Official Man-Date June 2010. Last night Dan arranged an amazing meal and night out for Tanner and I. At 7:45 we piled into a cab and headed across town in a cab over to Chelsea, where we were dumped out at the base of a large set of stairs. As it turns there is an amazing raised park that runs through Chelsea and into the West Village called Highline Park! The city has converted the old raised train tracks that ran through that part of town into a beautiful green walkway. The architecture, foliage, and view is incredibly stunning! As you wander through the raised park you get to take in the city all around, the river a block away with sailboats skimming by, and you are surrounded in lush flowering plants, it is surreal!
After this wonderful and appetite inducing walk suspended amid the city we descended once again to ground level the the front door of our next dining adventure, Colicchio & Sons. Tom Colicchio is the owner of the Craft Restaurants, Founder of Gramercy Tavern, and the Head Judge on Top Chef! I have been trying to eat at one of his restaurants for ages, almost as to size up his expertise in order to better understand his critiques of the Top Chef contestants. Dan had made reservations at Colicchio & Sons for us, and had also prepared a three bottle wine tasting, for which Tanner had the corking fee waved since he began his culinary exploits at Gramercy Tavern with Tom Colicchio. The space at the restaurant was amazing! A towering ceiling and enormous space which is divided in the center by a two story glass wine cellar, separating the lounge from the main dining room. Huge two story floor to ceiling windows overlook the river. The decor is modern but not obnoxious. Just a really cool place.
We began with a glass of champagne in order to toast to a guys night out, and the dove into our tasting. Dan had sought out three vintages of the same wine in order for us to do a vertical tasting, Hanzell 07,06, and 05. Amazing wines on there own accord, but such a cool thing to taste the different years right next to each other! Obviously similar, but shockingly different. Really great wines. As we tasted we scrounged our way through a couple of course, Ricotta Ravioli with morels; Halibut with Artichokes, being my choices. Capping everything off with a great cheese plate. It was a fabulous three hour meal. It feels so nice not to be rushed, and to savor every bit of your meal. Also interesting is the attention you give your food when you start to think about having to recreate something like it someday, I now over scrutinize everything.
After we left the restaurant we caught a cab back to the East Village for a night cap at a new bar Summit. Great cocktails and beer selection. As we sat down to enjoy our negronis and something infused with coca leaves… we were browsing through the menu and found out that they exclusively sell Dan’s salami! Suddenly Dan was a celebrity to the staff behind the bar, and proceeded to take shots with the owner. After that we had all had far too much to drink and headed on our way back home. All and all it was truly a phenomenal summer night out with the guys.
Here are some last pictures for you that we took somewhere on our walk home. Tanner found a tree that he liked and had me take a couple of pictures of it, and for some reason everything seemed to come together to produce these. How it happened I have no idea.
I wish I had the words to title this blog post. I wish I had the words to describe what I experienced last night. I almost wasn’t even going to write about it in fear of not being able to do it justice, but as it figures into my future in such a strong way I feel like I have to include something of this magnitude on here. It is funny how an event centered around food can evoke so much emotion. Eating is something I do every single day, and yet unlike an album played on repeat for two weeks, or even a run done repeatedly every day, eating is never worn out on me. I haven’t been so excited or nervous for something in a long time, and it was just dinner! I had dinner yesterday and I will have it again tomorrow, but not like this… this was more than just a dinner, it was an event through and through. The fact that we were there from 6-11 speaks to that by itself, but ultimately this was a celebration of food.
Per Se. Arguably the top culinary experience achievable. Dan, Amy, Shannon, and I met up in a rather large mall, Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle, and headed up to the fourth floor. It is an odd thing that this restaurant is located in the heart of what can only
be described as a shopping mall. Amidst the like of Hugo Boss and Williams-Sonoma are two great big beautiful blue doors. These wonderful doors truly separate the chaos of New York and a shopping mall from something pristinely calm and surreal.
So we enter through the doors.
As we enter we are greeted by the hostess and led immediately to our table. I will let you discern the interior from the pictures to be posted later today after I get them from Amy and Dan, but ultimately is was simple and elegant. We sat next to the floor to ceiling windows that gave us Central Park and a New York skyline. Up against our back was the fireplace encased in glass. We definitely had the premier table in the house, front row and center to everything that was happening in the restaurant. Dan immediately picked out a stunning bottle of champagne for us to sip on as he browsed the wine menu picking out our selections for the night with his knowledge and pallet recently honed from his wine trip through France and Italy. Needless to say the choices were incredible, a sentiment echoed by the house sommelier.
We were presented with menus to read over, but as you have two real options: vegetarian menu or chef’s tasting menu, it was more of an insight as to what was about to head your way. Three of us went with the chef’s menu while Amy indulged in the vegetable tasting menu, which allowed us to see both sides of things. The menu is 10 courses, with each course chosen to impeccably follow the last and set up the next. I am not going to dive into every course but I have posted our personal menus (sent home with us in a folder at the end of the night) to illustrate the food. After the server took our order, everything turned into a perfect ballet for the next four hours. Course after course slid in front of us all perfectly dressed and stunningly prepared. Simple foods based on quality products and not showmanship. Yes, every dish was beautiful, but the focus really was on the ingredients. For example, when the pickled beets came out, they were the epitome of pickled beets, they executed in the best way to possibly do pickled beats. The same went for the lobster and lamb and sorbets… etc. You could not have improved on each dish.
After the wines, the courses, the endless desserts, morsels, sips, scotches, ports, grappas, cookies, coffees… we sat back in wonder in order to marvel at what the evening had given us. This moment didn’t last as long as I would have liked as we were promptly whisked out of our seats, and into the kitchen. Ushered into the kitchen by our amazing host we entered into a stunningly clean, well lit, perfectly organized world of cooking. Chefs were spinning here and there with hot pans, some were painting chocolates onto a plate with brushes, others dotting liquefied beans onto scallops… it was beautiful! Everything was just so precise and everyone moved only with exact intent, and yet everyone in there welcomed us and smiled! We barged right in being pushed right up into the belly of the kitchen! Insanity! It was simply inspiring.
All in all the night was indescribably amazing. As I write this all down I feel like it is simply a babbling of nonsense. I can’t write accurately about this, and my brain is way too jumbled around everything to convey anything resembling the night. Most importantly is solidified in my mind the importantly it solidified in my mind the potential that is embodied in the restaurant industry. What an opportunity it is to be able to host that many people every night, and night after night give someone a “once in a lifetime” meal. It is surreal.
I don’t have all of the pictures I want to put up on here yet, but they will be coming very very very soon. They more coherently describe the evening.
Finally, most importantly, thank you Amy. Thank you a million times over.
So I have been up and down about what to put up on this blog, whether I should include only the PG rating or even the PG-13! Shown below in drastic juxtaposition:
Should I write about simply what we have been up to or should I venture into the realm of the philosophical lessons we take away from all of this? My answer to this has not by any means been consistent and directly correlates to my mood, and thus we have another more emotional sided post. Maybe I can star them so that you can skim…
There is one reason we came to NY: Experience. Yes Shannon was in school, and yes I had a job out here, but ultimately we both knew that the real goal of heading out into a new part of the world was to begin to open up our eyes to new experiences. As soon as we arrived in the city we wasted no time hunting down adventures and seeing what we could possibly see! It was amazing. As time passes ultimately real life sets in and you have to focus on progress and actually being real people. After awhile you remember that this isn’t a vacation and you are actually living in this new place. Lately this realization has been a real struggle for me. Suddenly with art school out the window and my job down the drain it was starkly apparent that we weren’t heading anywhere, but simply residing. Shannon is phenomenal about talking my head out making this a problem, about showing me that we are still living in a new city full of opportunity, but I still feel so antsy! What is it we are doing? What can we be tackling right now? I seem to always want to be asking this question. Hopefully soon I can sort out this mess with student loans and begin my culinary training, but until that time I hope I can wrench from my head this frightful stagnant feeling. I have only been here 4 months for heavens sake!
It is funny writing about these things in a blog post. It really makes me step back from everything I thought I might include in here and say, “you know it really isn’t that bad when it might be scrutinized by other people.” I sit down so frustrated, brooding over my long day, and what seems like constant misfortune, but at the end of the day I have a fridge of great food to whip up, netflix to watch, and a great bottle of wine to enjoy. Sure I have now included Two Buck Chuck under the category “great” but I’m sure I can redefine my categories again in a few months!
We are going to continue to battle every curve ball thrown at us out here and turn it into a new opportunity. Heck Shannon and I both work at world renown places, and we can pay our rent every month. I have only seen about 1/100th of the area around me. and so we will go forth and adventure more!!!
Here is a picture of one of our new favorite places: BUA
It is finally official and I am allowed to spread the word. I taking a new position in New York with a new company. There will be no more Super Runners Shops for me! Let me just say I only wanted to work hard for these guys, expand there company vision and capabilities, and gain them more business. It is a shame they couldn’t make that move. But the sky is the limit from here people! I have been looking for a new job for a few weeks and finally by sheer happenstance landed on a good one. I am entering into training and a trial period with Crif Dogs/PDT. They are a killer hot dog place which houses an entrance to their amazing upscale speakeasy. I am going to be training first at the counter for the hot dog restaurant, and then in a week begin discussing a move into the manager position that oversees the restaurant and the speakeasy. I am really excited about the potential this position represents. After talking to their managing partner it seems that this company, which is widely regarded as a duo of two bests (the best hot dogs, and the best cocktail mixology lounge), has a very progress oriented vision and is looking to intelligently continue to grow their business. I know it sounds kind of funny, but the hot dog side of the operation is really cool. They have a fun and down to earth atmosphere, and boast the best hot dogs in the US. Seriously. They have been featured the last 9 years in every big publication you could imagine. The speakeasy (PDT or Please Don’t Tell) is absolutely incredible. You have to enter through the hot dog side into a phone booth. Once inside they are an upscale place with phenomenal cocktails. We have been in before with Dan, Addie, and Margaret and loved it. They have a no bullshit policy which revolves around being respectful in the bar, and they uphold it. No hats. No rambunctiousness. No blatant hitting on people. Proper manners. They play great music, and they have created a cool scene. The combo of the super laid back hot dog joint, and the upscale speakeasy is unlikely, and perfectly suited. Anyways, it is really exciting encountering a company where they have a real grasp on what they are doing and where they want to head. I really hope this works out.
The schedule is absolutely going to throw me for a loop, at least to start. My first day consists of working from 8 PM to 5 AM. After that it seems to be a little more normal, but those odd late nights are going to be a stretch! Anyways, wish me luck in this new endeavor, I high high expectations for what may come of it.
Since both Shannon and I are really making a shift towards our culinary ambitions I am going to start highlighting what we are concocting in the kitchen at home, whether it be simple and easy or an all day project. Last night we through this together after we got back from a run. We created a fresh pasta sauce from all raw veggies. We threw together some vine ripened tomatoes, squash, zucchini, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers, simmered them for ages with lots of spices, and then served it over eggplant “steaks” we roasted in the oven, put it all over a bed of fettuccine. Mandatory fresh bread and olive oil/balsamic on the side. We sat down to eat this and watched Wristcutters, which turns out to be pretty good! If you are in the mood for a quirky indie flick, this will satisfy! Here is a picture of the foodness: