So here's what I have to show for a weekend in NYC: About 5 lbs.
It starts when I arrive on Thursday night. Our flight was delayed and despite snacking on salt and pepper calamari and Swedish fish at Charlotte-Douglas International, I am hungry when we (finally) touch down. First stop? Little Vincent's (Pizza? Check!).
So here's the thing about NYC pizza - it's all good. Pretty much. And when you move to places like NC, and your pizza choices consist of Domino's, Pizza Hut and Little Caesar's, ANY pizza in NYC is good. So fine - there are those who would argue that Totonno's is better than Famous Ray's (or Original Ray's or Famous Original Ray's...)...well, why Little Vincent's? It's in the same building where my parents live. And it's good. I don't care who you transplant from NYC to any corner of the globe - there is something about pizza in NYC - Tap water? Air pollution? Whatever. It's unparalleled.
Friday's food fest begins with lunch with my godmother at Cafe Luxembourg (French Bistro? Check!). Lunch consists of a yellowfin tuna burger (medium rare) with wasabi aioli and plenty of thin, crispy, salty shoestring fries accompanied by a glass of Chalone Chardonnay. Yum. Post lunch activity is Faffing. For those of you who don't know what faffing is, it's a cross between browsing and window shopping and trying on and wandering and not really spending...well, I suppose it could involve spending but in my case on Friday, it did not involve spending...at all (apologies economy - I'd like to stimulate you more).
Friday evening finds us in Hoboken, NJ where we used to live for 5 years. Dinner is at Augustino's (Red Sauce Italian? Check!) where we used to have a standing Thursday night reservation. Although we forgot to request it in advance, Sharon knows we both live and die for eggplant rollatine and she submits an order to the kitchen even though it's not on the menu. It comes out hot and melty and cheesy and fabulous and utterly delicious. For the entree, Marty opts for shrimp Francese over linguine and I go for 2 meatballs the size of my head (literally) over rigatoni. I get through about 3/4 of one they are that big. But they are also that good because I have a big plate of cold rigatoni and leftover meatball for breakfast the next morning.
Saturday lunch is Serafina on 79th and Madison (Nouveau Italian? Check!). To clarify , there are multiple Serafina's throughout the City but I am partial to the Serafina on 79th Street because they serve the Insalata Porto Cervo (romaine lettuce, corn, carrots, tomato, avocado, hearts of palm and an awesome Sardinian dressing). So - yes - even though all Serafinas are owned by the same people, their menus differ venue to venue. After the salad I order what I always order - pizza Vittorio - thin crust, wood-fired pizza topped with crazy amounts of prosciutto and fresh tomato (which for the record, is tasty, but makes the crust soggy - too much liquid).
Saturday night finds us at Haru on West 43rd (Asian Fusion/Sushi? Check!). Rock shrimp tempura, beef negimaki, veggie dumplings, tuna tataki, and a generous salad with plenty of ginger-based dressing (plus actual sushi for the guys) and suddenly I feel as though I have completed my cross-cultural culinary tour of NYC.
After, we head off to the relatively new Baryshnikov Arts Center to hear an incredible performance by the Glass Farm Ensemble. Then there's a post-concert nightcap at HK.
And then, just to prove that you can take the girl out of the city but you can't take the city out of the girl, I dart in and out of multiple lanes of traffic in front of Port Authority just after midnight in order to hail a cab home. In the rain.
It's so not country. I know.
But I'll still kiss your...
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