The Morning of My Departure for Bangkok

Daylight Saving Time has ended – yeah, an extra hour this morning before departing to the airport.  Holly and I are sitting around her living room watching New York 1 for local news, drinking coffee, and I’m thinking about walking down to the corner bagel shop for one last taste of New York.  Thai Airways webite is showing an on-time departure (hours and hours before departure) for my flight.


Saturday night it was a pleasure hanging out with Keith and Aaron for about ninety minutes.  Keith had his “Boyfriend-aholic” t-shirt on, which seems appropriate.  Had a good conversation with Aaron about a little puppy that has been following him around!


I walked down Seventh Avenue to Blue Hill and thankfully allowed myself enough extra time because I overshot the restaurant by six blocks.  It is in that section known as Greenwhich Village – the point where the grid of streets ends – that I got confused.  Holly was just starting on a glass of Pinot Noir at the bar when I arrived, spot-on at 9:00.  We had a fantastic dinner, that only could have been improved with the presence of Tawn and you, of course!


Holly and I chose the tasting menu, paired with a wine tasting menu.  It was fantastic:


Amuse bouche

  • Celeraic soup
  • Butternut squash sorbet

First plates

  • Grilled wild striped bass with salsify puree and tomota-pepper vinaigrette
  • Wine: Lieb Family Cellars Rose, North Fork Long Island (New York) 2004
  • Chatham Cod with razor clamgs, lobster, crab and sucrine lettuces
  • Wine: Channing Daughter’s Vino Bianco, South Fork Long Island (New York) 2004

Main plate

  • Loin of Vermont baby lamp with wild mushrooms, chestnuts, banana squash, Stone Barns brussel sprout leaves
  • Wine: Joseph Phelps Le Mistral, Monterey County (California) 2002


  • Buttermilk Panna Cotta with plum marmalade and plum sorbet
  • Cheesecake with bitter chocolate sauce
  • Wine: “MR” Mountain Wine, Malaga (Spain) 2004

Last taste

  • Miniature chocolate muffin top


The celeraic soup, served in a tall, thin shot glass, was very tasty and quite hot.  It had a infused foam on top that was really a nice textural contrast to the rich soup.  The butternut squash sorbet, served on a demitasse spoon, was richly flavored and subtly sweet.  Very interesting and buttery but the flavors are better as a soup.

The bass and the rose wine were the best pairing.  The bass had a seared crust with a tomato-pepper vinaigrette that absolutely melted in your mouth.  The rose, which was enjoable on its own, just jmped to life following the bass and the flavors continued to evolve for the next several moments.

The cod was very lightly cooked, tender and flaky.  The broth was a high point full of great crustacean flavors that I sopped up with one of the fresh soft breadsticks.

The lamb, an unusual choice to serve a generous portion of loin, was lightly breaded on one side, tremendously tender and flavorful, and also a bit too salty.  The banana squash slice was delectable and wild mushrooms and chestnuts captured the season beautifully.

Of the desserts, we suggested to the server afterwards that the order should have been reversed.  The cheescake was served in individual small preserve jars and had a small dallop of bitter chocolate on top.  The cake increased in richness the deeper you dug and the chocolate had an interesting counter-note of saltiness.  It was very enjoyable, but had been completely overshadowed by the amazing buttermile panna cotta.  Like a fresh yogurt, the tangy creamy base had a layer of plum marmalade that was bursting with ripe fruitiness.  A wedge of plum sorbet added a coolness to the whole thing.

It was an absolutely fantastic meal and I can’t wait to return to Blue Hill again.

Last Day in the US Spent in NYC

Saturday in New York City.  Upper East Side, Lexington and 84th.  Holly’s lived in this charming corner apartment on the third floor for 14 years. Needless to say, the rent is a steal, and it is a charming neighborhood. 

Last night we walked a few blocks down to Tiramisu, a local Italian restaurant.  It was about nine o’clock and the restaurant was crowded as we arrived.  Fortunately, the maitre d’ was someone that Holly had known several years ago so we were seated quickly.  In fact, they must have been good friends, because he came back and refilled our glasses of wine and was very attentive.

The food was good – it is a neighborhood type of restaurant – satisfying but not too fancy.  I had the daily risotto special, which featured asparagus, arugula, and large fresh shrimp.  Interestingly, it was served in a hollowed-out grapefruit perched atop additional risotto.  Tasty.

The tiramisu itself was fantastic, a good size brick that Holly and I shared.

Hard to believe, or maybe not so hard, that the time has come for my move.  After several years of possibility, sixteen months of planning, and three months of actual organization and execution, the day has arrived.  The first twenty-two plus years were stationary; the next dozen have been downright nomadic. 

This morning I met my protoge and now boss, Kim Fordham, for brunch at Danal – a fantastic, eclectic brunch place that looks like your English great-grandmother’s back patio.  It was very nice.  While waiting for Kim and her friend Pat, I sat on a bench in the front window and played with the resident cat, a fat white and black long-hair.  She was quite fond of me and I spent the remainder of the afternoon removing white cat fur from my black wool jacket.

During the afternoon I browsed at Strand Books, one of the largest used bookstores in the world.  I picked up Ruling Your World: Ancient Strategies for Modern Life by Sakyong Mipham.  While the book doesn’t have anything “new” to say – common sense, really – it is interesting to read how the basic messages of not being so centered on “me” are packaged.

This evening, I’ll meet up with Aaron Wong and Keith Chan for drink at G Lounge – a bar in Chelsea.  Then Holly and I will have a late dinner (9:00) at Blue Hill.  One of my favorite restaurants in New York, this cozy spot with acclaimed chefs Dan Barber and Juan Cuevas features – their words – “Seasonal American food featuring the produce of the Hudson Valley.” 

Bonus: Last night I took my thirteen months’ collection of coins to the grocery store.  After CoinStar’s 8.9% service charge, I still had $108.36.  Enough to pay for my cab from LaGuardia and then to JFK airport.  Ha.

Second Bonus: Here’s a photo I snapped at my bon voyage party thrown by my sister, Jennifer, last week.  My niece, Emily, my father, and Jennifer’s dog Zoe were in a three way tug of war in which Emily ended up the loser!

Many thanks to Jenn and Kevin for hosting the party.  It was a lot of fun to spend time with all our family members as well as dear friends.