Sunday, July 26, 2015

First Annual Ottolenghi Picnic

If only every Sunday were like this.

Some weeks back a friend sent around an article with a proposed picnic from Yotam Ottolenghi, everyone's favorite flavorfully inventive, London-based, pan-Mediterranean chef. His selections were, actually, rather odd for a picnic--saucy meatballs?  Ice cream?

But the underlying concept, we agreed, was sound. Thus was hatched a plan to devise a picnic menu of our own, drawing on his cookbooks and articles. Today, the plan was put into action.

My bits were the carmelized garlic tart from Plenty, and some savory fennel cumin cookies called ka'ach.

The other components included an arugula-and-endive salad with nectarines and gorgonzola and the most amazing, technicolor magenta, honey-mustard dressing, thanks to beets.

 And a very fine lentil and celeriac salad with mint and hazelnuts.

And we rounded everything out with a lovely, light rice pudding, featuring rosewater and pistachios and some intense vanilla bean.

A nice summer's day on a shady hill in Central Park, with the best food being served in the whole of the park (if I do say so), and good company all of whom are good cooks!  Can't wait for the next one.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Brunch at the Met

Met a friend of mine from Columbia who also likes to eat. Our plan on a fairly flamingly hot July day was to go see "Flaming June," temporarily on exhibit at the Frick Collection, then head up to the Met Members Dining Room for a decadent brunch, followed by a turn around the museum. First off, here's June just in case you don't know her.  What a color!

I love the Member Dining Room. The Member-ness of it gives an air of exclusivity (I remember when it was the TRUSTEES Dining Room and members were only allowed in the summer...)  and makes me feel like I'm putting my membership (mom gifts it to me for my birthday every year) to good use.

The vibe is very 70s, lots of wood panelling, but a need for a refresh is incredibly easy to forgive when you get ushered to the Panglossian best of all possible tables and feel like all of Central Park is your own private garden.

The service was excellent, the food delicious, the company fun, and, it can't be said often enough, that view...

Started with a bloody mary and a basket of excellent assorted bread (Cleopatra's needle in the background).

Moved on to a blue crab salad with a bit of mango and a dollop of avocado puree--and a fried strip of plantain, which I assume makes it all seem terribly exotic to the blue-haired matrons who dominate the Met patron-base.

Then I went for eggs benedict (with salmon and spinach) which I admit is an awfully tame choice, but sometimes the classic brunch dish is just the thing.

And I finished with a slice of almond tart, with a little panna cotta to keep it company. To me, even more than day-drinking, day-desserting is a sure sign of decadence.

Felt pretty much like June herself after that meal--very ready to nap a hot afternoon away. Thankfully John Singer Sargent's portraits and some mind-blowing art from Decca in India kept us on our feet.