Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blueberry Waffles, Mixed Berry Pancakes and Strawberry Fields Forever...Imagine!

I just saw Christopher Plummer sitting on the bench outside my hotel. Clare, the Sound of Music fan that she is . . . she knows this celebrity.

After breakfast we went up to Central Park. I really wanted to walk through the park before leaving, weather permitting. We had the cabbie drop us off at the Dakota Building so we entered through Strawberry Fields. It makes you want to just sing, doesn't it?

The IMAGINE mosaic drew quite a crowd.

There is always a crowd outside the Dakota, night and day.

Scenes from Central Park . . .

And on Lexington Avenue . . .

Over to 30 Rock...

And inside St. Patrick's Cathedral...

WICKED is tonight. I'm off to wander the streets of SoHo. Later...

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Walt Disney? Is it you?

This picture pretty much sums up the day. If you add rain...

We hopped a ferry and went to Liberty Island and then Ellis Island. The rain began as a light mist. It even felt good, like refreshing. But later I found myself on the downtown loop bus on a two hour journey, the top of a double decker bus . . . and it wasn't a light mist any longer. My deck shoes are still wet.

Remember that doughnut I told you about?
That creme brulee doughnut? I am still dreaming about it. Tomorrow I'm considering going to Dean & Deluca to see if they have one . . . they sell doughnuts from Doughnut Plant. I can't stop thinking about it.

Tonight we went to Artisanal Bistro. I saw Artisinal's Chef Terrance Brennan on Rocco's Dinner Party . . . after I saw Rocco talk about the cheese fondue on The Best Thing I Ever Ate. That's where we ended up tonight, right on Park Avenue. We started with the Gougeres. They were light and fluffy pillows of cheese and pate a choux all mixed together. Gone in seconds.

Next was the fondue. We stuck with the classic Artisanal Blend. It arrived bubbling with our choices of what to put on the tip of those fondue forks, Beef Tips and Fingerling Potatoes. Take a peek. This was no ordinary cheese fondue.

My Mussels Frites.

Clare's Heritage Pork Chop with Rhubarb and Bulb Onions

The finale? The chocolate fondue complete with berries, bananas, apricots, madelines, cookies, homemade marshmallows.

The Fromage Cave was free, so I snapped a few pictures.

My pants are tight.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Polar (not really) opposites...

We toured Harlem where boys threw water balloons at us. That happened. Fast forward walking down West 22nd Street right past Ethan Hawke and his son eating ice cream. My cousin said, "I don't know who that is." Reality Bites?! Nothing.

We went to dinner at the Red Cat. I saw Ted Allen talk about the deep fried bacon appetizer at this restaurant, so off we went. We opted out of appetizers. Novel idea, no? This is my Organic Chicken with Portuguese Rice, Linquica, Peppers and Green Olives. It was pan seared (probably with something heavy pressing it down) so the skin was extra crisp. The Portuguese flavors were spicy and fragrant. Loved it.

This is Clare's Grilled Salmon with Sugar Snap Pea Vinaigrette with Mashed Potato.

Here is her Pistachio Semifreddo, a creme fraiche brownie on the bottom. The waiter poured hot fudge over the top when he delivered it to the table.

My apple beignets with cinnamon caramel and vanilla cream. Oh that cream.

Look at the apple on the inside . . .

It's supposed to feel a little less like a steambath here tomorrow. There's always hope...

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Locanda Verde

TriBeCa is a walk from our hotel, Locanda Verde about a mile. Almost there we stumbled upon Bubby's. It's on the list, but time is running out.

Locanda Verde (Robert DeNiro's place) was right down the block from Bubby's. The waiter told me he'd turn a blind eye if I took a picture (he was adorable) but if his manager saw I would more than likely be scolded about violating the "no pictures" policy. I tried to pick and choose what photos to take in case I was reprimanded. So I bring you my selection, first the Uovo Modenese with cotechino hash, spinach and tomato hollandaise. A loose translation would be a cross between hash and eggs benedict, made with house-made cotechino, spinach, and tomato hollandaise. Let's just say up until today I thought I knew how to poach an egg. It was memorable.

Claremarie chose a Zucchini Frittata with roasted tomato, goat cheese and basil.

Now comes the best part. I'd read reviews of a dessert at this restaurant. A budino. This happened to be Clare's selection - now that's what I call vicarious pleasure. I give you the Chocolate Budino with coffee crème fraiche gelato, hot fudge, and coffee granita. The granita was spread over the top of the dessert - it looked like crystalized ginger. It was impressive. She loved it.

My choice? The peach and plum crumble. It didn't disappoint. I love a fruit dessert.

The building was brick walls covered in art. I asked about the art . . . Robert DeNiro's father is the artist. It was fun.

Later we had a tour of some famous sights. The Dakota Building as in John Lennon and Rosemary's Baby...

The Manhattan Temple...

Beautiful Central Park . . . I really want to go back there and spend some time in the park. If the weather would only cooperate.

It's hotter than blazes. No words.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Balthazar, pomme frittes and tarte tatin

Tonight we went to the place Bobby Flay said has the best french fries in the universe, Balthazar. I've been waiting for this. I love a French bistro. It was all dark and French (that tiny black and white tile) with delicious bread baskets and a beautiful seafood bar.

This beautiful creation is my Warm Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart. It had a little frisee salad with some sun dried tomatoes and a tablespoon or so of olive tapenade. I put that tapenade on my bread. It was all luscious. The goat cheese was soft and light, almost like a souffle.

Clare had the Sweet Corn and Ricotta Ravioli with Lobster. The sweet corn was exactly that, tender and sweet with a little crunch to it.

Here are Clare's Short Ribs with garlic mashed potatoes and root vegetables.

I chose the Crisp Berkshire Pork Belly with baby leeks. I know what you're thinking. That sounds gross and it looks gross. I've never had pork belly but I was determined to cross that one off my list. I have to admit when they put my plate in front of me I felt like I'd made a mistake. Then I took a bite. It was memorable.

Here they are, the famous Balthazar French Fries.

You probably think we skipped dessert. And why wouldn't you? I mean, just drafting this blog post made me feel even more full than I already am. But um . . . we had dessert. I cannot turn down a Tarte Tatin. It isn't possible. It's my favorite.

Claire's Pavlova. I coerced her into ordering it. It was beautiful.

My pants are tight and I've been here for less than four days. Not right. Know what else isn't right? The weather.

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