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Restaurants & Bars 5

NYC report (long)

Joanie | May 15, 200805:43 AM

Planned my trip to NYC to coincide with Tribeca but only saw 1 celeb vs. the 3 from 2 years ago (Peter Gallagher coming out of the theater where he's starring w/ Morgan Freeman). Had some good eats at various styles of places, although the food itself wasn't so different. After settling in Thurs. evening, we went to the Hi Life on Amsterdam & 83rd for a fun old school kind of place. The evening was beautiful and we should have eaten outside but I love that style restaurant (makes me think of McHales which closed shortly after I visited a few years ago) and wanted to soak up the atmosphere. A drink list of classic cocktails along with some frozen and modern drinks, sidecar was good (til I spilled it). All 3 of us went with cheeseburgers ($9) that were done perfectly medium, great fries. Pork chop and meat loaf dinners sounded good, odd to see a sushi chef in the back corner. Service was nice but semi absent. Got an early start the next day and detoured to Sweet Heart Bakery by 7th and W. 13th (I think). They had a ton of good looking pastries but unfortunately, the cherry dumpling was dry and I tossed half of it. Continued on to Donut Pub on W. 14th & 7th for an old fashioned which was perfectly crisp and greasy but I was hoping for a maple or choc. frosting on a plain cake donut. Iced coffee from The Bean on 1st Ave. was perfect. After lots of walking and a Tenement Museum tour, headed back up to Columbus Circle for my fancy lunch at Jean Georges which was jammed at 2:15 on a Fri. I was woefully underdressed but with more walking to come, I chanced that sitting at the bar (which was dead) would be okay. I'd definitely change next time but all the people working were nice. They're still offering Rest. Week lunch menus, 3 courses for $24.08 so you can't beat that. Started w/ a peekytoe crab salad that I liked then a nice if slightly boring haddock dish. I took the bartender's suggestion of a white choc frozen cake type thing but wasn't overly impressed (and got a kick out of seeing their Pastry Chef on Top Chef the next week).

That evening started with a cocktail at the Soho Grand then we wandered around the LES trying to find a seat. Hour waits at Inoteca and Stanton Social so when Freeman's said 20 min, we said fine. At that point tho, our appetites had dwindled. Since I was with a veg, we went cheesy and split the artichoke dip that he raved about. It was the best version of that that I'd had (not usually a fan). Also their cheese toasts were great. My spinach salad w/ goat cheese and bacon wasn't too exciting, his side of mac n cheese was great but super rich. Super fun place, decent prices, but the smoke from the kitchen was engulfing that first room. Quick stop after at Lit Lounge where it was like pre April 1, 2003 if you know what I mean.

Sat. turned out to have lots of street fairs but I made my way to Billy's Bakery for one of my best food items, an oatmeal sandwich cookie filled w/ boiled milk frosting. I'm not sure that description does it justice but it was the best $2 I spent (although the 3 leather belts for $10 at the 8th Ave. market was good). Got attitude from the person at Grounded on Jane St. (if you'd just leave the cream out you wouldn't have to deal with getting my iced coffee just right). Decided I had to try something in Chinatown and New Pasteur was too crowded so I got some chicken w/ scallions & ginger to go at Thai So'n and that was fine. Drinks later were at the boudoir looking Madame X then dinner at Jane next door on Houston on Sat. (killed me to miss that Sun. $12 dinner) and had a very nice meal. We split some good grilled octopus and my pork loin w/ pozole and bacon was very smoky and tasty ($21). Also had veal parm, mushroom soup, salad nicoise, cod, everyone was happy and we esp. liked the bar area of the place. A friend was DJ'ing at the Maritime Hotel and we enjoyed the old punk rock but can't imagine that crowd usually does. Sun. was Philip Marie on Hudson St. for a good brunch of pancakes w/ fresh strawberries ($6.95) and friend's eggs benedict looked wonderful. Met a friend in Park Slope at Bonnie's where he wolfed down an order of spicy wings and a catfish sandwich while I muddled thru a steak and cheese. Half of it was undercooked but the other half was great and the place was a fun little dive with most items <$10. Wasn't impressed with dessert of a choc. covered macaroon from the Chocolate Shop, red velvet cupcake from Ozzie's was a little better. A much better choc. covered macaroon could be found at the deli across the street from the Sheraton Towers on 7th and 53rd, huge, moist, great. Also hit the Halal Cart there for an overstuffed tasty lamb gyro. Last was an egg bagel w/ scallion cream cheese to go from Times Sq. Bagels for the bus ride back to Boston.

Good time but odd that my favorite things were that cookie from Billy's and a choc. macaroon. Well, maybe not that odd given my sweet tooth.

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