Monday, May 2, 2011

Date Weekend

We've all heard of "Date Night." You know, the one night a week that couples are supposed to set aside to spend time with their someone special. With the busy lives that everyone leads, it's one of the suggestions to help us become re-connected with the special person.

With Significant Eater's job requiring her to be in Washington, D. C. a good deal (sorta like a congress person, but she works more), we really look forward to our weekends together. That's why I call it Date Weekend, as opposed to date night - even though all the time we're together is special. As a matter of fact, even when we're not together it's special, but that's another story altogether...insert wink emoticon here.

Just this past week, Sig Eater was able to come back to NY on Thursday night, and I decided to try and get us to a few places that we'd not yet been. Oh yeah, I cooked too, but that's not out of the ordinary; and I failed to take any pix of that activity.

We started out Friday with a long walk up to the farmer's market, where it is nice to see some of the greens coming into season as well as the lilacs. But my destination was a little bit further uptown, past this...

Up to 18th St. and ABC Kitchen, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ode to all things (well, almost all) local, sustainable and market driven. Without a reservation there wasn't a table in the main dining room, but there were enough seats in the front room, including two at the bar, which we snatched right up. One of the "secrets" Jean-Georges is known for are amazing deals offered at a few of his restaurants during the lunch hour. And ABC Kitchen offers one too - $25 for a 3-course lunch, with 2 or 3 choices for each course. We went thataway.

I had the chicken soup, loaded with dill and tarragon (which I like more finely chopped, thank you)...

It's flavor was rich and deep however, so not too much to complain about. Sig Eater went with crostini; well, not just any crostini, but one topped with ramp pesto, goat cheese and pickled ramps...

My main course was a big hunk of pot roast, fork tender and atop a creamy mash of potatoes along with some sauteed broccoli raab. Not the lightest of choices for lunch, but after that long walk, it hit the spot. SE surprised me and chose the slow-cooked arctic char, served atop a gingery-carrot nage, the rich fish perfectly cooked...

For dessert, we took home the 3 - cookie sampler (hey, 2 people can only eat so much at lunch) and attacked the ice cream sundae, salty-caramel ice cream in a pool of chocolate syrup and strewn with caramel popcorn and peanuts...

I'm glad there were 2 scoops, otherwise trouble might've broken out with my special someone. We walked home, giving us a total of about a 5-mile walk, thus rationalizing our high-calorie lunch. Continuing on our "Date Weekend," dinner that night was at local fave Cafe Katja, where the food and welcome are always, well, welcome.

Saturday morning I made us a nice breakfast; avocado/green onion/tomato omelets with salsa verde, which gave us the energy to take another walk, this time along the East River and the work-in-progress East River Park river-front walk. Industrially beautiful, as always, and here you can see part of the new bulkhead and walkway under construction...

Dinner Saturday night was all "new." First we stopped by LTO, a pop-up restaurant concept on East Broadway. It's currently serving the food of D. C. chef and Beard-award winner R. J. Cooper, along with the cocktails of well-known D. C. mixologist Gina Chersevani. The drinks were delicious, and after we'd had one (okay, two), we sauntered on down the block to Orchard St. and the new to us The Fat Radish, which actually has been open for at least 6 months. Decently reviewed in the NY Times, The New Yorker and in other publications, and breathlessly hyped as a hip fashionista hang all over the damn place, I avoided it out of sheer terror...after all, fashionista I'm not. But after seeing Sig Eater hanging with Warhol, I got my nerve up, and with heads held high, in we walked at 8 P. M. on a Saturday night...without a reservation. A little schmoozing with the hostess, who first seated us at one of the counters, and the next thing you know we were whisked into the back room to a cozy table for two. Must've been our fashion-sense.

What a nice place! Formerly a Chinese something or other, and before that a Jewish something or other, if I can fool them again at the front door, I'll go back for the English peas, a sorta salad, sorta braise, comprised of barely cooked peas, ramps and razor clams. Sounds weird, tasted great though. A little crunch and a little chewy - in a good way. That starter worked better than the tiny-bit boring asparagus salad. But we perked right up with SE's main of mussel pot pie, studded with chunks of ham and a rather unique take on the pot pie thing. I had to have a burger and this one really didn't disappoint. Not with bacon and cheese it didn't. Expectedly messy, perfectly cooked and a satisfying hunk o' meat, sided with duck fat fries...what more can one ask for?

I have a feeling my date was impressed. I'm even going to ask her out again!


  1. Razor clams sound 'delish.. I make them something like that only with fava beans and guanciale..ok maybe not the same thing.
    Looks like big fun! XOXOXOX to both of you!

  2. I'm excited about LTO though the menu is a bit overwhelming. Maybe I'll go for cocktails first. Do you know who is coming next? (I saw you in there tonight. Figure you must know something...)