Tag Archives: New York City

Colicchio & Sons, New York, N.Y.

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NEW YORK

It is a rare thing when I ride my sister’s coat tails. The first time it happened was earlier this year, when I went to a work-related fundraiser in Washington, D.C. to meet her former boss, a Long Island Congressman of note in the Democratic Party. We spent a couple of minutes talking about her. The only reason I was at this really cool event was because I had a tangential connection to this individual. So, score one for The Sister there.

Score two and thensome for her on Friday evening. Back in her Congressional staffer days, she worked with Tom Colicchio’s team on a presentation of his documentary on hunger in America, A Place at the Table. She met and became friendly with someone on his personal staff, they remain in contact to this day, blah blah blah, and we were able to get a reservation with ease for the dining room at the Top Chef judge’s restaurant on 10th Avenue, across the street from Chelsea Market.
Continue reading Colicchio & Sons, New York, N.Y.

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Grocery List: June 22, 2014

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The Kid and I went to Onondaga Lake Park yesterday so that she could tool around on the rather large playground that was build about 8 or 9 years ago. It’s quite a nice space that caters to a wide variety of ages and abilities (it’s called a “boundless playground” in that every child can have fun on it, regardless of whatever limitation they may have).

These are particularly fun spaces for people watching, but more so for people listening. Our trips there are very spur of the moment, driven by a desire to keep The Kid occupied with something fun. Others plan their trip with friends. In following my daughter around the space, I heard one woman tell her friend all about her pregnancy sex, while her friend divulged how they could only conceive if she was in a certain position. There was the single father chatting up the single mother, as if the play date for their children was a chance for them to meet (it looked like what happens when two dogs meet for the first time and have to sniff each other). It was quite a thing.

There were also:

  • 3 Laylas, including my own
  • 2 Kaylas
  • 2 Jaylas
  • and, I think, a Nayla

I cannot imagine a scenario where little Nayla doesn’t get a lot of shit for her name during her teen-aged years. Also, there was quite a bit of comedy every time a parent said, “Layla, NO!” and three kids snapped their heads around.

There will be no grocery list next week, as I will be in New York City for four days. This will be a very Manhattan-centric weekend revolving around food. The reservations are all set, some visits (Umami Burger at Brookfield Place, Blue Bottle Coffee on The High Line, Gotham West, Chelsea Market, Momofuku Milk Bar and Katz’s Delicatessen) have already been worked into the schedule. The only thing we haven’t done is figure out how to hit Big Gay Ice Cream, as it is really out of our way. But, not unlike all of the -Ayla names from the park, that’s really a first-world problem.

Christmas Movies That Don’t Suck: It’s A Wonderful Life

EDITOR’S NOTE: To celebrate Christmas 2013, I’m offering a list of the only Christmas movies worth watching. I recognize that there are some movies that you may like (Elf) and I don’t (Elf). That’s just the way it is. Check out last year’s Christmas Songs That Don’t Suck.

My mother forced The Sister and I watch a lot of black-and-white movies when we were children. As a result, we developed a sibling rejection of all movies made before 1970 (with the exception of Pride of the Yankees, because WPIX showed it every time the Yankees were rained out).

Naturally, The Wife embraces all things ancient and counts It’s A Wonderful Life among her favorite movies. It’s timeless, cliched, hokey and a lot of other adjectives. But, it’s Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reid. And it’s Frank Capra, who made a career of selling redemption stories. Personally, I think his Mr. Smith Goes To Washington is a superior movie, but this is Christmas.

Unlike The Wife, I’m not a fervent fan of the movie. We will watch if it is on, but it comes in behind tomorrow’s entry on this list as the preferred Christmas movie at Al Dente HQ.

There is an alleged local connection to the movie. Seneca Falls, a town 45 minutes to the west of HQ, is rumored to be Bedford Falls. Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu, makes an annual appearance there each year for the town’s commemoration of the movie and many of the events take place at the Hotel Clarence (named for the angel). During the festival weekend, mail sent from the U.S. Post Office in town is postmarked as coming from Bedford Falls, N.Y. The George Bailey Award is given out to a local that embodies the spirit of its namesake and the area in front of the local bank is renamed Bailey Park for the weekend. It’s quite a thing.

The architecture of the town (apparently) resembles the fictional Bedford Falls, and festival organizers offer the following explanation:

Seneca Falls’ claim begins with geography. It’s hard to dispute that Capra set Bedford Falls in New York State. Rochester, Buffalo, and Elmira are mentioned in the script and referenced as being relatively close. All three are an easy drive from Seneca Falls. And, a reference to Cornell University in Ithaca, just 40 miles south, was taken out of the script by the studio’s rights clearance lawyers.

Two towns north of New York City — Bedford and Bedford Hills — lay their claim, but the pro-Seneca Falls rebuffs this:

There’s something else against the Bedfords being Capra’s inspiration. Both of these towns are just 45 miles from New York City. Even in 1945 train and automobile travel times, neither Bedford nor Bedford Hills resembled the remote spot that has Jimmy Stewart’s character feeling hopelessly isolated from the world. (A check with the local historian and townspeople revealed no evidence or local legend of Capra visiting the area or any knowledge of the towns’ connection with the movie.)

So, there you go.

Recently, there has been a tussle between Paramount studios and an enterprising screenwriter planning a sequel. The studio, either sensing a stinker or widespread public backlash, is refusing to allow the new project to proceed on copyright grounds. It’s nice to see Big Hollywood make the right choice. If they could have only done something about the Grown Ups franchise. Or any Adam Sandler movie after Happy Gilmore, really. Digressing…

The Alec Baldwin Story

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My sister knows a guy…

Any good story involving a member of my family tends to begin with one of them knowing a guy. In this case, The Sister actually knows a girl…a Texan named Hayley. Hayley is a high-ranking campaign staffer of a New York City mayoral candidate (not Anthony Weiner). The Texan hired The Sister and a mutual friend of theirs to cook for a campaign fundraiser.

At a penthouse on Central Park West.

Where Mr. and Mrs. Alec Baldwin were the guests of honor. And they are vegetarians, gluten free and dairy free. No pressure. Continue reading The Alec Baldwin Story

Mother Nature > Soda

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As I mentioned already, it got below zero cold this weekend in Syracuse. We keep soda and beer in our Olean Fridge during the winter (NOTE: Olean is a city in Southwestern New York State that I have a great deal of affection for. It’s the neighbor city of my alma mater. It’s also a little backwards and the gathering point for backwoods people around it. I could have called it a Hindsdale Fridge or a Franklinville Fridge, but it didn’t have the same impact. My friend Mike calls his screened-in porch a West Virginia fridge, as he went to college in that state. Either way, it is a gentle jab at rural America because I’m a snob.).

This is what happens to soda during cold snaps. It freezes. But the ice that creeps out of the bottle is really tasty.

On grocery

Admittedly, I’ve been spoiled.

The Wegmans of my youth (Taft Road). From Syracuse.com

Wegmans is not a tourist attraction for me. It’s my corner grocery. I remember in ninth grade that my science teacher had a visit from a Russian national who was in some sort of cultural exchange program with him. Anyhow, just for fun, my teacher took him to Wegmans. Now, this is before the days of The Pub and The Food Bar and Nature’s Marketplace and expanded beer selections. Apparently this blew his mind beyond repair. Of course, this is the same reaction that most out-of-staters had when visiting their first Wegmans upon arriving in Syracuse or Rochester. Of course, Wegmans has expanded its footprint to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia, and built up its presence in Upstate New York with expanded stores, like the one in Dewitt and Liverpool.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Wegmans. It does a lot of things very well (produce, for one…customer service for another). It’s seafood often leaves a little bit to be desired and it loves screwing around with the brands it carries, but those are really my only complaints.

That said, two announcements in the past year have me beyond excited. Continue reading On grocery

Smell

(Source: Amazon.com)

On Thursday night, The Wife and The Baby were playing with a plastic bouncy ball when it went astray and got caught in our rose bushes. The end result was a two-inch gash in the plastic. A replacement made its way home tonight. As one was chasing the other around the front yard tonight, I caught a whiff of the ball and it brought back memories of the automatic doors opening at Kiddie City/Johnnie Jo Toys/KB and every other toy store from my youth. The odor of the ball brought me back to those days when I would enter the store and get lost in the aisles of toys.

It got me thinking about what the smart people say about scent and memory. From Natalie Angier in an August 2008 article from The New York Times:

Importantly, the olfactory cortex is embedded within the brain’s limbic system and amygdala, where emotions are born and emotional memories stored. That’s why smells, feelings and memories become so easily and intimately entangled…

It’s an impulse that hits me every time I open a Snapple Peach Iced Tea. For me, the smell of a freshly cracked Snapple Peach Iced Tea makes me think of summer. Continue reading Smell

Airport Eatin’

Those who are Facebook friends know of my Wednesday/Thursday travel escapade. In short, a flight cancelation led to a domino effect delaying my arrival in Syracuse from 11:59 p.m. Wednesday to after 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The result was a lengthy stay at JFK and the quest for a dining choice that wouldn’t kill me.

JetBlue plane at JFK
Spent a lot of time waiting for one of these on Thursday.

The Terminal 5 renovation led by JetBlue led to a dearth of good dining choices, but the healthy options are slight. The salad bar in the food court made for a nice option, but at $11.99 per pound, the expense was quite a concern. Essentially, I got by on protein-boosted 400-calories all-fruit smoothies at Jamba Juice, along with a couple of Clif bars. Oh, and a lot of coffee.

It would have been easy to shoot it all to hell. The Chipotle in Concourse B at Dulles served a chorizo breakfast bowl that looked really good. 5ive Steak, the noodle bar and Cheeburger Cheeburger could have been options, had there been a viable resolution for fried food gone wrong. As it was, 8-10 servings of fruit from Jamba Juice offered its own level of havoc.

New York City requires calorie counts to be posted on its menus, which helps. Fat grams would make for a prescient addition, but a posted nutritional guide might be more helpful. Making the quick choice is easy, especially on the road, but balancing ease and convenience with what is actually good for you is a challenge unto itself.