TAKING A BITE of the “Big Apple” or 96 hours of Foodies and Friends eating their way through New York City.
I bet you thought that when a group of 8 women travel to NYC all they want to do is shop. Wrong! Especially when Foodies and Friends travel together. All we want to do is EAT and shop with maybe a cocktail or two in between or at least an iced coffee and sweet delicacy to help you make it through the afternoon until your next real meal.
When I finally decided that I would not commit to standing in line for 36 of the 96 hours that I would spend in NYC to get tickets to see the play Hamilton I was suddenly liberated and finally able to think clearly. Now I could define my priorities, map out my eating plan, and spend my energy and resources wisely looking for the perfect nosh.
NYC is such a great city of neighborhoods and ethnic eats. In four days, we attempted to explore as many neighborhoods and ethnic restaurants as physically possible—Korean in Brooklyn, Spanish in the Meat Packing District, Israeli/Middle Eastern in the East Village, Asian in Midtown, Jewish on the Lower East Side(LES) and Italian in the Times Square Theatre District. The stress of trying to pack in more than 3 meals a day was almost unbearable. But we did it, and survived, again.
[huge_it_gallery id=”2″] Darnell and Karen inspired me to get an early morning start with Jivamukti yoga at the Jivamukti studio, “Darnell’s mecca,” near Union Square. After a little dhyana (meditation) and 90 minutes of vigorous flowing vinyasa sequences we satisfied our morning appetites with breakfast at News Bar Café. Deep, rich, locally roasted coffee with an avocado, poached egg, tomato and pesto sandwich on homemade bread for me. Simple, fresh and satisfying. We topped that off with a stroll through the Union Square Green Market. Over 140 regional farmers, fishers and bakers sell their products in this urbanized landscape each week. The sites and scents of a profusion of fresh cut lilacs and peonies, and an abundance of fresh grown organic fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meats, and artisan breads enveloped us. We wandered through the market aimlessly, drunk with pleasure, our senses satiated, while munching on a basket of fresh picked, ripe, juicy strawberries. They were almost as good as Louisiana berries, but not quite.
Twenty plus years ago, another foodie friend and native Mandevillean, Cathy Deano, was living in NYC and introduced my friend Carol and me to Carmine’s. It is almost impossible for me to go to NYC without visiting Carmines, a family style, southern Italian restaurant. There I indulge in 2 of my favorite oversized platters: Chicken Scarpariello and Carmine’s Italian salad. Check out the secret recipe that Foodies and Friends were able to find for this earthy, garlicky, crusty, rosemary infused chicken! All of the food at Carmine’s is meant for sharing, foodies style. So cook it up, invite family and friends, and serve with your favorite Italian salad. Easy! The family style servings are so huge (Carmine’s prefers the “wow” factor) that 1 serving of chicken and 1 salad fed 5 hungry ladies. They like to say that they go for the feel of an Italian American wedding feast with their portions. So true!
Walking in Central Park followed by a sublime brunch at Russ and Daughters Café in the LES is another highlight not to be missed. How would I ever have discovered that egg creams do not in fact have eggs, and that the best potato latkes and chopped liver in the world would be located here. Russ and Daughters, the “Queens of Lake Sturgeon,” offers the mainstays of LES Jewish cuisine—pickles, babka, smoked whitefish, lox, caviar, knishes, bagels and more.
The beauty of NYC is finding the perfect little hideaway or encountering things by accident. Maybe you will have the good fortune to discover that hard to find “alfajores,” the Argentinian caramel shortbread cookie. There it is, staring you in the face and begging to go home with you. How could one ever resist such sweet temptation? You may never have this opportunity again.
We sniffed out many more delicious discoveries with stops in between at the Whitney and the Metropolitan Museum restoring our appetites before the next feast. We did not want to miss David Chang’s, Momofuku Milk Bar for compost cookies and cereal milk ice cream, or Dean and DeLuca for cherry clafouti and anything chocolate. And did we ever find the perfect rugelach? Not yet, so the search will continue, my foodie friends. For our farewell to NYC we spent the last night at the hipster Archer Hotel and Spyglass Rooftop Bar. Overlooking the city, face to face with the iconic Empire State building, we drank a farewell toast to the City we love, even if it never sleeps. Sante!
4 pounds chicken (about 12 pieces)
3 large lemons, 2 for marinade and 1 for sauce
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
6-8 large cloves garlic, leave whole
2 teaspoons fresh sage
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
splash of white wine
1/2 C chicken stock
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
salt and pepper to taste
Wash and pat chicken dry. Place chicken pieces into a large bowl to allow for mixing. Chop half the herbs and mix with chicken. Cut two of the lemons in half, squeeze out all juice and throw the squeezed lemons in with the chicken and herbs and whole cloves of garlic. Add olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper and mix well.
Cover and refrigerate 24-48 hours. Toss chicken 2-3 times throughout the day. The longer you marinate the better.
Heat oil in sauté pan over medium flame. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off as much of the herbs and liquid as possible. These herbs will burn during cooking.
When oil is just smoking, add chicken slowly to pan without overlapping pieces. Turn chicken when brown and crusty, 10-12 minutes. Repeat on other side. While chicken is browning, add marinated garlic cloves and cook until brown and tender. Remove garlic pieces and reserve. Place chicken in warm oven about 250. Discard oil used for browning chicken, toss in one tablespoon of butter and slowly cook the chopped shallots.
Add reserved garlic cloves and remaining chopped herbs. Lightly sauté one minute over low heat. Add a splash of white wine and cook 30 seconds over high heat. Add chicken stock and reduce until liquid becomes dark and taste is strong.
Over low heat, add remaining butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over the chicken and serve. Amazing!!!