Despite the dream weekend trip to the city being just a fortnight ago, boy, were these last fourteen days a long, long journey till the end. Never have I in college pulled so many weekday all-nighters in a row, forced to embrace the pseudo ghastly role of a nocturnal cemetery caretaker on his graveyard shift - over and over again; the puffy eyes and slight disorientation of the mind are some unflattering evidence highlighting this accumulation of sleepless nights that just escalated out of control towards the end.
And so I finally submitted my proposal today. Fearful to admit, but I do feel oddly empty; an eerie revelation that something did consume me. And I have been purged.
Alright, that should be sufficient rambling for a blog that's supposed to be about Muscovado sugar, cinnamon spice and angel food cake batter.
So I promised updates on the weekend trip to Manhattan. And right now, I shall promptly deliver.
The Manhattanite high life begins at 10 in the morning at Gramercy Park Hotel. The stunningly chic boutique property by the ledengary Ian Scrhager. (The two doormen were outstandingly charming I have to add.) Well, Danny Meyer recently took over the Aoki Chinese restaurant to open his all new Roman trattoria, Maialino, in November last year.
We had a family-style lunch at the private dining room.
The menu featured simple, classic Roman dishes done superbly well. The bread, can I say, was marvelous.
A flaky, crisp crust just waiting for me to sink my teeth in to reveal the airily soft and moist insides. Mmmm.... And it can't be all that awful when they had a decent selection to choose from. I loved the focaccia.
Next came the Carciofini Fritti or fried artichokes. I do enjoy artichokes, often in my salad, but never had them fried before. So realizing how amazing these little nuggets of golden shards taste (dipped in anchovy sauce) was yet another enlightening gastronomy episode worthy of a diary entry. But then again, don't almost everything taste delish deep-fried...?
The Bombolotti all'Amatriciana were mouthfuls of spicy, savory al dante bliss. Thanks to that fresh homemade pasta (and hidden pork bacon...)
Finally - the entree du jour! Insalata di Spigola and Bistecca di Bue. Translation: Marinated sea bass with preserved lemons, and aged sirloin with radicchio and sunchokes. I am definitely a self-proclaimed red meat lover and these ever-so-moist tender hunks of charred beef illuminating with their crimson pink interior were (literally) a feast to my eyes and (of course) my palate.
Dolci, or desserts, were a simple but spectacular fare of fruity and chocolatey delights, of which I am not proud to admit that - ironically out of all things - my brain chooses to dismiss any signs of recollection for these divine sweet treats. And my only excuse? I blame it on the excessive food and wine that had thrown me out of focus... Right.
... But most certainly not lacking in too much focus to make it to our next culinary pit stop at the famous Four Seasons Restaurant owned by Mr. Alex Von Bidder. No seriously, we left Maialino's and all we did was to walk from Gramercy Park on 21st and Lex to The Four Seasons Restaurant on 52nd and Park. Twenty-one streets uptown but undoubtedly much needed after that midday feast fit for the Roman gods (and goddesses).
So whizzing past dinner, our next stop (yes, we did have another stop after Maialino and FS) was downtown Chelsea where I had a little evening champagne-sipping at Moet Hennessy.
How about some bubbly to round off the night? With compliments from the good people themselves.
And we tried some of their champagne-chocolate truffles specially created for the 2010 Oscars'. Again, need I speak further? If it's fit for Hollywood, I'm pretty darn sure it's more than fit for me too.
By the way - they're launching a new Belvedere flavor soon! Grapefruit - I eat, love and crave; Belvedere vodka - my ideal libation of choice at any party any time. Put them together? I trust I'll have a fabulously flirty time.
And when I thought the night was truly over, new episodes always happen to make me remember that I am, after all, in the city that never sleeps. So surprise or no surprise, I ended up in revelry at Del Posto next door. The chefs kept whipping up hors d'œuvre after hors d'œuvre, while the bartender showered us with more champagne yet again. I shall not even try to recount what I did after that fifth (or was it the sixth? maybe the seventh?) glass of sparkling... Ah, who's counting anyway?
How's that for an epic start to a great weekend in the Big Apple?
The official time now stands at 3:19AM. I think I'm getting accustomed to working on overdrive. No need for Redbull to give me wings. Neither do I need that disturbingly potent 5-hour energy drink to beat the 3PM (or in my case, 3AM) snooze time. But what I do need is some peace and shuteye. And definitely more than forty winks. So goodnight world, as I sign out from my deeply modest and humble abode along a nondescript street up in dear ol' Ithaca.