On my last visit to my family in New York, I had the chance to try an Italian place where you may spend the whole night eating — their servings are soooo huge!
I’ve lived in Puerto Rico my whole life, but I was born in New York, and my paternal family is Italian-American. Now, there’s a saying in Spanish, “por la boca muere el pez,” which means “the fish dies by mouth.” You know, if you feed a fish too much it dies, right? Well, I always thought that the saying could be well applied to Italians. They really enjoy eating, especially their carbs. My mother used to tell me that every Sunday, when she went with my father to his parents’ house, they sat at the table all day and the food would just keep coming. Everyone ate their food slowly, taking hours to eat a three-course meal (perhaps more?), and when they finished the dessert it was already time for the next meal. I don’t know if this is true or an exaggeration, but it sure sounds fun!
It’s been a long time since. I try to visit my paternal family twice a year but they seem to eat normally now. However, last time I visited, on October 2010, my grandparents invited us to go to a place for which they had a gift card they wanted to spend. Since my husband and I were visiting, it was a great opportunity for a family dinner. So off we went to Vincent’s Clam Bar: me, my husband, my brother, his two kids, and my two grandparents. A large, hungry party.
Located at a Long Island strip mall, it was a nice family restaurant, very open and large. There was live music, courtesy of a small orchestra and a singer with a smooth, Sinatra-like voice whose every song was applauded even though there was noise and people eating. It has a sit-in bar and a clam bar, and the pastries are made and decorated behind a counter for everyone to see.
While we waited for the food, I decided to use the opportunity to take some of my specialty photos: multiple exposures in restaurants. I don’t know if it’s because I eat most of my meals outside or what, but I tend to do this a lot.
However, these photos are my favorite restaurant multiple exposures, since my family appears in them. I had my Holga 135 BC and a color flash unit, and my niece, 17 at the moment, asked me, “How old is that camera?” She thought, “Hmm, film camera made out of plastic, that thing must be ooooold.” I think it’s sad that some young people today can’t relate to stuff like a cassette or a toy camera (or just don’t know what they are), so I was happy to explain that it was a recent camera, and that many people enjoy film photography with toy cameras.
So, back to the restaurant…
There are places where you know you’ll get a lot of food for your money. I know it too well; Puerto Ricans are hearty eaters too. But I don’t recall to have seen, in this life or any other, so much food in a restaurant plate. The plates were huge and brimming. The food was so good I could not stop eating even though I was choking on it. We definitely spent our money well: we all took our leftovers and ate from them for a couple of days!
I am sorry that I couldn’t get more photos, such as the food, but I was sharing with my family, so bear with me. I just hope someone decides to visit Vincent’s Clam Bar after reading this and take more and better pictures. And enjoy your meal!