June 22, 2021
Economy

Meditations on the One Dollar Tomato Slice

Two weeks ago, while ordering dinner for a few friends, I landed upon an oddity. Maybe it wasn’t actually odd, but I wanted to believe it was odd. When things are a skosh off-kilter, it’s natural to hope they’re truly off-kilter and not just an accident.

The 57th Street restaurant Medici (colloquially, The Med), with its rotating wooden statue, fresh-baked bread, and mega milkshakes, offers a side of tomato for a dollar. What does this mean? Immediately, I wanted to assume the most satisfying prospect: the Med indeed sells a singular tomato slice for a whole dollar and calls it a side dish. Shortly thereafter, though, doubt crept in.

No, no, I said to myself, don’t be absurd, they would never. This must be an accident, I thought; it has to be a mistake. Or perhaps it was a real side, a salted tomato slice, diced tomatoes—something,…

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