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graduation week in NYC

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Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 3:53 am    Post subject: graduation week in NYC Reply with quote

We just returned from spending 7 lovely and food filled days in New York City - the purported reason for the trip was our son Ben's graduation from the film program at NYU. We had an absolutely DEE-LISH-USS visit and really hit some of the high spots of the city.

As Ben put it - we came for the graduation, but stayed for the food! We arrived on Sunday AM and were immediately shuffled off to Mud - a tiny, quirky cafe on E. 9th Street. I had the Mexican breakfast whcih was just great - I was a little sleepy, after the red eye, so all I can remember is a corn tortilla, eggs, salsa and avocado. I do recall thinking that every plate that went past looked yummy! VERY good coffee there!

Next, after a little wander around the village after stashing our bags at the hotel, we had lunch at Mamoun's - a well known hole-in-the-wall falafel joint. There are several branches around lower Manhattan, but we ate at the one near the west end of Washington Square Park - just ask, anyone will point you in the right direction. I ADORE their falafel sandwiches - filled to overflowing with falafel, lettuce, tomato and dripping with great flavorful hummus and tahini. SLUUUUUURRRRP Laughing Laughing

For dinner, we ended up at John's Pizza on Bleecker Street in the West Village. AND - we only had to wait aboout 15 minutes! Seemed like a miracle to me, as there was a HUGE line when we got there! Sam recalled taking me there when we were dating, but I don't remember it. I must have been so smitten with him, that I blocked it out. Wink Anyway - great pizza - yummy very crispy crust and a huge list of toppings to choose from.

Monday started off with coffee at Joe on Waverly Place. Highly recommended for their great lattes, espressos and americanos. Plus - they have wonderful baked goods - including, every once in a while, a home baked version of Hostess Cupcakes or Twinkies! And SO MUCH MORE delicious than the Hostess version!

Monday evening was the Tisch Salute - the small graduation event for just the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. It was quite intimate and Laurie Anderson spoke so eloquently about being an artist. Also there were two dance performances and a 12 piece brass orchestra - smashing! We were in line early, so we got great seats and were able to see Ben as he processed in. Afterwards, we joined family and friends for dinner at Turkish Kitchen on 3rd Ave. between 27th and 28th streets. It's white table cloth and VERY good. I had some brilliant lamb with smoked egplant - I don't even like eggplant all that much and I had to refrain from licking my plate! :oops:Sam's lifelong friend John chose it - he's such a regular that he gets coupons for a free birthday dinner every year! Other folks had calamari, steak kabobs and different lamb dishes.

On Tuesday, it was back to Joe for breakfast - I had a lovely scone. Then off to the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn to see Ben's new apartment. It's much larger and less expensive than where he is now on
E. 3rd St between Avenue A and Avenue B Laughing We spent some time exploring the nabe and found a very very good Thai resto just down the block. Then off to Connecticut for a graduation dinner with family and a night in the cousins' 250 year old house. Great food and great family!

Wednesday evening we had dinner at Babbo!!!!!!!!! And I must say - it's all true what they say! Wowee! I have eaten at Chez Panisse downstairs (the resto as opposed to the cafe upstairs) probably 3 or 4 times in my life. It's been just fabulous everytime I've eaten there. But the ambience is similar to a church - everyone comes to worship at the Altar of Alice. They're quiet, they're reverent, they ooh and aah, but it's very, very subdued. Babbo is just the opposite. Lively and really jumping! I know some people complain about the rock music, but it worked for me. It didn't distract me and didn't disturb me. Such a different experience! WE had just great service, they fuss like mad over you and after we told the waitress we were there for Ben's graduation, every single person who came by our table for anything congratulated him! It was so sweet! An amazing level of service. I had marinated sardines for starters and a delectable duck dish for the main course. We shared papardelle with stinging nettles and wild boar for a second course. Sam had a chickpea pancake with mushrooms and striped bass for his main course and Benno had the octopus for starters and rabbit for his main course. We ended up taking a doggy bag home, because while the courses weren't HUGE, there WERE three of them and it was a LOT to eat. I ended up passing on the olive oil sorbet for dessert, in favor of a pistachio semifreddo with a chocolate ganache topping. YUM!
L'appetit vient en mangeant. -Rabelais

Last edited by Donna on Tue May 15, 2007 5:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, duh, I just tried to preview this, thinking it was too long, and pushed Submit instead of Preview! Rolling Eyes

Anyway, I see it is rather long and rambling, so I will finish by reporting we celebrated the actual graduation on Thursday at The Spotted Pig (West 11th @ Hudson)- a very hip "gastro pub". We had dessert at Magnolia Bakery. On Friday we met family at The Red Cat (W. 23rd @ 10th Ave) and on Saturday we had lunch at La Isquina, a Mexican cafe off Prince Street in SoHo.

If anyone's interested, I can fill you in more on those - all VERY GOOD
L'appetit vient en mangeant. -Rabelais
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Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 357

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna, isn't it funny how every NY story seems to turn into a string of food experiences?

I'd love to hear more of your recommendations...I'll be there in a few weeks, apartment-sitting while my friend goes on her honeymoon (lucky her - lucky me!). Magnolia's always on my list of course but I haven't tried any of the others you mentioned, sauf Mamoun's.

Do you have the recipe for Magnolia's vanilla cupcakes? It's available on Martha Stewart.
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Joined: 18 Oct 2004
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Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna, that sounds fantastic! What a delicious sounding trip. Was Williamsburg a cool neighborhood? I have recently fallen in love with Brooklyn and am doing my best to visit all of it's neighborhoods before I leave.
"It's watery....and yet there's a smack of ham."

"It's hot ham water."
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Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, congratulations of course, film school=heady stuff! (I also couldn't help noticing that you've raised a 20-something who chooses octopus and rabbit--he must have had much variety as a kid?)

Could you tell more about the chickpea pancake with mushrooms?
(Texture, seasoning?) The chickpea flour would be simply dried garbanzos, ground? And the mushrooms were alongside, not *in* the pancake, yes?
I'd like to try this one at home.
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Joined: 15 May 2007
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even though this is about your experience in NYC (and it sounds absolutely fabulous), I had to laugh when I read about "The Altar Of Alice" at Chez Panisse.
My best friend I went to the cafe about ten or fifteen years ago. The waiter pulled out the table as we were sitting down and was so gracious as we ordered our drinks. At some point, my friend accidentally moved the table and her drink spilled all over the floor. There was a very large gasp by everybody around us. (OMG! Here? At Chez Panisse? We could just hear their thoughts.) The funniest part of it is the waiter came by and just stood and stared at the spill. He had to ask another waiter what to do. So they picked up some towels and did a horrible job of cleaning it up.
The food was incredible and we had a great time. Remembering the looks of horror on everybody's faces--including ours--and the look of confusion on the waiter's face still cracks me up.
I was just a young one then, and it was an important lesson on not taking things too seriously!
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Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna, thanks for sharing your trip. I'm taking notes for our own visit there in September I had forgotten about Babbo - how could I after reading Bill Buford's Heat?!
Doing what you like is freedom
Liking what you do is happiness
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