Off in 212 and 313 Lands

2007.Jul.19 Thursday · 2 comments

in Food & Recipes, Life, Restaurants

New York City – Several folks have written me to protest that I haven’t blogged in a few days – geez, only four – I’m on vacation folks! But, I have a little time today and thought I’d catch up on a couple of things, just because – I may, depending on time, slam out several posts all today. Since Monday I’ve been in New York City, and tomorrow I move on to my hometown of Ann Arbor for about four days, then back here for a few, then back home to Buenos Aires. Meanwhile Henry is holding down the fort for part of the time, then he’s off to visit his family in Trujillo and a friend of ours will Casa SaltShaker sit for a week or so until I’m back – can’t have people pounding down the door hoping for dinner and no one there to tell them to go away now, can I?

Carnegie Deli - bagel and loxI’ll get to a couple of the restaurant experiences in further posts… other than, of course, having to get out there and have a proper bagel with lox and cream cheese with a friend of mine… why we picked the Carnegie Deli I’m not sure, neither of us had been in eons – and for a mere $19 apiece we each were served up a plain bagel – “no sesame, no poppyseed, no onion, no garlic, no everything, we have plain, plain, and plain, you want plain?” – piled up with half a brick of cream cheese, a mountain of nova lox, some fresh tomato and onion slices and way too much completely useless for this sort of dish, iceberg lettuce. Somehow, we managed to make our way through the plates, washed down by agua de porotos, literally “bean water” – watery, tasteless coffee. I forgot how bad coffee here is if you don’t go to somewhere that specializes in it…

Who says New York City isn’t a city in contrasts? The old Dorilton on the upper west side near where I’m staying, and the new Richard Meyer ICA building (which also has some very cool giant internet screens in the lobby that they’ll let you play with a bit…).

The Dorilton the new Richard Meyer ICA building

Okay, everyone and their mothers have weighed in on the new foodie movie, Ratatouille, which is getting fawning raves by professional critics (food critics as much as movie critics), and swooning odes on various and sundry blogs (other than Adam over at Amateur Gourmet who at the tender age of 20-something? harkens the film back to memories of The Holocaust – okay, I get the imagery, I can see his point, but I think he might have read a teensy bit much into the film. Then again, who knows, after all there was that whole Stars Wars I controversy over the stereotypical characters – the “hook nosed jewish merchants”, the “evil chinamen”, etc…

Here’s my take on the movie… no film that has ever been made could live up to the hype that’s surrounded this one, which initially made it seem a trifle disappointing and childish until I just relaxed, remembered it’s a Disney film, sat back and enjoyed. There’s no question that the graphics and detail, especially in the kitchen, are amazing. The feel of a professional kitchen is definitely there, albeit a truly dysfunctional one – I was left wondering how the dearly departed beloved chef of the restaurant had managed to collect together such a cast of thuggish misfits – Kitchen Confidential aside, most of the kitchens I’ve spent my career around have far more highly functioning and far less “out there” staff working in them – good chefs, generally, don’t tolerate as much of that kind of crap as one might think. Gotta love the food critic, really, ya gotta. Beyond that, however, the movie is, well, cute… cutesy… treacly… wait, it’s a Disney film, that’s what it’s supposed to be. It’s a cute story about a rat who wants to be a chef, preferably a human one early on until he embraces his ratness and moves on. It’s worth seeing, just don’t go expecting it to change your perceptions of the world of restaurants and French cuisine.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

ksternberg July 20, 2007 at 16:12

Are you staying at a hotel on the West Side, Dan? Which one? Or just a friend’s house (even better, actually). A place setting is always ready for you in Ipswich, Mass., so just let me know!

dan July 22, 2007 at 11:30

I was staying at a friend’s house, now I’m doing the same out in Ann Arbor, and when I return to NYC I’ll be gracing the couch of a different friend. A much preferred part of traveling!

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