I’ve been holding out on ya’ll. Intensely. We all know I’m a rotten person like that.
It was really one of those situations where I was SO excited about something that seemed SO amazing that I SO knew it could very well be way too good to be true, and it would be SO totally humiliating had I publicly bragged about it over the internet and then had to shamefully renounce the enthusiasm. No one wants to be that guy… or girl.
Thankfully, none of that business went down.
In reality, I had my first visit to New York City this weekend and it was just as freaking fantabulous as I had hoped.
I’m currently out of my mind exhausted, trying to decide if my feet will ever fully recover, and haphazardly drafting this on a plane. I think we’re flying somewhere over cloud 9 right about now and quite frankly, I’m not sure how to best go about this. No matter how long I gush about what an outstanding weekend I’ve had, there’s no way you’re going to fully understand…and you probably wouldn’t read a 10 page blog post anyway.
That in mind, I ask that you humor me just this once and let me tell you about what I feasted on at least. I’ll try to keep it concise, promise.
I’ve covered the when and the where, but let me just give you a brief why. I’m doing internship work with this kind of awesome chick named Elizabeth Dougherty, who is a seasoned food writer and has her own nation-wide food radio show. This weekend she was doing a broadcast out of NYC and graciously invited me along; thus, we had our first opportunity to meet in person. In short, Elizabeth is awesome. She’s one of those people that’s like way glamorous and infinitely cooler than you, but is too nice to actually make you notice…yeah, one of those. You’re probably gonna wanna go check out her stuff now…take a gander at the Food Nation Radio Network or perhaps Facebook it or both. Be sure and catch the podcast of this weekend’s show a little later in the week.
Okay, let’s grub.
My first meal in NYC was at a trendy little pizzeria called aperiTIVO.
I felt like we were on Sex & the City, except we actually ate our food. I think it was largely the fact that we had lunch with a Sarah Jessica Parker look-alike.
I enjoyed a prosciutto panini with fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers, while Elizabeth had a dish of Gemelli with Amatriciana sauce.
Twas good. Very good.
I fully experienced the difference between a good restaurant and a great restaurant later that evening when we went to one of my mentor’s favorites, Balthazar.
The food was plated palate paradise. The atmosphere, unique, warm and enchanting. Truly, I’ve never been any place quite like it.
I’m by not exactly an oyster expert (meaning I’ve eaten them a grand total of once before in my life), but I can tell you that the Kumamoto I tasted at Balthazar lands amongst the most glorious moments my mouth has ever experienced.
The minute I consumed the smooth cool gem, my taste buds were lying somewhere along the happiest beach in yummyville.
Fresh, chewy, briny, and delicious served on a half-shell. What more might you ever want?
Chicken liver and foie gras mousse with a red onion confit over grilled country bread, perhaps?
Great idea. You totally should.
My first experience with foie gras. It was beautiful. Super rich, savory, melt-in-my-mouth bliss.
And if I could have that bread available to make every sandwich for the rest of my days…well, I’d be one happy sandwich-slinging camper.
And as if that weren’t enough..
I truly apologize for the epic blurry factor going on here, but there’s no way I could leave out this warm goat cheese and caramelized onion tart.
Seriously, first bite into this delicate pastry of creamy pleasure was just like uhhhhh…
Let’s just say that it’s moments like that, which really make you appreciate food, the joys of eating, and the art of masterful cooking.
The end. Bam. So good. Go to Balthazar. Take me with you. Please.
The following day after Elizabeth’s show, I was left to do some exploring on my own. Darcy vs. the Big Apple…HA.
I wandered around in all the humongous high-end stores and pretended like I was all glam and legit belonged there for a while, and then got back down to the important stuff, food.
Ended up at Canaletto, this charming little Italian place with insanely attentive charming little Italian waiters. I was embarrassingly indecisive and basically made my waiter choose lunch for me, as usual. We went with the lassagnette. We made a good choice.
Not gonna lie, I know it’s not a big deal or anything, but I felt kind of weird eating alone at first.
But it actually turned out to be a rather pleasant experience.
Plus, my waiter brought me complementary biscotti after I demolished my pasta. I’m sure they do it for everyone, but I’m just gonna tell myself it was because they thought I was perdy.
I figured after nearly cleaning my entire plate at Canaletto I probably needed to do some more walking. I did…to chocolate.
First, I hit up the Lindt shop and some random chocolate shop in Bloomingdale’s for free truffle samples. Then came across Dylan’s Candy Bar, which would have been awesome had it not been exploding with small sugar-crazed children. I could only stand to hang around long enough to explore both floors, drool over the most extensive selection of fudge ever, and grab my free candied nut sample.
As my New York adventure was rapidly coming to a close, I knew there was one thing I still just had to do. I ran back to the hotel, grabbed my bags, hopped in a taxi and said, “Take me to see Mr. Chocolate!”
Okay actually it was more like, “Take me to Amsterdam Ave.” But whatever, point is I was going to Jacque Torres Chocolates for the single most amazing cup of hot chocolate I have ever had….ever. I could have sat in that cozy little chocolate oasis for forever and a day. I went with a cup of classic dark and a honking chocolate chip cookie to dip with. The amount of chocolate that went down was mind-boggling. The cocoa was literally like drinking warm liquid chocolate cream. I about gave the barista a hug. I will visit that place often in my dreams.
One completely packed-out flight, an oober creepy airport stalker, and a terribly baffling battle with a toll both later, and I was on a comfy bed in Atlanta with two of my very best friends regaling my big city adventures. Some serious breakfasting at the Weston Hotel concluded my mouth’s epic vacation and my crazy-amazing weekend.
The experience was beyond fantastic, the food was beyond fabulous, and I feel as though I gained more life knowledge within those 2 days than I typically would in a week of class. I also feel like I gained 5 pounds…or 10.
Okay, the end. Story over. Thanks for sticking it out. High-fives to you.