Tuesday, Oct 27, our Granddaughter Raina decided after several nights with her sister in a Vassar dorm that it would be a good idea to "sleep in". Marilyn, who was not feeling up to a lot of activities stayed in the apartment most days.
At a little after 11 A.M. Raina and I strolled up Madison Ave. from 75th to 86th where we boarded a "cross town" bus to take us to 86th and Amsterdam. Our first stop for the day was "Barney Greengrass", 541 Amsterdam Ave(86th/87th) NY, NY 10024 - 212-724-4707."Barney Greengrass' may be the oldest delicatessen in Manhattan having celebrated their 100th Anniversary. They are famous for their smoked fish and of course have all the other regular items, corned beef, pastrami, etc. The "dining room"(Ha) is small crowded and served by one very efficient server who covers those tables plus some in the deli proper. We met a longtime friend, who is a Presbyterian Minister, retired, and lives on the upper West side. She was ordained after her youngest left home for college. We have been friends from our days in Glencoe IL( 1965/77). "Barney Greengrass" is a must for me, especially since the original 2nd Ave. Deli ceased operation.
I choose an order of eggs with 2 sides, nova and smoked sable. I also go for NY Rye, toasted, as I can get satisfactory bagels in Cincinnati. Jean, the friend, was a light eater, that day, which I am not, and so I managed to enjoy a 1/4 of her corned beef, pastrami, Swiss cheese and 1000 island double decker. Raina managed her own smoked sturgeon, tomato and cheese.
After vacating our table we spent more time visiting before the two of us took off for the Rose Planetarium and The NY Natural History Museum. Raina, especially want to do this and we spent all afternoon, following the star show, at varying exhibits, Dinosaurs to Gems.
That evening 4 of us, Raina, Marilyn, Fran Hess, our host, and I went to my favorite, "Union Square Cafe" 21 East 16th St NY 212-243-4020. I really don't know why I eat anywhere else.
The Union Square Hospitality Group( Danny Meyer) operate a dozen or more restaurants, in Manhattan, alone, from Hamburger emporiums to 4 star gourmet but I enjoy none more than the "Union Square Cafe". Union Square combines hospitality, service, menu and food preparation and quality to appeal to all my senses.
After my Bombay I had a lightly dressed red leaf lettuce salad with shredded Gruyere. Raina started with excellent Calamari which she generously shared. Since the restaurant opened 25 years ago a main stay has been their "filetmignon" of tuna, marinated and served medium rare. I couldn't pass up and old friend. A glass of Sancerre and two shared deserts, chocolate torte and bread pudding put me in shape to waddle across Union Square for the bus ride uptown. Oh yes, Rania ordered lamb chops(4) and gave me a large helping of one, which had been grilled perfectly. I know I rave but it's one of the best places I visit and I look forward to every visit.
Grandpa reared his ugly head Wednesday morning and Granddaughter and I headed for The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I felt Raina should see this even thought I knew it was "not her thing". We stayed about an hour and a half and saw the Vermeer exhibit along with the new American Wing, the Temple of Dundur and an exhibit of American painters from 1760 to 1915. I did not have the heart to insist on a longer stay and so I returned Friday afternoon, to view items in depth.
Walking home from the Met( 82nd St and 5th Ave) we stoped at EAT, a Zabar run eat in and carry out. Two or three small purchases, for lunch, ran the bill to $45. We ate a the kitchen table, with me finishing Monday's Lobster roll and then went to the theatre district of the Wednesday matinee of "Billy Elliot", the 2009 Tony winner for best musical. The show was great but the dancing, staging and set design were worth more than the price of admission, which is high.
That evening the four of us, same as the night before, walked from the Apt. to "Atlantic Grill" 1341 3rd Ave (between 77 and 78th) 212-988-9200. "Atlantic Grill" is part of a small excellently run chain, reminiscent of "Morton's Steak House", in quality, upscale but not over priced. There Bombay was the most reasonable on this trip and the entrees were all in the low to mid $20's. I had a chopped salad and a main course of Linguni with fresh clams For dessert I chose an excellent warm apple crumble with maple ice cream. Others had Salmon, Chicken and Crab cakes for their main courses and there were also desserts of molten chocolate cake and a mixture of "house" cookies. The tab for us all was $190, including tax and tip.