One of my favorite blogs to get lost in is Scouting New York, a blog devoted to the five boroughs and beyond framed in the context of a film scout who used to work in New York but has since relocated to LA. Thankfully the archives provide hours of reading on their own, and some of my favorites include a look at the various filming locations of both The Godfather and Taxi Driver then and now, as well as the tale of the two tiny townhouses flanking 30 Rock on 6th Avenue. There’s also a fun story on eight fake store facades, and a walk down one of the few curved streets in Manhattan. During one such internet k-hole session of my own I read about this abandoned building right by City Hall down in the Financial District called 5 Beekman. About six years ago now Scout has been given the chance to enter the building and was completely blown away by what he found inside, including a glorious atrium more than nine stories high. Built in the late 1880s, much of the building has been closed off since 1940 and was completely abandoned from 2000 through 2010, and then a few years ago a couple of hotel developers got their hands on it and decided to bring it back to its former glory. That hotel is now called The Beekman, and I had the great privilege to go there on our second night in New York to meet a good friend for drinks at the lobby bar and eventually have dinner in the then-four-day-old restaurant, Fowler & Wells. Read More
It’s funny–when I was looking for restaurants to add to our New York itinerary, I largely relied on old favorites first but then took advantage of the time of year and started plumbing the best-of-2015 and 2016 eating guides. I didn’t get very far because Adam Platt’s Where to Eat 2016 gave me way too many places to even consider for a two-day stint, and so I populated my custom Google map accordingly.
Initially for Saturday brunch I wanted to go to Corkbuzz down by Union Square, since we also had plans to wander around the greenmarket in the morning for old time’s sake. Unfortunately they no longer do Saturday brunch so that was out the window, so instead I suggested a place from the brunch section of Where to Eat: Cosme. Platt describes it as “the ultimate in gourmet brunchtime pleasure” and the menu seemed pretty enticing so I was sold, and oh, what pleasure was in store for us. Read More
I had this really long, probably very rambly recap of the two days we spent in New York two weekends ago, but I’d rather keep this short and sweet, because I’ve realized that there are a lot of things that I need to write about and I’ll be likely mining this trip and all of the delicious things we ate and drank for months to come.
(I know, I say that about all of our trips and it’s true, but now I’m making detailed lists of all of the things I need to write about and what I’m missing from each post so I can get my act together and actually schedule content to appear on a regular basis.) Read More
Despite the fact that it’s been years since we’ve been there and it’s been well over a year since it closed, every once in a while I still get a craving to go to Pastis. In spite of all of the irritations about the place–the crowds, the rather ridiculous prices, the cramped banquettes and tiny tables–every visit there would still be a pretty fantastic food experience, and I’ve even taken their lead on a few dishes and incorporated them into our normal recipe rotation.
Plus, it was arguably the prettiest of Keith McNally’s very pretty restaurant empire: lots of dark wood and penny subway tile, but not as dark as Balthazar nor as intentionally run-down as Lucky Strike. (I have yet to visit his newer places so I can’t speak to them, but I imagine they are also very, very pretty but probably not as aesthetically pleasing to me as Pastis.) While it helped that there always seemed to be a preponderance of European tourists eating there at all times of the day, you really did feel like you were being swept into a bustling bistro in a hip Parisian neighborhood and the only thing missing was being able to light up a cigarette or two while you lingered over French 75s and omelettes. Read More
Almost two weeks ago I took the Acela up to New York for a work event, and while most of the trip was extremely packed with meetings and activities, I was able to squeeze in a little time to both revisit some favorite places and cross some others off my “restaurants to visit” list in the city. The first thing I did after dropping off my bags in my hotel room was to hit up Fairway to both stock up on vinegars as well as get some room essentials that would not require me to use the well-stocked but extremely expensive minibar in my room. I then had the very difficult decision to make as to where to get dinner, but with the weather being kind of gloomy I stuck with places within easy walking distance: the main course was the steak frites at Les Halles on Park Ave, and then for a nightcap I treated myself to some oysters at The John Dory Oyster Bar which was conveniently located off the lobby of my hotel. Read More
This has been a very long work in progress and admittedly, it’s still a work in progress because the New York restaurant world is ever-changing and so you never know when a favorite will close or relocate or similar, but back in November I had the notion to create a page dedicated to our favorite places to eat in the city. To be frank, the internet needs another guide to New York like it also needs a “new” cupcake recipe, but I wanted to offer a page of suggestions that offer straightforward takes on some of those places and say if they are worth the hype or not. They are the places I would recommend anyone if they were to venture into New York, and frankly they are the places I want to go back to first when I come back to make my own visits.
The page can be found here, and I promise I’ll have a regular recipe soon, but I wrote too much to relegate the page to a throwaway mention and a hyperlink as it stands now.
A few days ago various sites were sharing photos by James and Karla Murray, authors of Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York as they were doing a ten-year update in which they revisited several iconic mom-and-pop businesses in the city from their book to see if they were still there or had caved to the whims of modern New York and closed. Sadly, many are no longer there, either being replaced with banks and Subway shops (seriously) or sitting as unused and blank spaces. Change and gentrification, especially in a place like New York, are inevitable, but it always hurts a little more when something goofy and unique is replaced with another soulless corporate box of steel and glass.