Pizza at Pulino's (iPhone photo)

What began as a Bourdain initiated boondoggle turned into a great break in NYC for me and Donna with several restaurants I’d been eager to try.

We arrived early, unloaded our bags at the most excellent Ace hotel (I highly recommend), then headed south to Balthazar, where we had hoped to get some breakfast—love their shirred eggs; it’s the perfect way to enter the city.  Alas, closed for renovations!

The young ladies posted at the door to preserve customers sent us several blocks east to Bowery and Houston to the McNally’s pizza joint, Pulino’s, where we had our eggs, on pizza. (Why eggs on pizza aren’t more common, I have no idea; want to try it? Here’s a recipe.)  We’d just taken a seat at the bar when the chef, Nate Appleman, strolled in and stopped to chat.  After the Balthazar disappointment, Pulino’s, blessedly cool and uncrowded at that hour, made NYC feel hopeful and welcoming.  It concluded with some excellent house-cured beef salami.

Would you trust this man in your kitchen?

We then wandered farther east to see Jamie Tiampo’s Seefood Media studio.  I met Jamie at a few food writer gatherings recently, admire his work for eattv.com and wanted to see his digs (here’s the youtube of his exploration into a pair of Virginia oyster farmers). He’s invested heavily in film equipment, is internet savvy and forward thinking, and he left a certain career as a long term mid- to upperlevel manager for IBM to pursue work he cares about.  His most recent project was photographing Sara Mouton’s new book, Everyday Family Dinners.

We then headed to The Little Owl, a charming shoebox of a restaurant in the west Village, for brunch with the Ratio App developer and his wife, then strolled down to Murray’s Cheese. We were actually considering buying a baby gift for a friend but figured the newborn’s parents would prefer some fine cheese and wine rather than a onesie.  But we found a onesie as well, with the word “stinky” emblazoned on the front, so we considered it something of a bonanza.

The man in the blue Izod? One of the country's best and most influential chefs. Who can name him? (Answer below.)

This was followed by a much desired nap before we headed out into the sultry night for a dinner at Momofuku Ko, where we were one of a handful of deuces seated on stools at the bar (I sat next to a woman who requested that she be served no pork, which doesn’t really seem in the spirit of a David Chang restaurant).  No menu, the cooks just cook and serve, and that’s a big part of the fun, never knowing what’s coming.

Soft in the head? Still too early to tell.

Tuesday, I was up and out early to join the zero point zero crew for the filming of surely one of the more bizarre premises for a Bourdain No Reservations episode.  A holiday show.  I cannot tell you which holiday and I can’t tell you why I can’t tell you. Suffice it to say that I learned Tony can actually cook—though it’s not always a safe event to witness up close—and he also revealed a bizarre, and ultimately convincing, affection for tiki bars.

It was part of the unusual good nature of this trip that after braving a day in the kitchen with Bourdain, the town car spilled me out in front of the Ace Hotel, and there, seated on the steps next door, in whites and apron, was none other than the beautiful April Bloomfield, hands down, one of New York City’s best cooks.  She of course is the chef of The Breslin, which adjoins the Ace (yet another reason to book rooms there, especially if it’s 102 degrees and you don’t want to melt between cool hotel room and cool bar; again, highly recommended for drinks and food; fabulous airy light goat cheese tart and a perfect Caesar with delicious anchovy croutons; April! Never stop cooking!).

Vintage Chinese eggrolls at Hop Kee

So much can be packed into three days in NYC, too much for a single blog post. Dinner at The Standard with Bourdain and the smoking hot Fascist (truly delicious caviar and oysters), down to Hop Kee for some egg rolls from my youth, and around the corner, some of the best fried dumplings in the city (ask Amateur Gourmet for directions).

And a concluding meal with Donna and her two stellar neices, Linden and Lily, at Barbutto, a lively casual spot in the meat packing district run by Chef Jonathan Waxman, pictured above.  What I love about this photo? Here’s one of the pioneers of the new California/American cuisine in the 1970s, Chez Panisse chef who went on to open Michael’s in Santa Monica, then Jams, one of the least heralded chefs in our age of over-celebrified chef culture and yet one of the most influential and important—manning the reso book at the front door and taking orders on a Wednesday night in July.

And after Barbutto, we strolled to Pastis, where Linden works, for festive gin fizzes, a perfect book end to a great, quick NYC romp, having begun at a McNally restaurant and concluding at a different one. If Cleveland has any faults, one of them is that it doesn’t have a restaurant by Keith McNally.

I used to think a proper goal would be a sugar shack on some secluded beach in the West Indies. I think a pied a terre in New York City is the current desire. God, it’s a fun place to be. Thank you, Donna!

On the way to Pastis...

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37 Wonderful responses to “New York City Travel”

  • Kristine

    I love Waxman. Missed you at Veggie U this weekend. It was a great event.

  • viviane bauquet farre / food & style

    What a fantastic culinary trip! I’ll be sure to try some of the restaurants on your list… But I’m delighted you got to visit Murray’s Cheese. They’re my favorite cheese shop in NY.

    You have my vote for a pied a terre in NY for you and Donna!

  • Julie Anne Rhodes

    Love when you travel somewhere right before I do, so I can map out my restaurant itinerary with ease. I’ll try to sniff out a couple more to add to the list as a thank you!

  • bobdelgrosso

    I think an apartment in NY and a pied de terre in Cleavland would be more like it. On second thought, scratch the pied de terre ;-)

  • Lisa

    Great meals are always better when shared with friends and it sounds as if you and Donna had a great time. I look forward to seeing you and Tony in the No Res, undisclosed “holiday” show.

  • Victoria

    I LOVE this post about NYC. Ain’t it grand?

    MR, I am embarrassed to admit to you that the only cooking or about cooking book of yours I don’t own is Charcuterie. After a number of terrible experiences with sausage recently, I broke down and ordered it this morning.

    I deserve a slap on the wrist. Oh, well. I’m not as bad as LeBron James.

  • Jaye Joseph

    I’m so jealous of this whole trip (especially since my late summer trip just got canceled) but mostly, I’m jealous of those eggrolls. Those are also the eggrolls of my youth and I miss them terribly. Looks as if I’ve got yet another place to add to my next trip to the city.

  • Tags

    C’mon, you know you’d rather be in Kyoto, though even the petitest of pieds are pretty pricey.

  • George in Chevy Chase

    You have to give NY chefs a lot of credit for figuring their way out of the economic meltdown, particularly considering the high rents, the high cost of labor, and the collapse of the advertising and financial services industries in particular and of corporate expense accounts in particular. Bourdain’s book explores this nicely, at least at the collapse’s beginnings — it’d be interesting to see how new restaurants are adapting to the new realities.

    I like putting eggs on just about anything, but the idea of putting them on pizza died a soggy, disappointing death for me when a restaurant in Florence served me two undercooked eggs on top of an undercooked crust. But maybe the dream deserves a second chance — I’m looking forward to trying the recipe you’ve thoughtfully provided. Thank you!

    • luis

      George the secret I think is in layering your pizza. Only way I can pull it off is treating everything including the dough separatelly and then building and finishing all the layers. More work for sure but much better results. Now I am happy with the chewy crunchy dough and the toppings perfectly cooked and layered. If you think about it the egg will impart nothing to the pizza until later on you break the yolk over it. You really can’t fry an egg over a pizza…very well specially in a crappy home oven.

  • ChrisD

    Great trip!

    Agree whole heartedly about April Bloomfield. The Spotted Pig made a special World Cup breakfast menu which included a a sausage roll that was absolutely delicious. Leave it to April to create something perfect for a limited time…

  • Katie

    I completely recognized Johnathan Waxman in that picture – but as a colorectal surgeon I have a lot of experience identifying people from behind. :). Love your blog!

  • kim

    So happy to read a post that features the city I live in. So glad you got so much good eats, but I also wanted to scream because there are so many other places that I wish you could’ve tried as well. Next time…next time. :)

    PS I’m also reading Boudain’s “Medium Raw” right now. Great to see he’s in the city and well.

  • Yail

    That last photo says all there is to say about New York: Walking next to garbage and you can’t even see the sky.

  • Patrick

    Fantastic Caesar? Didn’t you do a blog entry a while back about how you hate the caesar salad?…

  • Scott

    Watched you on The Travel Channel in Cleveland with Bourdain last night. I’m sure it’s just an act, but you guys go together like vinegar & water. Your bickering makes for quite entertaining TV, especially with the addition of the characters that were on that episode. The guy with the weird colored coat was a gem.

  • Bill

    Next time don’t forget to go to Prune. Still my favorite restaurant in NYC. And on your next trip to Hudson, make sure to eat at Swoon Kitchen Bar. Believe me you won’t be disappointed.

  • Beanie

    This was a wonderful post, in part because last night I watched the re-run of you and Bourdain here in Cleveland. My husband and I had a great time, watching you two slice up that pig.

  • Rhonda

    Sounds like a great trip.

    I love to hear good things about April Bloomfield. She is one of my Heros and Role Models.

    As for the woman who wanted a non-pork meal in one of David Chang’s establishments — he has gotten a lot of press in the last couple of years. Everyone knows where he stands. It was obviously a stunt.

    No one can be that fucking rude or retarded.

  • EDCinci

    Eggs on pizza can work. Had a pizza in Santa Cristina in the Dolomites a few weeks back–speck, buffalo mozz, basil and 2 eggs. Crisp whole grain crust. Worked out fine. This is a most informative/entertaining blog.

  • Liam O'Malley

    Eggs on pizza = win
    Bourdain, and a No Res show coming = win
    David Chang = win

    Great post. Lovely little tour of the city.

  • Misha

    I love NYC food. Heading to The Little Owl tonight.

    Have you heard of NYC chef and documentary filmmaker Daniel Klein (worked at Bouchon, Applewood and Craft..and The Fat Duck in London) who is doing a online documentary series on local food in the Twin Cities for one year? It’s very cool — travel show meets foodie chef extravaganza. http://www.theperennialplate.com

    • Rhonda

      Misha:

      I just checked out a bit of this.

      FANTASTIC!!!

      Thank you for the info and link.

      This is the kind of work that needs to be done to fill the vapid, putrid, puss oozing hole that the clusterfuck known as the Food Network has created.

      Thank You!

  • luis

    I really envy those farmers out on that river… that’s a great life. Aquaculting Oysters on a clean river. I seem to remember out in Carlsbad California the cooling lagoon for the fosil fuel electric plant would yield a nice temperature water when it mixed in with the cold lagoon water and folks were growing oysters in tanks I don’t remember.. maybe straight up the same way these to new england farmers do it.

    The oysters were Humongous in size. Big as your fist I think. Wonder what became of that farm? The algae must have been blooming like on steroids crazy in the warm lagoon water…They may have started that farm just tokeep the algae from over running that lagoon and fouling the equipment in the lagoon.

  • Collette

    I’m currently listening to AB read his “Medium Raw” on my iPod right now, so I feel as if I’m spending a few days with him and his F— Patois as well. He’s fabulously entertaining about “Food Porn” and it’s good to know he’s a technician as well as a critic.

    As an aside, thank you so much for the Ratio iPhone App. My 10 year old son had a friend over yesterday and because of some leftover apples I had from another cooking project, I showed the boys how to whip up dough to make apple turnovers, and didn’t have a mound of pie dough leftover to use for something I didn’t need. By the time the boys attacked the dough, tined the edges closed and poked vent holes like they were using bayonets, they weren’t the prettiest turnovers you’ve ever seen, but they must have been good because they gobbled them down as soon as they were cool enough to eat. Baking may now be as cool as skateboarding to these two!

  • Kleinperson

    How about a trip led by you and Donna to bite The Big Apple?! Sign me up
    when all my friends discuss retiring to Az or Fl. Which many already have, I say NYC. I love it and I can walk everywhere when they rake the car away!