Comforting Food in Icy New York

aroz con pato for one or two

When I landed in New York city about a week ago, it was late, it was cold and I was hungry. A few years ago someone told me to try Gabriels, an Italian restaurant right near where I stay. I am such a creature of habit and keep going back to the same places that I never found the right moment to try it. So, on this night I did and had a very good bowl of pasta with crabmeat in a sauce with tons of tomato’s. Also, it was extra garlicky which suits me fine. It was the bread that night that blew me away. If you read my blog, you will know what a freak I am about my bread, especially when in New York. L.A. doesn’t have great bread, at least not for me. We have heard for years it’s the water in New York. Whatever it is, I long for it when I’m home in L.A. and this particular night I was so immensely sated that on another night I went back pretty much specifically with the bread in mind. What I really loved about the restaurant was the feel of the place, it’s very old school. It reminds me of Chasens in a way or Matteo’s, a restaurant I went to every Sunday night of my life with my dad. At Matteo’s on Sunday nights, what tourists loved were the celebrity sightings. And so, if you like celebrity sightings, that night at Gabriels, David Duchovny had been eating there and walked by my table when he left. Never knew he was so tall, didn’t realize he was so good looking.
Gabriels Bar and Restaurant located just off Columbus Circle 11 West 60’th

I had a few lunches with girlfriends. My favorite being Prune for lunch. I have talked about Prune here before and I will say it in one word. Brilliant!! What I hated was that for me there were too many interesting choices. I ended up with their signature cheeseburger served on a very thin English muffin. The cheese is white cheddar and honestly, I’m writing this in L.A. and wishing I were back there eating that for lunch right now.
Prune 54 East 1st street

Creature of habit that I am, I enjoyed another wonderful meal, this time introducing my step-daughter to Fairway Market Café. To me, the place feels like a close friend who survived a dreaded disease like cancer or something. It was heavily rumored to be closing and now that rumor seems to have disappeared, I’m grateful to say. Had my usual, the branzino and their genius onion rings.
Fairway Market café and steakhouse 2127 Broadway at 74’th street

Best night for me was trying this new restaurant that my husband read about in the New York times. My husband doesn’t get that sparked by food like I do. He read about this dish that he insisted we must try. He also gave me the heads up, it’s a shared dish, served only for two people. I saw the photo of it and it looked like paella to me. I was apprehensive but willing. The dish he became obsessed with is called Aroz Con Pato. When we arrived, we were told the policy had changed and now you can get Arroz Con Pato for one. Good thing for me because on the menu I was spotting all sorts of interesting dishes that I wanted to try. Boy was I wrong. My salmon was only adequate compared to my husbands dish. My fork and I ended up stealing bites out of his cast iron skillet the rest of our meal. I did however like my salad which was a black kale with fennel, anchovy crispy pork, served with a soft egg and lemon vinaigrette. I’m a sucker for any dish that has a fried or poached egg served on top. My husband was the winner all around that night with his tuna ceviche starter.

black kale salad with poached egg

They have some kinks to work out in their service. When my husband got his dessert, mine was wrong. Strangely, they removed his dessert. They walked around the restaurant for awhile with his sorbet, brought it back a bit melted but it might have been one of the best he had ever had. Then I waited for way too long for my original order, churros served with warm chocolate sauce for dunking. The churro’s were practically room temperature, only warm(ish). But, they were good, better of course had they been hotter.
Nuela Restaurant 43 West 24’th street

Ping Pong is so much fun, isn’t it? How’s that for a segue? When we were done eating, I remembered that Spin, the ping pong club is somewhere in the flatiron area so we took out our oh so smart phones. His is a blackberry, mine is an Iphone, mine is so much smarter! Kidding (not really). But, in fact my husband is smarter than I am in navigating on a phone and did the research, figured out we are only a block or two from the club. So, that sealed it, we must try the place. Seredipity stepped in (it always does) by making me bump into Eataly while looking for Spin and I went in for a quick look and left with terribly expensive chocolates from Italy. A milk chocolate bar with pine nuts and my favorite candy (Gianduia 1865) which has hazelnuts. I kept hearing about Eataly from everyone. It is a huge, warehouse space, as big or bigger than Costco. It was opened by Mario Batali and other famous chefs and is filled with everything you might want from Italy. It also has a few great restaurants in there and it reminds me a lot of that market place in Barcelona. La Boquueria. Going there has sounded intimidating because when foodies talk about it, they mostly say how crowded it is. No crowds at 9:00 in the evening, so, I guess a perfect time to see it.
Eataly 200 5th ave.

Back to ping pong, where I had the most perfect date with my husband since, ? hhmmmm, our second date when I creamed him at a game of pool.
Spin 48 east 23rd


more of Eataly

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2 Responses to “Comforting Food in Icy New York”

  1. robin says:

    omg, fredde, if we were married i would be a big huge roly-poly girl.
    and like you, i can’t resist anything top with a fried egg…xox

  2. Love Gabriels – a Julliard place for me – for 4 years. But I missed Nuella and love thr Fairway!!! I want to go back to NY and hope Allison moves there again… I have 2 IDEAS FOR YOU NEXT TRIP, BUT I HAVE TO FIND MY NOTES. XXOO

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