Monday, April 23, 2007

New York Part III

Our first full day in New York was gorgeous. It was crisp and sunny outside, the perfect Autumn day. We had decided on the plane that we had to go see the Borat movie during our trip. Before we even went downstairs to breakfast I had looked up show times at a few theaters and picked one a good walk away from our hotel.
We made a serious effort to eat breakfast at our hotel. We were seated and then ignored. We were starving and didn't think the service would improve anytime soon, so we left. We walked down one block and found the perfect breakfast spot. It's called the Cupping Room. They make all their baked goods on site and we were not disappointed by anything we ordered. It's warm and cozy with a real local feel to it.
Once fortified with coffee and food we proceeded on foot towards the East Village. We arrived at the City Cinemas Village East theater just in time for an early afternoon showing which did not disappoint but made us writhe in our seats with laughter.
After the movie we were free for the afternoon and wandered through Chinatown and Little Italy with a few stops for shopping down Elisabeth Street. We found a wonderful vintage handbag store and Bruce was kind enough to indulge me while I looked around and picked out a beautiful brocade clutch about 2' long from the mid 1960's.
We rushed back to the room with our purchases and changed for dinner. We had to meet a friend for dinner at Wd-50.
The friend we met for dinner has a home in Manhattan Beach and we met her about a year ago. She and her husband get along with Bruce and I famously. They travel - A LOT - and she happened to be scheduled to be in New York during our visit, so we decided to make a date to go out together.
Wd-50 is a very trendy restaurant with a chef, Wylie Dufresne, who is quite famous for being one of a handful of pioneers in tech-cooking. These new chefs us techniques and chemical processes to create stylized food the likes of which most of the world has never seen (other than Spain and if you have to ask why Spain, well then you shouldn't bother going to Wd-50!). These new food warriors can take any liquid and create stable liquid balls - like caviar. Or thicken any sauce, hot or cold, to the exactly desired consistency. Sousvide is also hugely popular. It's a hot water bath that you place plastic wrapped food into and it cooks very slowly and without any browning to change the flavors of the ingredients within... tender pink precious meats are the result.
We had a heck of a time finding the place and it's in a somewhat dodgy neighborhood. But if you know Bruce and I, you know we have no problem handling ourselves in just about any neighborhood, so we just kept walking back and forth until we found the place. It looks almost like a diner inside with basic booths and a few pieces of large art on the walls. Our friend was waiting for us.
We had a marvelous meal of de-consctructed foods that were described as dishes you know and love but were transformed on the plate. It was all tasty, well prepared and the service was good too. In fact the waiter was so nice that we got to talking about food and drinks. He was impressed by enthusiasm for a creative cocktail and gave us the phone number for a very cool bar called Milk and Honey located on the lower East side of New York City that you have to make reservations for to get in. And you can't just look up the phone number either, you have to be given the number by someone 'in the know'. So now, we are appearing pretty hip in this big city! (Side note: we never did get to try Milk and Honey as our schedule just didn't have time to fit it in.)
By the end of dinner our friend had talked us into meeting her and her friend (a race horse owner) at the owners box for some horse racing out at Aqueduct the following afternoon. We didn't have any plans for the day and we thought it would be an interesting if not unique experience. Wow, were we right.
We left our friend that night after dinner and returned to our room. Bruce had an arrangement of orchids delivered as well as a bottle of nice Champagne. Such a nice guy!
Stay tuned for part IV - The Sopranos!

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