I took a quickie trip to NY over the 4th of July holiday and had a grand time. To prove it, just between you and me, I gained 5 lbs. in 4 days (fortunately, now gone) — so you know that it was one never-ending party!
My trip began with a delicious dinner at Norma’s on 7/3 and was followed by 2 holiday parties on the 4th, a couple of restaurant outings, a small dinner party and a big birthday bash at Matteo’s in Howard Beach.
I didn’t take many food photos at the parties because I was too busy having a good time, but I did do a lot of street photography during the day (see below).
In the afternoon I attended a poolside “barbecue” in Staten Island (the term is in quotes because besides the typical bbq fare … a lot of the food was brought in by a local Italian caterer (antipasto, arrancini, fried ravioli, etc.) I guess you can call it an “Italian-American” celebration.
In the evening, I attended Norma’s annual “Cuatro de Julio” party with her spectacular array of food (again, bi-cultural, with things like pernil sliders, empanadas, green chorizos and rice, etc.) and a killer view of the Empire State Building from the 27th floor (see lead photos).
When the fireworks started, the lights were turned off, everyone gathered at the windows and sang God Bless America. Qué cool!
[One of my friends videotaped it on her phone but I couldn't figure out how to upload it here.]
I went to lunch with my friend, Katie, at Marcus Samuelson’s Red Rooster Restaurant in Harlem which has an enjoyable vibe with lots of visuals.
That evening my host(ess) made a delicious dinner party for a few friends. She calls it a “moozzagoona” (phonetic, meaning a casual variety of things) — like beautiful cheeses, Italian fish salad, vegetable tortes, pasta salad, etc.
During the day I wandered around lower Manhattan where I was staying (see photos below) and in the evening attended a surprise birthday party for one of my travel galpals at Matteo’s in Howard Beach. It was like attending a wedding — centerpieces, favors, music, dancing, multiple courses of traditional Italian food.
Pictured here two of the appetizers fried zucchini and tomato caprese. Also served: fried calamari, pasta, chicken scarpiello, veal marsala and eggplant rollatini (below) and a Napolean birthday cake.
Lunch at The Park in Chelsea was lovely — a beautiful setting and good food. I had a delicious skate sandwich and, afterwards, the table shared this spectacular dessert: coconut cream in a bruleed crepe with blood orange and olive oil sauce. Yum!
… And then, after a brief walk on the Highline, I headed to the airport and had another awful airport experience that brought me home at 3:30 in the morning instead of 6 hours before. No more NY in July – that’s 2 years in a row!
• • •
New York has changed a lot since I moved away 19 years ago. I’ve never regretted the decision to leave but I definitely appreciate the changes — and there’s no more culturally diverse place on the planet.
More photos here.
A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!
I've always been a culinary improvisor which means I get my kicks out of recipe development. In the FOODalogue kitchen each meal is an adventure and the journey is as exciting as the destination. My favorite kitchen tools are imagination and intuition. I rarely look at a recipe, not even my own!
On these pages, I suggest food pairings and techniques to be experimented with...in your own kitchen...to your own spice levels...and to your preferred portion sizes.