December 1-7, 2010
Confessions of a White, Middle-Aged Paan Eater
Jeffrey Stanley is addicted to what may arguably be India's most disgusting export

Cover Story

I pull my hat low as I pound the rain-slicked sidewalks of Curry Hill around noon on a frigid November weekday. I look about furtively as I walk up Lexington, stopping outside of a DVD shop before I dart inside. There I meet my sugar man, a Punjabi who only goes by the nom de commerce Arora. By now I know his real name, but he likes to go by the one-word moniker. I’m happy to comply because the transaction feels more illicit that way—and I want to protect his identity.

Sure, Arora looks like an ordinary video store clerk, but to those suffering from betelmania—like me—all of these movie posters, Bollywood DVDs and Zakir Hussein tabla CDs are just a front for the meeta paan. I move to the prep area at the end of the counter: a dull green, square mat bordered with small plexiglass condiment bins containing a variety of seeds, dried fruits and spices. My eye lingers on these mouthwatering treats while Arora finishes up with a legit video customer at the cash register. As...FULL STORY

July 21-27, 2010
To Kebab and Conquer
A food fight rages on for control of a Tribeca sidewalk

Cover Story by Jeffrey Stanley

The sloppy sign taped to the side of the chrome halal cart reads:

hi gangters of Plein Sud guess
What!! We are not moving…from
this spot.

Two scribbled arrows point toward the restaurant nearby. The hasty sign was composed with different colored ink on green and brown paper taped together in a checkerboard design. It’s slightly illegible, which means you have to get up close to read the screed. The diatribe continues in a sort of streetwise poetry:

Since they started working on their
“fancy” restaurant the owners and the
managers of Plein Sud restaurant started a...FULL STORY