Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Life List: Eat at Le Bernardin. Buy a hot dog from a street vendor.

Okay! So. New York. Pardon the delay. The thing about traveling with your friends is that you never know who ended up with which photos, until you get home and realize you have four hundred photos of seafood from the fish market....and very little else. Hence, I've been tracking down pictures from my traveling companions. So without further ado...

Last month's New York trip was a rousing success for many reasons, not the least of which was that, in the first 12 hours, I knocked two items off the Life List:  

Eat at Le Bernardin. Check.
Buy a hot dog from a street vendor. Check.
In fact, pretty much all we did in New York was eat and drink stuff:

After our midafternoon street vendor snack and a trip to the MoMA, we headed to the West Village in search of Little Branch. I heard about this tiny, very cool speakeasy from Holly, and I convinced Ashley that we should check it out before our big dinner.  So we ventured south ("So we'll walk?" Ash asked, as she asked about everything. "It's, um, 50 blocks from here," I replied.  "Oh. Soooo, no?" "No."), located the unmarked door at the corner of 7th and Leroy, and--after a short wait--were ushered down into the darkness.  Little Branch is the sort of place where you can select from the menu or tell the bartender that you like gin, the color yellow, and the smell of freshly-cut grass, and he comes up with a concoction that is EXACTLY what you wanted but would never have thought of.  We, of course, went this route.  The bartender disappeared for a few minutes and returned with these:

Vintage glasses make everything look fancy.

AND THEY WERE DELICIOUS. I don't remember what was in mine, but honey was involved. Ashley's had, I believe, rosemary and Worchestershire sauce. They were so successful, we tried again.

The second round was even better than the first.

We headed back to midtown for our much-anticipated dinner at Le Bernardin. Ash was trying SO HARD to play it cool as we walked in, but she was, nevertheless, vibrating with excitement. And for good reason, because HOLY FISH STICKS, Batman, was this a meal to remember. We had the tasting menu, and the wait staff, moving around the dining room in a finely-choreographed dance, appeared with each new course at exactly the right moment. If not for the photos--which Ash surreptitiously took with her iPhone (hence the strange lighting)--and the menu on the website, I wouldn't remember what I ate--only that it was mindblowing from top to bottom and every course was better than the one before it.  

Paper-thin tuna, toasted baguette, foie gras, chives, and
olive oil.

Octopus, black beans and pear, miso vinaigrette ink

I still dream about this shrimp:
Warm Carolina red shrimp, baby leeks, Kaffir lime marinière

Halibut, sea beans, and white asparagus
in a béarnaise-scented broth

Crispy black bass; Lup Cheong and beansprout “risotto,”
mini pork buns, hoisin-plum jus

Greek yogurt panna cotta with
candied walnut and "red hot” apple gelée      

Chocolate parfait, liquid pear, and gingersnap    

....cookie things. They were good.

After the meal, stuffed, we went back to the hotel and promptly lapsed into a food coma.

Somehow, the next morning, we were hungry again, so we set our course for Bouchon Bakery in search of coffee and pastries. We stocked up on chocolate almond croissants, pistachio and peanut-butter-and-jelly macarons, and chocolate bouchons to tide us over until lunch.

By lunchtime, we'd found Jules at the Chelsea Market.  We split an incredibly fresh and delicious lobster roll from The Lobster Place, along with side of slaw, some chips, and some lemonade and root beer.

Ash experiences her first-ever lobster roll.

Jules' sister Alison met up with us for dinner in midtown on Saturday evening.  It was relatively forgettable Italian food, but we did get some goofy photos out of it, so it wasn't a total loss.

Bill, Broadway, Betty, Beatrix

Later that night, after our concert at the Lincoln Center (more on that tomorrow), we ventured across Central Park to the famous--and, I'm sorry to say, overrated--Serendipity, where they serve desserts the size of your head, with side order of kitschy decor. 

We got up early for brunch at Norma's, the restaurant in our hotel which is famous for it's breakfast (and which, I'm ashamed to say, I first heard about on Gossip Girl). Norma's is obviously kind of a scene-y place, but it happened to have the best Eggs Benedict I have ever eaten, so I considered it a success. It was on a PANCAKE.  I know. I was skeptical, too. But it was surprisingly delicious.

Even Jules, who hates eggs,
admitted that it was pretty tasty.
And later, before we headed back to our respective homes, we grabbed lunch: gyros from a street vendor at the foot of Trump Tower.

Ashley really, really loves street meat.

New York has some tasty food, is all I have to say. But we managed to do one or two other things when we weren't stuffing our faces (including the event that inspired the whole trip). More on that tomorrow!

**Photos taken by Ashley, Jules, and me.


  1. love, love, love it!

    The first course though had foie gras under the tuna not caviar...waaaaaay more delicious!

  2. ps every single picture of me is of food nearly or already in my mouth!

  3. Noted and fixed (the foie gras)!

  4. Please note that this travel companion was not delaying the photo posts :) Enjoyed reliving our adventure and excited for next month's installment