A Couple of Tarts

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf. ~ Epicurus

Sunday, June 03, 2007

New York, New York!

I have had the week to recover from the flurry of activity stemming from my parents first ever visit to New York and my graduation from my Masters program. Ah, where to begin? I faced the same question when they arrived here. There is so much to see and do and eat that I didn't know where to take them first. And it took them four years to visit me, who knows when they will be back. It being their first time here, we stuck to the basics which included lots of sightseeing. But first, since RFC and I do live in Astoria, Greek food was the choice for their initial evening out. We went to a homey little place on the corner of Astoria Park called Agnanti Restaurant. This place is the real deal. Three of the four of us ordered the salmon, which you must get with with the tomato, onion and feta topping. I ordered a dish which was basically french fries mixed with strips of chicken. Tasty, but not wow. The service was a little spotty, but the food was worth it and we got to have some little nut and honey cakes for dessert served with Greek yogurt. An alternative to eating at the restaurant is getting it to go and having a picnic in Astoria Part, something RFC and I enjoyed a few weeks previously.

My dad had made the request to eat "New Yorky" food, so lunch the next day was at Lombardi's Pizza in SoHo. Because we are an indecisive bunch and want to try everything, our pizza was loaded down with peppers, pepperoni and mushrooms. I am becoming very fond of getting a slice and the crispiness of the crust, so having so many toppings kind of took away from that. But it was still delicious and very "New Yorky." Dessert consisted of rice pudding from Rice to Riches across the street. Only in New York can you find a store that sells nothing but rice pudding in a rainbow of flavors. My dad LOVES it, as he will tell you, and had to try four different renditions before choosing two that were distinctly flavorful and not just creamy and sweet. He settled on mango, which was interesting and a bright yellow, and rum raisin, which we couldn't get enough of. Word of warning, they give you a lot for one serving so it is definitely a place where sharing is in order.

Another day lunch/dinner was at Carnegie Deli. A little touristy, but hey, my parents are tourists and it is filled with a lot of history. Plus it has neon signage! We ordered way too much food which is par for the course. Pastrami on rye, corned beef on rye, potato pancakes, matzo ball soup (and cheesecake to go). The favorites with my folks were the soup and pancakes, but I was partial to the fall apart in your hands pastrami. I don't get to eat like this often and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Another New York institution we visited was the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station. My dad and I practically licked our bowls of Manhattan and New England Clam Chowder, while my mom polished off a bowl of gazpacho with lobster. We ate at one of the U-shaped counters. It was a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle out in the station.

The highlight of their visit, for me, was going out to the North Fork and visiting two of my favorite wineries, Sherwood House and Old Field. At both, we sat outside at picnic tables and enjoyed the beautiful weather and the refreshing wines. We stopped at a cheese shop on the way to Old Field and put together a little lunch that included a truffled Parmesan and a jar of truffle honey. We added a bottle of rose when we arrived. The owners of both places were around and made us feel incredibly welcome, as did the chickens roaming the yard.

While my parents were here there were many sights seen and one place we all visited for the first time was the New York Botanical Garden. It was amazing with roses just coming into bloom and pansies and violas everywhere. We drove, but it is right across the street from a Metro North station.

I think I tired my parents out with all the running around and there was still so much left for them to see. I possibly have to get a PhD for them to come out again. But maybe after it all sinks in they will be craving more of the Big Apple.

Agnanti Restaurant
19-06 Ditmars Boulevard
Astoria, NY
(718) 545-4554

Lombardi's Pizza
23 Spring Street
New York, NY
(212) 941-7994

Rice to Riches
37 Spring Street
New York, NY
(212) 274-0008

Carnegie Deli
854 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY
(212) 757-2245

Oyster Bar
Grand Central Station
New York, NY
(212) 490-6650


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