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Everything posted by therese

  1. Day 2: A sound night's sleep behind us, we awake to breakfast at Morgans. Raisin bran, tea, and orange juice for me, croissants and Nutella for the children. Our plan for the day starts with the Staten Island Ferry, back to back journeys over and back to Manhattan. Fortunately I didn't discover the presence of the bar until it was too late, as I might have purchased a beer. We walk through Chinatown but nobody is really hungry yet, so decide against dim sum in favor of our next planned stop, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (Orchard St, just south of Delancey). I've chosen the first possible tour of the day, at 2:00, in hopes that the heat inside the museum will not yet have reached dangerous levels. It is bearable, but only just, our tour guide suggests that we buy water (which we all do) and he hands out fans that we all put to good use. Tour very cool, with lots of emphasis on the kitchens and cooking. Note that you need to reserve in advance, as the tours fill up, and I saw several parties turned away. By the time the tour ends it's too late for dim sum, so instead we go to 'inoteca (Rivington at Ludlow). Beautiful space with windows all open to the street, very knowledgeable server, and great food (details on restaurant-specific thread). Better and less expensive than Al di La (though this is admittedly an apples and oranges sort of comparison). We head home (yes, via Hell) for a rest before dinner. The children decide the want to stay in and watch a movie, and we decide to repeat our experience earlier this year at Blaue Gans. Subway platform reminescent of the surface of the sun, except darker, but the meal is outstanding. We cab home to find the children slumbering sweetly.
  2. Day 1, continued: Finally armed with a plan for reaching Union St in Brooklyn from Midtown, we descend into the bowels of the subway, otherwise known as Hell due to the ever increasing temperature on the platforms, exacerbated by my anxiety over the fact that we will surely be late meeting our friends for dinner at Al di La. We are late, but they are waiting patiently, and we manage to score a table for six in the adjacent wine bar. Food very good, though not quite as great as I'd hoped (I'll post details to the Al di La thread, assuming that I can find it), and of course it's great dining with old friends. We finally finish and proceed to Hell, where our carriage awaits to whisk us back to our glacially cool cocoons at Morgans.
  3. I had a movie star husband once, but then I had the operation. ← And it worked? Because I've been considering shedding my Movie Star husband, and if surgery is what's required, well, surgery it will have to be. Anyway, on to more of Day 1: Refreshed, we consult our map of the NYC subway system. Unfortunately said map (included in the foldout back page of the guide book that I'd told my husband to buy because they're usually pretty reliable) did not cover the outer boroughs worth a d@mn, so this took longer than we'd anticipated. Oops, gotta go, more later...
  4. Day 1, continued: Although warm (very warm---you'll see this theme repeated) the day is clear and breezy, so we stick with our original plan to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. We find ourselves hungry and thirsty at the Brooklyn end, and head for Grimaldi's, bearing in mind the advice here to get there while the ovens are still hot. Unfortunately we are not the only people in the world to have had this fine idea, and the queue is pretty darn long and looks pretty darn slow. And it's now very, very warm, and there's not much shade, and well, I'm not going to queue for pizza. I'm going to Italy in two weeks, I'll eat pizza there. From the bridge we'd noticed what looked like a street fair on River Street. It turned out to be the 3rd Annual Tiger Beer Chili Crab Festival. Approximately one million people, almost all of them with small children in strollers, and all of them queueing or attempting to queue for food or beverages. Again, not much shade, and bright sunshine, and we head inside to Water Street Restaurant where we eat reasonable though not exceptional food and drink very cold beer while watching lots and lots of people eat chili crab from the front windows of the restaurant. The doors are open so we can hear the music and crowd and it's all very pleasant. Jacque Torres' is right next door, but we skip it in favor of Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Unfortunately the queue there is now wrapped around the building, and there's no shade whatsoever and I flatly refuse to let even the children stand on line: there is no ice cream in the world so good that I will risk sun stroke. So we take the subway back to Morgans to relax in refrigerated comfort before our evening plans.
  5. Day 1: Children (Boy, 16, and Girl, 13), Husband, and I fly Delta from Atlanta to LGA without incident. Flight is a few minutes earlier than its expected 11:00 AM arrival. Girl and I both choose Sun Chips from the extensive range of in-flight snacks offered by Delta. I don't know what the guys ate. We cab to our hotel, Morgans Hotel, a hotel so chic that there's no sign in front, you just have to know the address (Madison Ave, just north of E. 37th). Disoriented cab drivers wander into the lobby on a regular basis. Those of you who've been to Asia de Cuba can use that as a reference point, as it's the hotel's restaurant. The room rate includes a buffet breakfast that's served at Asia de Cuba, so although we didn't dine there we did get to take advantage of the swank decor every morning. Breakfast included hot beverages, fresh grapefruit and orange juice, pastries, bagels, cold cereal, fruit salad (melon), and fresh fruit (oranges and bananas). So a very nice and relaxing start to the day, and not so much food that you were too full to do justice to lunch. The rooms are on the small side, but very efficiently designed, such that we felt very comfortable. And if you want some time away from your fellow travelers you can visit the Living Room, a common lounge area upstairs that offers coffee and tea all day long. Staff very friendly and accomodating. I booked it "blind" on Priceline at a rate of $165 per night per room. We actually arrived before the Sunday breakfast buffet had shut down (noon on weekends, 11:00 AM on weekdays) and were invited to have a snack, but instead we struck out for more exotic fare.
  6. Fabulous and I both happen to have Movie Star husbands. But I'm going to wait to discuss the particulars of dinner the The Modern, as it was later in the week and I'm going to go chronologically so as not to miss a single meal.
  7. Well, we're back, and everybody (including the kids) had a really terrific time. Lots and lots of meals, so it will take me a while to post on all of them, but in the interim wanted to thank everybody for their suggestions.
  8. I ended up having to cancel this trip, very last minute (literally the morning of the day I was due fly out) due to short staffing at work. So no specifics to offer, but I'll look forward to your report in preparation for my next (as yet unplanned) trip there.
  9. Hmm. Well, maybe what my grandmother called transparents weren't really transparents. Because they were really great both uncooked and cooked. I don't recall ever picking them, but instead gathering them as they fell.
  10. Wow, transparents? I haven't had a transparent since leaving my grandmother sold her farm in Appalachia. Terrific apple, tart and sweet. She used them for apple sauce, apple butter, and apple pie. But her apple pie was made with apple sauce, not chunks of apple, relatively thin layer of sauce between two crusts (terrific crust). Best breakfast in the world.
  11. Well, I've just come up with a new variation on "dinner in hell." I was in Bethesda earlier this month for a two day meeting, a grueling marathon at which about 40 experts in my field weighed in from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM each day. We were booked into a hotel that offered shuttle service to downtown Bethesda, so I ended up eating dinner there three evenings in a row. The first two meals were at Green Papaya (mediocre upmarket Vietnamese) and Cesco (suprisingly good Italian). By the end of this meeting I was pretty whipped, and looking forward to a quiet meal with close colleagues: preferably no more than three of them at a time, but five as the absolute limit. More than six makes it hard to get a table (particularly as this was Saturday, and it was already after lunch when plans started coming together), and presents all sorts of difficulties later on. So we settled on a nice group of six and I was charged with finding a restaurant. Unfortunately the first two I called (on the recommendation of the same person who'd suggested Cesco) were booked, and I finally called Bacchus, a Lebanese restaurant that gets decent press (including some mentions here at eG) and the enthusiastic endorsement of the hotel shuttle bus driver (normally information I use in deciding which restaurants not to frequent) while satisfying various diet and budget restaurants. The meeting over, we re-grouped downstairs to wait for the shuttle. The shuttle takes a regular route through Bethesda, stopping at various areas with restaurants, so when another large party from our meeting got off at the same time I wasn't initially too concerned. When it became apparent that they were also dining at Bacchus I experienced a twinge of anxiety, as I doubted that the other party would have thought ahead to book, and I didn't want to lose our table in the ensuing confusion, or, god forbid, have the two parties somehow be combined. So I made my way to the hostess stand and gave my name and the reservation time and party of six, and she replied, "Oh, yes, they're getting your table ready now." And she peeked around the corner and then looked in the reservation book again and finally pointed out that the reservation had been changed. "Changed?" I inquired. "Yes, changed," she replied. "Changed to a party of thirteen." "What? Changed to a party of thirteen? Are you sure? Thirteen?" I'm guessing that my voice has turned into a sort of hiss at this point. I look at the other guests in my party, none of whom admits to inviting along an extra seven bodies, and by this time the extra seven bodies have trailed in behind us, and we are eventually all lead to a hot, dark corner of the restaurant, with six people squished up on a banquette, five on the opposite side, and seats on either end where there isn't really space because there shouldn't be this many people. I'm claustrophobic, so pick an outside corner seat. The person who sits down beside me, in the end seat, is a colleague that I don't particularly like, and sure enough, he is the one who has added himself and an additional six to our party. Because there are so many of us thhe waiter suggests a family style, set price dinner. We surrender our menus (which did list some things that sounded reasonable) and I hope for the best. My hopes go unfulfilled, however, as boring dish after unpleasant dish (one being lamb that was literally one of the worst dishes I've ever eaten) arrive. I manage to not say unpleasant things to my unpleasant colleague, and do have some very nice conversation with other colleagues, and finally the bill arrives. No question of asking the waiter to divide the bill into thirteen (though given the generally poor quality of service throughout the evening it actually would have acceptable, IMO) and there'd be the usual nightmare of some people with cash and some people with credit, etc. and finally unpleasant colleague and I split the bill. I actually had to carry it to the kitchen to present it to our server. So now I get to try and have this meal reimbursed. Meals weren't covered by the meeting, and I hadn't bothered to get the trip expenses pre-approved at work (because air and hotel were covered), so I'm going to have to do some fast talking. Dinner in hell, indeed.
  12. Therese! What a find! No one would ever look to it or find it unless they knew it was there. We went in with Galub Jamon and sweets on our mind but left with a bag full of savories, including the best samosas I've ever had. Nice woman behind the counter said they were mild and they blew my doors off. There was also this one peice of mango fudge, wow. mike ← Glad you enjoyed it. Did you try the gulab jamun? Or any of the other sweets apart from the mango burfi?
  13. I noticed that you'd posted a query re a recipe for gulab jamun here, NYC Mike, and since I'm feeling a wee bit penitent for having insinuated that you might, just possibly, be the sort of person who puts sugar in cornbread, I'm going to provide you with a really, really great tip re gulab jamun and other Indian sweets: Royal Sweets. Royal Sweets is an Indian sweet shop/chat stand located at 1766 Lawrenceville Highway (conveniently close to Dekalb Farmers Market, so you can stop on your way home). It's a small, family-run place, and the owners are some of the nicest people I've ever met. But even if they weren't I'd still go there for the food: burfi, ras malai, dhokla (usually only on Friday), julli (my favorite, like ras malai without the sauce), samosas, spiced nuts, etc. While googling the address I came across this link to a video (click on the little TV icon) that was filmed for our local PBS station. The mom (Anita) is not shown, as she is away in India during the filming, but her husband and kids are. There's even footage of Mr. Desai spooning gulab jamun out of the container into a to-go box. They usually have both light and dark gulab jamun, and if they're cooking them (or anything else) when you arrive they'll run into the back and get you fresh. There are lots of Indian resources in the immediate neighborhood, including several Indian markets (I go to Cherian's) where you can get the Gits mix if you'd like to try it. Though why on earth you'd bother with Royal Sweets right there I can't imagine.
  14. I'd go with mojitos. The mint and lime combination is very refreshing, they're cold, and rum is nice in the summer. Instead of sweetening them, spike each glass with a spear of sugar cane---each guest can sweeten his beverage as he'd like by crushing the cane against the side of the glass to release the cane juice as necessary. And of course the classic summer drink is gin & tonic.
  15. Ditto. Great weekend all around. I did neglect to leave out the coffee place across the street from the hotel, Cafe Bean. We just had coffee (before heading out to Chinatown on Sunday AM), but there's some sort of Dutch influence (based on wall signs) that we didn't get a chance to investigate.
  16. So, refreshed from our afternoon naps, we ventured out for dinner. Jen had booked someplace nearby but had been having second thoughts, and then we thought perhaps Japanese but after our morning in Chinatown we decided that we wanted something not Asian, so I suggested a place I'd been previously with my husband, Ti Couz. It's a creperie located in the Mission, and I first went there probably 10 years ago, and apparently remains wildly popular. We took a cab, arriving at about 7:00 to find a not-too-long wait list. We considered waiting for an outdoor table, but in the end scored a really great seats inside, at a table in the large bay window, so the best of the evening breeze (well, what there was of it) and the twee Breton-esque interior. I have a weakness for savory buckwheat crepes and a weakness for French cidre sec, and Ti Couz offers both. Jen and I both started with a cold soup, mango gazpacho (which also included a fair amount of jicama and cilantro, so a touch of local color), and then I moved on to a crepe with ham, tomato, and egg. I took some time specifying that the egg be sunny side up, runny yolk, and it was about as close to same as you can get in the U.S. The ham was unfortunately directly from a deli pack, rounded square edges and all, but you can't have everything. The dessert crepes are made with white wheat flour, and I asked for chestnut flambeed with Grand Marnier. The chestnut cream was extra sweet, and they forgot to flambee it, but I ate it anyway. Cidre bouche to drink. Oh, I just remembered that we had a really great cocktail before dinner, a specialty made with blackberry puree, served up. Delicious.
  17. Thanks for this, I did see the lowfat buttermilk but thought it kind of defeated the purpose! We have gone through a few jars of jam already over here! ← Okay, once and for all and forever, there is no such thing as full fat buttermilk. You can culture whole milk and call it buttermilk, but it is actually farther from the real item than the cultured skim milk product marketed as buttermilk. Real buttermilk is the liquid left after butter's been churned from clabbered (cultured, soured) cream, and it is essentially fat free (because all the fat's been globbed up into the butter). You can only buy it from somebody who makes butter this way, and because there's almost no cultured butter made for the U.S. market you cannot buy real buttermilk in the U.S. Quality and price both generally excellent at DFM. I live quite near, so it's my every day market (I was there last night, in fact) but I didn't mention it to you as it's such a hike from where you live and I didn't want to give you an envy headache. Don't bother with the bread, though, as it's not worth the trouble. Instant grits are the work of the devil. Instant cheese grits are too foul for words. Fortunately it's not too hard to find decent normal grits. I get mine at DFM, where you'll find them in the aisle with the pasta and flour (look in the back left corner of the "U" shaped aisle). I can't remember the name, but they're fine. And while I'm at it, don't ask about putting sugar in cornbread. That's corn cake, not cornbread.
  18. Hmm... Seems like there was something else, though what it could be I can't imagine. As it was we'd gotten a ridiculous amount of food. We skipped lunch. We'd planned on visiting the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design, but we'd walked by it earlier and noticed that the front door was open. So I called the museum to see whether or not it was air conditioned, and the young woman who answered the phone said that it wasn't. So then I asked how warm it was inside the museum and she replied "72 degrees." And since that was either a lie or the product of delusional thought, we instead spent the afternoon out of the sun, in our room, with cold wet wash clothes and the fan.
  19. Cheong fan with shrimp Char siu (served with a little dish of peanuts on the side) Fish balls Rice cake with vegetables (I've never seen these at dim sum---they're basically diagonal slices of mochi, and the brand I buy at home is Korean)
  20. Over-priced or not, the very pleasant wooden bar (with a rotating fan perched so that moved across us at frequent intervals) and multiple tiny cups of tea were a welcome respite from the heat. There is selling of the tea involved, but it's a pretty soft sell if you don't mind just smiling and nodding aimlessly while listening to a lecture on tea. And very pretty tea at that. New Asia was recommended by the staff at Vital Tea. We were early, so no wait for our small party when we arrived , and we fortunately scored a table on the main level (rather than the mezzanine upstairs, where conditions were positively tropical). Embarassing as it is, I think we should try and list the items we ordered. Jen's mentioned har gow. I'll add gai lan, siu mai, dan tarts, and chestnut cake. Jen?
  21. And yet, weirdly enough, I didn't have even a twinge of a hangover (despite my comment about the curative properties salt cod hash upthread) the entire time I was there. My theory is that we were drinking so much water that we just flushed every last ketone away.
  22. Ah, yes, it's all coming back to me now. A single large baba. Very nice. My dinner at Canteen was two starters: corn soup, following by lamb confit. My dessert was peach and polenta cake, which I liked, but would have preferred if the polenta part had been a tad less dry and the peach part a tad bit riper/softer. Service at dinner pleasant and efficient, just like breakfast (but different staff). Faced with the prospect of returning to our toasty room or sitting someplace public within arm's length of a breeze, we elected the latter and so did eventually get to check out Red Room. It's less intensely red inside than the picture suggests, and because it's small and has a large front door (which we sat right inside) open to the sidewalk it was reasonably cool later in the evening.
  23. Not only chilly, but an entire liter rather than a usual 750 mL bottle. I'd actually noticed this when we ordered, but Jen hadn't, so she got the thrill of realizing that we had another entire 250 mL of chilly white wine to go with our meal once the bottle arrived. Here we illustrate we'd already known was a recurring theme: Jen and I were apparently separated at birth, being similar enough physically to be sisters, liking the same alcoholic beverages, and almost invariably honing in on the exact same dishes on any menu. Fortunately we were able to work things out, and she got the vitello tonnato (which not a traditional prep, so some day I'll have to make her my version) and I got something else. Precisely what the something else was I'm having some trouble recalling, and whether that's due to the heat, the wine, or just my advanced years I can't really say. I do know that I got two starters, one being deviled eggs with crab and the other being sardines with something or other. They were both excellent, but I can't give you any more detail. I'm also quite sure that I got dessert (because I always get dessert) but have absolutely no recall of the details. I do remember Jen's summer pudding, so perhaps Jen knows what I had for dessert.
  24. Events for the remainder of Saturday morning are a bit fuzzy. I'm pretty sure we managed to get in some more shopping (you can ask Jen about my shoe fetish) and then headed out to the Ferry Building. We took the F light rail train up Market to the Ferry Building. This ride is normally probably crowded but breezy. This particular day it was extraordinarily crowded and very hot, and the entire experience was enhanced by a very, very grumpy driver. We'd hoped for a bit of breeze out by the water, but the air was still and the pavement sizzling. I bought some very ripe apricots, dried orange slices, and white peaches that had clearly been picked for shipping: I could have thrown them against the wall of the building without bruising them. In fact, come to think of it, the vendor actually dropped the bag on the pavement and they were unharmed. One was finally ripe enough yesterday to eat. We decided to head inside where it was cooler. Or might have been cooler had the building been air-conditioned or ventilated in any way. Small purchases at Sur La Table and I Preferiti di Boriana, and lunch at MarketBar. Food and service were both excellent. I'll let Jen supply details.
  25. The decor at Canteen includes a nicely edited selection of thrift store flotsam and jetsam. Not so much that it feels dusty or untidy, just welcoming. Old books in shelves on the walls include a manual on growing marijuana and the 1961 Guide Michelin to Italy. My breakfast the first day (ooh, foreshadowing...) was salt cod hash. Like corned beef hash, but with fish. Just the thing for a hangover, or heat exhaustion, or possibly both. Excellent fresh OJ, good coffee. Service friendly and efficient.
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