Food Memories: New York
September 16, 2010 § 2 Comments
On my first trip to New York City, I was 14 and relatively terrified. With a death grip on my Dad’s hand, I scurry along trying to avoid oncoming traffic on the sidewalks. Everything seemed dirty, loud and fast paced, but once safely inside the Broadway shows we attended and restaurants where we dined, I came to understand what made the city so great. It’s safe to say if you had asked me then, I probably would have sworn I would never live in such a place. Of course 13 years later, I’ve been living here and loving it for more than 4 years.
Looking back on my first visit, I can recall which outfits I brought to wear, which broadway shows we saw and the exciting cab ride into the city for the first time from LGA. But —two distinctly new York food memories stand out to me. The first was my father’s morning trips from our hotel room to Dean and Deluca for croissants and freshly-squeezed orange juice. These would serve as our breakfast as we completed our morning routine. Having never been to Paris at that time, I am sure they were the best croissants I would have had up until that point and in my mind I labeled them as what New Yorkers ate for breakfast. (At that point I had not been introduced to the hard roll, which I still think is a crime again all breads, biscuits and pastries.) Luckily I do not currently follow my perceived New York breakfast regimen or I would surely weigh 500 pounds. Croissants, however, would reenter in my life when I studied abroad in Paris during college, and my affinity for and constant pursuit of the best almond croissant will never wain. Nor will never forget my early morning runs in Paris with smells of baking breads and pastries wafting from boulagerie-patisserie.
Gotham Bar & Grill
The second New York food memory that surely inspired me to follow my path of cooking, writing and working in the food industry, was a dinner at Gotham Bar & Grill. Still a wonderful and successful restaurant today, Gotham was relatively avant garde for the mid-1990s, and Chef Alfred Portale’s vertical masterpieces of food were unlike anything I had ever seen or tasted. It was here were I also learned that refills in New York are often not free (as they gloriously are in the South) so I would be having one Coca-Cola with dinner and I better make it last. This lesson has also served me well when it comes to ordering beverages in New York and Europe. Gotham, by the way, is still an excellent restaurant, classy spot for after-work drinks and one of the best prix-fixe lunch deals in town.
While I have formed hundreds of new food memories since interning and then moving here four years ago. These two will stick in my mind always when I think about this incredible city and experiencing it for the first time.