Sunday, October 11, 2009

BCD takes NYC: "Fabulous in Fall" Edition -- Day 2

by Erin

First of all, we want to extend a gigantic THANK YOU to everyone who voted for us for the Mobbies in these last few weeks! Bear hugs for everyone!

And now back to business: a very belated NYC post chronicling yet another day of wonderful eats. Like the day before, we hit a lot of great places to eat!

We had originally planned to go to Barney Greengrass, a deli on the Upper West Side for some good ol' deli food. We wanted corned beef, chopped liver, matzo ball soup, latkes, blintzes....[drooling]. But alas, they were CLOSED for Rosh Hashana. Damn! So, instead we went to The Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel, a destination that is always on our list but for one reason or the other, gets nixed every time.

I loved the Burger Joint for so many reasons, but one of the main reasons is because of its hidden, underground vibe - like only a select few know of it, and I'm one of them! (This is the second time secrets + burgers = awesome - check out my post about the secret language at In 'n Out burger here.)

The lobby of Le Parker Meridien is cozy but open and sunshine-y, with marble floors and big pieces of modern art on the walls. But if you know where to look, you end up in a dark hallway with black curtains, and just this to guide you:

And then you turn the corner and you feel like you are in the middle of a rec room in Texas. Wood paneled walls covered in writing, movie posters on the walls, and the menu is literally written on cardboard with markers. A-mazing. They only sell burgers, fries, and shakes, and we gladly partook.

All of us ordered burgers except Lauren, who got the cheesiest grilled cheese ever. The burgers were great - juicy and cooked to medium rare, per our request. The fries were pretty good - they reminded me of the fries at McDonald's or In 'n Out. My only criticism was the size of the sodas - call me a stupid American, but 12 oz of soda is not enough when you have a gigantic burger and a bag of fries to get through.

We hung out at the Burger Joint for quite some time, talking, laughing, and appreciating the awesomeness of the place. I love secret burger places!!

After lunch we decided to head down to The High Line, an elevated park created from now-defunct railroad tracks used to transport cattle to the slaughterhouses in the meatpacking district. The High Line is beautiful - the pathway is lined with wildflowers, there is a beautiful view of the city, and a there are a few benches to sit and have a picnic if you are smart enough to plan ahead. We strolled down the High Line and enjoyed the sunshine. We came back down to street-level and, like magic, there was an ice cream truck (called Van Leeuwen) waiting for us!

We couldn't resist - not only was it ice cream (my fave) but they used local milk and eggs, and flavorings from small producers abroad (e.g., vanilla, chocolate, ginger, pistachio). I got espresso and Xani got vanilla - both were great but the vanilla was absolutely, heart-breakingly good.

After our ice cream treat, we went to the Chelsea Market, which was so fun. I love a good market so I was in heaven. After our day o' fun, we separated from Ann and Steven and headed back to Brooklyn to rest up before heading out to dinner in Park Slope at Franny's, for what would become the best meal of the trip.

We had been looking foward to Franny's for quite some time. Xani's friend from high school, Dave, said he was "friends with the chef" and we should go there and tell them "Dave sent us." We weren't sure if this would work - surely the chef would be busy, and what if he had met our connection, Dave, like twice? We would be mortified. While figuring out our game plan (and killing time waaiting for a table - they don't take reservations), we had a few drinks.

Franny's serves local Brooklyn-brewed beers, so Xani, John (Lauren's beau), and I enjoyed those, while Lauren sipped some Prosecco. We waited in the outdoor courtyard and enjoyed the shockingly good weather. (Long-time readers will recall that we have terrible weather karma when visiting NYC: heat like the surface of the sun, or constant slushy precipitation. We were thrilled that the weather cooperated for our visit!)

Once we were seated in the bustling but small restaurant, we were greeted by our friendly and very knowledgeable waiter. Turns out he's getting his PhD in economics at NYU - smart AND friendly! Swoon. Ahem, anyway...we had an AMAZING meal at Franny's! (However, our pictures truly sucked so they are minimal for this meal...sorry!)

We started with 5-6 antipasti, including roasted broccoli with garlic and pecorino cheese, a crostino with tomatoes and lots of olive oil, another crostino with house-cured proscuitto, amazing roasted potatoes with some sort of cheese, and an heirloom tomato salad with ricotta cheese. Everything was so good, it's hard to describe the joy we experienced with each bite.

For the second course, we enjoyed a pasta dish, penne with eggplant, raisins, and pine nuts. I loved this dish - the pasta was cooked very al dente, and the sauce was light but delicious. And I don't even like eggplant!

Finally, we got two pizzas - a classic tomato and buffalo mozzarella pizza, and a pizza with clams, chiles, and parsley. The former was great and classic; the latter blew our minds! The clam pizza was spicy, garlicky, and of course, had lots of delicious clams and clam flavoring throughout the sauce. It reminded me of BCD Dad's pasta alla vongole (clam sauce) and it made us all very happy.

At the end of the meal, Chef Danny came out to visit with us! Turns out our connection, Dave, really IS a good friend of his (they were roommates for several years, in fact)! It was great talking to Chef Danny, and especially nice to compliment the chef directly - as I mentioned, this was the best meal of our whole trip, all thanks to Chef Danny. It was a pleasure meeting him and we will DEF be back!

Okay, enough for now - Day 3 coming soon!

Happy NYC eats,


Blog Archive