Mom's best friend, Ellen, moved to New York a few years ago. Ellen is one of my favorite people- and definitely my favorite Republican. We share a love for food - she has even helped me plan and cook for my parents' surprise 30th wedding anniversary party. I wish I could cook as well as Ellen, and this is why I was so honored to be invited over to her daughter Sarah's house for a lunch that Ellen would prepare. Sarah has a son who is almost two, and almost the cutest thing you've ever seen:
This lunch was exactly as I suspected it to be: perfect. Usually I hate people who seem to put together meals effortlessly (I always feel like I'm the one who comes out of the kitchen looking like I wrestled and slaughtered the cow I'm serving) but it's hard when the food is so simple and good:
This is a very basic chicken salad- but a few things make it great. First, Ellen poaches her chicken breasts in raspberry vinegar and this makes them very decadent- I thought at first she had used dark meat in this dish. Second, she says she adds much more goat cheese than any law abiding citizen might and this makes the dressing kinda creamy and everything in the salad taste wonderful.
We stayed with Ellen, Sarah and little William the whole afternoon and barely made our dinner reservation at Gordon Ramsay's The London Bar. We went out with one of my best friends from college, Allen (you've seen him before on my Ashland trip last year) and his boyfriend, Blake:
This isn't the best picture of the boys, but it gives a good sense of how our meal started off a tad stressful. I mentioned as we sat down that we had theater tickets that night and our waiter seemed like everything was going to be fine, but then he came back two minutes later and said "ok, we better start ordering some food now." See, the London Bar, isn't your typical menu- it like tapas, but nobody is supposed to share. So we each had to choose 4-6 dishes- and each would be a small taste. It was kind of like creating your own chef's tasting menu- I liked this, but our waiter was worried about fitting in all the courses. Yet once we ordered, our waiter calmed down a bit and we really enjoyed our meal:
That was my first dish- the Carpaccio of tuna and swordfish with lime and cucumber marinade, soya dressing. The whole dish was a total tease- the fish was sliced so thin that it all probably amounted up to one mouth full- but it was delicately dressed and made me hungry for more:
There's my second dish: BLT Bacon and onion cream, chilled lettuce veloute (which our waiter poured on), tomato gelee. This dish was also amazing in taste- but not exactly something that feeds your hunger. It would be as if jello could fill you up. But of course this is the fois gras of jello- and we were urged to dig our spoon down to the bottom of the glass so that we could get every taste in every bite.
I also had the cured salmon with scrambled eggs (a little salty) and the oven baked pork belly (I was too involved in talking about Blake's pilot callback to care to take a picture- but it was wonderful)- I think this may have been my favorite meal of the night. Besides having good friends around and my mom being happy because she had gay men to talk to about her kitchen remodel with, I thought the menu was innovative- and filled me up while making me be adventurous at the same time. For example, something that I thought would be an easy classic- BLT- turned out to be something completely new.
And then off to our next play:
If you hadn't heard it from someone else, this musical is the new Rent. I know it's nothing new that 15 year-olds think about sex- but it is original to put it on stage. Actually, not really. Spring Awaking (the musical) is a adaptation of a play that has been condemned for the last 100 or so years. And even though the musical doesn't really have an ending- it's amazing. I give a special kudos to Lauren Pritchard who has the most soulful voice I have ever heard on stage. I bought the soundtrack and it's making my commute a lot easier. Also, I loved seeing an audience that didn't look like a geriatric ward. Yay for young people going to the theater. Sex sells.
The London Bar
151 W. 54th St.
New York, NY
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