I complain about New York a lot, to pretty much anyone who’ll listen and even a few folks who won’t. The Southern part of me misses manners, and not-so-common courtesy; the reclusive part hates the invasion of privacy inherent in apartment living (I know way too much about the intimate details of my upstairs neighbor’s day-to-day and, I’d be willing to wager, vice versa). The little indignities become so magnified that it’s hard to see straight.
Of course, there are a few mitigating factors. Free activities of every persuasion. Dinner, delivered straight to the door at 10:00 p.m. on a Tuesday. Bars that stay open until 4:00 in the morning. And, in case you’ve overindulged the night before, plenty of cheap, delicious food to get you through the next day. (Or so I’ve heard, at least—they don’t call me Ms. Moderation for nothing.) Case in point: doubles, the de facto national snack of Trinidad.
As you can see from the picture above, these handily meet the first requirement of a quality hangover-helper: Thanks to the bara—small rounds of fried bread that sandwich the filling—doubles contain the perfect amount of grease.
Inside, curried chickpeas provide protein and belly-warming comfort, customizable with a variety of condiments. I like mine with everything—tamarind sauce, kuchela, and extra pepper sauce.
Many spots, both in Trinidad and here in Brooklyn, open in the morning and close as soon as they sell out for the day; in Trini, there are also stands that operate in the evenings to satisfy those late-night cravings. That’s where our fearless Commander in Chief got his fix when he visited the island—pictures don’t lie, right? [Ed. note: Photoshop artist unknown.]
Luckily, you don’t have to have the bank account of the President to enjoy these savory snacks; a buck and change buys you one at Ali’s Trinidad Roti Shop, my regular local spot. And don’t tell them I told you this, but if you go toward the end of the day, they’ll often throw in an extra on the house. I’m a big believer in the idea that you get what you pay for, but sometimes another cliché applies: There are exceptions to every rule.
Ali’s Trinidad Roti Shop
1267 Fulton Street