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July 4th weekend

[Super delayed post from Monday, July 5th.  I had it all typed it up, but never posted.]

Long weekends are awesome.

Saturday (July 3rd):

  • We try to remake the ham & cheese sandwiches that we had in Paris with Emmenthaler cheese and ham from Whole Foods and Stirato from Sullivan Street Bakery
  • Unsuccessful attempt at shopping
  • Chinatown to pick up some blueberries, lychees, white peaches and such
  • J makes some pig hocks for dinner (just like at home!)

Sunday (July 4th):

  • Slept in until 10:30…I never used to sleep this late
  • With the temps to reach the high 90s, we decide to stay in (with a short trip out to the grocery store to pick up some snacks and veggies).
  • For dinner, J single-handedly cooks up a delicious meal of steak, couscous (made with chicken stock), and roasted cauliflower.  He also makes a wonderful mushroom sauce to go with the steak.  I fully admit that the only contribution that I made to the meal was helping to eat it.
  • Around 7:30, we head out to watch the Macy’s fireworks on the Hudson river.  Large crowds and hot & humid weather are not such a great combination, but it was J’s first time seeing July 4th fireworks in NYC.
  • We make it safely back to the apartment, albeit a bit thirsty.  To solve this problem, we dig into a watermelon that J had carried back from his Whole Foods trip on Saturday

Monday (July 5th):

J and I went to lunch at Del Posto to try out the $29 3-course prix fixe lunch.  While nothing was revelatory, all the dishes were solid and well crafted.

The waitress brought out the amuse bouche to start: gazpacho in a shot glass rimmed with celery salt, arancini (fried risotto balls), and a semolina crisp filled with a salmon (or was it crab) stuffing.

Trio of amuse bouche

After the amuse bouche came the bread basket, filled with 2 each of four different types of bread.  The lardo and butter accompaniments were rich and creamy.

Warm bread basket with breadsticks, baguettes, olive ciabatta and rosemary ciabatta

Whipped lardo (left) and whipped butter (right)

For the first course, I chose the spring salad – apparently a deconstructed spring salad.  The memorable parts of the salad included the pea puree and the (deconstructed) carrot cake crumble, which entailed a stub of a carrot surrounded by what seemed like toasted graham cracker crumbs.

Insalata PRIMAVERA della Terra

J chose the cotechino, a sausage.

Warm COTECHINO with Umbrian Lentil Vinaigrette & Dried Fruit Mostarda

The rosemary focaccia (my favorite was the olive focaccia, though)

Second courses – J chose a pasta dish.  The pennette was very al dente, and the dish itself was intensely flavored with the tuna.

PENNETTE with Porcini, Preserved Tuna & Tomato Strattu

I went with a meatier dish – the lamb.  It was definitely not of the melt-in-your-mouth/falls-apart-with-the-touch-of-a-fork variety.  Instead, it needed some force with a knife and fork to cut into smaller pieces, but oh flavorful it was.  A bite of the lamb with a swipe of lemon yogurt was a great balance of tangy and gamey.

Grilled LAMB Chop Lemon Yogurt with Ceci & Swiss Chard Ragu

Then came the desserts:

TARTUFO al Caffe with Dark Chocolate, Sant Eustachio Coffe & Candied Lemon

The sweet pea cake was very unique.  Extremely light and moist cake, with just a hint of pea flavor.  Quite enjoyable.  The strawberry gelato was so intensely strawberry-ish… I also loved the colors on the plate.

Lidia’s Sweet Pea CAKE Local Strawberries & Strawberry Gelato

Lastly, came a box of goodies to end the meal.

Warm bomboloni and chocolate-covered olive oil gelato popsicles

And there was more in a little drawer!

Mini tarts and candied fruit

A few bonus pictures from previous weeks:

J surprised me at Grand Central a few Fridays ago with this beauty – a pumpkin cheesecake from Magnolia Bakery.  I love pumpkin.

Falafel from Taim, reportedly the best falafel in New York:

I liked the toasted pita.  The falafel themselves were yummy as well.

And lastly, a clam, tofu, and mushroom soup that J made for me one night.  He had filled himself up on xiao long bao earlier in the day at Joe’s Shanghai.  Thus, the clams were all mine.

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