Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why I Love Astoria: Reason #683

There's been a lot of talk in the past few years about the benefits of eating locally grown foods. The idea being that you not only support local businesses, but also that --theoretically-- you have more control over what you're consuming, because you have access to information such as how the fruits/veges were grown, and under what sort of conditions the animals were raised.

Today, the concept of "locavore" was taken to a whole new level when I had lunch in Astoria.

Mikey D and I decided on an impromptu beer-and-dumplings lunch at Zlata Praha, the Czech-Slovak restaurant under the 30th Ave subway stop. There's something really satisfying about drinking beer at 2pm on a cold February day. I ordered a sweet and delicious BrouCzech, one of my all time favorite beers.

Perusing the menu, it quickly became apparent that we'd picked a good week to go to Zlata Praha -- it was "Venison Week" meaning that the menu was packed with a variety of venison dishes. Chatting with the bartender, we were told that the owner had just returned from a hunting trip and had caught rabbits, deer, a boar (thus, Vension Week).  Wowza. We decided on venison in wine sauce, pickled herring, and dumplings.

Soon, we were snarfing down hearty Czech food and washing it down with swigs of beer. We were so busy feasting that we were suprised to see the bartender standing over us, holding what, at first glance, I thought was a dart. I soon realized that in fact, it was the ARROW THAT HAD KILLED THE DEER WE WERE EATING AT THAT VERY MOMENT.

I don't know if I should have been horrified, but my reaction was pure intrigue. The arrow was really beautiful. I've never seem an arrow like that up close before -- it reminded me of a very sharp tulip bulb. I even got a picture of it:

At the far right, you can see where the arrow was snapped in half when removed from the deer. We soon realized that the guy waving to us from the other end of the bar was the owner, and he was the one who shot our lunch.

I guess there's probably a lot of people out there who'd be pretty horrified to be presented with an arrow while trying to enjoy lunch. But I'm not one of those people.

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