Saturday, January 26, 2013

romancing new york: crazy commuting + restaurant reminiscing

Today I had off from work (though it wasn't "off" strictly speaking, because in its place I had a different professional obligation which took me to Central Jersey, strangely enough). That meant a drive on my least favourite road of all time, the Gowanus/BQE, and also one of my most favourite roads, the Gowanus/BQE. Let me explain. I don't have a "normal" career which entails the pressures most commuters deal with day in and day out, however it does require a considerable amount of driving resilience, which is one of the few (if only) virtues I possess in heaps. So while it doesn't take an oracle to figure out what's going on when the words "Gowanus-BQE-combination" appear in the 1010WINS traffic report, out of the corner of my eye I try to enjoy the billion-dollar views one might catch as one moves at a snail's pace. (DISCLAIMER: Appreciation of the inter-borough scenery is done with peripheral vision only--- driver's eyes and focus remain on the road ahead at all times!)

Taken by my obliging (and lucky!) carpool buddy

Let's face it--- in the drudge of commuting, there are some pretty remarkable things going on. Hello the choreography of urban sillouttes: Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges playfully making a backdrop, the splendor of Lower Manhattan glistening, dillapidated and revitalized rowhouses alike (so picturesque and feeling so close that you might put your hand out of the passenger seat window and be able to touch them!), formidable midcentury co-op cities which gaze upon the landscape like stalwart centurions, luxury high rises and low rises with immaculately pergola-ed patios overlooking what feels like the entire world, muraled street art and graffiti and boundaries between the two which are flirted with and at times unclear, and last but not least ad board after ad board, encouraging the soon-to-be-Park-Slope set to start families and have their every moving need fulfilled, curious and probably non-religious quotes involving telephoning God ("because we're busy"), and recruitment posters for the NYPD. This is New York City... and yet it's Long Island, too. Even though there is both a municipal and psychological distinction which relegates Kings to NYC, Brooklyn is geographically on the same soil as we are.

North Fork Table & Inn on Urbanspoon

Changing gears regarding this funny little island I am so enamored with--- let's move from urban blight and delight to charming, rustic Southold. I was going through some old odds and ends and stumbled upon a tasting menu from a restaurant we went to out East almost two years ago. This establishment and its reputation remain, which is why it is a pleasure to post a glowing review of the North Fork Table & Inn.

The subtitle of their business card says "American Cuisine & Comfort," and our experience at the North Fork Table & Inn was just that--- innovative, seasonal cuisine set in the backdrop of a farm-house's soothing, wabi-sabi yet updated complexion. The waitstaff contributed to the calm with their gracious manners and knowledge of the chef's preparation. Our five-course tasting menu at the time included two truly remarkable dishes: a Raw Hamachi and Seared Hudson Valley Fois Gras with Glazen Daikon, Radish Syrup and Micro Red Mustard Greens, as well as a Pan Roasted Squab with Ramps, Baby Carrots, Assorted Mushrooms, Beluga Lentils and Bacon Jus. In short, the best of the region was elevated in the hands of NF's chef. (On the lighter side, they also have a "snack truck" which has piqued my interest...)

...and now, I wait with bated breath for Jay Cardinal's first souffle (thanks to the girls in the hen house out back!) :-)

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