Never Really Been So I Don’t Really Know

me, fairway

I have run an informal, not- for -profit concierge service for years.  I field calls weekly from various friends asking what restaurant to go to for certain occasions.  I like giving this advice, I love sharing information.  From very early on in life I have loved connecting people.

If I’m in a hotel, no matter where or when, I’m often found deep in conversation, in a hot tub, probably about food with strangers.  I once belonged to the Loews Hotel fitness club which was, and is, not terribly expensive and comes with the use of their pool, hot tub, steam room.  It was a great deal and I really love to swim and didn’t have a pool of my own at the time.  Most nights I could be found in the hot tub with random people telling them where to eat while they were in L.A. on vacation.  Great for THEM.

Years ago,  I remember sitting in a hot tub in the Berkshires, at a hotel I recommend by the way,  called Porches.  I told some of my new -found “friends for the next 20 minutes “that I would be spending a lot of time on the upper west side of New York.  They were my east coast counterparts.  They told me all these places I needed to go.  Did I listen? Well, I never forgot but I never really tried all, no make that any of their suggestions.  I am set in my ways and love my Magnolia cupcakes so much that I totally disregarded their recommendation of the “real” best cupcakes in the city.  They had said the name Mitchell London and it sounded like a salon and not a food place so I just ignored it.  The mental note was still there and sometimes I would pass a Mitchell London store as I was headed to a museum or somewhere to eat on the upper east side.  But I just kept ignorant.  And, it was maybe better that way.

Another place my friends- for- 20 minutes told me to go was to eat dinner or lunch at a market on the upper west side called Fairway Market.  One time, I was passing by and took a quick look and honestly at the time I peeked in it was after hours, the place looked like the cafeteria from my childhood grammar school.  After that one look,  it never appealed to me.

What was I thinking ignoring those well-informed foodies? I now feel like a fool.

Fairway Market just kept coming at me from all kinds of people and then my husband sent me an article that Frank Bruni had written.  He is the restaurant critic that I wrote about in a few former pieces.  Okay, so just days before my trip back east, now a foodie guru is telling me to go to the Fairway Market to get an amazing meal.

Now, I really had to try it.  I invited a beautiful young college student, my friend Janet’s daughter Annabel,  to join us.  She loves great food and spent all her summers  in Europe and was always exposed to the best cuisine.  Her mother is a great cook, her father, even she- is an amazing cook who hosts dinner parties in her St. Marks apartment.  Annabel and her roommate do all the organic, vegetarian gourmet cooking.

I’ve been now, so I REALLY do know, the food is superb at this oh so casual restaurant.  So casual it doesn’t even feel like a restaurant and you can even get in some grocery shopping.  Upstairs where you eat is also a health section with everything you would find at Whole Foods, only much easier to find and no line to stand in.

And guess what else? They just happen to have the Mitchell London cupcakes.  So, okay, guess what else? They are fucking amazing! Now, I’m a bigger fan of those cupcakes than of Magnolia which is only two blocks from where I stay on the upper west side.

By the way, I had the branzino, I went back a few days later to have it again, that’s all I’m saying, do I need to say more?

It’s affordable, it’s delicious and I hope it never closes like some of the restaurant institutions have lately.

I am attaching the menu for all to peruse.cafedinner

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5 Responses to “Never Really Been So I Don’t Really Know”

  1. Susan says:

    I’m going there upon your recommendation. Great writing as usual!
    Saw Mike today with the doggie that hates me, but he didn’t wanna bite my neck off this time!

  2. Fredde, I love the Fairway Market. When Allison was at Juilliard we’d eat a fab lunch there often. However, there is USUALLY a wait because so many know about this once secret spot! By the way, those cupcakes are the best and you know I love the Magnolia. The grocery store is also an amazing experience!! Ok, now I will have to remember all my other favorite West side diners so I can tell you about them and you will NOT go!!! Two restaurants I heard about AND never got to are Katz Deli – for the best pastrami or corned beef in town and Sylvia’s in Harlem for soul food but in particular fried chicken and ribs!! There is a small Italian restaurant on Columbus that is unknown and fabulous. It has about 8 tables – I will ask Allison if she remembers the name. Love you Duke, keep reviewing – lover it!!!

  3. Danny Hackin says:

    I’ll make my mom take us there in April.
    Thanks Fredde.

  4. pauli moss says:

    Wonderful story about the cupcakes. Have you tried the coconut cake or cupcakes at Susiecakes in Brentwood?
    The frosting is buttercream – not cream cheese and I think really good.

    When we were in Baden Baden there was this wonderful restaurant Cafe Konig that had Kaishermarren – and also made it with fresh cherries. Thank you for the recipe!!! Do they still have it at Spago?

  5. Frank Slaten says:

    Fredde wonderful story and as Kristi said… Fairway is the shit !! When I first moved to NYC I lived on 74th and Columbus so of course I used Fairway as my market…. I found that the only real difference between it and Zabar’s was Fairway had the Diner upstairs… it took years before I went upstairs but, I ‘m glad I did !!!! I still only use Fairway for my Market.. great food, cheap prices.. $4.99 for a pound of Creame Hazelnut… so as Kristi was saying… yeah there is nothing like Katz’s for CB and Pastrami, it’s like Langers in downtown LA…. but Artie’s on Broadway and 81st is like Nate n Al’s and one other place you could check out is Cozy’s on Broadway and E. 8th street… I practially lived there when I was going to NYU.. and they recoqnized me from M*A*S*H and used to comp my meals when I was broke and even put my Photo on their wall!!

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