Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lunching in New York

My husband and I just got back from a long weekend in Manhattan. We had, of course, planned out our three dinners, making reservations at Prem-on Thai, Centro Vinoteca, and Bolo. But what to do for breakfast and lunch?

As it turned out, our hotel, the Hudson, was across the street from the Time Warner Center, an ugly glass behemoth housing a tony shopping mall and offices. And the Bouchon Bakery. We'll probably never have the opportunity (nor the budget) to eat at Per Se or the French Laundry, but a quick luncheon grabbed at the Bakery was certainly within reach.

People waited in line to dine in the reserved, restaurant-style part of the bakery, so Mr. Minx and I headed to the carry-out. It was nearly 2pm and although we had 7pm dinner reservations, we were starving and needed sustenance. We decided to split the roast beef and fontina sandwich, an almond brioche, and a pumpkin macaron. Because the area was so crowded, and I had forgotten to get something for us to drink, we headed to the Whole Foods on the lower level and found both beverages and seats. I was momentarily tempted by the huge array of prepared food at the vast salad bar, but knew we already had enough food to keep us satisfied.

The sandwich was delicious, light and crunchy ciabatta bread stuffed with roast beef, fontina, and an herby green pesto. So often one gets roast beef that is gristly, or worse, marinated in something to hide the off flavor of the cheap meat. This roast beef was meltingly tender and tasted of nothing but beefy goodness.

After the sandwich was dispatched, we split the flat slab of brioche, coated in sliced almonds and dusted with powdered sugar. I missed the whimsical typical brioche shape which always reminds me of Babar (he dined on brioche with the Old Lady), but enjoyed the flavor and thought that unsold leftovers would make a killer bread pudding. The macaron, one of those pretty pastel yummies that I've been seeing in Parisian blogs, was delectable perfection, and I hope to try my hand at baking some of these whimsies during the holiday season.

The next morning, we had breakfast at Bergdorf Goodman. It consisted of flavorless bagels, no doubt un-boiled and un-authentic, tiny commercially-produced muffins and danishes, and a decent fruit cup. Needless to say, after our adventure in the fragrance department, hubby and I needed actual food. We had decided to spend most of the day wandering through the museums on the Upper East Side and discovered a Papaya King not far away. We had heard that a papaya drink alongside a hot dog was an improbably perfect combination that we needed to experience for ourselves. Papaya smells like vomit to me, so I opted for a mango shake instead. And yes, it did go well with the two Sabrett's dogs in a toasted bun with mustard and onions in a ketchup-y sauce.

Sunday's bagel at Bond No. 9 was closer to the real thing, small and chewy, and enough to get us through to our lunch at the Pizza Box on Bleecker Street. I had been there last November, on a trip to NYC with my dad, and enjoyed a regular slice of cheese pizza. This time, Mr. Minx and I opted for the Sicilian style slice and were rewarded with a nice, non-doughy bread crust, crisp on the bottom, with just the right amount of cheese and sauce.

Monday's breakfast was poached eggs and bread smeared with hazelnut spread at Le Pain Quotidien. Lunch consisted of more hot dogs, this time from Nathan's at Penn Station, followed by more yummies from Bouchon Bakery.

It's a darn good thing we walked so much, to burn off all of the calories we consumed over the weekend. Dinner-related posts to follow.

Bouchon Bakery on Urbanspoon

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