So it turns out, there are 2 places that can equally be described as the corner or 4th and something in Brooklyn, but I didnâ€™t know that as I typed the directions into my iPhone and set off across the river following the blinking blue tracking dot.
The first 4th and something was a bar in the heart of Hipster Williamsburg where my friend Kim was waiting with wine and tickets to a night of artsy earnest fun, and, as it turned out, lesbian poetry slamming. The second 4th and something was a deserted factory next to a scrap yard for city buses guarded by fierce dogs, on the banks of a silted up canal in Gowanus. This is where I went.
And it turns out there are two places in New Jersey that can equally be described as the corner of 14th and something. The first 14th and something was a farmers market in Hoboken where my friends Jenn and Allan were selling pies and drinking hot apple cider. The second 14th and something was over a set of railway tracks, under an underpass, over a 6 lane highway at the misleadingly named Farmers Market garden center in Jersey City.
Again, I did not know this when I exited the Path train in Hoboken and typed the address into my iPhone.
I texted Jon a picture of the underpass with the message â€œdo you think this looks right?â€
â€œYes. If you are in an episode of Law and Order,â€ he replied.
But though Google Maps can lead a person astray, on the whole, I’m heartily grateful not to have to take responsibility for my own lost-ness any more. When Jon and I lived in Warsaw during his first post-doc job I carried around a selection of maps and directions drawn on post-its. The first words I learned in Polish were Left? Right? And Where is The Palace of Science and Culture?
My particular nemesis was the old Russian Market which sprawled out from a run-down stadium into a maze of alleyways and passages. Youâ€™d find a stall selling wooden dolls right next to a stall selling guns, camouflage gear and bear skin hats. Knock off perfume? No Problem. Dried mushrooms by the basket-ful, vodka in old plastic water bottles, beads, cassette tapes, flowers, goldfish, fur coats. I have been lost in this market for hours and hours – not a bad way to spend an afternoon, for sure, but a little concerning as night falls and the gates are as elusive as ever. It was on one such evening, that I first found the Georgian rotisserie chicken lady, and ate my first roast chicken with plums.
Chicken with Plums1 chicken 6 plums 2 tbsp room temp butter 6 cloves garlic 1 Â½ – 2 cups white wine 2 onions 3 tbsp plum jam (or cranberry sauce, or red current jelly if you canâ€™t find it) 1 tbsp red wine vinegar Salt and pepper Â
- Preheat the oven to 425f
- Grate one clove of garlic into the butter, season well, then smear it over the chicken, lifting up the skin and poking it underneath on the breast
- Slice the onions into 8ths and scatter in the bottom of a roasting pan. Put the chicken on top â€“ the onion acts as a kind of natural trivet, keeping the chicken out of the liquid enabling it to roast and steam at the same time
- Half and de-stone the plums and scatter around the chicken along with the rest of the garlic cloves (unpeeled, just the way they are)
- Pour in 1 cup of the white wine and roast for about 1 Â½ hours, until the juices in the thickest part of the thigh run clear. Check after an hour, and if the skin looks a bit crispy, cover with foil
- Take the chicken out of the roasting pan, cover with foil and let it rest for 10 â€“ 15 mins minutes
- Poke the garlic out of the peel and fish out the peel. Add the other Â½ cup of white wine, the jam and the vinegar into the pan juices to make a sauce. Let this bubble for a few minutes to boil off the alcohol. Serve in a jug alongside the chicken