City blog: New York

10/12/2009



Oh possums, where do I start? It was gloriously, ludicrously glorious. A slight glitch, you know like the one where the needle slides on the record, as the munchkin collapsed just before we hit the bridge into NYC and I had to carry her, wrapped in a blanket into the hotel, in the pouring rain. But other than that: splendour all around.

What a city. It leaves me breathless. And this morning I was vehemently reminded of it again, as I opened my new book on W.R. Hearst and the ginkgo leaves that I had gathered near the Dakota after our stroll through Central Park fell out of it.

We stayed in Washington Square. Neighbours to SJP, natch. But more importantly, on the cusp of the SO's hood when she lived in NYC. Perfect for travelling uptown, but also for SoHo, Nolita and the rest of it. Our Meatpacking days are over, but instead we got Babbo... Just across the street from us, no less.

Now Babbo, Mario Batali's restaurant, had been a figment of my imagination that I had been nursing for quite some time.

It all started with the chance discovery of Dario (remember Dario near Florence, dear readers?) and his delicious meat. Then my SO brought home a book - Bill Buford's Heat - which her colleague had been telling her about. Halfway through his long-winded review of the book, she interrupted him and said, Dario? The butcher? In Panzano? Cue the green-eyed monster, as the foodie realised that we had just dropped in for a MacDario one sunny May afternoon. The challenge was to do the same in New York at Babbo. Of course, this is New York, where in some places you have to work the phone for a whole hour one month ahead of your desired seating. The link? Mario and Dario had worked together. And they redefined Italian food as we know it.

Did we succeed? Yes, dear reader, we did. Our kid's face got smushed against the glass partition of a yellow cab on the way downtown but at 5:05 p.m. on a Sunday we waited on the kerb to score one of the six walk-in tables.

What follows was gastronomic heaven: culatello and a heavenly finocchiona. Goat cheese tortellini with orange and fennel pollen. A duck that melted in my mouth. Deliciously matched wines. My God. And what's more, an angelic child, who sat through this and who wolfed down her own papardelle.

Life could not be more perfect... But we digress.

Naturally we did visit a few museums (Guggenheim for the Kandinsky exhibit, MoMa). Naturally we drank exorbitant amounts of coffee. Naturally we made our pilgrimages to McNulty's coffees & teas and Murray's cheese shop. Naturally we eschewed the Magnolia Bakery. Naturally we had a burrito at Benny's Burritos. Naturally we went to Dean & DeLuca. Naturally my kid decided that cucumber maki and edamame made an excellent TV snack to be eaten with bashi in hand. Because everything comes natural in New York.

Never mind what they tell you to do. Just go with the flow. Because when the sun is out and somebody is playing a washboard in Washington Square Park and the Empire State Building lights up in the distance in the golden sun, all you can do is just go with the flow.




First pic courtesy of my SO. Second and last from my iPhone.

8 messages:

Suburban Mum said...

Pigeon, don't do it!!!!!!

Am so jealous, I've never been. Sigh.

Milo said...

Looks like you had a good time! Jealous!

Longing for a transfer to NYC.

Vic said...

I too am very very jealous. It sounds like you had a wonderful time.

Am loving the new look as well.

Vikki said...

Sounds perfect.

Lula said...

@SuburbanMum: alas, I also have an after photo. Grizzly. Once C's teaching, maybe you can find a cheap package. I swear it's cheaper from the UK.
@Milo: you'd do very nicely there, I'm sure.
@Vic: ta for the compliment.
@Vikki: it was, really.

feromoon said...

Glad New York is getting you into blogging again Lula!

Fresco said...

I look as green as your new blog lay-out.
I so need to be a New York City boy again.
And I can't stop laughing with the picture of the suicidal pigeon.

Lula said...

@fero: thanks, it's been a while indeed.

@fresco: it was amazing how much New York had changed. People were friendly *gasp*. The suicidal pigeon is courtesy of the SO who has an eye for such things.

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