Back in 1986, a friend took me to a restaurant on Bedford Street in New York City’s Greenwich Village. That first meal at Shopsin’s converted me.

Back then I lived three blocks away so I often went daily. It was either breakfast (hashed browns with veggies and       poached eggs.) Or lunch (creamed tuna on toast.) Or dinner ((fried spaghetti—a crispy crossover between pizza and     hash brown pancakes). The encyclopedic menu listed hundreds of down-home favorites from every corner of the   globe, more variety than in any other restaurant.

On each visit, I read and deliberated over every single menu item, despite my preference for a handful of dishes that I    usually wound up ordering. Both the menu and the dishes, quirky, flavorful, and unabashed,  were concoctions of an   zealous cook in an old world kitchen.

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