I stayed overnight in the city a week ago Thursday on account of work. Jack met me for drinks at Pod 39's rooftop bar. What a wonderful space:
I told Jack we'd just gotten a lawn mower. "Is it a Toro?"* he asked. Yes. "Is it a mulching mower?" Yes! "Self-propelled?" Yes!!
I've used the mower since that conversation, and "self-propelled" isn't what it used to be. I remember cutting grass with a self-propelled mower when I was high school/college age, and that sucker would take off. This one moves easily, but it doesn't seem to move on its own. Which is no doubt better safetywise.
Not long after Jack joined me at the table I'd managed to grab, a young woman with a cast on her left arm and a guy she was with asked whether they could set their drinks down on our table. We said sure. The woman told us some crazy woman she didn't know had just thrown this woman's chips*** up in the air and onto her. That other woman must have been drunk and thought she was being amusing or something. This woman was especially pissed because she'd been very hungry. I did not throw salsa on her.
Back on July 30, we took Jack out to dinner at L'Artusi, a wonderful Italian restaurant we hadn't visited in a while, for his birthday. We'd planned to go to Mary's Fish Camp (this was about a month before the MFC dinner I mentioned in part I), but we discovered when we got there that it was closed for a private party that night. (MFC doesn't take reservations. If you show up by quarter to 6, you're almost certain to be among the first seated when they open the doors at 6.)
I called L'Artusi, and they could seat us in a little while. And we had a great meal.
To start, I had the Kale Salad With Cherries, (a tremendous dusting of) Pecorino, and Walnuts. Because although I know some people are over kale, I'm not:
I had a pasta special with a pork ragout. I didn't take a photo of it, maybe because I wolfed it down so fast.
To drink, we had a wonderful Calabrian red wine that Tony selected. It was a wonderful pick. It tasted more like cherries than any wine I've ever had and was made from a grape I'd never heard of:
I had suggested going to Big Gay Ice Cream for dessert, but we threw that plan out the window when I saw the Bittersweet Chocolate Budino on the dessert menu because I remembered having enjoyed it tremendously when I'd eaten it before. I convinced Jack to get it, too, and we both boarded the fast train to Chocolate Heaven:
I'm getting to the point where I don't mind driving all that much, and that moment is arriving faster than I'd expected. I mean, I'd rather not have to do the 15- to 20-minute drive to my gym, up Route 31 on the other side of Flemington, but I accept it as a necessary part of our new way of life outside the city. And I really enjoy piloting the Prius.
And I don't miss living in the city all that much. It's great to be in the Hunterdon-Bucks area again. The people are generally so much nicer. And we're managing to eat about as well and in some cases even better than we did in the city; on Saturday, Tony declared the Stockton Market to be better than Chelsea Market (!). And here's a little anecdote that makes both of those points: The fish from Metropolitan Seafood has continued to be outstanding. Since I last mentioned MS on the blog, in part II, we've gotten wonderful Scottish salmon (albeit farmed, not wild) and more of that amazing red snapper. And when we bought the salmon two Saturdays ago, the guy who waited on us told us "Be good" after we'd made our purchase.**** That's what my Pop Pop always used to tell me, so it felt sweet, although it was a bit odd coming from a man who wasn't all that much older than me and who was no relation.
By now, you've probably seen that video of the subway rat with the slice of pizza. In case you haven't, here it is:
My friend David made me aware of a lesser-known human-food-eating rodent: milkshake squirrel:
David linked on Facebook to this Brokelyn story that asked readers to weigh in on which animal was the true metaphor for New York. Because, you know, everything has to be a contest.
"Milkshake squirrel is all business," David wrote. "Milkshake squirrel is the 1%. But pizza rat is the unwashed masses."
"I love milkshake squirrel," I commented, maybe a little too gushingly. "Pizza rat was a quitter. MS wasn't giving up on having that milkshake." Because the pizza rat video is astonishing for showing a rat navigating stairs with a slice of pizza, but as far as we know, the effort was all for naught, because he abandons the slice and runs away at the end.
On a related note, I saw Tina Trachtenburg at Union Square again last month and bought a handcrafted rat and slice of pizza from her:
I noted on Facebook that her business card is made of fabric:
Tina should feel so ahead of the trend curve.
I'm going to continue my mini trend of posting photos I'd previously put on Facebook (see above and the ** footnote below) but not on the blog:
Here's Tony making a move in backgammon against me in our almost empty apartment the night before the big move:
And here's Grady scoping out the board:
Our movers managed to bust open the backgammon box, and some pieces fell into our driveway. *sigh* Where they then got run over. *bigger sigh* So we'll have to buy a new set.
Other than that, the movers did a fairly good job—though Tony, who stayed at the apartment that Friday morning while I took a hired van with the dogs down to the new home to await the movers' arrival, had to point out some artworks on the walls and all of the stuff in the bathroom that still needed to be packed after they had said they were all done. And the day before, the lead mover had pitched a big hissy fit about having to move my outdoor plants. He told me they couldn't guarantee they'd arrive safely. I told him I understood that. One of my pots broke open in the van, and a couple, including one holding two kinds of mint, broke at the apartment and so didn't make the move at all.*****
When he saw our much-tree-filled backyard, the lead mover asked me why I needed the plants they'd moved, as if there's a limit on the number of plants a reasonable person should have. And he didn't say it with a smile on his face; he seemed to be asking the question absolutely seriously. I told him I had grown the plants and so was attached to them.
Our serviceberry trees, I'm happy to say, ended up on the terrace of our landlord and his wife. He said she was excited about the prospect of getting edible fruit from them. And I was happy that those trees I'd grown very attached to were going to be living on elsewhere.
The moving company OKed the move of the little potted plants but vetoed attempting the trees, so we would have had to have found alternative, no doubt horribly expensive means of getting them here. I first asked our landscape designer whether she had a use for them and could justify the expense of picking them up and taking them back. She said she couldn't. So then I asked our landlord. He had a crew dig them up and transfer them to his place on the Thursday that our movers started the packing and loading of our apartment. I'd thought to ask him because the super had told us the woman who had lived in our apartment before us had had an amazing garden and the landlord had taken some of her plants after she died.
Now back to the photos, most of which previously appeared on Facebook:
Before we played backgammon, we went to Wild for our last meal as West Village residents. We drank a white Bordeaux, because it was a special bargain that night:
I'm usually a fussbudget about having an Italian red with pizza or pasta, but I remember enjoying the white with our meal.
I had the Wild Salad, featuring arugula and fennel, to start, and we both got single-serving pizzas:
Wild serves only gluten-free pizzas. I had regular cheese on mine; Tony's had prosciutto and dairy-free cheese, a product I haven't been able to embrace.
On Aug. 21, I took Missy for our final jog along the river. I took her photo next to the Jane Street inscription in the cement:
And here I am with her on our final visit to the Union Square Greenmarket, on Aug. 26:
That night, Tony and I had our last home-cooked meal at 39 Jane: Roasted Belle Rouge Chicken Breasts and Carrots (seasoned with marjoram from the garden), Fried Potatoes, Big-Ass Salads With Mexican Sour Gherkins and Calendula Petals (from the garden), and Louis Roederer Champagne:
And for dessert, we had the last of the Chocolate-Blackberry Sorbet I'd made for our last barbecue, topped with some fresh blackberries and chocolate chips:
For that barbecue, I'd also made Coffee Ice Cream and Peach Ice Cream With a Peach Swirl:
We had a very similar meal tonight—roasted chicken breasts and carrots, with our own marjoram—and the chicken, from our meat guy at Stockton Market, was disappointing in comparison with Belle Rouge. I don't think that chicken will ever be beat. Violet Hill Farm developed something truly outstanding with that variety of bird.
And now here's one last photo: For many months, I'd been wanting to get a pic of the resident cat at the bodega at 8th Avenue and 12th Street sunning itself in the front window while snoozing on top of big water jugs so I could caption it with "Bodega cat sez, I has water bed" on Facebook. But whenever I would see him/her in that position, I inevitably would be without my iPhone. Well, on Aug. 2, I finally got my photo:
Finally, I've been enjoying Dar Williams's latest album, Emerald, and especially this song about my favorite city:
*I sent Jack an e-mail to make sure I'd remembered our conversation/heard** everything correctly, and he said he actually asked whether we'd gotten a Troy-Bilt, which got its name from having been built, until fairly recently, in Troy, New York. It's more fun if he guessed everything spot on, so I'm footnoting this correction.
**I thought I'd better check whether I heard everything correctly because a) there was a lot of background noise and b) I'd gotten my hearing checked at the end of July and discovered I've lost the ability to hear some higher-pitched sounds. It's most likely hereditary, and there's nothing to do about it just yet except keep tabs on it. That same week, I picked up my first pair of reading glasses. In a vain quest for compliments, I put this photo on Facebook:
And it worked! I got 35 Likes. It was a bitch of a week for feeling older.
***Salvation Taco is located within Pod 39. I didn't try ST's food this time, but I'd like to in the future.
****That's assuming, of course, that I heard him correctly.
*****Oh, and they also put some of my houseplants, with water-filled trays, in the same big box as electronics (!). Thankfully, everything, both the electronics and the plants, survived. So I guess the conclusion I'm arriving at is, they weren't actually good movers at all.