The Circle, then the Square

Sunday, September 17th, 2006 | All Things, Classes, Eats, Events

I got up bright and early on Sunday morning for my sautéing techniques class at Williams-Sonoma at the Shops at Columbus Circle. The class was the first I attended in the shop’s Sunday morning cooking series. I figured that although I already pretty much knew how to sauté, a more formalized instruction couldn’t but help. John, the instructor, explained a bit about the origins of sauté (from the French sauter, which means “to jump”) and the smoke points of different oils. As he talked us through a preparation of chicken with lemon-basil sauce, he offered some practical advice for successful sautéing: gradually heating the pan before adding the fat, not overcrowding the bottom of the pan, and ensuring all the pieces are generally the same thickness and size.



Which reminded me a little bit of the classic SNL sketch, Cooking with The Anal Retentive Chef. R.I.P., Phil Hartman.

Brunch downtown at Chat ‘n’ Chew with SYB, after which, en route to Time Out New York’s “Back to School Blowout” in Union Square, we passed through stand after stand piled high with skeins of colorful yarns and impressive displays of fiber crafts. And lots and lots of squealing women, many lugging around overstuffed shopping bags, along with the occasional shellshocked-looking man – all out for the Eighth Annual “Knit-Out & Crochet” event, also being held that afternoon in the Park.

I recognized a few of the yarn purveyors from around the city (like Seaport Yarn and the Upper West Side’s Knitty City) as well as some of the larger yarn and crafts manufacturers. It would have been very easy to get caught up in it all had I been with someone else (i.e., a woman), but I surmised that SYB probably wasn’t all that interested in oohing over the silks, cashmeres, mohairs and alpacas.

Chat n Chew

Knit Out


Time Out hosted the back-to-school festival last year also, the primary purpose of which is to welcome new — mainly, college — students to New York City and to introduce them to the vast and diverse offerings of the city. I like attending because in addition to being a continuing student – Russian class starts on Wednesday! – it’s nice to be reminded of why New York is such a great place to be.

Heartland Brewery was there in the Square, pumping out free beer from a keg, as was Trader Joe’s with their Mango Lemonade and Chile Spiced Mango samples (chewy, spicy — different.) Peanut Butter & Company had lots of coupons and temporary tattoos to distribute. I let the woman put one on my arm; it had a monkey on it! There were lots of giveaways – nothing spectacular, though SYB picked up a Wicked -emblazoned hand fan, and we both entered contests for Carnegie Hall subscriptions and comedy shows. Fingers crossed!

Back to School Bash

Popped into Max Brenner Chocolate by the Bald Man — the newish cafe/ restaurant/chocolate shop from Israel that opened its first New York City branch off Union Square, drawing crazy, sweet-seeking crowds, and inevitable comparisons to Willy Wonka (minus the Oompa Loompas.) From the moment we set foot inside the door, the rich, heady scent of chocolate permeated our nostrils. And no wonder: there were trays, plates, bins and fountains overflowing with the dark stuff at every turn. It was almost too much. Almost.



Cocoa Market

I hear they serve a chocolate “pizza” — with an optional topping of mini-marshmallows — in the cafe. Is that wonderful… or a little obscene?

There's 1 comment so far ... The Circle, then the Square

September 19, 2006

I think obscene.

And I think Heartland was actually dispensing soda from their kegs.

Go for it ...