I have been off on a whirlwind culinary adventure in New York City, the first of at least a hundred trips to New York in which I was in total control of where I went, what I ate and how late I came home. "Home" in this case was my uncle's house, which used to be my grandparents house, which is also the house my dad grew up in. It's been in the family for 40-odd years and while I'm always grateful to consider it my "New York House," the limitations I'm generally under are...stifling.
When I was in college and living in Rhode Island, I'd spend my Thanksgiving breaks with my grandparents. Though I was itching to get out into the city (it was the heyday of Sex and the City, after all), my worrisome Italian-Catholic grandmother would wring her hands and cross herself just in anticipation of all the horrible things that could happen to me on the subway trains. As I got older and my leash was loosened inch by inch, I would venture to the city only after being dropped off at the 7 station, and with my cell phone at my ear every 20 minutes. Of course I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going, so I'd often wind up in a semi-untouristy restaurant in Times Square, irritated knowing there was so much more to see. Ultimately I'd decide it wasn't worth it, and would head back to Queens, but not before a phone call to warn my grandfather that I'd need to be picked up at the station in approximately 35 minutes.
I miss my grandparents. They're still all over that house and the scent of my grandfather overwhelms me with nostalgia every time I step through the front door. But I have to say that I don't miss being any younger than I am now, without license to go where I please and be considered an adult. And look, I made it back to Tennessee in one piece. My grandmother, somewhere, is sighing with relief and probably thanking Jesus personally for my safe return.
Underneath this recipe for grilled portobella mushrooms, which are tied to this post inexplicably save for the fact that it was the first meal I prepared after being waited on for 4 days straight at various NYC eateries, is the full list of everywhere and with everything I stuffed my face while there. Do check them all out next time you're in the big city...if you're allowed to leave the house, that is.
You will need:
2 large portobella mushroom caps
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup dry vermouth or sherry
1/4 cup olive oil
Splash white vinegar
3 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
Small handful fresh parsley, chopped
Small handful fresh basil, chopped
Small handful fresh chives, chopped
Salt and pepper
Wipe the mushroom caps clean with a damp paper towel. Remove the stem and discard. To remove the gills, scrape them out with a spoon.
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Let mushroom caps sit in the wine bath for up to an hour. Add salt and pepper before grilling over a low flame, cooking until softened.
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Chelsea Market, Manhattan
Chocolate cupcake with pink buttercream.
401 Bleecker Street, Manhattan
5 Carmine Street, Manhattan
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Everything bagel with cream cheese, strawberry-rhubarb juice.
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80 Spring Street, Manhattan
The most perfect Mojito I've ever had, steak tartare, moules frites, strawberry-rhubarb crisp (best meal of the trip).
1460 2nd Ave, Manhattan
Fried pickle chips, champagne-St. Germain cocktail (classy, no?).
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Blue Bottle Coffee Co.
160 Berry Street, Williamsburg
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220 Waverly Place, Manhattan
Harissa falafel sandwich, fries with saffron aioli, brown sugar lemonade.
MoMA Cafe 2
11 W 53rd Street, Manhattan
Hearts of romaine salad, foccacia, too much of Angela's fontina polenta (sorry girl).