A large, country-inspired tavern on the Upper West Side serving mountains of Southern comfort food for a decidedly boisterous, youthful crowd.
It’s 2:15 on a Saturday afternoon, and you find yourself staring down at a gluttonous mound of beige. You can almost see the plaque about to line the walls of your arteries in the soup bowl of gravy beside you, and you take a deep breath and think, "How on earth did I get here?"
You got to Jacob’s Pickles because you likely woke up hungover at noon, texted a friend or a significant other who was reliably as sloth as yourself, and made plans to get the kind of jocular, trendy brunch that is so common in New York. After giving your name and number to a hostess who told you to expect a call for your table in about an hour and 15 minutes, you meander around the Upper West Side in search of coffee, clothing, and a purpose to your 20-something life.
Finally, caffeinated and approaching credit card debt, you’re seated at your infinitesimally small table, and you dive into a menu that looks a lot better than it actually tastes. You like the sound of the Ham, Egg & Cheese Biscuit Sandwich with fresh, local eggs from a farm upstate and gooey, aged Vermont cheddar, but you’re disappointed that the biscuit is more crumbly than flaky, and you wish there was more salt to help identify and emphasize the flavors of the egg and the cured ham. You don’t wish there was more butter. There was enough.
You also like the idea of the Mushroom Gravy Smothered Fried Chicken Sandwich on yet another biscuit with a big bowl of creamy cheese grits on the side. But, like your relationship, you’re starting to think you liked the idea of it more than the actual experience of it. You find the gravy somehow bland and uninspired, and the texture of the grits too cloying, too different from those you enjoyed at home. The fried chicken is at least tender and flavorful, convincing you that maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. You look at your boyfriend across the table and think the same thing.
You decide to order a selection of pickles next, because you’re thinking that you’re suddenly getting very fat and you can feel the soccer-ball sized block of biscuit sitting at the bottom of your stomach. You like the hot and sour pickles, and you especially like the sweet acidity of the Dilly Green Beans, but there is only so much vinegar you can handle this morning.
Eventually you leave, feeling grateful that you weren’t born the child of Paula Deen, and deciding that you better walk all 72 blocks back home. You’re not hungover anymore, but you’re starting to believe that health is a lifestyle and you’re not living it.
Yet as you turn the corner, you look back on Jacob’s Pickles and remember it as a pretty fun meal. You liked the rustic atmosphere, and the service was pretty nice, come to think of it.
You wake up the next morning, and through the cloud of another hangover you find yourself craving some butter, biscuits, and fried food. Sunday isn’t the day to exercise your willpower, anyway.
You look at your boyfriend. You’ve repeated bad decisions before. You suggest brunch at Jacob's Pickles. This is just another one.