Leisure Day

2010.Jun.21 Monday · 2 comments

in Food & Recipes, Life, Restaurants

“Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

– Ferris Bueller

For those of you following along for the vicarious thrill of checking out NYC’s restaurant scene, today’s post is likely to be a bit of a disappointment. For those of you, for whom knowing what it is that I’m up to, doing and eating, is, oddly, of interest, this will just be a change of pace. I more or less took the day off. Not for lack of original intent – but, like my last visit to NYC where I posted meetups on facebook and twitter day by day, lots of folk were interested on the surface and beforehand, several sending me e-mails or messages with what days they were available and even suggestions as to places they hoped we’d go – not one of them has shown up yet – at least this time it hasn’t been a series of “I’ll be there” responses followed by not showing up, like the last time around. I’m probably not going to do it again, because it makes me feel locked into being somewhere at a certain time – I’d rather just relax and enjoy my vacation – I’m going back to just setting things up with friends and if someone wants to meetup with me, they can do the work.

Yesterday daytime I kind of expected would be a bust – Father’s Day and all – though for most people that probably meant little more than a phone call or two. Nonetheless, it was a good day to get together with an old friend I hadn’t seen in many years – after he had a late breakfast with his now grown kids who gathered at the old family homestead in Brooklyn for a morning fête before they all headed off on separate missions. We met up near Prospect Park, took a wander through there, and then…

Seventh Avenue Street Fair

Milling our way about in the Seventh Avenue Street Fair. I’ve never really gotten these fairs – they’re all exactly the same – too many people, booth after booth of one or another useless or semi-useful product, usually offered at a “discount” over an inflated price so that it’s the same as its normal price, way too many displays of refrigerator magnets, and food stands that have no particular relation to the local food scene, but are instead the same group of vendors who travel to fair after fair offering “mozzarepas”, grilled corn, sausage & pepper sandwiches, lots of fried stuff, and tanker loads of pale imitations of takeout Chinese or Thai food. Did I mention too many people? Have I mentioned this trip just how fat people seem to be? It’s really noticeable where I’m staying, down in Battery Park, where the area is surrounded by tourists snapping photos of the construction site that was the World Trade Center. My god some of these people are huge.

Five Guys bacon cheeseburger

Okay, you get a restaurant, of sorts, thrown in here – clearly a part of the whole “why are you fat?” world of exploration. We spotted Five Guys Burgers and Fries at 284 7th Ave. I’ve heard of them, of course, anyone into the whole “who makes the best burger…” quest has probably heard of them. I’d not tried them before. They make a good burger, no question. The best? Not even close. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy eating it, but if this is “the best” in your community, you should probably think about moving. Or make your own burgers. The portion of fries is enormous, and although they’re likewise good (and there’s a handwritten sign letting you know “where today’s potatoes are from”, ours from some city in Washington yesterday), they’re not that good, and who needs 2-3 potatoes worth of fries at a sitting unless they’re trying to maintain an ever-expanding rotund silhouette? Between the two of us we didn’t finish them.

Prospect Park

So we returned to the park, spread out a towel in a quiet space, watched the lake do its thing, and talked for a few hours about everything from family and friends to the wine and restaurant biz to Will and Ariel Durant’s The Story of Civilization.

Bird bath

Then it clouded up and started to sprinkle and some folk started to leave the park, and we stayed because we decided it would pass, and it did, though a bit greyer, and we watched birds taking their afternoon baths…

Bird bath

And then we walked through the park again and I hopped on a train back to Manhattan hoping to find that a few people had jumped on the bandwagon for an evening out. In fact, via phone and e-mail, one longtime good friend had confirmed for the evening, though when I texted him to setup a place to meet he called back and cancelled, having apparently decided that 9pm on Sunday, Father’s Day, was a good time to contract for painters to come in and repaint his apartment. So, dumping my plans for either DBGB or Barbuto, though just for the evening, I thought I’d wander to nearby Chinatown and just grab something light. But then as I headed out the door I was thinking, you know, I don’t really feel like going and sitting in a restaurant tonight…

The missed foods

…and there was a Gristede’s supermarket down at the corner. Now, those of you who’ve not been an expat somewhere probably won’t get this, but for my friends back in BA, well, stop drooling. See, there are things we miss while living in other countries, though we often don’t even know we miss them until we see them – and so in short order I found myself with a shopping bag with a carton of cottage cheese, some cold sesame noodles, some fresh blackberries, and some smokehouse almonds. And that was dinner, and it was delicious, and I’d do it again. I’m going to have to start making my own cottage cheese… look for that coming up – I grew up on the stuff and love it. Let’s see, I know David Lebovitz wrote up how to do that… ahh, there it is.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Candice June 21, 2010 at 11:59

I am Not drooling ! that is just a tiny bit of dampness… those blackberries ! those noodles … I cannot remember the last time I had cottage cheese 🙁
Have fun !

dan June 21, 2010 at 17:16

I knew YOU would understand!

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