One of the best things about covering a film festival in New York is that there are about a billion different dining options available to you, even if you just have a half-hour between screenings. And, while I'm pretty good at exploring the dining scene in my home state of New Jersey (and yes, Jersey has a dining scene), I rarely get a chance to get more than a one-shot opportunity to sample what the Big Apple has to offer. So I made sure I used my time wisely.

I think I did a good job: last Friday, after my set of screenings, I met a friend and his sister and went to Resto, a Belgian place whose waiters wear t-shirts that say "I'm bringing the fatback." Oh, they love their fat there; my entree was a beef cheek carbonnade that was softer and tastier than any normal stew beef you can think of. Oh, and they had frites (fries) and beer there. Lots of frites and beer.

But the culinary adventure didn't stop there. On Tuesday, I was walking on 14th Street toward the Village East theater (which is on 2nd and 12th), and I knew I needed something to eat or else I'd be driven nuts by hunger during the screening for Tennessee I was about to watch. So I stopped at one of the zillions of hot dog / kebab stands that are all over Manhattan. I got a chicken kebab which was nicely seared but so underdone that it slid right off the skewer. So, instead of being tortured by hunger while watching Tennessee, I was instead worried that salmonella was going to take hold.

I somehow escaped food poisoning and was ready to go again after my second screening. The entire week, I had been wanting to try the 2nd Ave. Deli, which had closed a couple of years ago but reappeared off 3rd Ave. last winter. And, since I had used the ATM at the Chase bank that now occupies the famous deli's former location a few days before, I felt that a karmic payback was in order. So I hiked up 3rd Avenue -- I guess in this case, the more appropriate word would be schlepped -- for twenty blocks (the restaurant is on 33rd St.) and enjoyed a meal a rabbi could love: matzoh ball soup with kasha, a pastrami on rye, and a Dr. Brown's Cream Soda.

In between those meals, I had a lentil soup that was very olive oily, "meat" dumplings that were as tasty as the contents were mysterious, some pretty good vegetarian sandwiches, and a chicken tandoori pita. Ah, New York. I really need to take more culinary pilgrimages there ...