the other day. Not only did the Halal guys have three carts on three different corners, they all had lines, and they had a forth car for just drinks.

always a line

Last time I came here I went to grab some additional hot sauce, and when I put it down the bottle shot up a tiny squirt that went right into my eye. Say it isn’t fucking so. So I had access to only one eye now and I was gonna suck this up. I just sat down immediately across from the cart and proceeded to tear up in the eye that was currently rendered useless. So there I was, just sitting on the bench with one eye closed like some tramp, my right eye sealed shut straining like I’m in pain, shoveling food into my mouth and laughing to myself at my own predicament. It was not an easy heal and I knew this, so I just got comfortable.

So today I was back, and my brothers voice was in my head saying “2000 calories” over and over. Whatever, I’m here, so I’m eating. It honestly didn’t take me long to bottom out, the portion is huge, and like most meals I just throw the rest away. Sorry I honestly feel no obligation to finish my plate, everything in this country is priced to move in bulk. But thats another rant.

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