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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Small Steps

What does this have to do with NYC? Plenty. Dr.Brown's Cel-Ray Soda is a specialty item more commonly found in the New York City area. In the 1930s it was even nicknamed "Jewish champagne." 
The subject of beverages came up while chatting recently with a number of friends on a hot summer's evening. We all volunteered our personal favorites - flavors and brands - cream soda, root beer, etc. One of our group mentioned celery soda - Dr. Browns Cel-Ray. None of us had had one and we became very intrigued. We were unable to locate one at our local green grocer, so it became a mission for a couple of us.
There is great satisfaction in achieving goals but in New York City where life can be hard, many goals are difficult so we often must settle for small things. I think this explains the popularity of Sudoku - there is only one solution and a completed puzzle is a small, perfect achievement.
In New York City, space is at a premium, so in many instances we do not have the broad range of consumer items in certain categories, certainly not the type of selection of packaged products seen in a suburban supermarket like Pathmark or Super Stop& Shop.
We did not find Cel-Ray at our local green grocer. In a way, I think we secretly welcomed this - it gave us a small team goal. One that would most likely be easily achieved.
Last night there was word that Cel-Ray could be found at a neighborhood market. A short pilgrimage confirmed reports and two of us were able to acquire and sample our first Dr. Browns Cel-Ray soda. The flavor was quite good - pungent and spicy - much better than we expected. Finding it was almost like landing on the moon - one small step for two men ...

8 comments:

Mary said...

I've never had it either. I'll have to hunt one down. I've always been dubious about the idea of sweet celery!?

Brian said...

It's better than u think - similar to ginger ale - spicy and tangy. They even used to have a diet version which i understand has been discontinued.

Beth said...

Yes, Cel-Ray is THE beverage to accompany a meal at a Kosher deli. Cel-Rad and corned beef is delicious!

Michael said...

Where did you get it?

Anonymous said...

Hi! Im from Barcelona, i'm coming to ny tomorrow and found your blog looking for modern vernacular architecture there. ask google why i reached that wonderful blog hehe

congratulations!

looking for the toy tower i found they have recently dismantled!
http://www.nypost.com/seven/05202008/news/regionalnews/toy_tower_comes_down_111656.htm
what a pity!

• Eliane • said...

I wonder if it could be a jewish specialty: they sell them at Zabar's and I've tried it. And yes, I too was relieved with the flavor - I actually hate celery.
I also like how your mind went from soda consideration to sudoku. Funny.

tangobaby said...

My grandma loves Cel-Ray and sometimes we can find it for her. I did not know its nickname, though. I will have to ask my grandma if she ever calls it Jewish champagne! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I have looked up the list of ingredients:

Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, extract of celery seed with other natural flavors, sodium benzoate (preservative) and caramel color

High fructose corn syrup is linked to obesity.
Sodium benzoate is linked to cancer, when reacting with vitamin C.

A freshly squeezed carrot+celery+ginger juice seems a better option...