What You Should Eat For Lunch Today

Here’s a suggestion for lunch: Go to the Meatball Shop on Stanton Street and Allen Street on the Lower East Side. (If you don’t live in New York City, leave now, and you can make it for tomorrow’s lunch.) Go alone, as the place is very popular and there will be a line out the door (even at lunchtime!) waiting for tables of two or four, but single patrons can slip onto an open stool between two other people at the bar. Bring something to read — this week’s New Yorker magazine is good — as the servers will be busy and take a little while to get to you. When they do get to you, order the “Kitchen Sink” plate, which is three meatballs of your choice in a sauce of your choice over greens with roasted vegetables on the side. The vegetables this week will be braised cabbage with big mustard seeds that pop between your teeth, and roasted beets and chick peas. The greens will be arugula. Get the chicken meat balls with the “classic” tomato sauce. You may be surprised to enjoy the chicken meat balls more than the spicy pork ones you’ve had there before, if you’ve been there before and had the spicy pork meatballs.

For this delicious plate of food you will pay the amazingly low price of eight dollars. Nine, if you get it with “the family jewels,” which is the restaurant’s funny way of saying “with a fried egg on top.” (And which, by all means, you should — because what doesn’t taste better with a fried egg on top? Mint chocolate-chip ice-cream, maybe, and I can’t think of anything else.) Many, many restaurants in New York charge more than nine dollars for salads very similar to the “Kitchen Sink” without any meatballs on top.

With the money you’ll save, order a glass of wine — which will feel like an absolute necessity if you’re being forced to vacate your apartment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. because your building management has scheduled this as the day when they send a crew of workmen to wrap your hallway in translucent blue plastic like the end of E.T. while they remove the asbestos tiles that have most likely been poisoning you and your family for the past nine years. Try not to think about that as you enjoy your meatballs and glass of wine. Try the Sangiovese, it’s nice.

And while you’re sitting there by yourself, eating this great meal and trying not to think about cancer and wondering what coffee shop or bar you’ll find shelter in for the next few hours, you should read the David Grann story in the New Yorker about the 2007 murder of a prominent Guatemalan lawyer named Rodrigo Rosenberg. (You know, subscription required and all.) It starts with the sentence “Rodrigo Rosenberg knew that he was about to die.” And he totally did, and there’s a stunning story behind it — one about the incredible violence and political corruption that has been plaguing Guatemala for years. It’s very, very long, but worth the time it takes to read. David Grann tells these kinds of stories as well as anybody I know of these days.

Previously: How You Can Make The Most Delicious Sandwich In New York City