I am moving the action (the blog) to the Hudson Valley Food Network site, where it will be called "Annie's New York Kitchen" and available factory-fresh every Monday evening. For a really swell goodbye I comissioned an entry from Psychotronic Paul, my sweetheart and companion in life. Here he describes our food world. For more of Paul, seeWay Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog, which he is not.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
While the very fIrst thing I saw as I ambled into baggage claim off the redeye flight at JFK Airport was a thriving and strategically located Dunkin' Donuts, I had no desire to eat. My pallor, as it had been many moons since I'd experienced air travel, could be best described as varying shades of green. I wanted to stop sweating profusely and wondered when I'd stop feeling like I was still in the damn airplane, but looked forward to meeting the Blogmistress' caravan nonetheless.
After some verbal tete-a-tetes between Annie and her know-it-all GPS System (A.K.A. the supercilious Madame GPS), said caravan arrived, ready for me and the Philz Coffee and Buy-Rite house-cured guanciale nestled deep in my suitcase. Soon we were Over The Hudson River And Through The Woods, through many miles on many freeways and many bridges to our ultimate destination in the uber-green Mid Hudson Valley. I landed in historic Kingston and, thrilled to be motionless for a change, was promptly welcomed by the insistent "I am the male of the house" glare of resident housecat Fuzzy who, If we're going to make comparisons here, has been fixed.
Since that day when Annie made me the happiest of men, our diary has tended to involve what we ate. So my Hudson Valley tour involved us nibbling our merry way through the Rhinebeck Farmers' Market, stopping for utilitarian but edible eats at the Poughkeepsie Red Lobster (where I had to be physically separated from diabetes-unfriendly nachos and cheese biscuits), savoring superb cucumber, avocado, tuna and salmon rolls at Osaka Japanese Restaurant, and summoning the decorum not to wolf down the salmon spinach salad at Christina's Restaurant in Kingston. Along the way, we passed approximately 53 Dunkin' Donuts franchises and pondered whether The Five Swedish Meatballs were a real or imaginary vaudeville act at New Haven IKEA.
Beautiful maki at Osaka
While I did not see the Statue Of Liberty this time around, the food compensated. We ducked into Boqueria in Chelsea (Manhattan's equivalent of Eureka Valley in San Francisco) on a hot, muggy day and enjoyed a ridiculously savory platter of charcuterie and cheeses. What I will remember from the Upper East Side will be insanely wonderful prawns and glide-down-the-palate oysters on the half shell from the Food Court at the Plaza Hotel, the dumplings with peanut sauce from the take-out joint own the block, and breakfast at Big Daddy's Diner on 83rd Street.
We took the subway to the Lower East Side, where I chomped into the best bagel with smoked salmon I've ever tasted, from the iconic Russ And Daughters (yes, Virginia, your transplanted New Yorker friends in Northern California are right on - bagels from our neck of the woods really are either crunchier or softer and have a less nuanced texture), marveled at the Essex Market's cheesemonger, and savored a cup of vanilla Earl Grey tea from Teany.
So it was all pretty wonderful and I can't wait to make a return trip to New York.
Postscript: when I was on my flight back to San Francisco and asked the steward for a cup of hot water for tea, it arrived in a cup that said "Dunkin' Donuts - The Coffee Of JetBlue"