I’ll save you the Googling: it means I came, I saw, I ate. After living in New York City for six years, admittedly a while ago, we don’t need to sightsee when we are there. We visit with friends, and that involves eating. A lot. This adventure was no exception.
“Make a plan for lunch on Friday, on the early side,” read a text from my friend, just before our visit. She didn’t specify where, so I picked one of my current favorites, Osteria Morini. It is horribly inconvenient to get there from the Upper West Side, where our friends live. I focused on the amazing pasta and wine on tap, and not so much on the commute.
Any lunch that starts with a liter of white wine (Albana, Tre Monti, 2015) is a good meal. Morini has a $29 two-course lunch deal, which seems really inexpensive until you factor in the wine, and the second liter of wine). I started with the vongole in a white wine sauce with leeks and chiles, while FKGuy enjoyed the Frito Misto. We have been married for nearly twenty years, and can always find new examples of true love: he saved the only fried shrimp on the plate for me. He knows they are my favorite. Often it is the little things that add up to a big thing. Even a single fried shrimp.
I devoured a bowl of garganelli with peas, cream, and truffle butter, sans prosciutto. All pasta is homemade, and our group enjoyed three different versions. Each dish came perfectly cooked, deliciously sauced, and totally worthwhile. As we stumbled back uptown, we made a quick stop at Astor Wines to grab a few bottles for dinner and happy hour the next day.
After meandering uptown, the next food-focused event was dinner. Perhaps you’ve seen those videos of people making challah in a bag on Facebook? (No? Google it. They are everywhere.) My friend, Sara, had made the dough the night before. I went to work braiding, egg-washing, and seeding the loaf, before letting it sit for a secondary rise. It works! While not quite as rich as my version, this one is great, especially if you don’t have a stand mixer.
“You can make the lamb chops. I don’t know how,” I was told. “Well, I make them on the grill, but this can’t be too hard,” I responded. I took a quick inventory of the situation: very expensive meats, an oven/broiler I am unfamiliar with, a twelve-year-old super excited that I was making him dinner, and wine at lunch. The outlook was bleak.
We pan seared the steaks and finished them in the oven. Lamb chops broiled while the cauliflower rice sauteed, and it all came out perfectly. Truly, there is nothing better in life than sharing a good meal with people that are important to you, especially when you don’t get to see those people very often.
As the meat sweats began to set in, and the wine flowed, the 12-year-old pulled out chips and cards for a rousing game of Texas Hold ‘Em. I would have won, too, had it not been for his impending bedtime. Oh well. There will be other times. Meanwhile, he gloats.
The next installment of New York City: Veni, Vedi, Edi, includes Landmarc with a toddler, the crafting of a cheese platter, Crave Fishbar, Dovetail, Left Bank, and Motorino. All I can say is this: ramp season was in full force when we visited the city, and it was fantastic.