Packing Meat

What, exactly, happens to you when you eat too much cheese grits? Or is it too many cheese grits? At any rate, this is a serious question, and quite relevant at the moment, actually.

My editor friend Julie and I started the night at Kimberly's apartment, which is an lovely picturesque pied-a-terre in the West Village. There was absolutely nothing to drink except champagne--the actual French kind. Actually, Julie brought Coronas, but I think she drank most of them herself. It was a tiny room full of artsy people, and, as one person commented, you couldn't throw an oil-cured olive without hitting a fellow writer. It was very enriching, although I think the champagne helped a lot. And the cheese. This was a perfectly elegant little soiree where one could safely wear a vintage white Chinese silk kimono (if one owned such a kimono), and not feel out of place.

But we did leave at a decent hour and decided to find a slice. For those of you who are unfortunate enough not to live in New York, I will get into the Philosophy of the Midnight Slice later. There is nothing better, believe me. But unfortunately, we headed in the wrong direction and ended up in the Meatpacking District. I would say that the Meatpacking District has gone Jersey, but my roommate, who is from Jersey and clearly not the kind of Jersey I'm talking about, objects to the appellation. Suffice it to say that the S&M club has been replaced by a fancy, tastefully neon restaurant, La Perla has a boutique next to Western Chicken, and the cobblestone streets seem clogged with a wide variety of taxis, cars and limos--with many of those SUV- or Hummer-limos (which surely are mutations that God never intended). And all the bikers have been replaced by skinny chicks who want to dress rich rather than dress pretty, and the meat-packers have been replaced by those who, whether from Jersey or, say, Long Island, work very hard to make you believe they are indeed packing meat.

Ergo, not an easy place for a slice. But we were hungry and determined, and we came upon a solution which all reasonable, drunk and reasonably drunk people would agree upon: we got cheese grits at the Hog Pit.

The Hog Pit is next to the sex-club-turned-tasteful restaurant, and while its clientele has changed from hairy shaggy bikers to Upper East Side yuppies who want to know if "out of work" is one word, it does serve a mean, cheese-oriented menu. It may be surprising to some that an organic-produce type gal who has never been further South than Virginia should love cheese grits. But cheese is the main reason that I'm simply a vegetarian, rather than a vegan. Julie, who is Southern, needed no prompting, and we squeezed into the bar, ordering two orders of cheese grits and two glasses of water.

Now I am not actually sure what a grit is, only I know the whole cheese grits dish is very bad for you. It's white flour and eggs and cheap cheese and salt and lots of other non-South Beach stuff. Which is the dilemma, because grits taste so damn good that your mouth keeps craving them even though your stomach is plotting an elaborate revolution for the next morning. So between the champagne and the olives and the groovy funk music at the previous party, plus the pretentious yuppies and the intentionally trailer trash decor at the Hog Pit, I really don't know if I ate too much. But we will find out, won't we?