Chef Jeff and I wandered outside into the vast almost unknown of Manhattan to begin our adventure. We are noticing all kinds of new and different things (we are NOT in Healdsburg/Kansas anymore!) Upon ordering coffee, if you take it with milk - that is considered a regular. Black is...well...black. I don't know what they call it once they add sugar. AND the cost of two coffees was $1.70. A Bargain!!!
We took the subway down into the village and then walked to the James Beard House. Honestly, unless I knew exactly what it was I would have missed it! We rang the door and then heard a man's voice telling us to hold on, that he was coming. An older man opened the door for us and then went back to his table, much like a once official man now holding court. It turned out that this dear man was once the faithful right hand man and nursemaid to James Beard, none other than Clayton Triplette. I asked him to autograph the February program to the JB house for us. I wanted him to feel special again, after so many years of not having JB to look after and of being treasured.
After we wandered around the House, we walked up to the "new" Balducci's at 14th and 8th. What a great space, in a renovated bank. Really a lot of fun. The truly GREAT renovation/new use of old space is Chelsea Market. Every designer that even considers the recyling of a space should see it. We were able to find the great produce market of Manhattan Fruit company. We are going to be able to order the produce we need for the dinner. Hooray!!!! We thought we were going to be shopping on the upper east side and then haul it all down to the village via cab. Now the cab will be going a few blocks! *Star sighting: We saw Bradley from the last season of Project Runway in front of Chelsea Market. WHOO HOO....(and he was wearing a cape!)
Once we figured out the shopping end of things, we went to lunch at Momofuko Noodles on 10th st. and 1st Avenue. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No less than 3 foodie friends (chefs/writers) told us about this place. We asked the server for recommendations, so we started with pork buns. Not just any pork, but slowly cooked pork belly from heritage pork of North Carolina. The buns had lightly pickled cucumber slices on them then were brushed with something like a plum sauce. Divine. We then ate the brussels sprouts with Tennessee bacon and kim chee puree. Heaven. The next dish was pan friend rice cakes. I will admit to expecting something that would look like risotto cakes, but instead they were white tubes that we grilled on the flat top until crispy all round, then folded into a sauce that reminded me of a spicy shrimp sauce. Yum. The last item we got (yes, we were starting to fill up) was the Momofuko noodle bowl. Rich broth with delicate but perfectly cooked noodles, along with roasted N. Carolina pulled pork, more of the pork belly, mushrooms, collard greens, sliced fish loaf and seaweed. I couldn't finish my half of the dish. It was perfect.
Once we left the warmth of the noodle house and were hit with the cold wind blowing the temp. down into the teens, we sought refuge and a caffeinated beverage at Di Roberti's Italian pastry shop. So civilized. Of course we had to have a biscotti to chase the machiato.
We took the subway uptown to Kitchen Arts and Letters aka Cookbook Mecca. We found and bought all kinds of fun books. Just in time for starting the diet when we return. Boo hiss.
Dinner. Yes, we did eat again. We thought we should try Barbuto, the relatively new Jonathon Waxman restaurant in the meat packing district. We arrived just as the set up crew was finishing up the last of the equipment for some huge fund raiser that Al Gore was appearing at. WOW...
The food: Italian in influence. The look: warm industrial. Lots of glass garage doors and exposed pipes/brick. We ordered the warm squid salad with pomegranate seeds, sliced smoked Italian ham and focaccia and then a plate of perciatelli pasta alla Carbonara. All very nice. The chef was kind enough to send out a plate of tuna sashimi and avocado/tartar. Lovely. He also sent out some warm duck liver on toast. I could eat my weight in that...The striped sea bass with braised fennel and fingerling potatoes was perfectly cooked and SUBLIME. One of the best fish dishes I have had (other than my honey's!) The menu had a very limited dessert menu (gelato, sorbet, biscotti and chocolate pudding.) We got the chocolate pudding. The food was good, simple, well prepared and reasonably priced. We look forward to Mr. Waxman opening up his restaurant in Sebastopol, CA.
After dinner drinks at the Spice Market, one of Jean George Vongerichten's restaurants. It has a very southeast asian menu and smell! Chef Jeff ordered a Kumquat mojito and I got a tamarind soda. A very nice way to end an evening.
Until the next posting from NYC:Enjoy life...eat with friends!