Dad and Jean joined Tony and me for dinner at Nizza, our go-to before-a-play spot, and the 8 o'clock performance of Violet two weeks ago today.
First, we went to lunch—sans Tony, who was at the office—at Pizzetteria (not Nizzetteria) Brunetti, the pizza place on Hudson Street the nephews and I checked out last year not long after it opened. Dad and Jean enjoyed their margherita pies, but we agreed that the ones at Lucky Bones in Cape May are at least a little better.
That afternoon and again the next morning, after we bought some hardware we needed, Dad helped me hang some long-in-need-of-hanging artworks that had been sitting on our living room floor.
A Kathy Klein danmala photo print:
Around Christmas last year, I bought three more prints on aluminum by Andrew Werth to go with Conceptual Framework, which we'd picked up at Artists' Gallery on Thanksgiving in the Country weekend. CF is at the top. Then, left to right, Nebulous and Center of Narrative Gravity #12. And Points of View at the bottom:
I took the photo from the side to minimize reflection.
And here's Pop and Gran's canary training record, which I'd gotten framed:
I was disappointed in my Veal Involtini entree at Nizza. The veal was stuffed with spinach instead of the Swiss chard mentioned on the menu, and the flavor of whatever pistachios were in there didn't come through. And even with the pretty, purple marsala sauce, it was on the dry side:
The service was excellent, as always. Our waiter was friendly and helpful with wine selections. He let us try the house rosé, which none of us liked, so we avoided buying a bottle of that mofo. Tony said he could tell by the look of his teeth that the waiter had Celiac disease, so he took the guy's advice and ordered his favorite dish: the Branzini Fillet. Tony thought it was delicious.
Jean took this photo of me and the boy and put it on Facebook. I snagged it from there:
I'm pretty sure that's our waiter behind us.
Everyone enjoyed the play, even Tony, who, ARROHK, is a tougher bastard than John Simon. Dad said it wasn't up there with Jersey Boys* and the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons show, but they'll never be topped for him.
I was happy to see the show a second time. I re-read Charles Isherwood's review, and I agree with him that Flick's developing love for Violet could have been shown with more clarity. You can understand why a black marine in the 1960s would be sympathetic toward a woman whose disfigurement made her an outsider. But why did he fall in love with her?
Austin Lesch filled in as Monty for Colin Donnell, who had the night off. I thought he was very good. And it was fun to see Levi Kreis—whose Tony Award–winning portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis Dad and I had enjoyed in Million Dollar Quartet—as the televangelist. I had to check my Playbill from the time I went with Tracey to make sure Kreis hadn't been in the cast then. Surely I would have recognized him or at least spotted his name in the Playbill, right? Yeah. He joined the show in July.
When we got back to the apartment, Dad asked if we were interested in a nightcap. Jean and I were, so we walked over to Art Bar, whose website quotes the New York Daily News thusly: "It may be the diviest art gallery in the city, but in an extremely charming way."
Dad threw a 50 on the bar as soon as we sat down. I posted this photo on Facebook ...
... with the comment "Dad threw a fifty down on the bar before we ordered. He means business." Later, I added: "I was hoping Dad would say 'Gonna make it rain' to the (female) bartender. But he didn't."
The next morning, the three of us had breakfast at not-at-all divey Cafe Cluny. Though we did spy a big-ass bug ... on the ceiling:
I ordered the Organic Whole Wheat Pancakes With Nectarine Butter, Seasonal Stone Fruit, and New York Maple Syrup:
We'd all slept pretty well the night before. Tony and I gave D&J our bed. I slept on the pull-out couch, which isn't too bad, Tony said, if you're sleeping on it alone. He slept in the greenhouse on the blow-up mattress he'd bought for Nick's visit.
D&J brought us some wonderful produce from his garden—including a Sugar Baby watermelon—and some terrific peaches and sweet corn not from his garden. Dad wasn't positive the melon was ripe. And Tony and I feared it may have gotten harmed by extreme cold in our unpredictable piece-of-shit-gotta-complain-to-the-landlord-eff-bombin' refrigerator. But it was in fine shape, perfectly ripe and delicious.
The Gerbers visited two Sundays ago, and right away, for lunch, without the Tonester, we checked out the Gotham West Market, way the hell west on 11th Avenue, between 44th and 45th.
A building on 44th between 8th and 9th has a sign setting itself up as the dividing line between Hell's Kitchen and Times Square:
I had been psyched about trying Choza Taquería, the taco place in GWM. But the nephews weren't in the mood for Mexican and led us to Genuine Roadside, which had an eclectic menu of all-American-type stuff. Including Mahi Mahi Tacos that sounded delightful; they came with crema, salsa verde, border slaw, radishes, and cotija cheese. And Chicken Tacos With Lemongrass that were even more tempting; they also had pickled daikon, shredded romaine, and hoisin peanut sauce on them.
But I ended up getting the fried chicken sandwich—with apple/celeriac slaw and sambal mayo—instead:
OMG, was it ever good. And I'd just had fried chicken the day before for lunch at Dirty Bird to-go on 14th Street**: a two-piece (breast and wing) combo with cornbread and sautéed garlic kale:
It was delicious, too, and I guess rather than slaking my appetite for fried chicken, it only increased it.
Back at Genuine Roadside, David went to Choza for a burrito and brought it back to our table in GR. (If it had occurred to me that you could sit somewhere you didn't order from, I might have done the same.) Tracey and Mike both got the fried-chicken sandwich, too, and Matt got the Super, Duper Stack Burger, which had two beef patties. We all split the (actual product name) Mountain of Fries, which was a huge pile of regular and sweet potato fries. We were unable to eat them all.
We didn't linger at the GWM because Tony had texted me that Molly was freaking out back at the apartment because her people had left her. He'd been upstairs trying to nap when the Gerbers arrived after having caught an early flight home from visiting Mark in Charlottesvile, so Molly probably thought at first that she was completely humanless. It would have been fun to get a cone from the Jeni's Ice Cream stand that's popped up in the market for the summer. And Tracey and I probably would have gotten the Milk Chocolate Bombay, spiced with Bombay No. 8 from nearby La Boîte:
David went into the office, and the rest of us went back home, where, as I'm wont to do, I took a bunch of selfies with Molly:
After a little while, M&M (Matt and Mike) and B&B (Bug and Bill, aka Tracey and me) went to the High Line. I hadn't been all year and was starting to feel kind of bad for not taking the time to visit such a gorgeous spot I'm so enviably close to. But it was really hot and humid that day, so we crapped out and turned around about two-thirds of the way to the end. Herewith the inevitable crapload of photos. Well, half a dozen:
Molly was a little upset about being Gerber-less that time, too, even though Tony once again gamely tried to keep her calm. It didn't help that Missy kept saying this to her.
The 'phews helped me make a dinner that was very much like this post-mini-golf one from last September. To start, a salad of purty lettuces with cucumber, dill, and a lemon-lime vinaigrette:
Our main was veal ragú over pasta:
The ragú was seasoned with basil and marjoram*** from the garden and liberal amounts of onion and garlic. And it also contained red and yellow bell pepper and lots of cherry tomatoes.
Tracey was underwhelmed by the wine I'd selected at Foragers to have with our Italian-ish meal, the 2011 Baby Barb Barbera d'Asti from La Mondianese, but I really liked it, and Tony and I have consumed two more bottles of it since then:
Nobody had any misgivings about my ass-kicking-and-name-taking desserts: the Gooseberry With a Gooseberry Swirl Ice Cream I wrote about in my previous post and my second attempt at coconut milk ice cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, which I couldn't have been happier with:
I used refined white sugar instead of the coconut palm sugar, and that made all the difference. There was nothing to compete with the strong mint and fairly subtle coconut flavors.
And I also made sure I had some fresh gooseberries because the nephews, like their Unkie Bill, eat them like candy and because I wanted Tracey to try them. She didn't want to just then, but the next morning, she ate one from the container I sent the Gerbers home with and gave it a thumbs-down. And Jean, who has always been willing to try whatever I present to her, refused to eat a gooseberry even though she liked the ice cream. She said her daughter Debbie used to devour the yellow-green gooseberries from a relative's plants when Debbie was little but she never liked them. I tried to persuade her that the reddish-purple ones aren't anywhere near as tart as the green ones, but she was unmoved.****
Tracey and Mike pose with their pasta:
And Grady lets Matt have part of the sofa in return for some petting:
Back on July 20, I made one of my best recent chicken dishes. It was a sort of deconstructed chicken soup. I roasted chicken breasts and carrots in the same pan with onion, scallion, and celery seed. And I also made steamed potatoes with parsley oil:
We'd had our starter salad out on the terrace with our first glasses out of the bottle of 2012 Nidia Verdejo, a refreshing Spanish white wine we've had a few times this summer:
Grady got a leaf of my salad, which fell out of my bowl as I was moving it out of his reach. That boy loves greens.
On Sunday night, I created a clever yet undercooked chicken dish that made Tony sick. But I also whipped up a delicious salsa verde, so it wasn't a total loss. Right, Tony? Tony?
It all started with a package of tomatillos from Ryder Farm's stand at the Union Square Greenmarket:
After perusing recipes on the Internet, I blended the husked tomatillos with a jalapeño pepper, half a small onion, two cloves of garlic, the juice of 1 1/2 limes, some Vietnamese coriander leaves from our garden, and salt. Our cilantro plants have flowered or gone to seed and don't have much in the way of unharvested leaves anymore, and I haven't been able to find new plants, so I was happily curious to find the VC plant at the PetAl stand at the USGM.
My first bite of the salsa, on a Green Mountain–brand tortilla chip, seemed really hot. But it must have felt that way only because it was the first bite. As I continued eating it with more chips later, it was actually rather mild.
I started roasting two Belle Rouge chicken breasts before I figured out precisely what I was going to do with them. I decided to make a really simple salsa roja from dark-red cherry tomatoes I got from Muddy Farm, scallions from Ryder Farm, a bit of salt, and a little olive oil. I put the salsa in the fridge for a bit before ultimately deciding to pour it over the chicken breasts while they continued to bake, which, because the salsa had had time to chill, slowed down the cooking time for the chicken.
I took the breasts out of the oven after they'd been in about an hour. We realized they needed more time and so I put them back in the oven. When I took them out the second time, Tony's chicken breast, which was slightly larger than mine, still didn't seem 100% done. He ate only the outer parts. Later that night, his stomach felt rock hard. He didn't get sick to his stomach (or out the other way) but he was mighty miserable for a few hours and lost a lot of sleep. Sorry, sweetie.
Our oodles of densely planted calendulas have so far produced only one flower:
(Those are volunteer marigolds from seeds blown into the calendula area last year in the background.)
On the other side of the terrace, I've got a patch of densely planted marigolds in three varieties that are grown for their edible flowers: Lemon Gem, Tangerine Gem, and Red Gem. (Why didn't the namer go with Cherry Gem?) I've been harvesting them for salads, and we are going to have bajillions of them over the course of the summer:
And last but hell-no-not-least, Tony with his drinking buddy:
*Hawleyblog had such a low budget back then, I couldn't afford to run photos. Ha!
**I consider it to be in the West Village, not Chelsea as the website attests, because it's on the south side of the street.
***If I were hired to help market marjoram—and I should be, because I love it so and I'm somewhat of a wordsmith—I would suggest the slogan "Oregano's Sexier Cousin."
****If I were hired to help market gooseberries, I would suggest the slogan "They've got a cute name. And they're not that tart, so just eat them already. Goddammit."