Yes, I know. I came back six months ago, and the entire summer has passed since, and I’ve even gone on another trip in the meantime, and how come I never finished that four-part summary of my time in New York, huh? I have no real excuse, other than I was busy travelling and enjoying the summer, and then pouting over the end of my trip and the end of summer.
Well, finally, here it is: the very last, long-overdue, much-awaited (ahem…) blog post about my trip to New York.
Our fourth day began lazily, in spite of our uncontainble excitement at the thought of revisiting our absolute favourite spot in New York: Murray’s Cheese Shop. A cheese shop, you say? Yes, a cheese shop. We had discovered Murray’s the previous year, when we had last visited New York. And every day since, we had dreamed and fantasised about the many glorious grilled cheese sandwiches we had feasted on.
Indeed, Murray’s is no regular cheese shop. It is everything anyone who ever dreams of eating cheese in heaven could ever dream of.
And so, we decided to share three grilled cheese for breakfast.
1. Da Bomb: braised short ribs, taleggio, caramelised onions and arugula
2. The Picnic Melt: pancetta, provolone and a house-made potato salad, served on garlic bread
3. The Solstice: goat cheese, fig spread, pecans and fried sage
I bet you feel full just reading those descriptions. And I also bet you’re pretty jealous of anyone who gets to enjoy these on a regular basis; I know I am.
It was a rainy afternoon in New York and we were on the verge of reaching food coma, so we lazily walked around the Village for the next few hours, taking refuge in the many record and vintage clothing stores that populate Bleecker Street and the surroundings.
Rumi is one of my favourite boutiques in the area — or at least, it’s one of the only shops where I’ve had repeated success in finding clothes I could afford. The many dresses are organised by colour and the store itself is eye-catching and sophisticated, and though you won’t find many bargains here, the prices are refreshing compared to many similar stores in the city. Nearby is another one of my favourite stores: Bleecker Street Records — from which I’ve never come out empty-handed!
It’s a good thing we hadn’t made lunch reservations for that day. We had plans to eat at The Spotted Pig, another culinary institution in the Village, but by the time we got there, we simply couldn’t dare order one of April Bloomfield’s famous burgers. What we did have room for, however, was something sweet. Since the place was relatively empty (it was nearing 4pm, and only the late lunch menu was available), we asked the host if it would be alright to sit down for just a piece of pie and a glass of wine — and he happily indulged us. Even if the rhubarb pie we shared hadn’t been perfect (it was), the atmosphere and decor alone were worth the detour.
We then headed to the Guggenheim Museum for a Francesca Woodman exhibit, a photographer whose work is equally mesmerising, inspiring and haunting.
We had two hours to enjoy between the museum’s closing time and the time of our reservation at a restaurant in SoHo, and two hours is pretty much how long it took for us to walk from one place to the other. Of course, because this is New York, that walk took us through half of Central Park, inside Momofuku Milk Bar for a few treats to bring back home, in front of the beautiful New York Times Building, and through a mass of people gathered in Times Square in the hope of catching a glimpse of Barack Obama, who was in town that day.
And finally, we arrived at Locanda Verde, and it was time to eat again.
We decided to share two plates of pasta: “grandma’s ravioli” and pappardelle with lamb bolognese, ricotta and mint, followed by a dish of scallops in almond gazpacho, served with pancetta and the freshest, crispiest spring peas.
Unfortunately, it’s been too long for me to describe these dishes in detail and do them any justice. Suffice to say that I would’ve eaten a hundred bowlfuls of that ravioli; that rarely have I ever been so delightfully surprised with a dish as I was with the fresh yet hearty pappardelle; and that the scallop dish was our favourite of the entire weekend (I didn’t count, but we must’ve shared a minimum of thirty plates over the course of four days).
Our waiter was so enthusiastic in his praise of their pastry chef, Karen DeMasco, and in his description of their dessert offerings, that we simply couldn’t resist. I chose the carrot cake, iced with a white chococolate mascarpone crema and served with carrot granita, and Kris opted for the chocolate budino (an Italian pudding), served with mint stracciatella gelato. Drooling yet? Both of these were unbelievably delicious, though we were both steadfast in our preference for the dessert we had each ordered. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who’ve embraced the glory of fruits and vegetables in their desserts, and those stubborn chocolate-lovers.
And thus concluded our trip to New York; four days, a dozen restaurants. I hope you enjoyed this series, and I do apologise for letting the suspense drag on this long (you guys were all eagerly awaiting this final post, weren’t you? Please humour me and say you were. Thanks.).