About Me

My photo
I'm a guy who likes to cook, eat, and drink, but not necessarily in that order. This blog is nothing fancy; just my random thoughts about anything that can be baked, roasted, or fried. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Martinis at Noon

©2015 Chris Terrell
This past weekend, I made my annual pilgrimage to New York City. I had originally planned for six days in the Big Apple, but that pesky thing called work interfered, so I had to settle for a quick weekend instead. My trip had an inauspicious beginning from a culinary perspective. Dinner Friday night was a grilled chicken sandwich from Chik-Fil-A at the airport, scarfed down with a Good People Pale Ale at the bar next to my gate. At least Delta was feeling generous because the flight attendant gave me two bags of pretzels on the Atlanta to LaGuardia leg. But by the time I arrived at my hotel in New York it was 1:30AM, and I was hungry again. Thank goodness for an $8 can of Pringles from the mini-bar.

The next morning, after a quick continental breakfast at the hotel, it was off to do some serious shopping at my favorite book store: The Strand. Anyone who is serious about books, especially anyone serious about cookbooks, should visit The Strand. I’ve never seen so many cookbooks in one place. An entire corner of The Strand is covered from floor to ceiling with cookbooks—everything from gourmet Jewish food to vegan desserts. Of course, I couldn’t resist—I bought a seafood cookbook titled Fish: Recipes from the Sea. I justified this purchase by telling myself that I need to start eating more fish. Perhaps reading all these cookbooks had made me hungry, because breakfast had worn off. I grabbed a street dog from a cart on Broadway and East 13th Street—a guilty pleasure I enjoy every time I visit New York.

©2015 Chris Terrell
Probably not the best choice for dinner before the theater.
Saturday night was the highlight of the trip—Cabaret—my favorite musical of all time. But first things first: dinner. Finding a good restaurant for the theater can be challenging. The theater district is not known for its restaurants and many of its offerings are tourist traps or “institutions” well past their prime. One exception is Esca, which specializes in Italian seafood. (Esca is Italian for “bait.”) It was started in 2000 by Dave Pasternack, Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich. The food is fresh and perfectly cooked, with an excellent wine list. The atmosphere is relaxed, yet elegant, and the service friendly and attentive. 

The next morning, breakfast consisted of a croissant, Starbucks, and the Sunday New York Times. Our plan was to see the Matisse Cut-outs at MoMA and have lunch at the Modern, but unfortunately the Modern is closed on Sundays. Instead, we went to what is becoming my New York “standby:” Brasserie, located in the iconic Seagram Building. 

©2015 Chris Terrell
Now that's a burger!
We were seated about five minutes before noon, and I ordered my usual Bombay Sapphire martini, straight up with a twist without any thought about the time. Our server then told me rather politely, that they couldn’t serve alcohol before noon. Really!? I expected this kind of treatment in Alabama but not the city that never sleeps! I’m not sure if this made me feel better about Alabama or worse about New York City. No bother, as it was noon by the time the drink made it to my table—no harm, no foul. Brasserie makes a damn good burger, which is what I got. They also make about the biggest burger I’ve ever seen!

It was during this trip to Brasserie that I noticed an unusual architectural feature. About halfway through martini #2, I noticed that the floor seemed to slant downward from the back of the restaurant to the front. "Wow," I thought, "these are strong martinis!" Laura had not said anything, so I figured it was just gin. But after several minutes of examining the restaurant from different areas of the dining room, I became convinced that there was a slight list of 3 or 4 degrees. I finally got the courage to ask our server, who confirmed this quirk. (Last time, we sat in the back at the “high end” so this slant was not as noticeable.) Maybe the thought is to keep the drunks walking in a straight line after happy hour. 

After MoMA and a quick rest at the hotel, it was off to the airport to return home. I got home rather late and hungry, so dinner consisted of a grilled cheese sandwich. It was a fun weekend, though without my usual NYC gastronomic adventures, but then again, must it always?  I’ve visited New York enough now that I don’t feel compelled to eat fancy meals 24-7 when I'm there. I mean, even Alice Waters probably eats a hot dog from time to time, right? Sure she does. So long as it is locally sourced!

No comments:

Post a Comment