Summer is ripe for pool parties, barbeques, and early morning walks on the beach. Or, in my world, ice cold showers, pasting ‘oven on vacation till fall’ signs in the kitchen, and air-conditioned shop stops along my route to/from the subway. And, like a faithful New Yorker (heehee), I eat out.
As has been told before, New York has quite the eatery selection. High-end, low-end, middle-of-the-road; it’s all here just waiting for your soft and sweaty cash (no credit cards, please). So what restaurant decisions does one make when escorting out-of-town friends around this vast city? Do you dare go to the same restaurant twice? Do you risk going to a new place that fails to accommodate, and having your friends tell everyone back home how your taste in restaurants sucks? Maybe both?
This past weekend, two lovely gentlemen from Seattle decided to jaunt on over to the bigger East Coast city and land their dining fate in my hands. First stop, a recent gem – Maremma, of course. My goal…to leave all decisions up to the chef. And, once again, Cesare did not steer us wrong. Course after course arrived on our table, making us happier (and fatter) with each delicious bite. I won’t mention all of the dishes we had, though I’m pretty partial to the ‘Strozzapreti’ (Swiss Chard and Bread Dumplings with Guanciale, Onions and San Marzano Tomatoes) and the ‘Moonshine’ (Fusilli with Tomato, Bourbon and Grana Padano). You just really must go there and taste for yourself.
Saturday morning/afternoon brought us to brunch at Le Gamin. A giant bowl of café au lait accompanied by crispy French toast with ham, potatoes, and fruit? Can’t beat that. I still haven’t been to the ones on the West Side. The vibe in the East Village is just so exquisite.
It was a balmy Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn. After having scathed the steamy subway to the Upper East Side, my pal Sansan and I surfed it back down to the sandpits of Bar Tabac’s (128 Smith Street) Bastille Day Pétanque Tournament in hip & happenin’ Carroll Gardens. What did we find, but barely-clad beauties, ooh la la lingo, and a booth offering Peruvian cuisine? What the??? Peruvian??? At a Bastille celebration??? Yeah, well, I’m a sucker. 3 dishes on my plate for $9 included Shrimp Ceviche, Beef Empanadas, and Chicken with a Coconut-Lime Sauce. Oh my goodness. So since I’d only had a nibble, I brought Peter and Tony along Saturday night to brave the Peruvian experience with me. A drink at Bar Tabac and over to Coco Roco just across the street. Everything was perfect. Ceviche combo platter, Cilantro Soup, Chicharron, and Paella. All for a decent price and a lovely waitstaff, too. Oh, and ya gotta try the Flan – to die for!
Sunday night, I had them over for a casual hangout in the garden with Crawfish Etouffée in Puff Pastry. They brought the wine and the delicious accompaniments – the latter from Barney Greengrass (an Upper West Side classic establishment). The perfect ending to a marvelous visit. So glad to see ya!
I just adore good friends who love to eat. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but there is truly nothing better in life than sharing good food, good wine, and good conversation with good friends. Thanks for visiting. Have a delicious day!