Month: July, 2007

FDR fireworks

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 | All Things, Family

It was J and J’s first Independence Day on the Upper East Side, and we decided to take full advantage of their new strategic location to view the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks.

We made our climb up the stairs stealthily so as not to draw the attention of the other residents, who would no doubt be competing with us for standing room atop the building.  When we emerged on the roof, we were surprised to find it empty of all but one other couple – no doubt due to the chilly rain, which had just begun to fall shortly before 9PM.

Staff House view

Or maybe because you can’t actually see the fireworks from this vantage point.  D’oh! We made this realization after huddling under our umbrellas for about ten minutes, as the sounds (but not the sights) of the pyrotechnic show began somewhere south and east of us.

Plan B: to the streets, where thousands of other would-be spectators were converging along the East River.  A few blocks north, we joined a small crowd gathered on the cul-de-sac by The Belaire from which we could almost – almost — make out the fireworks being shot off beyond the Queensboro Bridge.

FDR fireworks

Plan C:  We were going to have to cross that bridge over the FDR.

FDR overpass

Which we did, catching the tail-end of the spectacular half-hour show.

FDR fireworks

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Pretty produce

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007 | All Things

Organic produce tends to have more blemishes than conventionally grown produce which, although not detrimental to the nutritional value, may be unappealing to shoppers unaccustomed to the natural look. Those same shoppers, however, would probably prefer a few scars over more chemicals in their food. 71 to 90 percent of conventionally grown produce have traces of pesticide residue, compared with 13 to 23 percent of their organically grown counterparts. Sometimes it’s worth seeking out the organic variety.

Of course, all of the vegetables we receive in our weekly CSA share from Stoneledge Farm are organic, which is to say, grown without antibiotics, hormones, synthetic pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers. After a few weeks of lacey arugula and mismatched beets, it was nice to see some truly picture-worthy specimens.

Buttercrunch lettuce:

Buttercrunch lettuce

And a CSA special, opal basil:

Opal basil

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Good (looking) eats

Monday, July 2nd, 2007 | All Things, Eats

J had offered to accompany me back to the doctor early this morning, which was fortunate for me, as I quite literally could not have navigated my way the ten blocks to Roosevelt Hospital, and then through its labyrinthine corridors, without her physically guiding me the entire way.

And so this beautiful day wouldn’t be all about my medical crisis, we stopped in for lunch at Bouchon Bakery, with its stellar views over Columbus Circle into the southwest corner of the park. Not that I could really enjoy it: in my impaired state, I only narrowly avoided a very embarrassing situation when I couldn’t determine with certainty which set of doors led to the women’s restrooms. The photos below were just as much for me to review later as they were for this blog.

J and I split a curried chicken salad sandwich, which was hands down the best chicken salad sandwich I’d ever had — in a mall or otherwise. Thomas Keller – of Yountville’s French Laundry and Ratatouille fame – elevated this simple café fare with his focus on fresh, premium ingredients. The gourmet version of our sandwich was made up of tender chunks of roast chicken, studded with golden raisins and toasted almonds, and served on hummus-spread fennel semolina bread, with romaine lettuce, pickled red onions and a side of cornichons.

chicken salad sandwich

Though his were just named the best sticky buns in the city, this afternoon we opted for the Thomas Keller Nutter Butter – a decadent, yet comforting take on the classic Nabisco cookie. (There’s a TKO — Thomas Keller Oreo — also.) At just under $20 for the two items, plus a quality lemonade and a bottled soda, our lunch wasn’t exactly “cheap eats,” but at less than one-tenth the price of a the prix-fixe tasting menu at Per Se upstairs, well worth the small splurge.

TK nutter butter

Back at my still-dimmed apartment, J kept me company as we sat through a mini-marathon of Top Chef. Later still, SYB dropped in for a brief visit after having valiantly endured the still-considerable crowds to bring by another taste of luxury in the form of Madagascar vanilla gelato from Grom.

Grom gelato

I think I could get used to this.

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