Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New York

Pardon the absence, but we’ve been in a New York state of mind – and belly – over the past several days. I can still smell the nuts on the street (not the homeless variety), the hot dogs at Shea stadium and the best freakin’ steak my husband has ever tasted (his edited words) at Perilla. Ah, New York City.

The trip to the Big Apple was of course, about food. Okay, it was also about a romantic get away to Gregg’s favorite town, a trip to Shea before they tear it down and a quick catch-up with old friends…but the food was the centerpiece; what we did between (and during) visits and photographs. The thing that will stay in my memory (but I’m just obsessed like that.)

John’s Pizzeria was crowded, noisy, delicious. Flat pizza, covered in cheese the way it’s meant to be. Crunchy, buttery crust, still coated in light flour, fresh from the oven. My sister-in-law recommended the place, I read mixed reviews, but I loved every minute. The waiters’ shirts read, “No Slices” and I was glad that rule forced us to order a whole pie…if fresh-from-the-oven
pizza wasn’t good enough, the cold leftovers at 3 a.m. were a bonus.

Les Halles was everything a French bistro is supposed to be on a Saturday night – boisterous, delicious, and seemingly okay with their slow service. It took us a while to get a waiter, a glass of wine, a dessert menu, and a check, but fortunately the food was worth the wait. I paired the coq au vin with the cote de rhone…and French fries! Because in my world, there is no such thing as a trip to a bistro without French fries. I got one tasty rooster, covered in wine and sweet, tender pearl onions. For dessert we split the chocolate soufflé, which I really enjoyed. It could have been overwhelmingly sweet, but instead was subtly bitter. The waiter was the same…

‘Wich Craft was a great choice for Tuesday afternoon, after the rain had stopped, the clouds had parted and our train was about ready to leave…A stop in Bryant Park for a beautiful outdoor lunch was the perfect way to end our trip. Ironically, I was served the wrong sandwich, but decided I was too hungry to care. I’m glad I stuck with the surprise! Marinated eggplant, chickpea puree, roasted peppers and watercress smothered on a ciabatta roll turned out to be just what I wanted!

Perilla was the place we (read: I) chose for Monday night’s meal- our last night in the city to be shared with one of Gregg’s oldest and dearest friends. I was intrigued by the menu, but let’s be honest about something here- I mainly chose it because I knew there was a chance that I’d get to steal a glimpse of Harold Dieterle, winner of Top Chef Season 1.

Is this a (slightly) lame reason to pick a restaurant? Maybe. Am I the first person to do this? Probably not. So I held my head high upon entering, tried not to act too geeked up when Harold came out of the kitchen for the first time, and giggled only slightly with glee when someone else at my table actually ordered the spicy duck meatballs as our appetizer without me even mentioning, “You know, Harold was best known for his spicy duck meatballs on the show…”

Ahem. The food was delicious. The spicy duck meatballs were served with tiny gnocchi cooked a little more than al dente, but nowhere close to mushy. I had duck for my main course, as well, served with mustard greens, barley, pistachios and white mulberry-ginger sauce. The sauce was sweet and crunchy, and perfect for the duck. Duck has never been so happy to be covered in sauce. We ordered risotto for the table, a small bit of which I had to snag before the boys ate every last drop. And, as stated above, my husband really enjoyed the steak. Really.

As a general rule, I stay away from donuts. In fact, over the past 15 years, I’ve had approximately two. My aversion began shortly after my mom told me they were bad for my ovaries due to the high content of saturated fat.

However, on Monday night, I exposed my ovaries to the best damn donuts I’ve ever had (and it’s been a while, so I haven’t had that many…but even if I had, I’m pretty sure these were the best.) I neglected the chocolate ganache they were served with, favoring the rich, Meyer lemon curd instead.

The server was friendly, the wine recommendations were a perfect pairing and we left feeling every bit satisfied.

For the record, I saw Harold three times.

1 comment:

Elly said...

I would eat at Perilla too :) I felt the same way when we were at Topolobampo and I saw Rick Bayless 2 times. Hah.