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Bright lights, big city: a reprise


therese
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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.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Fabulous and I both happen to have Movie Star husbands.

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...

Can you pee in the ocean?

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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.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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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.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Day 3:

Today is Tuesday, and we've specifically planned to go the American Museum of Natural History, not because there's anything particularly special going on there, but because we wanted to go to Barney Greengrass, and Barney Greengrass isn't open on Monday. Having eaten breakfast a bit late, though, we decide to head directly to the museum. We eat lunch at the museum food court, and it is, um, icky. Later that day I skip out on the family's visit to the Lizards & Snakes: Alive! exhibit and hang out with a beer at Cafe on 4, which to my chagrin is featuring what looks like pretty decent Oaxacan food (which of course nobody was eating, though I was sorely tempted to go ahead and get a tamale even though I wasn't hungry). Try and score a table near the windows if you go to Cafe on 4 during your visit---really nice views.

The museum closes, and we take the subway to see Ground Zero, and then make our way to dinner at Bondi Road.

Home to bed.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Therese, here's the Al di La thread link provided us recently by SLKinsey.  (Thanks!)  How he found it, I don't know, as I've tried a gazillion ways to search for it in the past, with no luck.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=81000

Thanks for the link. I'd seen that somebody had managed to find it recently, but then couldn't remember who and so it was still lost to me.

Details of our meal now posted to the Al di La thread.

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Day 4:

It's Wednesday, and since my daughter wants to visit the Bronx Zoo, and I don't like zoos very much under the best of circumstances (and between heat and the fact that Wednesday is free admission at the Bronx Zoo this visit will occur under conditions that are far from optimal) my husband agrees to let me hang out in Manhattan for the day. Note that "hang out in Manhattan" is super secret female code for "go shopping." I did plan on heading downtown to try out the new branch of Unique Pastry that I'd noticed mentioned in a blurb in that morning's New York Times (I actually took one of the papers from Morgan's breakfast service so that I could tear it out) but was too tired from shopping (really, I was) and didn't want to ruin my dinner that evening.

We had plans to see "The Drowsy Chaperone" so went for an early dinner at Tintol, which was very good and very convenient.

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Therese, here's the Al di La thread link provided us recently by SLKinsey.  (Thanks!)  How he found it, I don't know, as I've tried a gazillion ways to search for it in the past, with no luck.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=81000

Here's the tip I gave to Mr. Kinsey: use the Google search box just under the eGullet Forum banner to search eGullet content. Google will allow you to use two-letter words in your search (or clustered two-letter words set off by quotes, e.g. "Al Di La").

My two cents.

Sounds like a most excellent (and stultifyingly hot) trip, Therese!

Christopher

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Here's the tip I gave to Mr. Kinsey:  use the Google search box just under the eGullet Forum banner to search eGullet content.  Google will allow you to use two-letter words in your search (or clustered two-letter words set off by quotes, e.g. "Al Di La").

Who would have thought? Thank you, too!

Therese, you get extra street cred for doing outer boroughs when it's close to 100 degrees. Hell, you get street cred for doing the outer boroughs, anyway.

PS: Love the secret female code.

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Here's the tip I gave to Mr. Kinsey:  use the Google search box just under the eGullet Forum banner to search eGullet content.  Google will allow you to use two-letter words in your search (or clustered two-letter words set off by quotes, e.g. "Al Di La").

Ooh, the secret to searching. Thanks!

Sounds like a most excellent (and stultifyingly hot) trip, Therese!

It's a good measure of just how much fun we had that the heat didn't really make much difference in the end. And it was significantly cooler than it had been the previous week.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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[Therese, you get extra street cred for doing outer boroughs when it's close to 100 degrees.  Hell, you get street cred for doing the outer boroughs, anyway.

There's another outer boroughs day coming up, so stay tuned.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Day 4, continued:

Forgot to mention above that we stopped for ice cream on the way home from "The Drowsy Chaperone." I can't recall the name of the place: sort of a fancy dinner, on a corner, brightly lit with lots of mirrored tiled. Server originally so surly that I nearly pulled the plug and walked out, but then we ordered, and our competence apparently won him over.

I had a chocolate egg cream, and the rest of the family had various permutations of sundaes or milk shakes.

I also forgot the mention that the Bronx Zoo actually did show up on the family's "food radar": when my son later asked the rest of us what had been the worst meal of the trip they all answered, unanimously, "The food at the Bronx Zoo." I didn't ask for details, but my husband actually shuddered when contemplating it.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Day 4, continued:

Forgot I also forgot the mention that the Bronx Zoo actually did show up on the family's "food radar": when my son later asked the rest of us what had been the worst meal of the trip they all answered, unanimously, "The food at the Bronx Zoo." I didn't ask for details, but my husband actually shuddered when contemplating it.

True, but you're not supposed to eat the hippopotamus with the shell intact.

Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Day 5:

Having spent a relatively late night out we slept in a bit later than usual and didn't really get going until about 11:00 on Thursday. We already had early-ish dinner plans (with FabulousFoodBabe and Mr. FoodBabe), so knew we'd only manage to squeeze in one other meal.

So we took the subway north to the eastern edge of Central Park and strolled across it, our final goal being Barney Greengrass. As neither child's ever lived far enough north to experience a real deli, and both like smoked fish, this was a place we didn't want to miss. So imagine our chagrin when they turned out to be closed. Yes, closed for a summer holiday, which I don't begrudge them, but oh, how disappointing.

We were pretty hungry by this point, and I hadn't made back up plans, so we just walked in the very next place we saw, Popover Cafe. A bit grungy, but busy, and I figured that was sufficient recommendation in this setting. We were seated in a booth in the bar area, which was nice because we had good views of the street as well as the door to the kitchen.

I had borscht (which comes with a popover, very good), a nice hot beefy version with a dollop of sour cream. Husband also soup, I think, but possibly a special. Son had a hamburger (he wanted to know the difference between the regular hamburger and the Kobe beef burger and I told him, "Five dollars") and daughter had a tuna salad sandwich on a popover.

The kids had ice cream sundaes for dessert, both of them obscenely large.

I took the train home to rest and shower before meeting Fabulous (arriving shortly at GCT) while the rest of the family visited more of Central Park and picked up take-out for the kids' dinner.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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True, but you're not supposed to eat the hippopotamus with the shell intact.

He volunteered that it was a "wrap" of some sort. Maybe that's what he meant.

Hold it, hippos don't have shells.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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You know, I'm thinking back on all the times I've eaten in the Popover Cafe, and I'm pretty sure that every single one was a time when I tried to go to Barney Greengrass but it was closed.

I wonder if they do any other kind of business.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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True, but you're not supposed to eat the hippopotamus with the shell intact.

He volunteered that it was a "wrap" of some sort. Maybe that's what he meant.

Hold it, hippos don't have shells.

Ooops, you're right. I confused my hippos with my rhinos.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Day 5, continued:

We had 6:30 reservations for dinner at The Modern, early because Mr. FoodBabe works nearby so he could meet us for drinks right after work. Fabulous took the train into GCT and we relaxed in the living room at Morgans Hotel while my husband finished getting ready. We introduced the children and then sent them upstairs, catching a cab to the Seagrams building, where we'd planned on having drinks at the Four Seasons before dinner.

But The Modern had apparently moved our reservation up to 6:00, so instead we all just walked there directly, under very threatening skies. Detailed review of our meal at The Modern on the restaurant-specific thread (as soon as I get to it), but bottom line service and food a bit uneven, offset by excellent company and fantastic views of the evening's deluge.

Attempts to catch a cab in Midtown after dinner entirely fruitless, so we had a nice stroll home to find the children already asleep.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Day 6:

It's Friday, and time for another trip to the outer boroughs. Brooklyn again, starting with Brighton Beach (I'm linking to this thread because of the photos, as we didn't take any of food interest---just imagine that docsconz et al. are experiencing a sunny, hot day).

The original plan was to start our day at Coney Island and finish up with dinner and a show at a Russian night club. An initial search suggested that National would provide the best combination of over-the-top entertainment and reasonable food, and so I booked via email, but a few days before we were due to leave I got email notifying me that they'd decided to close on Friday for maintenance (or possibly a private party or a staff holiday) and would we be able to come on Saturday instead (with a promise of free champagne and a discount on dinner)? But we couldn't, and I figured it was fate, and so we ended up in Brighton Beach for lunch instead.

We ate at Primorski, which is located on Brighton Beach Ave rather than directly on the boardwalk (where waiters were actively soliciting business from the passers by). Primorksi's does offer a show in the evenings as well, but we were there in part to take advantage of the lunch special. I'll post details of the meal to the above linked Brighton Beach thread.

After lunch we caught the train down to Coney Island, where we strolled on the boardwalk (me shaded by an umbrella---my husband and I were both struck by the fact that nobody on the beach had a parasol, insanity from our southern perspective), all road on the Cyclone, and then had ice cream for dessert (chocolate Italian ice for me---I don't know where we it was from, as the children obligingly fetched it while I relaxed on a bench under a pavilion). Oh, and they also rode the go carts.

On the way home we stopped in Brighton Beach to buy pastries from a woman selling them from a stand in front of one of the shops (poppy seed, sweet cheese, apricots and cheese, and blueberry) and some fresh fruit for my daughter and me(blueberries, red cherries, and white cherries). Very old world, very cool for the kids.

I stayed in for dinner, sending the family out to forage. They returned with sushi, which I ate in bed.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Oh, you rode the Cyclone!!!! 

Yep, and had the mildly wrenched neck to prove it.

Ordinarily I'd have said that an outing like that deserved a Nathan's hot dog, but your pastries and cherries were way cooler.

Had we done the Russian dinner we'd have probably done Nathan's for lunch. But then I'd probably have had to undergo an emergency cholecystecomy, so just as well.

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