We're sort of uptown types by nature, but this weekend Ellie and I spent time in the lower reaches of Manhattan.
The original idea was a change of pace stop on the way back to CA yesterday. Plans for returning to our west coast home changed when, over the weekend, I decided to accept an offer to join a company based in NYC. (Pending formal announcement, I'll need to be coy and ask you to stand by for full details.) As I write this post, I'm sitting in a Starbucks, an hour or so away from starting my new adventure.
Back to the weekend…
We decided to keep to our plans for a NY night in the Flat Iron / Gramercy Park area, now repurposed as a mini-celebration. As it turned out, we did so early in the evening with good friends and former colleagues at both Symbol and Intelleflex, Steve and his wife Pam (a couple of very special people), and later with my brother John, passing through NY doing a bit of fund raising for Stanford, where he serves as Vice Provost, responsible for the undergraduate program. (He's pretty special too.)
Venue for our dinner with Steve and Pam was Craftbar, Tom Colicchio's informal spot on lower Broadway. Based on this, our first visit, I can recommend it heartily: great food, service, atmosphere and vibe. We had a terrific time…
…As we did later that evening with John, back at The Rose Bar in our overnight spot, The Gramercy Park Hotel.
I'm sure that readership clever enough to be on this blog can read between the lines (new job to celebrate, long dinner with great friends, late night toasting with family…) and figure out that Sunday morning was slow and fuzzy in arriving.
So, sometime around 11:00, a walk in the bracingly cold air seemed like just the thing to usher in a return to clarity. We pointed ourselves south on 3rd avenue, eventually ending up at DBGB, Daniel Boulud's latest restaurant. Named with a tip of the hat to a long time fixture in the neighborhood, the underground rock club CBGB, and specializing in all things sausage, the place has been a big hit since opening mid-summer.
Ellie chose an incredibly creatively prepared and presented upscale hotdog; I went with a sausage done in the style of Tunisia. Great old blues songs were played one after another. The place filled with an ecclectic collection of folks, united in their obvious enjoyment of the experience.
This all played out in room set as a stage to simple foods, prepared with imagination and skill. The kitchen was open to view, and the room was ringed overhead by copper cooking pots, each accompanyed by a small plaque bearing the name of the famous chef who gifted it to Daniel Boulud for placement here.
The manager, (who we know from his earlier service at another Boulud establishment) explained that they make it a practice to seat those chefs immediately adjacent to "their" pots when they visit. I smiled and told him how that reminded me of how my friend Steve is notorious for something similar: seating his guest following a round at his club at a table facing a board displaying plaques commemorating past club champions — his and his son's names prominent among them, where they can't possibly be missed.
I recorded a bit of the DBGB scene, as well as sights on the walk back to the hotel, and set them into a brief video, which will serve as a punctuation to this post. Turn up the sound, and please enjoy…