With Barbara off to Seattle last weekend, and since I was starting my second week as a vegan, I drove back to Gotham for a two-day expedition of some favorite activities. There were three main objectives:
- have dinner with David and Jeremy at an old favorite Italian restaurant — Circo
- try some really fine vegan dining, in this case at Candle 79
- browse food and wine places just for fun and an occasional purchase
I’m pleased to say that each was accomplished with gusto. Emblematic of the color and style of the gustatory delights is the photo above — a Negroni along with a plate of Pickled Ramps at the bar in Gramercy Tavern on Saturday night.
The food, the hospitality and the diners at a neighboring table at Candle 79 were all superb. I especially enjoyed the appetizer: Grilled Seitan with Chimichurri Sauce, a horseradish cream, and red pepper coulis. It was my first experience with Seitan, a concentrated wheat protein with textures and flavors somewhat akin to meat. Naturally, it is also a fine answer to those skeptics who doubt our ability to get enough protein without animal foods.
Conversation with my neighbors ranged from the delights of vegetarian artistry to academic pursuits ( all three of us are university faculty) and beyond, to pizza fanaticism. Who would have thunk that these academic vegetarians would be so passionate about their pizza ovens — one a wood-fired Italian brick oven, the other a kiln. And you thought I was the only food nut on the block! Anyway, check out this menu:
Sunday was satisfying in different ways. Visited an Apple store and got a subtle problem with email resolved; walked across town to Buon Italia in Chelsea Market for their interesting pastas and fine Gaeta olives; carefully perused the shelves at Astor Wines for a small selection of interesting additions to my racks (best so far is a Rossese from Liguria); had lunch at Gramercy Tavern — salads, bread, and another round of Negroni and Pickled Ramps; and then a friendly dinner at Osteria del Circo with friend and family (one of each).
Boy, am I glad the Chef Mike Anthony makes such a large batch of pickled ramps every Spring; his training in Japan is a source of pleasure for me each time.
The visit to the City also provided some humor and good photo ops. For example, I wandered around on Madison Ave. Saturday after the early supper at Candle 79. Walking near my first address in the City (1944-47), I snapped this picture of a nearby building:
Strolling along 13th Street the next day, I saw young adults in casual but consistent outfits, each walking a string of dogs. As I followed their progress, it led me to a small, street level entry for Biscuits & Bath Doggy Gym — a fairly fancy retreat/overnight accommodation for canine creatures. I particularly enjoyed the billboards in front:
After a few good laughs and a lot more walking, I was ready for another Negroni.