No Love Sincerer Than The Love of Food

Please allow my love affair with the Big Apple to continue for a wee bit longer. We covered way too much territory not to report. My favorite way to see, smell, hear, enjoy and experience New York City, is by foot. The subway is a close second. I am sure some reading this will deem me crazy. Uber to and fro the airport without question. I try to steer clear of taxis if possible. Not that I have anything against taxis. Quite on the contrary. Taxi cab drivers knowledge and command of the city as well as its many streets is unparalleled. Can you imagine the studies involved in learning the city's major arteries and the tangle of streets that defines anywhere south of 14th street. I simply prefer to keep things economical and so I either walk or use the subway. It is fun employing a pedometer, Jawbone or Fitbit when in the city. You will be amazed by how many miles you cover. Each day, we came in at around 12. This past December Matthew and I clocked 23 miles on our first day in the city. I still cannot fathom how we managed to walk in the five days following.

Subways are brilliant for quickly traveling from point A to B and of course, people watching. Sure there are delays and what have you but better than sitting in traffic. When on the subway, not making eye contact with anyone is a sound habit to practice. I think that this must be a NYC rule. My father adhered to it as a boy growing up in Brooklyn. When he brought my mother to the City in the early 1970's, he imparted this wisdom to her. Upon my moving there in 2008, he shared the same pearls with me. Never carry a purse in Paris and don't make eye contact on the subway. Both have stuck. There is a major subway artery two blocks north of our apartment. It takes me everywhere from the Upper East Side down to Rockefeller Center all the way to the Lower East Side and ultimately Brooklyn. This course is only one of the trains. There are countless other ways by which to circumnavigate the city. We discovered that one of the trains dropped us off an avenue west of our apartment. A stone's throw from Chelsea Market and around 1000 steps to our flat. Now that my folks call NYC home for part of the year, we are regularly looking for ways to make my Mom's trips around the city easier. She likes Bloomingdales and we have found not one but two convenient treks for her return home.

So on my last trip, we took the subway and walked and walked and walked and walked. My aunt and uncle were in town from Cape Town, South Africa and I think the notion of morning subway travel was quite an adventure for all of us. On our first morning together we ventured to DUMBO to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. This is an absolute must if visiting the city. One can walk the bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn and vice versa. If you do the Manhattan into Brooklyn route, be sure to grab a pie at Grimaldi's. My favorite way to cross the bridge is to start in Brooklyn and walk towards the city as the views of the Manhattan skyline are absolutely spellbinding. You can grab a train, get off and do your thing. Be ware of bicycle riders as they have cornered the market on one side of the bridge. Another day we trained it to a different neighborhood in Brooklyn (Williamsburg) and crossed that bridge too. A second word to the wise regarding NYC travel. Be sure to download the app HopStop. It is uber convenient. GPS tracks your current location, enter your destination and borough and boom, you have a game plan. So with this, each morning I was in charge of travel logistics. Once upon a time I thought travel to Brooklyn was a quagmire but not so. I can reach the apartment of one of my best friends in Cobble Hill in 26 minutes - door to door. This includes walking to the subway, waiting on the platform and at times, twiddling my fingers as a slow line to egress wanes on. 

Back to our first day's adventure. After a gorgeous walk across the bridge we navigated the bowels of lower Manhattan from China Town through Little Italy and due north. We stopped in a quaint Mediterranean bar and enjoyed Turkish beer, which was superb. From here, we went to lunch at a spot I have tried to score a table at for a pair of months now, Marta at the Martha Washington Hotel on East 29th street. This elegant yet charming spot mirrors that of a Roman pizzeria. Marta is famous for their enticing pizzas, which are served paper thin. Everything else - which is locally sourced - from meat to fish to vegetables is prepared by fire. Service is sublime and the drink menu is equally impressive. If you want my advise, order the pizza funghi or the salsiccia. Bonjour. Another outstanding meal was had at Vic's (formerly Five Points) on Great Jones Street. Upon entering the restaurant, you feel a quiet serenity surround you. In celebration of my father's birthday, we decided to order a smorgasbord of goodies and enjoy a grazing feast. You really cannot go wrong with the seasonal menu. We began with radishes served with goat butter, warm sunchokes and two pasta dishes. One was linguine with clams, loads of garlic and bread crumbs (my new favorite addition to any pasta dish because it adds a phenomenal texture) and a cacio e pepe that boasted noodles coated in creamy cheese and black pepper. For the mains, I devoured my flank steak served with greens and sriracha, my mother had poached cod that came in a delicate broth and my father went with our waitress's recommendation of the roasted chicken. While we didn't have room for dessert because (I was too busy ogling Edward Snow from Game of Thrones at the table next to us over a bottle of Albarino), I look forward to returning with Matthew.

One evening we ventured north seven blocks to my sister's flat for vino and cheese. How we love our cheese; the stinkier and runnier, the better! Another pearl. When serving a cheese board, let the cheese sit out an hour or so prior to serving to soften everything. A spectacular spot opened on the corner of her street, Lupulo. The same chef behind Michelin star Aldea. It's a massive Portuguese bar serving outstanding grab. They don't take reservations but waiting is well worth it. The food is fabulous. We were hungry (the Breyer's always are) and ordered accordingly. We started with grilled whole Portuguese sardines that came with a fiery blistered pepper salad. We had salt cod croquettes with peri-peri aioli. My choice was the fava beans with blood sausage, ramps and chanterelles. Lastly, we had an order of the red snapper crude with coconut milk, lime broth, fermented Serano and benne beans. For mains we divided and conquered between oven baked octopus rice, organic young chicken crisped on an open fire and leg of lamb. Take me back. Another spot with which I am besotted is ABC Kitchen. Beautiful space, chic ambience and everything in between. While their lunch prix fix menu is the way to go, should you have an adventuresome partner with whom to share food, I recommend plucking a few items from the menu. After a grueling morning of battling crowds and rain (I jest), my mother and I shared the roasted beets that came with pickled radishes and homemade yoghurt. We also split their famous roasted carrot salad, which is complete with ripe avocado, micro greens, a generous myriad of seeds, sour cream and citrus. Lastly, we ordered the pizza with beautiful red tomatoes, fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella. It was the perfect amount of food to satiate our late lunch appetites and glorious for sure. Plus Kim and Kanye where there also enjoying their lunch. Oy vey. You cannot go to NYC and not have the ubiquitous bagel with schmear. We love Murray's Bagels for exactly this. They still offer a bakers dozen and with fifteen types from which to choose, there is certainly something for everyone. With a location in Greenwich Village and Chelsea, you have your pick. Be sure to go for the everything and I love their cream cheese with chives. On my final night in NYC, my folks and I had late reservations at the Waverly Inn in the heart of the West Village. A stone's throw from my sister's old flat, this place is magical. You cannot go wrong with anything on their menu but I highly recommend the chicken pot pie and truffle frites. Go crazy.

After eleven days of marvelous, gluttonous eating (I haven't even documented my gastronomic gallivants in Brooklyn) it's back to reality. I try to adhere to the 80 / 20 rule of keeping it real during the week and getting creative / going crazy at the weekend. To kick off this week I made the following soup. Another New York Times Cooking gem. It is light but chock and block packed with greens, full of flavor and extremely satisfying. Plus it is super healthy so no harm no foul in going for a second helping. Happy chopping and bon appetit.

Spring Vegetable Soup
Adapted from New York Times Cooking


3 slices of prosciutto - you can substitute 2 slices of bacon if you cannot find said
1 leek - chopped
7 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of fava beans or lima beans - I used frozen
1 cup of peas - I used frozen
1 cup of spinach - chopped
1 cup of collard greens - chopped
1 cup of asparagus - cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cans of artichoke hearts - drained
Fresh herbs galore - thyme, rosemary, basil, mint - chopped
Red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Let's Cook

1. In a massive pot heat 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil on medium high heat and add the prosciutto as well as the leeks. After approximately five minutes of intermittent stirring add 7 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, low to a simmer and add your fava beans, peas, spinach, collard greens, asparagus, artichoke hearts, thyme, rosemary and basil. Let this cook for approximately 30 minutes. Season to taste. This means kosher salt and red pepper flakes. Serve in deep bowls with chopped mint, a drizzle of olive oil and if you please, a hearty grate of cheese like Parmesan or Romano. I steer clear of the carbs during the week but this goes very nicely with a crusty baguette.

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