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NY: The Bronx is Up and the Battery is Down and There’s A Lot of Ground to Cover In Between.

July 10, 2013 by Joan Nova in Holidays, Travel | 13 Comments

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).

July 4th
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.]

July 5th

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.

The catfish over shrimp grits and onion sauce was ‘the bomb’.

And a surprise sighting of the celebrity chef casually dining at the bar was an additional treat. [Of course, I pretended I didn’t see/know him and was just shooting the environment. Yeah, right!]

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.

July 6th
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.

July 7th

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.

Here’s a few of my favorite shots.

More photos here.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. 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!


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  1. Norma - Platanos, Mangoes and Me! says:

    Joan great pics and I am glad we were able to have fun while here. I will send Richard this post…he will be so happy..

  2. bellini says:

    Such amazing photos Joan. You have become quite the photographer. The food of course looks pretty amazing and if Norma had anything to do with it albeit delicious too!

  3. I’m drooling over good ole American food–I miss this sort of stuff. The Italian-American stuff as well. I just have to meet you and Norma one day!
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Fish Sauce and Two Easy Southeast Asian SaladsMy Profile

  4. MaryAnn says:

    Great photos and it was good seeing you, Katie and Carolyn for lunch on Sunday. The Park had great food and atmosphere…see you next month in Florida!

  5. sippitysup says:

    Can I be you for just a little while? GREG
    sippitysup recently posted..Lamb Meatballs- Your Globe or Mine?My Profile

  6. Lori Lynn says:

    Spectacular images Joan!
    Sounds like a foodie-whirlwind!
    Lori Lynn recently posted..pomodorini e mozzarella ciliegineMy Profile

  7. Superb,…………! Oh, i hope to repeat many of your trips : two precisely – Norma’s and Red Roosters! And I would LOVE to see Marcus!!!! I would walk up to him and give him a big hug, and yes, live with the embarrasment :-)
    Kitchen Butterfly recently posted..Nigeria’s Transition Season produce: JulyMy Profile

    • Joan Nova says:

      Thanks. It really was a treat to see him there and the restaurant has such a great vibe. One day I’d like to go back for the Sunday gospel brunch.

  8. what incredible photos of the city! and damn, that restaurant is busy with visuals!
    South Florida Food and Wine recently posted..Good Reads on Food, Drink and Travel from around the webMy Profile

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