The Ritual of Return, or, The Beauty at Mile End

Home sweet home.

Vacations, by definition, are disruptors of routine. You plan them to take leave of the minutiae of daily life; the up at 7 a.m.; granola by 7:30; work by 9:45 kind of days that, for many of us, fill up the workweek. When we’re back, it begins again. For us, the routine starts with our first meal home, which for the past few vacations (New Orleans, until yesterday) has meant a late breakfast at Mile End, the Canadian-Jewish deli just off Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn. Walking through the doors of a neighborhood joint at 9 a.m. on Monday may not feel the same as washing down a fried oyster loaf with an Abita Amber at 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon, but being welcomed back as a regular in a city as busy and big as this one has its own particular beauty… which just happens to be the name of the chewy Montreal-made bagel with capers, purple onion, cream cheese and house-smoked salmon we always order. You know, we almost think taking a trip to a local can be just as much of a soul-restorer as a vacation. And if you can get both in 24 hours, all the better still.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.