Michelin Star Restaurants

Wednesday is the New Saturday Right?

Man O Man The Murphrank’s, Professor, Bobcat, Homeless Tim, The Asian Fireman and Wife are going to be jealous of this post.

Those previously named are in The Per Se Christmas Dinner invited list that we thankfully make the cut each year. Don’t let the fancy dinner confuse them as all high fancy folk. I mean with the exception of Homeless Tim all of them can crush Bud Light like it is their job. Actually if my memory serves me correctly we did go crush Bud Lights after this past years dinner.

I have mentioned a couple times that we have always been a fan of the Grocery service Fresh Direct. A couple clicks of mouse and BOOM someone is delivering my groceries and doing the heavy lifting. You don’t understand what a pain carrying heavy stuff around without a car is up here. Put it this way grab an 18 pack of beer and a normal grocery store haul and try to walk that shit 8 blocks in a boat tote bag. Yeah, you get the picture.

Prior to COVID-19 we could get a delivery slot for the next day pretty easy. Now days they are sold out for the entire week. This does present a problem but we know a couple life hacks to get around this.

  • Always have a couple things in your shopping cart to meet the minimum order.
  • Make this like your Christmas Wish List – All the Proteins, all the drinks and don’t be shy. You may get shut out because of inventory is so wonky these days.
  • Don’t get all pissy if you get a sub. They are trying as hard as they can and if you are one of those who bitch. Bless. Your. Heart.
  • Check everyday multiple times to see if there are some open time slots. You always take the first available slot you can get and then you keep adding to the order. Typically you can make changes to the order up until 5PM the day before.
  • You Network the Fuck out of this – Maria keeps an eye on it and so do a couple other friends.

So last Saturday Maria shot us a text that Wednesday was wide open and we needed to grab a slot. Geranium was on the laptop and she threw 3 items to make the minimum and would modify that later. She picked Cold Water Lobster Tail, Bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and a Ribeye Steak. (who is she trying to fucking impress, its just her, me and dog)

Saturday after I got done with my chores I went in to amend the order and I couldn’t find the order. Geranium has been known to struggle with this but I am well versed in doing this on my iPad. I was able to create an order and also secure a slot on Wednesday (4.22.2020 with a window of 6AM to 8AM) so I wasn’t too worried.

On Tuesday morning we were still messing with the order and Geranium realized that the original order was still showing in there so she zeroed out those items. Honestly – We have kind of grown used to things and apps acting strange given everyone is home on their devices.

I think you know where this is going…..

So the order I placed got delivered at 7AM and the ‘guy’ was appreciative of the healthy tip I put on the bill. I mean dude was carrying 6 X 12 packs of drinks and a case of 6X1Gallon Distilled Water. He deserves much more for doing this given the environment.

Then at 11AM our doorbell rings and Geranium receives the second order. It just has 3 items but cost as much as my larger order. I just hope it wasn’t the same guy.

It is pretty easy and you can get pretty much all that you get at a Kroger or Aldi’s
They ain’t setting foot in your house and you can’t open the door until they leave.
Booze is delivered downstairs but with food being perishable they have to deliver to the door.
Seriously we have been shut out for like 3 weeks in a row. Carrying Soda Water is a bitch!
We got Cut on SpaghettiO’s with meatballs but I made this shit rock!
FYI – This was Geranium’s Go-To Meal during Chemo
Don’t hate the Player….
Hate the Game!

Dinner was fantastic and doesn’t everyone eat Surf and Turf with expensive ass champagne on a Wednesday? LJZ is going to be pissed at me for not sharing the bubbles or the lobster!

And Just A Reminder – There Are No Rules in a Pandemic! If I Could Have Gotten White Truffles I Would Have Done So!

If You Can Have Dinner With 2 People (Living/Dead) Who Are You Eating With?

I had a lot of people who were excited about reading last Friday’s post about where you were first going after this madness is over. So I asked the same folks who reported back a different question.

“You can have dinner at a restaurant or at home. You can invite 2 people to break bread with. Either of these people can be living or dead but the caveat is that one person has to be a New Yorker. So who are you dining with and where you going to eat?”

I will start – I am dining at Balthazar ordering the Seafood Tower to start with. For my New York Guest I am sitting with the late Anthony Bourdain because I have always wanted to pick his brain on the way things are now (prior to COVID-19) and thank him for hating on Vegetarians. The other person is the late Chef Paul Bocuse of Lyon France. Bourdain idolized him and I want to learn about how things were for him. You see I got my start in the restaurant business working at Chez Philippe in the Peabody and talk about a tough environment.

  • Shawneen from Middle Village – JOHN LENNON – a New Yorker by choice.  He fought tooth and nail to stay in New York; he said that at one point in history Paris was the place to be, but in the 1970’s, New York was the place to be and he wanted to be here. His political views were profoundly before his time and considered dangerous to the point that the FBI had a file on him.  Imagine all the people, sharing all the world? This might still be a dangerous idea today, sadly.  When I saw the movie “Yesterday”, I laughed and sang along and just enjoyed the what if – until the scene where the main character is sent to visit the seaside cottage of a seafaring man with round spectacles.  I cried my eyes out.  If The Beatles had not been famous, John Lennon would not have died.   I want a bottle of red, fried calamari, eggplant parmesan (cause that’s how we do it in the boroughs) and conversation with John Lennon all night long. For the second person And since this is my fantasy – my second guest would be DONALD TRUMP (but not for the whole night -just for an hour). Because I don’t think Trump could sit across from John effin Lennon and not still believe that all the people could be sharing all the world. PERSONALLY I THINK I SHOULD JUST STOP NOW BECAUSE SHE WON TODAY FUCKING BRILLIANT!
  • LJZ – Having dinner at Oceana with her husband and Dr. Fauci
  • Don Bruni – having dinner with Sammy Davis Jr and Jackie Gleason
  • AV The Russian – Her Father (New Yorker) and Jesus Christ and they are breaking bread at Corner Bistro.
  • AB The LSU Fan – Sitting at a table with his back against the wall at Umberto’s Clam House with John Gotti and Carlo Gambino.
  • AB The LSU Fan 2 – Old Homestead with Chris Mullin and Felipe Lopez!
Lot of people want to dine with John
  • Lady Barrister – Is going to PJ Clarke’s having dinner with George Carlin and Jerry Seinfeld because we need to laugh.
  • BikinisareForever – She wants to have dinner with her Grandparents
  • BikinisareForever 2 – Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Schumer
  • Flynn Shady – Going to Rao’s or Old Homestead and having dinner with Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien.
  • Mr. 3 First Names – going to Keen’s steakhouse and having dinner with Admiral Raymond Spruance who commanded the US Naval Forces involved in the battle of Midway. Also is Washington Roebling who built the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • PC The Memphis Fan – John Lennon and George Harrison and they are goingto Thai Villa on 19th to geek out on the music and hear them talk shit about Paul.
Rao’s in the Harlem
  • PC the Memphis Fan 2 – Teddy Roosevelt and Zahi Hawass at Keen’s Steakhouse.
  • Vivian Longstreet – Going to Raoul’s and having dinner with Gov Andrew Cuomo and her NOLA buddy Lisa who is going to run his presidential campaign.
  • Ty Middelton – His late mother who was an amazing woman and always shot from the hip and Ron Howard to close a multi-million dollar film deal for his book series.
  • Stone – Also at Raou’s with Draper Kaufman (Father of Navy Special Warfare and Teddy Roosevelt. THAT IS SO INTERSTING PEOPLE ARE PICKING TEDDY ROOSEVELT
  • BjorkSue – is going to a Cheesecake Factory with Ivanka Trump and Jessica Simpson.
  • Bar Wife – Bill Murray and Chevy Chase and they are going to a bar.
I bet he would be fun to talk to!
  • UWS Holly – Andy Cohen (Godfather of Bravo Trash TV) and Anderson Cooper.
  • JP on the Island of Long – Billy Joel and Elton John
  • JD (Not the Bottle but the legend) – Alex Hamilton and Dave-1 from Chromeo and they are going to eat Dim Sum.
  • BK is requesting dinner at Lugar with us.
  • Stuey who is in OK – Yoshaiaki Omura, MD his bidigital O ring test would be a topic that I would enjoy. Second person is his mother who passed away 12 years ago. Or he would sub out Nikki Glaser who is easy on the eyes.
  • RMT (Reader Number 5) also having dinner with Anthony Bourdain and her husband.
Ate there once, the mutton is pretty good.
  • M(squared) the Domestic One – She is bringing her parents and having dinner with them and she is eating in.
  • Mary Louise Geranium – Ina and Jeffrey Garten at Rao’s
  • Z(squared) is taking his brother to dinner to celebrate his acceptance into Columbia’s EMBA Program.
  • Steve from Flushing – Having Dinner with Derek Jeter and Pedro Martinez (of Boston) and they are drinking at Yankee Tavern.
  • The Bartender – Kramer and Neuman at Soup Nazi’s joint.
  • Mr. Clean – Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel – Tavern on the Green. THAT IS A GOOD ONE!
  • Constantine – Sarah Jessica Parker and Mathew Broderick at Minetta Tavern for burgers.
  • San Pedro Scoop – AOC and MLK – I am feeling hopeful for change and I want to get those two together.

Thanks to all that played along. San Pedro Belize – I may be coming to you for next Friday so stay tuned!

We Are NY Tough

I was standing outside waiting on the dog to pee Thursday morning and I felt a subway rumble under the sidewalk and it almost startled me. I hadn’t seen a subway platform for over 28 days. From my “office” I can see the B & Q train on occasion going over the Manhattan Bridge but that’s it. We are now 26 days in lockdown and I am starting to forget the little things that make this city so great. The things that normal people skeeve that are just part of life for New Yorkers.

So there is a video clip that someone made of Cuomo’s speech. I encourage you to go seek it out. It is titled “NY Tough” grab a tissue it will put a tear in your eye.

There are two parts that really hit home. “You have to be smart to make it in New York The Second part is equally strong “And because we are New York Tough. We are tough, you have to be tough. This place makes tough. But it makes you tough in a good way. We are going to make it because I love New York. And I love New York. Because New York loves me. New York loves all of you. Black and White, Brown and Asian, Short and Tall, gay and straight. New York loves everyone. That is why I love new York.” Incidentally Maria informed me that I got my New York Pin so I guess I got that going for me.

So I put on my reporter hat and asked a bunch of my fellow New Yorkers (via email, text, Instagram) a question – “Once we get out of this what is the one thing you are going to do?” I will start off;

  • Carbunkle Trumpet – I plan on sitting with the old Chooch’s at the Cigar Inn on Second Avenue and smoke an Arturo Fuente Opus X ($75 a stick) hell I may smoke two of them at the same time! I might even debate the Chooch’s about Trump. (highly discouraged as they are all red hat wearers)
  • The Notorious N “M’effin” G – Make a reservation at Carbone and have every single person I have ever met over to my apartment to pre-game.
  • The work wife (The international one) – I am going to day drink by the pool or beach with no social distancing and then go out to eat every night for weeks because I am already tired of cooking every single meal.
  • My Cubical Roomate in the West Village – See my friends and do whatever we can as a group. Oh and join you on Second Avenue too!
I recall a baseball game right after 9/11 and they showed the back of the camera and it had this sticker. This is my iPad stand I put that sticker on it on Friday March 13th. That is the last day that New York was normal.
  • My Haitian Brother from another Mother not wishing to be from PA – Talking to everyone on the Train at Grand Central and having lunch with my work brothers and sister at Sophies and Blue Smoke and drive the kids to school. (he has 2 young ones and a wife that works in a medical lab – make sure you pour one for him)
  • Tarheel M(squared) – Drink an overpriced iced latte on my way to boozy brunch in the East Village then day drinking all day!
  • Shawneen from Middle Village – I am going to visit my family and hug and kiss them with no fear!
  • M(Squared) the former work wife (the domestic one) – Response pending
  • The Cruise Queen – Going to a nice restaurant after I get my hair done.
  • Geranium’s Work Wife – I am going to head down to Paddy McGown’s Pub drink buckets of Busch Light cans with friends and sing along (way out of key) to all our favorite songs on Touch Tunes.
  • Don Bruni – I am going to hop on a plane and hit an island somewhere. Work phone in a lock box in my bedroom.
  • The Credit Queen – I am going to NEVER again get pressured into buying ginormous amounts of toilet paper. Drink more prosecco, pay attention – really pay attention at Mass.
  • Bikinisareforever – Yankees Game
  • Asian Fireman – Going to the Rambling House for a proper pint of Guinness.
Rush hour on the Manhattan Bridge – Yep that is a FedEx Truck
  • AB the LSU Tiger Fan – Go to Nat Sherman for 2 Metropolitan Host Maduro Hyde and smoke it in Bryant Park while enjoying a few 24oz Ice Cold Corona Mortar shells and polish off a few dirty dishwater dogs. YOU CAN ALMOST HEAR HIS ACCENT WHEN YOU READ THIS.
  • Bobcat – Peter Lugar Steakhouse in Brooklyn and see her sister
  • The Professor – Swing by 773 Dive Bar, Palace Dive Bar, Connie O’s Dive Bar and Call Box (yep you guessed it another dive bar)
  • Homeless Tim – Fried Chicken at TAK Room and sit down and eat it properly. *he got that for Takeout when he fled the city for CT*
  • Lady Barrister Murphrank – Commissioner, Fausto, Osteria Morini (Italian Joint in the City) as that was the last place she ate before the city went on pause.
  • Mr 3 First Names – A repeat Trip up 5th Avenue (its a FDNY Pipe’s and Drums band thing)
  • AV The Russian – Take the subway anywhere and have a nice boozy brunch outside at a restaurant while touching every single person I see.
  • AV’s Momma – After I give my daughter an unending hug and shed some tears, Ima getting a huge juicy burger and eat it down by Battery Park across from the Statue of Liberty. I LOVE THIS ONE
  • Flynn Shady – Drinks at Down The Hatch in Greenwich Village and a slice of pizza at Joe’s,
  • PC the Memphis Fan – Queens Comfort in Astoria and get rousingly drunk at hip hop brunch then walk it off along the East River.
I don’t know what scares me more. That Z(squared) will get one of these guys if they are having a bad day. Or I will get one of them if we are having a bad day. I am kidding because no mater what they still have to go into work. God Bless you Boys!
  • The Cousin – A Bouie UES Brunch at Penrose with my girls!!!!!!
  • UWS Holly – Well it won’t be ‘go see Hamilton’ because her tickets are for May 30th. She will go to the 105th street dog run with the Ellington in the park outdoor café.
  • Maria – Bloody steak at Peter Lugar in Brooklyn
  • Gumata Jennie – Joining Maria for that Steak
  • Rhino – A great meal from Maria and Inga
  • LJZ – Stupid Expensive Cocktails on the roof of the Peninsula then sipping champagne at Tiffany’s with her personal shopper.
  • F from Z(squared) – Playing Dominos at the Ear Inn and drinks at Oceana.
  • JP on the Island of Long – Head to the Gym then Beach. I’ll be in a NY state of Mind.
  • Tay-Tay – Mani/Pedi, then a Swedish Massage and flying down to Florida ASAP for the Big 3-0!
  • Vivian Longstreet – Raoul’s – having a martini at the bar served by Franko then I’m having dinner in a booth. I will start with 6 raw oysters, then steak au Poivre and finally the profiteroles.
Asshole to Elbow getting a pic of Manhattanedge
  • Ty Middelton – Go to my Tailor and pick up the Rick Owens Suit I had altered. Then head over to Caviar Russe for Vodka and Caviar.
  • Ty Webb on The Price is Right – Response Pending
  • Name Withheld to protect the innocent – JG Mellon’s in the UES for a bloody Mary, Bowl of Chili and a Burger.
  • The Bartender – I am going to hug the F Train!
  • San Pedro Scoop – Murray’s Bagels for a Sesame with Lox or Maple Walnut Cream Cheese naturally Untoasted
  • Brizzyc – Wants to go to Kettle of Fish for a Packers Game! I miss being with FANS!
  • Grantmeaccess – Anything to do with Beer!
  • Mary Louise Geranium – Find a Gospel Brunch and ride the Q Train into the city to see her chiropractor.
  • Steve from Flushing – Aquaduct and then maybe Belmont.
  • The Bookie – I am going to go to one of my favorite Alphabet City Dive Bars, walk in the men’s room and if it doesn’t smell like it used to I am going to be pissed!
  • QBall from Tudor City – I am going to Old Town Tavern sit at the bar and bitch to John (the Bartender) about how the Mets completely fucking Suck!
  • Kate the Dog Sitter – I am going to my favorite restaurant Coppola’s with my grandma!
  • Constantine – “I am going to walk into Mt. Sinai hospital and I am going to hug every nurse, doctor and employee”
  • Mr. Clean – I am going to cherish the following 6 words – “Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors!”
  • DRS (Former Work Momma) – I plan on seeing my mother, and head to the beach.
I miss the old Normal

Thanks to all those who played along. I had fun putting this out.

Happy VD Folks!

Or as my friend SDS would say about February 14th. “Today is the only day that girls can dot their i’s with little hearts.” Anyway Happy VD to those of you who are standing on line for chocolates or flowers. Next to the rear entrance to our building is a European Wax salon. I wondered why that place was packed Thursday night.

Me I am waiting on Geranium to land so we can go have that fancy dinner at Eleven Madison Park. Anyway here are some pictures from the past couple of weeks.

They killed the Grease soundtrack!
Bowl from the Seattle Trip – That sucker cost a pretty penny
I got my fill of Mango and all kinds of other blended love
If you could read the mind of Maya it may say “if it is raining one more fucking time…….”
That Space Needle Thing!
Like I said the Chihuly Gallery is pretty freaking cool!

Have a good weekend folks!

Balance/Transitions for 2020

KC Jayhawk used to talk about transition all the time before he and Mrs. Jayhawk were heading down to Belize. He would post two pictures side by side. (hang on I am going to go find it on his FB page, give me a minute) and talk about how he needed to transition from the one on the left to the right to keep him balanced.

I am assuming, the pic on the left was from his work and well, I kinda recognize that pic on the right. I think this dock bit it a couple years ago but I always like it. Man I think I went through every one of his pictures looking for this. He must be telling me something.

I am a big believer in balance. It wasn’t till I moved up here to New York did I really start to take stock in how important balance is. I am not talking about standing up and able to walk around. That part is pretty easy as long as you haven’t been talking to Uncle Tito. I am referring to balance in your life spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physical and keeping it in check.

2020 is going to be a big year for me as I will have circled the Sun 50 times and I am still around to talk about it. I also will be closing out the past decade that was a roller coaster for not only me but for Geranium. I went to visit my Internist/GP doctor early this week and I was relieved to hear that my previous doctor has left the group. He had really big hands and he kept on how he wanted to check my prostate. My new doctor mentioned to me about my weight, my liver enzymes, oh and my Cholesterol was a tad high.

I actually told Doc that I chose to come in on Christmas Eve for my physical and get my labs run. I told her that I was planning on being somewhat of a hot mess since I just finished up a fairly stressful peak shipping season. Add to that on the Saturday prior I was at a restaurant on the 4th floor next door called Per Se. Fuck I expected my labs to be high, the bill was high. I told Doc that I now have 90 days to clean my shit up (No pun intended) and get this 50 year old machine moving in a better direction.

Relax Andi, Margo, Taylor, Stephanie and all my other bartenders/liquor store owners – I am not going away forever. I am just going to moderate what I am doing for a while. Regarding my diet (right now Geranium is watching a cooking show) I got to do something. Sorry S(Squared) and Don but I am going to be eating a little better at our Cuban refuge on 45th street. I am not a big sweets fan so that is a blessing I guess but gone are those killer rolls at LPQ.

So what is it you are going to do better in 2020?

The Fat Kid Bunch and I were just talking how we hardly eat Fast Food. This was a necessity on the day before Per Se. I had a fairly good hangover going.
It lived up to all the Hype Again!
This is where it went bad Post Per Se – How many Tito/Soda’s can one person drink in 3 hours? Mr 3 First Names, Landlord and I tried to see.
Come to Brunch they said….It will be low key……and your hangover will be fine they said….. Friggin Drag Bruch at Chelsea Market with a Stage 5 Hangover. I may be smiling but trust me I was fucking scared!

I am going to do better, nobody wants to see a 50 year old short fat kid. Notice I didn’t say much about cigars or booze – Hey you have to have balance…..

Per Se 4.0

Hello, my name is Carbunkle Trumpet. I am one of those Food Snobs that you read about who travel the world eating endangered or banned species. Relax Francis…we weren’t eating the banned French Ortolans like they ate on the show Billions. Confession – I may have enjoyed the fuck out of my Fois Gras but was still legal to consume as of the 22nd of December. What makes the last Saturday before Christmas so great? The service, the wine pairings, the food, and the overall experience are top notch but it is the company that sits at the table that makes it so special.

Back story – if you are just stumbling on this blog and the Per Se part of it let me recap for you. Homeless Tim and a group of barristers about 12 years ago started having an annual dinner at Thomas Keller’s 3 Micheline Star restaurant on Columbus Circle named Per Se. Keller also has French Laundry on the west coast and TAK Room here in Hudson Yards but Per Se is considered one of the pillars of gastronomical dining here in New York. When we moved her we got the chance to dine at Le Bernardin with Baby Fine Hair and her mother the first month of living here. Mr. 3 First Names and Lady Barrister inquired if we like fine dining. We told them yes and they said they would see if they could extend an invite to us for their Christmas dinner group. We didn’t’ really think much about it as this conversation was going on over drinks in Lower Manhattan and as you can guess…..alcohol was being consumed.

So in December of 2015 we attended our first Per Se Dinner along with Asian Fireman and V.Q. (She gets the full title retired since we didn’t have a repeat this year) and a cast of others. We attended every year except for 2 years back due to a scheduling issue but it wasn’t until this year that I really took stock in the table.

The crux of the Christmas Dinner Cast are; Homeless Tim who is the scheduling /’knows the guy’ to get us the primo table. Mr. 3 First Names and Lady Barrister, you may have heard me speak of them before. Then you have the Asian Fireman/Grey Suit guy and his wife V.P.. But let’s not forget Bobcat (another barrister) and her husband the Professor. Then you throw in Geranium and myself and you have a unique dinner experience. Oh we had some dessert guests joining us later but more on that later.

This year we were celebrating not only Christmas but we were celebrating someone who kicked the shit out of cancer. As we were siting there, by the way, this dinner took 6 hours from start to finish. I really enjoyed the conversation and what I call “peeling the onion” with the different cast of characters at the table. I could try to explain but I know I can’t do it justice.

Put it this way; how can you explain the conversation dynamics of the table with someone who is a high School history teacher, a person who has been sober for 25 years and yet still enjoys our conversation while we get loose tonged during the course of the night. There is a couple who have 3 knuckleheads at home, meanwhile the other 3 couples only have 4 legged kids at their homes and don’t know what it means to have kids banging on their heads with a Stage 4 Hangover. And then there is that guy who hates white wine.

Again, I am going to stop and put up some pictures so Iuka Mississippi’s own can shame me for posting food pictures.

I mean we get our own menu for this gig.
Total Menu with the different courses and supplements.
Grey Suit Guy didn’t have any white wines on his list
Oysters and Pearls – If Keller ever takes it off the menu….. Travesty
Egg and Black Truffle Ragu. It is a labor of love to make this dish that you consume in less than 5 minutes.
Per Se’s General Manager, Sandra Schaeuffele, one year brought out the egg topping machine and raw egg for us to try to whack off the top. Bobcat got to do it last year but this year was my time. No pressure at all. By the way that was a great Sherry they were serving me for the next course. Notice the attention to detail that they do while my fumbling ass is about to make scrambled eggs.
I did ok! Carbunkle for the Win! Thanks Sandra for the pre-cut egg!
No lies were being told at the table.
You know what Bill – F you! I am going to have Fois Gras after your silly ban! This was the Fois course but notice the casing for the forced goose liver.
And I wondered why my Sodium was sky high on the following Tuesday.
Entrée Course
You can’t steal them either!
Chocolate Course – I went with the Dark & Stormy They are made in house
But now I know how they can tell what is what.
Pastry Chef Anna Bolz made this for our dinner. English Fruit Cake but all of that on top was edible.
I am always interested in what quote is on “The Pass” in the kitchen.

Like I said, the meal, the wine, the service is over the top but the folks at the table make it all the better. Honestly – I would be ok if Homeless Tim one day called and said that he got our Christmas Dinner at Waffle House. Sure I would be disappointed but knowing the cast of folks at the table and I would be ok with that.

Again, Thank you to Tim, Jess & Dan for the invite.

Second Installment for Tiger Nation Fans visiting New York/Brooklyn 2/2

So are you Tiger Nation fans getting excited yet? I have to say that the city does get a little bit of a special charge during the holidays. The Rockefeller tree will be covered in Scaffolding because they have to get it ready for the official lighting ceremony in early December. Not to worry there are tons of other stuff already up to get pictures taken for those Christmas Cards. G(Squared), I saw that they were putting lights on those chicken feet down in Chinatown. I did see a Miller Light Truck on Canal Street so you should be good to go.

Previously we spoke about some of the tips for you visitors, here are the second half of them. But this list will be fun stuff. So without further adeau;

  • Underground is the best way to get around the city – They deliver 1.5 million packages in the city of Manhattan a day. Add to that Yellow Taxis, Ubers, Tour Buses and the city gets a tad…..gridlocked. They once timed a car going from 1st Ave Crosstown to 12 Ave and it took almost 52 minutes. That being said using the subway is your best friend. Again use Google Maps. Those maps they have in the subway stations are good but do you know which lines are not running on the weekend? If you use Google Maps and The Pigeon App and you will have a ease free commute. I say get Metro Card and put 20.00 on it and then refill it when necessary.
  • Subway 101 Hints – Take off your backpack and go to the center of the cab if it is packed. Let the elderly and pregnant women sit down. If you see a subway car that is empty when others are packed it is empty for a reason. Trust me you can’t hold your breath between subway stops so don’t go there. Oh when you are leaving the subway area and see someone standing there sliding his hand like he has a credit card through his other hand do them a solid. Swipe them in the Subway on your card. Pay it forward.
  • Staying in an Air BnB? – Download the Fresh Direct App and have your beer, wine, bottled water, snacks and drunk munchies food delivered to your door. I say order your stuff the day before you arrive and you can schedule your delivery day and time. You will have to be there when the stuff is delivered but trust me schleping (that is Yiddish for carrying) groceries to your apartment sucks.
  • Speaking of Apps download the Seamless app. This is 24 hour room service for the area restaurants. It is New York’s version of Uber Eats and it kicks ass. Bagel delivery guys are the best. Make sure you tip them cash. Another App you need is the Pigeon app. It is Waze but for New York Subways and gives you real-time delays and issues.
  • Cost of Beers and Food – Now brace yourself you Max’s Sports Bar regulars the cost of beer isn’t going to be the same as in 38103. I don’t want to hear it, I have been here for 4 years and have accepted paying north of $5.00 for Bud Light and $8.50 for Titos and soda. Are there cheaper places? Sure there are but here is my suggestion. Sit at the bar, be nice, be respectful and maybe the bartender may give you a “Buy Back” where they give you a drink on the house. Also it wouldn’t be a bad idea to stash a couple C-notes in your wallet. A lot of Brooklyn bars are Cash Only. Those are pretty easy as you just leave your money on the counter and the bartender will take the funds needed for drinks out of your pot. Trust me, they aren’t going to screw you.
  • Bars and places to eat around The Barclays’ Center – plenty of great places on 5th Avenue to grab some food and drink before and after the game. In the interest of some of those establishments that I frequent on 5th Avenue I am not going to name them here. You are also just steps away from the Subway station and can get into Manhattan fairly quickly.
  • Sightseeing in the City – Want to see the Bitch in the Harbor? Jump on the Staten Island Ferry (it is free) and you will boat right by it to take a picture. The also sell beer on board (ANG MT just saw that and it peaked his interest) and you get to see that 5th borough that Mr. 3 First Names despises. When you are down in Fidi swing by the Stock Exchange, Bull, Fearless Girl, Hamilton’s grave. Then walk over to the footprints at the 9/11 memorial.
  • Food Places you have to have – First off there is no good Memphis BBQ here in New York. Don’t try it, you are wasting your time and money. I equate it to trying to find a NYC bagel in Memphis. It ain’t happening. Do your homework and try to eat a couple slices at the Best that NYC has to offer. Want to eat at Katz’s or one of the big named places – be first on line when they open. Swing by the south east corner of Avenue of Americas and W53th for some World Famous Halal Guys. Go easy on the White Sauce and get extra napkins. Again – Get Reservations NOW!
  • Food Suggestions – People always ask me this and believe it or not I am just as unfamiliar with places as you are. I have heard you can eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at a different place for each meal for a year and not have a repeat. My normal saying is that if it is still in business then they must be doing something right. The margin of error for restaurants is so very tight and if you have a bad showing you are done. I also use Zagats, Yelp and Google Searches for the best places. If you want a Dive Bar list let me know. I have a killer one!
  • Clothing and Shoes – I get it, you ladies want to look good in your wedges and or heels but who are you kidding. It is going to be cold and possibly will rain. Comfort is your key and make sure that you have good shoes because you will be walking a ton! Regarding the George Costanza Puffy Coat, you can bring it but with going in and out of places, the subway you may want to layer and wear a scarf. If you plan on going to the Parade bring everything but your kitchen sink. Also the winds up here can be a bitch. My wool top coat is great about half of the time but if we are to have snow or a light rain I am breaking out my North Face coat. Bring a hat too!
  • Shopping – I use Amazon and order eCommerce so you are on your own. I do recommend that you check out Century 21 downtown. They have some good stuff.
Pro Tip – Use the Name or Number don’t call it “Taking the Red Line” #RoboCares
The Pigeon App – As sure as I-240 gets backed up so do the Subways. Get this app and check it before you journey out for the day.
Think of this as Room Service for your hotel/Air BnB. Be Careful though, you can run up a pretty large tab with those drunk munchies!
Fresh Direct App – Trust Me lugging those cases of beer or bottled water sucks. And they can deliver wine and drunk food too! Make sure you order and reserve your day/time because it will get busy before Thanksgiving.
So Good but make sure you get extra napkins because your elbow may get juicy!
They don’t call it the Bible for nothing!
Is that Gore Tex?

Enjoy your time in New York and Brooklyn, be nice to people, support local, tip your bartenders and stay safe. We leave out on Turkey Day for the weekend but give me a shout if you are in town early.

What’s in the Box?

If you have not seen the movie “Seven” I won’t spoil the fun. One of the many things that I have been trying to do is support the arts. When we moved up here we joined The Met for a year. Since then we kind of became homebodies but I have always been trying to do something.

The YMCA up on 92nd street in the UES had been doing a long lecture series that I have been keeping my eye on. Some were sold out before I could even buy tickets but when I noticed that Gwyneth Paltrow would be interviewing Evan Funke I circled the date on the calendar. Ok Truth – I have always had a little thing for her. I mean if you aren’t a fan of The Royal Tenenbaums then we can’t be friends.

Anyway if you are not a foodie you won’t recognize that Evan Funke is well known chef having worked at Spago and is a Pasta Making God in the restaurant world. The talk was great and many thanks to the Russian for being my date since Geranium was out of town.

It really was a good show.
Getting settled in our Seats
Crib Notes
Snapped this when the Picture Police had her back turned
They do a Guest Q&A and someone asked what would Evan cook for the President. He said that The Obama’s have eaten at his joint a bunch.

Robert De Niro is on the 7th of October. Hey UWS you want to be my +1? Geranium is going to be out of town again.

Jose Andres – Are we still keeping score @GrainbinGirl?

So my good friend GrainbinGirl and I share a little obsession together. We stalk the F out of chefs and try to garner seats at restaurants that are the talk of the town. Every January we kick ourselves that we did not attend the Caymen Cookout with all the celebrity chefs but in fairness the price tag does make that a hard trip to swallow. Please note that before we moved to New York she had a sizeable lead on me with regards to chef sightings. That immediately changed

When we moved to the UES it was actually her who figured out that Eric Ripert was one of my neighbors and right after that discovery I ran into him. No seriously, Monkey Head Maddy blind as a bat, actually walked right into him on E71st street. As you can imagine he was petrified that he hurt her and picked her up and petted her. Since then we dined at a couple really cool joints and I rubbed it in to her but not to be a complete dick I did get her a book from Ripert.

When I found out that Jose Andres was going to be signing his new book at his new joint in Hudson Yards I messaged the Murphranks to see if they wanted to join. This was right after my return from Barcelona and Mr. 3 First Names responded that I must have really enjoyed Spain since I was now “Everything Spain”. I booked the tickets and last night we headed down to Hudson Yards to check it out.

To say that Jose Andres is a huge celebrity is not an exaggeration. To say that Jose Andres is a humanitarian doesn’t scratch the surface. To allude that Jose Andres isn’t passionate about life and about food you must have never watched of Bourdain’s shows. And what I also love about him is that he is one of the only chefs in the world to currently be sued by a sitting US President. Yeah, he hates Trump as much as I do. Actually who carries a red wine on tap at his restaurant in Hudson Yards called “Democrat”? But of course Jose Andres does.

Adam Rapport from Bon Appetite was the moderator but was more of a “keep things on track” and the back and forth between Andres and Matt Goulding was hilarious. When I say that you really should have been there it is an understatement. I mean who else can total a rental car in Barcelona and say to the rental car employee who is having a come-apart “But I am Jose Andres and I must get to Madrid” and they are thanking him? Jose did mention Anthony Bourdain during one of the questions but I loved this comment the best;

“I am a vegetarian, I mean look at me. I am as big as a cow and I got this way from eating only vegetables.”

I am betting he isn’t tweeting FAKE NEWS or advising anyone not to show up to a congressional subpoena
Adam Rapport on the left, Jose Andres center and Matt Goulding on the right
He spoke to every person and took every selfie. My kind of a guy
Oh did I mention that Tom Colicchio the co-founder of Gramercy Tavern and a slew of other restaurants was there too?

And don’t worry GrainbinGirl. There is a FedEx delivery heading your way tomorrow. #RoboCares

Barcelona – The food and Drink an Ashley B picture post

As I previously mentioned HERE we were really blown away by how great Barcelona was on our long weekend trip. What really shocked both of us was how good all the food was. From simple cut fruit cup in the market to tapas at one of the celebrated tapas restaurants we never really encountered a bad meal there.

First of all one needs to visit La Boqueria on Las Ramblas. Don’t worry Cay-Kee, I have a list ready for you. Same for you Tay-Tay, I got you boo. No seriously La Boqueria is a 500 stall open air market that offers pretty much any type of food that you can find in Spain. We figured that if anyone who lives in Barcelona that they would shop for at least one or a lot of your weekly meals. The food was that good.

Ok enough with the words. Let me Ashley B’s the crap out of this post with some pictures. Oh and if you are a fan of Gin Tonic’s or cheap good red wine then you need to put Barcelona on your list. Enough Said!

No disrespect to The Rendezvous but this is a helluva Meat and Cheese Plate
Gin Tonics with all kinds of botanicals
Some of the best Paella we have ever had!
Want some Ham Carbunkle and Geranium? Is the Pope Catholic?
Sadly they wouldn’t let me put that in my carry on bag
It was like eating a gum drop
Peppers as big as your hand
Shit I forgot to take a picture of the food at Cal Pep
Why yes I will have a fancy drink
This is my kind of ice cream cone!
Yeah, it was a good trip

Like I said, you need to put Barcelona on your short list if you like good food and drink.