Not long ago, there was some sort of a year-end Facebook app thingy that was going around. Like all Facebook apps, when you used it you were probably unintentionally signing away your health insurance plan [if you're lucky enough to have one] or your first-born puppy or your grandmother's burial plot. You were definitely showing how bored with life you were. And of course I jumped on board and used it anyway.
This particular thing purported to list your most-used words in your status updates and produce a word cloud listing them. At least that is how I remember it -- these memes come and go so fast that I quickly forget the details, and I might actually be mixing up one or two or three FB apps -- who knows. I do remember the detail, though, that an overwhelming majority of my status updates, according to the results of this thing, were about food. I was just a wee bit embarrassed about that. The next time I did a Facebook meme, the thing said that my most-used "word" all year was not a word at all, but a punctuation mark: a dash. I think that thing must be slightly whacked. "Most popular word, used 37 times: --"
Come on. What is that? This is why I don't like memes. They're stupid. But sometimes vapid is as vapid does, and I can't help myself despite my strong feelings about them.
Anyway. It seems that I talk about food a lot. So in that vein, I thought I'd tell you about the very interesting dining experiences I had while on my most recent trip to New York. I was only there a couple-few days, and yet after I got home, I realized that I had covered quite a lot of dining ground in and around New York. It was all lovely, but it of course means that I have to eat NOTHING and do double time at the gym for the foreseeable future. Worth it, I think.
So here's where I et, and a few words about each place. I mean, I don't have to say much -- I'm not really a food critic, but I'm a little bit of a food-and-atmosphere snob. Then again, as I've said before, I can quite happily have a roadside hot dog at a bus stop, depending on the day. I don't have to say much in detail, though, because these were all fab!
1. Japanese and Thai in Queens: Kyoto. One of Abigail's favorite restaurants, and she took me there. I had a Thai dish called "Black Noodle" with chicken. So delicious !! and it was such a large portion that I took the rest home and ate it for breakfast the next morning. Abigail had sushi and we both had mochi ice cream. A really bright and delightful atmosphere, I felt. Diet blown on my first night in New York.
2. Turkish and Mediterranean in Brooklyn: Deniz. LIKED!!!! (Though I see there are mixed reviews on Yelp.) I had the Deniz salad with chicken and the best tabouli (and excellent bread) I've ever had. The tabouli was 90% (or more) greens and only 10% (or less) couscous -- absolutely memorable and delicious, as was the conversation with my dining companion Mirabai.
3. Brazilian in Midtown Manhattan: Plataforma Churrascaria. Bring your appetite for this one! Prix fixe (dessert and drinks not included in price) and fabulous. Don't bother going in here if you are on a diet or, obviously, if you don't eat meat. (Though there are plenty of vegetarian options at the huge salad bar, you would really be missing the point of this place. It's all about the meat.) And it's loud. Fun for groups, great food, fun atmosphere; not so great for conversation.
4. Wine and chocolate and whatever (French, I guess) in Midtown: Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar. A most delicious arugula salad and scrumptious Belgian chocolate-dipped strawberries the size of small apples. Yummmmmmmmm. Been here several times before, because it is directly across the street from Abigail's old apartment on W. 31st. Love.it. And so when I met my Jenn for lunch and blindly followed her to the place she had in mind, I did a double take. Hey! I know this place! What a delightful surprise. Love you, cousin!
5. French again, Uptown: French Roast. Grilled chicken sandwich on a baguette with basil mayo and just a fabulous little side salad with an authentic French vinaigrette. Délicieux and a flashback to my 1995 summer in Paris. And OMG, the coffee. I had an alkie coffee drink -- chocolate truffle something-or-other, I think. And cinnamon beignets with another plain cup of coffee because the coffee was so fantasmagoric, but also because they had sort of forgotten about the beignets, I think. There was a bit of a rather ridiculous wait for them. I casually mentioned that I had really wished to have had my beignets with my coffee, and so I noticed that there was no charge on the bill for the 2nd cup of amazing coffee which was so delicious and substantial that it felt like a meal in itself. And I thought I liked Starbucks. Now that somehow feels like settling.
Good thing I left the city when I did, or a winch might be required to move me. I do not hesitate to recommend each and every one of these places to all my friends, and a few extra hours at the gym and/or a fast for the next two weeks? No problem! Enjoy!
Oh, New York: You are really quite fabulous in all your fabulousness.