Just back from a speed-dash down to NYC for Passover. Sharing the horseradish and charoset with my old college pal Mike and his family was the ostensible reason for hopping on the Jetblue express to JFK, but I was really there to walk, eat, walk and soak up as much culture as I could, after a month without any up in Lake Snowbegone.
I was a little too hopeful as to how spring-like NYC would be in comparison to the North Country, and so I ended up underdressed and chilled for three nasty cold, rainy days. But the flowers were out--daffodils, frilly tulips, crocuses, hyacinths, magnolia buds on the trees overhead. Arriving mid-afternoon on Sunday, my pal (and former neighbor) Amy and I headed out to always-open Bocca Lupa (ok, not really, but they do offer lunch from 11:30am to 5, then dinner til late-ish, so by a freelancers' sleep-in standard, they're always available). Amy got the zampone-piave-pickled peppers panini (say that 10 times fast) that she'd been craving, and I went for my comfy fave, the roast chicken with arugula and provolone. Lovely, as always--such a great little place to have in the neighborhood. Then, oh bliss, it was just a few blocks' walk over to Cobble Hill Cinema for the stunning Lives of Others, the German flick that won the Best Foreign Films Oscar. A great film.
The next day, perfect-as-always pear danish at Almondine, and a spin through the Easter candy offerings at Jacques Torres. Dark chocolated matzoh for the Jews, rows of chocolate-dipped marshmallow Peeps (in the bunny shape) for the gentiles. Oh, and carrot-shaped tubes of chocolate-dipped Cheerios for those of you who, sadly, have had your taste buds surgically removed. They were offering free samples of the cocoa-rolled chocolate almonds. Resisted the urge to tip the whole bowl into my purse.
Then, into the city for a slice at Joe's Pizza in the Village, followed by a French movie (Avenue Montaigne, a dull movie for old people, despite its Amelie aspirations) and a spin through the genteel rooms of the Neue Gallerie, whose dark wood-panelled walls always look carved out of chocolate. A robust crowd in town for the Van Gogh and German Expressionists show, which was small but potent. Followed, of course, by the last slice of topfentorte in the house at a marble-topped table in Cafe Sabarsky, where I would happily live if only one could get a glass of Riesling for less than $14 (and a cup of coffee for less than $5). But ah, that topfentorte-- fluffy quark filling, light layers of genoise, melting slices of pear on top, lovely.
On to Central Park West for eggs in salt water, horseradish and brisket, four kinds of kugels and a platter of asparagus, chocolate-chip macaroons and next year in Jerusalem, amen.
Matzoh brei and leftover cheesecake for breakfast, then onto the bus out to Nyack to see my aunt for lunch at the elegant Restaurant X, with nosegays of roses on the tables and a pastoral view of just-barely-greening willows around the pond.
That night, back in Brooklyn, Amy and I had just enough energy to walk around the corner to the new Japanese place, Hideno, which looks better than it is. Warm housemade tofu comes in a little glass pot with a pitcher of soy sauce and a tiny spoon; it has a gentle, silky texture but tastes, as I guess we should have expected, like nothing. Or more exactly, nothing with an aftertaste of masking tape and chalk. A bowl of rice will run you $3, a pot of tea $2. Tuna tataki, with a small mound of avocado-topped salad, was too salty to eat.
The next morning, high hopes of checking out the new feminist-art wing and Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party at the Brooklyn Museum. But alas, cold rain and boring errands ate up the morning, and then there was only time for a quick bowl of lamb soup (a brown, intensely lamb-y broth with bits of onion and green herbs, $2) at the Yemen Cafe on Atlantic Ave, and a plan to come back for the grand platters of roasted lamb and rice ($8) being shared by tables of men around the room.
Woke up this morning to several inches of snow on the ground, and more falling. Welcome back to Lake Snowbegone...but we're off to Montreal for Easter tomorrow. Any Montreal tips, please let me know!