There’s such an astounding concentration of restaurants in Manhattan, it’s easy to find good food without walking more than a few blocks. And thanks to seamless.com, you probably don’t even have to leave your house. But there are a lot of neighborhoods worth going out of your way for if you’re craving something special.
This weekend in New York was blustery and cool, and you could feel that winter is around the corner. It was the kind of weather that makes you miss home, and home cooked meals. There’s nothing homier or more comforting to me than soul food (or maybe a good cassoulet…), so I made the easy trek up to Harlem, which is arguably the best area in or near the city the find soul food.
Restaurant week in New York has long since wrapped up, but I’m not getting around to writing about some of the restaurants I was able to visit until now. Oops. It’s just as well though, because I would return to any of these restaurants again. If I could afford them…
What I love about restaurant week is that it gives you the chance to try out places that would ordinarily devour an unhealthy portion of your paycheck. You’d save places like these for special occasions. Granted, a $38 dinner is still pricey, but worth every dollar at the restaurants I was able to go to.
Telepan, in the Upper West Side, offers very elegant American favorites, using organic and seasonally changing ingredients. Though the restaurant emphasizes freshness in its ingredients, the mood felt a little stale because of the outdated furnishings and artwork that bordered on cheesy. But the food is really well executed. It’s the kind of place I would take parents visiting from out town, though not my first pick for a dinner date.
corn blini with smoked trout – truly awesome
Despite being one of the southern most cities in the US, I ordinarily would never trust Miami to produce quality southern cooking. For ceviche and cuban sandwiches I would go to Miami, but for grits and collard greens in Florida, I figured you’d be better off in a place like Gainesville.
Perhaps Gainesville does have great southern food, but so does a restaurant on South Beach called Yardbird. And I much prefer the trip to South Beach than to Gainesville…
Yardbird is not the quaint, whole-in-the-wall with 30 year old linoleum tiling where I might normally seek out soul food. Actually it has many of the same characteristics you would expect of any restaurant on South Beach – beautiful customers, pricey custom cocktails, and a steady wait for a table any time after 9pm.
I recently finished my oh so brief vacation, a whirlwhid tour of the Bay Area in California. The Bay Area is blissfully far away from the two cities where I’m currently spending most of my time – Miami during the week, and Brooklyn during the weekends. Central California is also so full of so much good food, it’s hard to know where to begin this blog entry. But something very different I noticed about Bay Area restaurants, markets, grocery stores, etc, was how open they often were about how the food (and the wine!) made it from the farm to the table.