Sunday, October 12, 2008

A bite out of the "big Apple"

Sept. 29, 30 and Oct. 1 were all spent in Manhattan, not a bad gig. There is something about New York that is different from any of the other cities we visit. Possibly it goes back to my Father who believed that the only vacation was spent in Manhattan.
We were blessed by good weather, we walk a lot, and the opposite side parking rule suspended for the Jewish Holidays, so what could have been better for our B&B at 75th and Madison.
I did have to park the first day, at a $36 charge, and that is low for Mid-town.
Monday, Marilyn and I slept late and then made our way to several of the stores on 5th Ave. before we met our friend, Rhonda Willers from Eau Clair WI, for lunch at the main Saks store. The reason we ate at the department store is that the General Manager, of the store, is a friend of ours and she was joining us for lunch. We also arranged to have our friend, whose apartment we use, be with us for as many meals as possible.
The 5 of us ate at the Saks Cafe, a delightful, modern room overlooking the garden of Rockefeller Center. The food is surprisingly good and very fresh. I had a wonderful blended Gazpacho and a Cobb salad, made with the hearts of romaine instead of iceberg. The Gazpacho was served in a very large martini glass which was very attractive but forced me to remove it from the plate so as not to spill on the way down to my mouth. Others had salads also, Salad Nicoise, Frutte del Mar Salad, with shrimp, scallops and calamari. We shared 2 deserts and had more than enough lunch.
Rhonda, who is a ceramicist and a teacher at several University of Wisconsin branches, joined the two of us at MOMA where we view several exhibits. We parted about 3:30 so that we could get ready for the late afternoon Holiday( Rosh Hashnah) service at Temple Emanu-el.
At 8 PM that evening we put together a larger group at one of our favorites, "Union Square Cafe" 21 East 16th St, New York, NY phone 212-2543-4020. Union Square Cafe(USC) was the first restaurant put together by Danny Meyer who is now acknowledged as one of the top restaurateurs in this country. We go there on almost every trip to NYC and feel right at home. Danny was in Tokyo, where they have opened a new,USC, restaurant this year, but, at our request, his wife and their son, who is a camper at Camp Nebagamon, where we spend our summers playing staff Grandparents, stoped by to say hello. There were 7 of us for dinner and I wont try to list all the items we ate and drank. The only disappointment was that by the time we ordered they were out of the "Monday night special, Lobster Shepard's Pie", so much for late night dining. The table had everything from Branzino(fish) to Gnocchi( Italian potato pasta) with my main dish being an excellent caramelized onion Risotto. Drinks, wine and several deserts and I'm glad I got the bill before the market sell off.
Tuesday Marilyn stayed in bed fighting a cold but Rhonda , who was staying in Brooklyn, and I walked upper Madison Ave visiting several galleries and one or two food markets. We get breakfast included at our friends home but Rhona had not eaten and she is a growing, attractive, young women.
Four of us met at "The Oyster Bar" at Grand Central Station for lunch. I needed an Oyster fix, handled admirably by a steaming bowl of well seasoned Oyster Stew. Others had lemon sole, squid Salad, our hostess likes a seafood salad at noon, and beautiful "fish and chips". Incidentally Grand Central has a beautiful food market which has been open about a year, it's well worth a stroll. The afternoon was a time to stop in a few ladies shops walking from 45th St to 75th and putting Rhonda in a cab for her flight back home.
Tuesday night dinner was a family affair, at the apartment, which our hostess both cooked and served. We did chip( no pun) in with some Graeter's.
Wednesday, I still hadn't moved the car, with no ill effect, Marilyn and I strolled thru Central Park, watched a publicity shoot and went to the new Museum of Art and Design, at Columbus Circle. I liked the museum and it's exhibitions very much. After a full hour, or more, there, we ducked into the subway and were on our way to the lower West side and several glass galleries, located between 26th and 14th streets. A light lunch in the garden at "Bottino" 246 10th Ave 212-206-6766 consisted of a sandwich each, mine Italian meats and cheeses, sort of an Antipasto, and Marilyn stuck with a well prepared flank steak. Back to strolling and gallery hoping and finally up town, via subway, and some actually shopping and bargaining with a street vendor. We got Marilyn and Our Granddaughter( the one in Maine) summer purses.
For dinner we follow the advice of our good friends the Davidow's. Harry has very good taste but no regard for costs. We went to "Scalinatella" 201 E 61st(corner of 3rd Ave.) 212-207-8280. It is a "scene". Small, crowded with a mixture of East side denizens and business types. The actual turn over time on a table, in this "white table cloth" restaurant, is under one minute; amazing. The food is excellent and very expensive. The Dover Sole was $78 dollars, the price of an airplane ticket to Dover. None of us had the sole but I did have a veal chop, $52.50 and a glass of excellent Italian Berollo, $25. Marilyn and I split a wonderful cappelletti with fresh tomato's mushrooms and shrimp in a delightful light tomato sauce, the sauce was seasoned beautifully and had the consistency of a fairly heavy broth. Both Marilyn and our friend had the veal special while our guest started with fried Zucchini blossoms, how upscale can you get?
The total cost for each was approximately what the total bill was for four of us in New Rochelle. Go at your own risk, financially. The food is good but I'm not sure what is the upper limit for an excellent dinner.

No comments: