Decided not to take a trip to Corona and visit Park Side, ended up having dinner at Tanoreen in Bay Ridge. Now Tanoreen is an interesting place of Mediterranean descent, which uses 117 pounds of parsley per day. They have one employee who does nothing but chop that green leaf all day - but I digress.
The menu tends toward middle-eastern and has received excellent reviews over the years and we have frequented on several occasions and always enjoyed their cooking.
So last night we sat down, ordered a bottle of South African Cab and began perusing the menu (they always have a "today's specials" insert). Then it happened. There it was. In bold type. Staring at me defiantly. Leering at me. Tempting me. Soliciting me.
What was it, you might ask? The special of the day - KALE SALAD!!!!
Kale salad. In Tanoreen, which has no room for another green item in its kitchen because of the invasive parsley. How did it get there? Where did it come from? Why now? Why ever? Kale in Tanoreen? Say it ain't say, Joe. Please tell me this is time warp stuff.
Kale Salad in Tanoreen, no it's not possible I thought. So summoning the waitress, I was nervous. Were my eyes finally failing after all these decades? Was my gray matter turning green because of the all-consuming parsley? These were the thoughts dancing in my head.
My voice slightly cracking, my lips pursed, I asked the question. Dear waitress, is this really kale salad on the menu at Tanoreen? She looked me directly in my swollen eyes and said, "Yes, of course, we put in on the menu weeks ago because one of our chefs discovered it in a Manhattan restaurant. It's been one of our biggest sellers and it's always a special."
Thanking her, the sweatiness began to subside, my heart rate was returning to normal and my eyes regained their natural luster.
Scrambling to regain my composure and re-organizing my thoughts, it struck me - Kale Salad in Tanoreen (I know, sounds like a title to a Sondheim musical)? Yes, the reality was humbling. There are no more safe havens. Kale is now king. The king is dead, long live the king. Goodbye Butternut Squash Soup, you're reign was noble and just.
Now don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy Kale. But Kale is something you bring home, you cook, you imbibe raw, you coddle it, nurture it. It never belonged on a restaurant menu - never. But alas sweet Esmeralda, now it does. It belongs on every restaurant's menu. Never mind, you came from humble origins and married well. Never mind you were once used to fertilize the earth where cabbage grew. Never mind you were once forced to submit documention that you were indeed a native vegetable. Those days are over. Royalty is yours.
But before you sit on your laurels, remember uneasy lies the crown.... I will challenge your reign. This is your fair warning. From this moment on until midnight, December 31, 2013, I will not patronize any restaurant that has the word "Kale" on the menu. And don't think this is a fight of one person. I have friends. I have relatives. I have an Italian background with associates of an Italian background.
You have now been publicly served. The challenge is yours to take. But I must remind you, I successfully boycotted any restaurant without a female chef for a year. And what happened? Every restaurant now has a female chef (except Carbone).
I will not fail, Kale. Your fate is sealed. Enjoy your fame and reign. It will be over soon. That I promise.
And for those who are not convinced of how dangerous Kale is, I leave you with this - Kale spelled backwards is Elak. Just look it up.