New York recap

Mostly so I’ll remember, but in case anyone else cares —

Dinners of note:

  • The Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridian:  This one is a hoot!  Le Parker Meridien is a très swank hotel that’s right below Central Park on West 57th.  To enter the lobby (from one of the two streets it’s between) you walk down a long hall that’s mirrored on both sides (giving you that great — or frightening — one-million-Gina-and-Jeffs thing) — maybe a little overblown, but definitely neat.  Then look ’round the lobby until you see the neon burger (down a small hall to the right of the reservations desk).  That’s the Burger Joint.  It’s a *tiny* room (<10 tables, I think) with — get this — faux wood panelling, vinyl dinette-style benches and wooden tables that are scarred with the names of millions of visitors.  One of the walls is beige brick and is covered with the autographs of celebrities (I remember Christine Lahti and Missy Elliott, but somehow have forgotten the rest).  The burgers are great (as are the fries, which are served in little paper bags), but the real treat is the fabulousness of this very tongue-in-cheek “dive” inside such a nice hotel.  I think it must’ve taken a great deal of *moxie* for the management to create it, but I heartily approve.
  • Hearth:  5 course tasting menu.  On heavens this was yummy.  My favorites were the scallops carpacio (so creamy and not at all “fishy”) and the sweet corn panna cotta (I love panna cotta in general, and this twist with undertones of sweet corn was incredible).  I was also exited to try Kobe beef, having watched way too many Iron Chefs: in a nutshell, it was incredibly tender and creamy; however, the sauce was intensely flavored enough (really reduced pan juices?) that it was hard to isolate what kobe beef all by itself would be like.
  • DIVER SCALLOP CARPACCIO with Pickled Chanterelles, Chioggia Beets, Summer Truffle and Herb Salad
  • MAINE LOBSTER with White Corn and Lobster Mushrooms
  • KOBE SKIRT STEAK With Cipollini Onions, Spinach and Red Wine
  • SWEET CORN PANNA COTTA with Blackberry Compote
  • RASPBERRY-NECTARINE CRISP with Vanilla Ice Cream
  • The Shake Shack — again, this one was for the experience as much as the food (though the burgers were quite good).  Every summer in Madison Square Park this semi-permanent restaurant opens with a menu of burgers, fries, shakes and dogs.  You order at one window, pick up (after a bit of a wait) at another, then eat at little tables set up under strings of lights.  Granted, I was *starving* by the time we got there and got our food, but I still think it was yummy enough to warrant a visit.  Plus it’s nifty, eating in the park.  Note to self:  you don’t like custard ice cream.  Quit thinking you should and trying it anyway.
  • The Tribeca Grill, as described earlier

Shopping of note:

  • Spandex World in the Fabric District (Yes, I really went into a store called Spandex World.  However, in my defense, they had a big sign in the window saying “Leather” and that was, in fact, what I was after.  And found.  At reasonable (and negotiable!!  never forget that many things here are negotiable!) prices.  Also of note:  the $.99/yard fabric section at the rear of the second floor.  There were only a few things there that I really wanted (lots of odd colors, unsurprisingly), but for the stuff I did want (some “slinky” fabric like much of my travel wardrobe is made of and some satin) the prices were unbeatable (particularly since these were “designer” bolts, which means 60″ fabric, not the 45″ that’s common in chain fabric stores).
  • Vogue Fabrics — beautiful things, but mostly (a) too expensive and (b) too country club for me.  (Country club being defined as the sort of embroidered and cut-work fabric that makes nice tea dresses).  The Indian man (a store owner, I’m guessing) who told me I was lovely was much appreciated though (even if he was just trying to sell more fabric).
  • B&J Fabrics – has no website and wasn’t open when I stopped by *twice*!  So sad.  Next time.
  • Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven – A random decision to walk one block east of my chosen route to dinner at the Tribeca Grill on led me to this wonderment.  I bought eight chocolates (amongst my purchases: Merlot, Espresso and Port!) and so far have eaten three of these little babies (on the plane ride home yesterday).  They were delicious (though next time I need to make better notes about which flavors I buy and which is which so I can tell them apart later!). I’m saving the other five for the point during the week at which I get sad that I’m not in NY anymore.

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