The Pidyon Haben that wasn’t

In a Homer Simpson like moment I tell the waitress that I’ll have the Rib eye terryaki, with the free salad instead of the miso soup. I try to hide the droplets of drool forming at the corners of my mouth as I slowly say the words r-i-b e-y-e terryaki…..I am already imagining the succulent piece of steak smothered in sauce with that mound of white rice occupying the side of the plate with the promised mixed veggies. The waitress quickly leaves me to enjoy the romantic decor and bubbling tropical fishtank.

The bubbles are mesmerizing, but the halogen bulbs lighting the tank dont flow with this romantic setting. Dark brown, wooden chairs with a pool table color green upholstery are scattered about small tables and booths. This is a couples eatery period. Although possible to enteratin larger parties, most of the patrons patronizing this upscale Monsey eatery are couples or shidduch dates, expensive date I think to myself as my salad arrives.

I remember when a house salad included more then just power washed dole lettuce and dressing, granted this bright curry colored ginger concontion is quite tasty, it still does not suffice. Back in the day when I was a wee tyke, a house salad was sure to include at least 3 cherry tomatoes and shredded carrots, sometimes if you were lucky a mushroom was thrown in for good luck. I eagerly spear my dole salad with my fork and await the main event.

I notice the lady to my right, beyond the partition that reminds me of NYC taxi cabs, keeps glancing at me. Could she be wondering if she knows me from somewhere or maybe she wonders why on a thursday night at 9pm a shidduch aged youth dines alone, gingerly writing on a piece of loosleaf paper while staring at the rest of the people sitting at other booths. The couple eats sushi, why come to a steakhouse to eat tiny morsels of rice, seaweed and raw fish of which cost about $1 a piece.

So what am I doing in a nice resturaunt in Monsey on a Thursday night by myself. It all started earlier tonight at about 6pm. I was unloading my friends bike at his farm in Bethel NY. We had just finished a great ride near Honesdale PA. 15 miles of singletrack, fast and rocky, bloody and muddy, followed by a great swim in the lake which we rode around. I was beat, but I had this Pidyon Haben in Monsey of a cousin of mine. So reluctantly I called my old man who claimed it was a big mitzvah and I should go see my family. So I obliged, and drove from the Catskills to Monsey for the event to be held at L’Chaim Mannor. Suiting up on the shoulder of the 306 and making it on the dot 7:45 for the Pidyon. BUT no, no Pidyon here tonight according to the owner who felt terrible. Suprisingly I wasn’t mad, and simply donned my shorts and T-shirt and proceeded to go back to the Catskills where I needed to be for work tomorow.

Listening to Hammerfall blaring their heavy metal I came to a screechings top on 306 to feast my eyes upon a Japanese Steakhouse. Being in Monsey I decided to take advantage of my State allotted amount of $39 for food per day of travel and eat some good chow. No more sickening heartburn filled Dougies I thought as a fumbled around for my pen. That is the story of the Pidyon Haben that never was and the massive steak I consumed compliments of the NYS taxpayer. Thank you.