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PB&J for Takahachi Any Day

by Michelle Carol
Takahachi sashimi sushi combo {credit}

“We’re going to Takahachi tonight at 7 –– don’t eat lunch,” read the text message illuminating the inside of my desk drawer.

It was the summer of 2010 and I’d just started an internship for an online media company in SoHo. Jamie, a longtime friend, was a student at Pace University. Spending years at her family’s downtown apartment and being a self-proclaimed foodie, Jamie has consistently given the best restaurant recommendations, err, declarations.

When I think of spending my entire first paycheck on that one luxurious self-indulgence, my mind goes to full-priced handbags, massages without Groupons, Friday evening blowouts, and bulk purchases of Essie as delightful gifts to myself that I’d otherwise deem impermissible.
It’s been many years since I’ve spun pizzas high in the air at a small Italian restaurant in my hometown in Connecticut. But still, I can hear my father’s voice the day I walked into the house holding armfuls of outlet bags as a treat for making over $300 in waitressing tips.

He shook his head, “You can’t spend your money like that if you ever want to get ahead.” At that time, ‘getting ahead’ meant clearing out Off 5th’s post-holiday sale racks. In New York, it meant eating PB&J’s six nights a week so I can splurge at Takahachi restaurant with Jamie.

I spent all of my very first paycheck at Takahachi that night. Don’t be fooled, the food is moderately priced at this Tribeca sushi bar, located on quiet old Duane Street. I was earning a meager daily stipend of $20.

“Hold on to your menu,” Jamie commanded after I ordered. “You’ll be needing it for rounds two and three.”

That seems like forever ago. Fast forward two years, I’m still working in downtown Manhattan, and although I earn more than a $20 stipend per day, I still eat those PB&J sandwiches to help subsidize both my rent and going out budget.

I just moved to the Upper East Side last month, and let’s just say that Fairway might be giving out rain checks for their Arnold Multi-Grain Bread, Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter and Welch's Natural Strawberry Spread, so this uptown girl can find an Upper East Side equivalent of TriBeCa’s Takahachi.

While my sandwiches of heaping strawberry jam and mud-like natural peanut butter will never come close to the delicious eats of New York’s food scene, I do consider it a fair tradeoff for my current living situation. Creatively making ends meet like this has allowed me to try other restaurants and bars all over Manhattan that I wouldn’t have had the chance or cash to do otherwise. 

Takakhachi is now one of my favorite restaurants close to my office downtown, and I keep going back again and again. It’s funny how that yummy sushi experience from 2010 is still a regular part of my life in the city. 

Stay tuned for more on New York’s food & drink scene on a budget.

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