We went on a food trip this time with Lisa and John to NYC. We had a great time eating and drinking and figuring out the subway system. We stayed at The Thirty Thirty Hotel on 33rd and Park. It was a very nice hotel in a great location...and Lisa got it for a great deal. We arrived on Friday about 1:00. We parked the car and found the hotel then we set out for lunch. We headed to the closest place on Tony’s list. That was “Blue Smoke”. Tony and I had already been there on our last trip but we only had a drink and an appetizer because we weren’t really hungry at the time. This time we would have a proper lunch. We shared a couple appetizers, “The BBQ Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Dressing Dip” and “Deviled Eggs” that had been seasoned with cumin and powdered mustard (if our guess’ were right). Then I got the salmon with fennel, onion and zucchini. Tony got the beef brisket sandwich and Lisa and John shared the muscles and a salad of greens, goat’s cheese, peas and radishes with a wine vinaigrette.
We walked on and decided to stop at Grand Central Station just to check it out again and maybe we’d find something to eat. We stopped at the Oyster Bar where John and Tony shared just 6 oysters (we still weren’t hungry really), they got 3 New Zealand and 3 Wellfleet. We had a beer or two and we were on our way. We walked through Grand Central Market and Lisa bought me some Madjool Dates and some fresh Lychee fruit.
We made our way back to the hotel to get ready for dinner; we had reservations at 6:30 at DBGB restaurant. DBGB is a Daniel Boulud restaurant. We definitely wanted to try this one after seeing it featured on a couple different shows and after we had a great lunch at Bar Boulud (another of his restaurants) last time. This was just as good, maybe less choices for Lisa and I but what we had was good. I had the pork, Lisa had the chicken, and Tony and John both got house made sausages (there specialty) and they shared so they got to taste 4 instead of 2. Lisa and John shared the Frozen Tiramisu Sandwich and Tony and I shared the Baked Alaska for two (which could’ve been for four, so Lisa and John were able to try that too). It was a fantastic finish to the dinner.
We headed back to the hotel with the idea we would stop and have a drink somewhere on the way. The sky was about to open up and it would be a doozey; we had to hurry and find something… We sat down in front of our hotel restaurant where that was a cover, so it can rain all it wants now, we made it! Then the sky opened and boy were we glad we were under cover. We had a drink and we really could only stuff 1 or 2 drinks in our bellies, after all we had been eating and drinking all day.
On Saturday morning we had reservations at 10:00 for brunch at Balthazar Restaurant. We met between our two rooms (only a few doors down) in the morning so we could head out and find our way to Balthazar. Lisa had a fantastic idea that we would take the subway and get an all day pass. We got there a little early so we walked around a kitchen store while we waited. At 10:00 we sat down at the restaurant. Tony and I had also been to Balthazar before, but thought it was a good place to bring Lisa and John for breakfast/brunch. Bobby Flay said Balthazar has the best French fries he’s ever eaten so after Lisa heard that she had to order them as a “home-fry kind-a-thing” and let me tell you, they are very good! I had the eggs Florentine with artichokes. Tony had the eggs with salmon, which Tony has had there a couple times and he can’t get enough of that dish. Lisa had eggs in a puff pastry shell with asparagus that she really liked. John had eggs benedict. We were served some nice French style breads (they are famous for there bread bakery attached right to the restaurant) and they were all good.
We headed out and got on the subway to go to the NYC Library. We found the right one after stopping at a very unexciting library first; Lisa was looking for the beautifully designed one with arches and murals on the ceilings. We headed to Times Square and walked around a bit and found a brewery for a snack and a beer. Tony and I shared BBQ chicken quesadillas and Lisa and John shared spring rolls. It was getting later now and we had to head back to the hotel to relax a little before dinner. But we couldn’t resist the sign outside the hotel on the other side of the building that said…” Happy Hour Specials”… so we stopped there and Lisa had a Cosmo special, the rest of us had beer (I think).
After relaxing we headed to LeHalles for dinner. Tony and I had been to this restaurant before too and it was always very good (lunch and quick snack) but we were all a little disappointed in our dinner tonight. The excitement though was when Tony ordered Steak Tartar for an appetizer and Lisa who doesn’t eat red meat couldn’t believe the guy who made the Tartar tableside wasn’t going to bring it back in the kitchen to cook it. Tartar is freshly ground tenderloin or a good cut of meat that is mixed with a few flavorings and served raw. The problem was that the kitchen was way too fast in making our main course that we think it sat under a heat lamp for 15 minutes before it was served to us because we were still on our appetizers and that was just enough time to overcook every one of our (cooked) steaks and Lisa’s chicken which was JUST DRUMSTICKS, no breast! Very disappointing! We still had to pay the bill, I felt very bad.
We started walking (this time) to make our way to the southern most tip, to sit by the water and have a cocktail. We walked back up the eastern edge until we found a nice place to view the water. We sat outside and it was dark out so you could see Lady Liberty in the distance holding up her torch. There was a concert on one of the islands and so the ferries were busy bringing everyone over to the island. Lisa ordered some fried plantains and some chips, we all had some beers. After walking that much Lisa’s and My feet were killing us so we found the subway for the way back.
The next morning (Sunday) we decided we would have breakfast and hit the road. Right in the hotel there was a nice little restaurant that served breakfast and we just did that. We checked out and got the car. We couldn’t resist one more meal together as we were driving through Connecticut, Frank Pepe’s Pizza. Tony and I had made the drive from home a few times because it’s so good and really only about an hours drive from home. This may have been Lisa’s favorite meal. Lisa loves a good pizza, like the rest of us. We had a pitcher of beer and great fresh tomato, garlic, mozzarella cheese pizza and it hit the spot!