Colors today are turquoise and intense fuchsia just because.
It seems to me Central Park is vast enough and in some places wild enough to get lost in, to find morels, to run and bike and skate, to picnic and tan and get
married. Of course there should be Strawberry Fields honoring John Lennon. Gondolas on the lake are amusing and places to eat in the middle of it all are essential.
It isn't alas. But that's okay. It's certainly not affordable for the whole 99% of our city but maybe the middle 45% can handle a beer and a burger. Click here to read what I ate. Enter on 67th Street West of Central Park West. 212 877 8684.
***Lobster Shack Going Nowhere
I like the idea of boarding a ship and going nowhere. I don't mind bobbing, swaying, lurching
sideways for an hour or so. I thought it would be romantic to sip sangria and munch fish and chips on the new Hudson River Cruise boat. And it was, even on one of the meanest grey nights of May. Five of my adventurous pals agreed to meet last Thursday on the Destiny, the North River Lobster Company yacht anchored at Pier 81.
We could not have chosen a grimmer evening: it was chilly and steel grey, threatening to rain. That
didn't discourage us. But it had kept all but two or three determined couples away. Rows of tables lined up on deck and even a counter to claim the overflow on the dock went empty. The servers seemed restless.
Although cameras and purses certainly weren't threatened with invasion in the deserted space, I held down the table out of habit so my friends could troop to the counter up front and order dinner. (You pay and a server delivers from the kitchen.) My friends and I found the evening romantic and the food, surprisingly good. Will you? Click here to read more.
***The Accidental Flexitarian
I'm not sure how a wanton slave of delicious excess like me ends up with two vegetarian nieces. Maybe it's because one lives in Montana and the other south of San Diego and didn't grow up in my aura of
outrageous indulgence. It's not that I don't believe in the health and sustainability virtues of eating less meat and piling on the veggies. I've been eating five or six cups of fruit and vegetables every day for a long time. Alas, such virtue cannot cancel out the excess of beef cheeks and bacon and fried birds I share with my gourmand pals every night.
But I got a kick out of going along with visiting niece Pamela's discipline, sharing hummus, smoked eggplant and spicy feta with just-baked focaccia from the bright blue taboon oven at Bustan
. We followed that with crispy falafel and a beet salad piled with crumbed logs of haloumi cheese. No way we could even think of dessert after all that. 487 Amsterdam Avenue between 83rd and 84th Streets. 212 595 5050.
Frankly, I think it's punishing to be a vegetarian at Red Farm.
But Pamela and her sister Dana earlier this year, were excited by the vegetable and peanut
dumpling, and the excellent vegetable roll from the lunch menu. I refused to let her order the mango and arugula salad -- "You can have that anywhere," I protested. We decided to try an entrée of lotus root, snap peas, pressed tofu and preserved vegetables. We both loved it, but -- I promise you -- it doesn't even come close to Chef Joe Ng's miraculous shrimp-stuffed chicken. 2170 Broadway between 76th and 77th Streets. 724 9700.
I always explore the seasonal market options at ABC Kitchen
, given a vegan to entertain or a carnivore. I love to see what the chef Dan Kluger can do when eight or nine varieties of local squash hit the Greenmarket. Usually I add a crudo or two and sometimes kasha and bowtie pasta with veal meatballs.
Last week, of course, the menu boasted the first peas of spring, asparagus, ramps and fiddlehead ferns. I ignored the raw scallops with sea beans and green chiles I almost always have. At one point the tabletop was completely carpeted with greenery plus the usual roasted carrots with avocado. The kitchen sent a gift of ramp toast. I rarely find a ramp diversion worthy of taking seriously. This was it.
Of course we had to order the salt caramel sundae with popcorn, peanuts and chocolate sauce. It came with an amazing bowl of everything strawberry sent by the pastry chef -- ice cream, sorbet, berries raw and dehydrated. I abandoned the caramel for that total immersion in strawberry. 35 East 18th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway. 212 475 5829
Summer by the Sea
Everyone tells me Citymeals' walk-around cookout in the Rockefeller Center Garden each summer is the best food event of the year. I do agree. The great chefs gather -- they make a commitment to appear -- and
surprise us with their inventions, classic or avant-garde. You will meet Nobu as his team dispenses sushi and can chat with Stephanie Izard from Chicago's Girl and the Goat
This year Bobby Flay will take a night off from the kitchen at his new Gato
. He will join Daniel Boulud, Jonathan Benno, Jonathan Waxman, both Forgiones -- Larry and son Marc -- Jean-Georges, Alfred Portale, Bill Telepan and an amazing roster of stars inspired by the theme, "Summer at the Sea."
Join us Monday June 9th to eat and dance under the stars, knowing your gift will be used to cook and prepare meals for the city's frail elderly homebound all summer. Use my discount code CMOWGG to get $200 off per ticket. 212 687 1290. www.Citymeals.org
Our two Insatiable reporters -- Maria Yagoda and Ana Lopez -- scouted a preview of Hudson Eats
upscale new food court at Brookfield Place, wedged on the edge of Battery Park City by the Hudson. They filed a collection of their favorites bites from gastronomic darlings like Mighty Quinn's
, Umami Burger
, and Black Seed Bagels.
At Blue Ribbon Sushi
they loved the hand rolls wrapped in crisp warm nori. And the trio of mushroom under a mozzarella melt won a thumb's up at Skinny Pizza
. Will you be head-over-heels for the bluefish-cream cheese spread at Black Seed? Click here to get a preview
before you storm the place. 200 Vesey Street between West Street and North End Avenue.