Month: July, 2007

Purdy’s Homestead

Friday, July 20th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Friends

To celebrate J and B turning another year wiser, we convened near Grand Central (48 hours after the massive steampipe explosion) for dinner on the town – the town being, for tonight, North Salem in Westchester County.

Purdy’s Homestead is named for Joseph Purdy – one in the long chain of Westchester Purdys — who built his colonial farmhouse circa 1775 farmhouse in the hamlet that now bears the family name. S and I had read various reports in the paper of record over the years, and weeks ago she set out to plan the celebration weekend.

But first, a quick trip to the Cupcake Café for a small cake – aren’t they pretty?

Cupcake Cafe cakes

One traffic-clogged ride up to Westchester later – seems we weren’t the only ones planning a quick summer getaway – we pulled up to the quaint, iron fenced homestead. A walk through the small bar area was like a glimpse into the landmarked house’s past: stone fireplace, beamed ceilings, wide-planked floors. No doubt cozy in wintertime, but tonight was clear and cool, so we elected to dine on the screened porch.

Purdys Homestead

Chef couple — another one! — Charles Steppe and Maureen Brown-Steppe, who met as students at the Culinary Institute of America and married just after graduation, opened Purdy’s Homestead in January 2000. The New American menu was casually elegant: we started our meals with well-presented appetizers of artichokes, calamari and oysters, and as darkness fell, proceeded into a round of four solidly satisfying entrees (for which there was hearty-cross-sampling.)

Purdys oysters

Purdys calamari

And for dessert: chocolate birthday cake, topped with astronaut-themed candles. Despite not quite being the surprise that S and I intended (tough to smuggle a cake in such close quarters), it was a sweet ending to a festive meal.

birthday cake

There are no comments just yet

Philharmonic in the Park

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007 | All Things, Music

After last week’s performance was rained out, the crowds turned out in droves for tonight’s second (and last) Philharmonic in the Parks concert in Central Park. 

J had staked out a prime spot for us near the center of the Great Lawn, putting us improbably adjacent to CP and her group, with whom we had to avoid eye contact when it became abundantly clear that they had far more people than blanket space.  (We may have been more inclined to generosity had half of them not insisted on prattling on loudly and distractingly through the entire concert.)

Sir Andrew Davis (who also conducted the Josh Bell concert last December) led the evening of music, which included Musorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” and one of my favorite arias, “Ebben? Ne andrò lontana” from Catalani’s La Wally.

Philharmonic in the Park

Philharmonic in the Park

Philharmonic in the Park

Post-concert fireworks over Columbus Circle:

Central Park fireworks

There's 1 comment so far

Jersey Shore — part 2

Sunday, July 15th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Family, Travel

Is Cape May the new Cape Cod? I remember how entranced we all were by the New England seaside resort the first time we visited… enough to commit to the destination as a family Labor Day weekend tradition. Some 20+ years later, though, some of us seemed ready to be lured away by someplace new.

A couple hours closer to New York City, and not yet victim to the contempt bred by familiarity, Cape May seemed like just the place. Once the fashionable resort for upper-middle class Philadelphians and Trentonites, it boasts a quaint small-town feel, pristine beaches, and streets lined with charming, well-preserved Victorian houses — the second largest concentration of such houses outside of San Francisco.

While Mom and Dad explored the area’s abundant antique shops, I toured the 18-room mansion of the late 19th-century Emlen Physick Estate — the year-round home of a nonpracticing Philadelphia-born physician. Physick came into his considerable inheritance, having fulfilled his father’s condition of attending medical school (at UPenn), but declined a medical career for the leisurely life of a country gentleman in Cape May, without ever treating a single patient.

It seems the elder Physick should have been more specific with his last wishes. The intent, no doubt, was to continue the family’s revered tradition in medicine through his son. Emlen’s paternal grandfather, Dr. Philip Syng Physick, was an accomplished and prominent Philadelphia physician, and considered by many to be the “Father of American Surgery.”

Emlen Physick Estate

Emlen Physick Estate

Cape May antiques

Softshell crab lunch at Lucky Bones Backwater Grille, conveniently (but probably not coincidentally) located next door to the Cape May Antique Center.

Lucky Bones softshell crab

Washington Street pedestrian mall:

Washington Street

Check out the rest of the photos on flickr… though I suspect we’ll be back soon.

There's 1 comment so far