The Life-Changing Gastronomy of Ocky’s Bodega – MEL Magazine

From the street, the Family Food Center doesn’t look like much, just a low brick building that’s a little run down, with roller shutters and windows showing shelves of toiletries. It is located on the northeast edge of Red Hook, Brooklyn, just below the Tony Enclave of Carroll Gardens. You’d be forgiven for walking past him on your way to IKEA without even guessing what’s waiting for you inside. but to do so would be a terrible mistake.

the sparse-looking façade at 603 clinton street is nothing more than a discreet entrance to a world of true dining. consider it platform nine and three quarters of the winery world; Step over the threshold and behold the sorcery. you can watch it all play out on the tiktok account of rahim mohamed aka rah_money1 aka “general ock” (a bastardization of “ahki”, arabic for “brother”).

rahim serves each day from behind the large counter, with a display case full of deli on one side and a flat-top stove and fry station on the other. And from this 50-square-foot kitchen, Rahim pulls out the craziest sandwiches I’ve ever seen come out of a glorified convenience store.

I grew up mostly in the suburbs, which means the closest equivalent to a grocery store was the 7-eleven located five blocks from my house. my mind used to race when i saw depictions of east coast wineries in movies and tv shows. I was wondering what it would be like to have a first name with an employee who remembered exactly what kind of roll I like my bacon, egg and cheese on. then i stumbled upon rahim’s tiktok this winter and realized i didn’t have to wonder anymore. here was the real deal, documented in all its glory.

a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich, perfect for elvis’s funeral. a blt between two pop-tarts (?!?). cherry red taki sausages and chips on a hero roll. bacon, egg and cheese on a Jamaican beef burger. tuna salad with blank cheez-its. a hamburger with french toast. falafel with cream cheese and fries in a wrap.

The first video was released in June 2020, but it was really winter that Rahim stepped up, focusing on weird and wonderful sandwich orders and racking up millions of views. are they really walking in, picking up a packaged honey bun from the shelf and asking him to use it in a sandwich, or is it rahim who is really pulling the strings? I have no idea, to be honest. and I don’t even care, frankly; i am here in awe at the sheer amount of fresh ingredients rahim has access to. It is no small feat to produce so many dishes in such a small and nondescript space. I would know: I literally grew up in convenience stores that served food.

Unsurprisingly, the most outrageous-sounding flavor combinations tend to get the most attention. Layering a Jamaican beef cheeseburger with pop-tarts might sound like an abomination to God, but over 6 million views aren’t lying. I may have choked a little too at the thought of a bacon, egg, and cheese on chocolate chip cookies, but that’s the cost of cutting-edge experimentation.

On the other hand, it’s the more… mild specialties that whet my appetite. there’s the New York wrap, which combines chopped chicken, sweet peppers, and cheesy pickled jalapenos. i love the blt honey bun idea which i think makes sense for anyone who enjoys sweet and savory flavors combined. and I would kill for a cheesesteak that has crushed spicy chips.

still, i’m not quite ready to hop on a plane to brooklyn just yet to try all these creations for myself. so instead i decided to recreate the magic of rahim in my own kitchen some 3000 miles away in san francisco, with a couple of tweaks to turn them into original entrees.

First up, the cinnamon blt bun, with crispy bacon, iceberg lettuce and two slices of tomato, all sandwiched between two packaged cinnamon buns with a little salt and pepper. to be honest, I didn’t even feel the need to get high from this. it’s simply delicious, hitting every palate with a hint of salt, sugar and fat. the hint of cinnamon adds a spicy note that plays nicely with the smoky edge of the bacon.

Second, my piece-de-resistance tribute to making sandwiches “the ocky way”: chopped cheese on buttermilk pancakes. I tossed a fresh beef patty with a handful of white onion slices into a cast iron skillet and seared it well before flipping and chopping with a dash of seasoning and black pepper. I tossed on two slices of cheese, letting it melt in the heat of the pan, before loading it all onto a freshly cooked pancake with some ketchup, mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato.

I mean, just look at this:

I’m not one to support silly fad foods that are all the rage on social media, but if wildly creative and extremely silly foods are going to go viral, this is what I expect: something rooted in a community and a family business. day after day, rahim shows up to wow the masses using a humble yet impressive set of familiar ingredients (and catchphrases, like “neva neva neva forget the bev!”).

I’m glad I got to see it and get inspired to do some cellar magic myself.

Related Articles

Back to top button