Arthur and I left all thoughts of hurricanes and politics behind us last weekend as we flew off to visit Michael in New York. The excitement of the city can make all of your worries disappear, and we definitely needed a break from the stress. The country might be in turmoil, but New York never changes. We stayed in a great hotel, ate amazing food, visited with friends and family, and we even made time to visit my favorite museum, The Whitney.
If you are an art buff, and going to New York, you have probably scheduled time for "The Met" and MOMA, but have you ever been to this gem of a museum in lower Manhattan? Founded in 1931, it focuses on American art of the 20th and 21st century, and a visit there years ago inspired me to design a humanities curriculum that was one of the most successful courses I ever taught.
After a New York day of running, a peaceful hotel is my first necessity, the the Hyatt Union Square was the perfect place to stay. We asked for a quite room and were located in what is probably the last quiet place in all of Manhattan. It was spotlessly clean (I love a hotel with wood floors instead of bacteria filled carpet) and surprisingly well appointed. The staff was friendly and efficient, lead off by a bellman who refused a tip for getting us a cab. "No, Mr. Marshall, you took care of me well enough when you checked in."
Of course the food was the highlight of the trip. If you have never been to Eataly in the FlatIron District, you are missing a great few hours of wandering around sampling amazing food and finding interesting cooking novelties. We ate at Le Verdure, the vegetable-centric restaurant in the middle of this amazing space. The house made gnudi (gnocchi-like ricotta dumplings) were so light that they practically floated in their brown-butter and sage sauce. We shared five different offerings and had difficulty limiting our choices to just five.
Dinner at Narcissa in The Strand hotel was another treat. They serve a sea bass dish, with French curry, lentils, watermelon radish and toasted almonds that was as beautiful as it was delicious. Art and I shared that and an artistically done Carrot Wellington with bluefoot mushrooms, sunchokes and gremolata that actually made us forget that the original of this dish usually is meat based. The outside garden seating was so comfortable that our party of five sat for four hours and never felt rushed.
Our last night's dinner was at Flex, a muscles restaurant on 13th Street, with more variations of muscles than you could ever want. The nice size portions were tasty enough to make us forget that the frites were an extra charge. I also had some of the best fish tacos I've ever consumed. The perfectly fried haddock was placed upon a seemingly homemade corn tortilla and surrounded by what we have taken to referring to as "crack" slaw. I admit...I am addicted.
Speaking of addictions, any visit to the Big Apple that doesn't include a stop at Donut Plant is a missed opportunity. I am a donut fan, and these are the best I ever ate. The blackberry, vanilla bean one brought tears to my eyes. We already put in an order for Mike's trip home this Thanksgiving. That donut will be his ticket in the door.
I know that this week was more a travel column than my typical writing (a little blast from my past) but I just needed to write from my "happy place" this week. I did find time to read a book though, and it was a light mystery by Joanne Pence. One O'Clock Hustle: An Inspector Rebecca Mayfield Mystery (Rebecca Mayfield Mysteries Book 1) was the perfect little book to suspend reality with, and I enjoyed it in-between running around the streets of New York.
As always, a complete review follows this blog.