A Sarcastic Appetite


A Sarcastic Appetite Dates: Tennis at McCarren Park
May 24, 2014, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Dating

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When I first started online dating many moons ago, I set the bar pretty low: I just wanted to date someone nice. This led to a date with a guy named Robert, who was indeed nice but had the personality of semi-firm tofu. I quickly realized I was going to have to change my parameters.

 

The next logical move seemed to be shared interests: find a guy who likes what you like, so you can enjoy doing those things together. What are my interests? I thought to myself as I perused potential suitors. What does my typical weekend involve? White wine, brunch, sparkling wine, tapas, tennis…tennis! Perfect! Now all I had to do was find a guy who also liked tennis, and we could play together. It would be the perfect first date.

 

Soon enough I came across a potential match – let’s call him Boris. Boris was 30ish, cute, and was only ever photographed wearing hats or bandanas. I’m no idiot, but I was still curious. We chatted back and forth for a bit before agreeing to meet to play tennis at 10am on a Sunday in McCarren Park (yes, I go to Brooklyn), to be followed by brunch nearby. Getting a little workout and a lot of mimosas in sounded like a pretty ideal situation. That morning, I hoofed it out to the tennis courts and waited.

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Thirsty Thursday Round-Up for the Week of March 24
March 27, 2014, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up | Tags: ,

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So it’s been six months or so since I posted here last and I figured you were all due for a blog update. At least consider some of these options as potential weekend plans; I am nothing if not helpful. And if what all you really want to read are terrible internet dating stories, well, then, shoot me an email and maybe I’ll oblige.

 

Looking for Saturday night dinner plans? I scanned OpenTable and as of 10pm on Thursday, here are your best bets for a table for two on Saturday: Picholine at 8:15; Tocqueville at 8:30; Lavagna at 7:45; Lincoln, 8:00; The Modern – Bar Room, 8:00; The Apiary, 8:15; Costata, 7:30; Empellon Cocina, 7:30.

Gothamist does a little round-up of food events this weekend, including a Harlem Food Truck Rally (and now I know what I’ll be doing on Saturday afternoon).

Immaculate Infatuation also does a nice little “Spring 2014 Hit List,” featuring Bobby Flay’s Gato and Narcissa at the Standard East Village. I’m also partial to French Louie, since it’s by the same people who brought you Buttermilk Channel so you know it’s going to be good.

Also, for those of you who are curious, Drew Nieporent does a really interesting interview with Eater NY on his new restaurant, Bâtard, and his dislike of all things “New American.” Meanwhile, Ryan Skeen gives a hilarious interview with Restaurant Girl, notable for his claim that he “[hasn’t] been the chef at any restaurant since Allen & Delancey in 2009″ which is interesting given that he was listed as the chef and cooking in the kitchen on both my visits to the late 83 1/2 (remember that?).

The photos above, if you’re curious, clockwise from the upper left: champagne and a latte at Alexandra; “family dinner” with the Ninja at Blue Hill (we did the extended Farmer’s Feast tasting and it was divine); cocktails at Lantern’s Keep, which is better than ever after a menu revamp; and charcuterie & things at Benoit, a great Midtown standby, though their Negronis leave something to be desired.

 



Museums + Wine

IMG_1773 One of my favorite things to do is to check out a new museum exhibit….followed by wine somewhere great. It’s a win-win; I feel like I am actually taking advantage of living in New York, and then when I’m traumatized by the hordes of people also taking advantage of being in New York, I can retreat to a nearby bar over a glass of something delicious. (I also call these excursions “winetivities”…don’t tell my mother.)

So here’s what you need to see…and where you need to get a drink afterwards. Let me know how it goes.

What to see: Chagall: Love, War & Exile at the Jewish Museum (92nd and Madison)

Where to drink: Demarchelier (86th and Madison)

The Jewish Museum’s impressive exhibit explores Chagall’s wartime work, when he was living in Paris and later New York, from 1930-1948. His paintings during this time are haunting, with Biblical symbols (the Crucifixion was of utmost interest to Chagall, and often a symbol for the persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust) as well as other symbols of Russian folklore. When his wife Bella died suddenly in 1944, his paintings took on a more intimate sense of loss. Picasso is said to have remarked, “When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is.”

If you go on Saturdays, be prepared to be overwhelmed; the museum is free, and the exhibit will be packed. Read this introduction ahead of time. The Jewish Museum is closed on Wednesdays. Tickets are $15 if you don’t go on Saturdays, or you can Pay-What-You-Wish on Thursdays from 5-8pm.

When you’ve had enough, skip down Fifth Avenue to 86th Street, and pop over to Demarchelier for a glass of rosé champagne and some bar bites, including pâté and olives ($5 each).
 
What to see: Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul and “Lose not heart”: J. D. Salinger’s Letters to an Aspiring Writer at The Morgan Library (36th and Madison)
 
Where to drink: The Library at the NoMad (28th and Broadway)

Almost 100 items of Poe’s writing – from poetry to literary criticism – are on display until January 4, 2014, including Annabel Lee in Poe’s own hand. Also on display are works from other writers, from Dickens to T.S. Eliot, emphasizing Poe’s broad influence. Admission is $18.

The Morgan also has on exhibit nine letters J.D. Salinger wrote to a young Toronto woman, Marjorie Sheard, which are incredibly revealing of the late reclusive author. Salinger was just 22 when he responded to Marjorie’s request for advice, and The Catcher in the Rye existed only as a short story, “Slight Rebellion off Madison” in The New Yorker.

Once you’ve had your fill – and stopped in to check out Treasures from the Vault in Morgan’s 1906 library – take a stroll over to the NoMad Hotel, on 28th and Broadway. Yes, it’s a bit of a walk, and yes, it’s worth it. Weekend afternoons are a little quieter in this airy two story room replete with actual books (I checked). And the drinks are legendary, though lately I have been partial to the Jäger Zweigelt rosé, made in the Wachau valley in Austria.
What to see: The Tenement Museum (Orchard and Delancey)

Where to drink: Ten Bells (247 Broome Street, between Ludlow and Orchard)

The Tenement Museum, a National Historic Site, is one of the more underrated museums in the city. It requires a bit more planning; the best way to see the museum is through one of the many tours offered, and you’ll need a day or two’s notice as they tend to sell out. (Note most are not air-conditioned, so in August skip the tour and head straight to Ten Bells.) Tickets are $22.

When you’re ready for a drink, walk through the large, unmarked door at 247 Broome and you’ll find yourself a little oasis in Ten Bells. I’ve written about this place before and I think its wine list alone is worth the trek. It’s quiet in the afternoons, but definitely gets packed at night, so be forewarned. The boys at Immaculate Infatuation were not overwhelmed with it as a dinner destination, so just keep it in your back pocket for a late afternoon tipple.



Thirsty Thursday Round-Up for the Week of October 24
October 24, 2013, 8:49 pm
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up

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I’ll be honest: I kind of forgot about this blog. But apparently some of you didn’t! And in rereading some of my old posts recently, well, I remembered I kinda liked it too. So here we go again. I’m here to canvas the food blogs so you don’t have to – when I’m not hiking in Maine (top left), digging into brunch at Lafayette (bottom left), cozying up to a glass of champagne, or settling in with the very first issue of Equals, which I am really excited about.  Anyway, a couple of highlights this week:

Babbo just introduced a lunchtime truffle tasting menu for a cool $99. And if you really want to get after it, get yourself to the NoMad, where they’re serving white truffles at cost. (And while you’re there, have a couple drinks in the Library and thank me later.)

River Styx in Greenpoint is reason #75 I need to plan another neighborhood crawl. From the same people who brought you Roebling Tea Room in Williamsburg, River Styx is apparently hitting all the high notes with dinner and brunch crowds alike. (Unless, of course, you hate brunch.)

Empellon Cocina will welcome Grant Achatz as part of its latest Push Project on November 7…and yours truly will be there. To say I am excited would be a vast understatement; I’m still talking about the drinks I had at the Aviary a month ago.

New on Gothamist is a list of brunch spots that aren’t terrible, from The Dutch to Lobster Joint and my perennial favorite, Shopsin’s. (Bonus: more hating on brunch. Apparently the round-up has a theme this week.)

Toro tops Grub Street’s latest Power Rankings; it seems the 60-odd menu items are a hit. I was displeased at having to stomach $7 for one egg, deviled, but such is life. And I’d be lying if I said the bone marrow ($16) with oxtail marmalade was only ok – it was an absolute delight.



Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of June 27
June 30, 2013, 10:45 am
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up

June

Hello, friends! I may or may not be working on another A Sarcastic Appetite Dates post…but in the meantime, here’s a round-up of what’s happening in the food world. I canvas the food blogs so you don’t have to. A couple of updates:

Pete Wells gives – GASP – one star to Andrew Carmellini’s Lafayette. In case you’ve been living under a rock, this is the newest resto from the guy behind Locanda Verde and The Dutch, and probably about two stars less than what they were hoping for. The burger is as phenomenal as everyone says. Try going at an off-hour, for a late lunch.

Over on The Bad Deal, Ryan Sutton may have broken the space-time continuum when he created a Mapo Tofu Taco.

Platt gets into ABC Cocina (the place is still mobbed on a regular basis) where the tacos are a little over-wrought and the prices a little high. I’d be lying if I said the drinks didn’t sound delicious.

A better rendition of a small plates place seemes to be Alder, Wylie Dufresne’s second venture after WD-50, according to Serious Eats.

The boys at Immaculate Infatuation are back with another Summer Guide – this time to Killing It. $2.99 gets you a huge rundown of where to eat, drink and hang this summer. My to-do list? The Pines, Rockaway Taco, and Vinegar Hill House. Hey, you gotta start somewhere.

Oh, and if you’re a cut-and-switch kinda guy (or gal), apparently you’re doing it all wrong. It turns out being left handed does have its benefits….

And if you’re in the mood for an over-the-top Pimm’s Cup, try the one at Whitehall (bottom right photo). It’s pretty decadent. And delicious.



A Sarcastic Appetite Dates: Some Nondescript Bar in Times Square
June 13, 2013, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Dating

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Clearly, you all care a lot more about my hilariously terrible dates than anything I’m cooking in the kitchen. So here’s another edition of A Sarcastic Appetite Dates. Yes, this actually happened. 

How many dates have I had where I wanted to leave the moment I realized which guy was my date? Too many to count. How many times have I been fooled – no, fooled myself – into thinking that the one attractive online photo of the guy was how he actually looked, and not the 7 other ones where he looked like a distant relative of Chewbacca? Too many to count.

My date with, oh, let’s call him Chadwick was one such example. This was a couple years ago, when I was in the throes of my first real attempt at online dating, and boy was he a doozy. He had once nice photo, which I convinced myself was how he actually looked, and several others that painted a…less attractive picture. But I soldiered on anyway, convinced that he “looked nice.”

I don’t even remember how we started communicating.  Did he “wink” at me? Was that all it took?  Had I set the bar too low for myself? Did I need to rethink this? Did I need to rethink a lot of things? All of it was possible.

At any rate, we exchanged a few emails before agreeing to meet for drinks the week after Thanksgiving. I had mentioned in one missive that I was flying home the following morning – I had written something along the lines of “I can’t get too crazy!”

Well, I would have been in spectacular company, because Chadwick WAS crazy.

He suggested meeting in front of the Heartland Brewery in Midtown, and I reluctantly agreed. I repeat – we had agreed to meet at the Heartland Brewery. In Midtown. A block from Radio City. Three weeks before Christmas. I had to fight my way past overweight tourists walking four abreast (gah) carrying loads of shopping bags from unique New York stores like Aldo (double gah).

I sauntered up to the plaza outside Heartland, where a throng of people was also waiting for their dates. Oh – there’s a cute gentleman standing over the—nope, that’s his wife. Ooh, maybe that guy—nope, he’s with that girl. And all of a sudden this short (er than he said he was online), awkward guy looking hilariously out of place and somewhat terrified turned toward me and I knew instantly: Chadwick.

Fighting the urge to run, I instead walked over and introduced myself, and it became clear that Chadwick was having a meltdown.

“The wait is over an hour,” he moaned. “I don’t know where else to go.”

I knew I was going to have to salvage this situation – but my mind had gone blank. I couldn’t remember where one might go for drinks in the neighborhood because I never went for drinks in the neighborhood. All I could think of was Maggie’s Place, on 47th and Madison, which I hesitantly suggested.

“It’s too far,” Chadwick cried. “I don’t want to have to cross 6th again. There are so many people!” He looked like he was going to pass out. And he had suggested this! If figuring out a plan B for drinks in Midtown a few weeks before Christmas was enough to put this guy in a coma, what about when something really terrible happened?

Is it too late to bail, I wondered. What if I just disappear into the hordes of tourists. Could he catch me? I don’t think he could catch me.

But my politeness won over – it seemed too mean to run away.

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A Sarcastic Appetite Dates: Cafe Lalo
May 16, 2013, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Dating

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Image courtesy of Sameer Narula

When I brought the blog back, I was open to taking it in a few new directions. This is one of them. It’s food related only in that it took place at a restaurant. But if it’s entertaining enough, I may continue sacrificing myself to the online dating gods for your reading pleasure. There’s certainly enough content. 

The date was set for 8pm at Cafe Lalo on the Upper West Side. The gentleman in question – let’s call him Bernard – got points for simply picking a place, without 75 text exchanges over where and when, and do you work in Midtown East or Midtown West? But he was coming off a weekend of minus 1,000 points, mostly due to his incessant need to text me at all times with just: “Hey :- ).”

It was something about the nose that made me breathe fire. Who was this guy, and why did he insist on texting me to say absolutely nothing – with a smiley face AND a nose? There was only one way to find out.

So promptly at 8pm I bounded up the steps of Cafe Lalo, after wasting the appropriate amount of time perusing the goods on display at Organic Avenue. (I fled.) Suddenly, I was on the set of You’ve Got Mail. Should I have brought a red rose? I thought. Am I going to meet Tom Hanks?

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