Jean-Georges, Momofuko Ssam Bar, and Bouchon Bakery

All in one day.*

Photo from New York Times

Jim and I ventured to the city Saturday, with tickets to Tom Stoppard’s play. We walked up to the theatre, passing an unusually large mass of police and cop-cars, as well as some angry looking people, and learned at the entrance that the play was cancelled. The stage-hands had gone on strike.

After a few minutes of pity-partying, we decided that we’d make a good day out of our trip—we’d gotten someone to come over to walk the dog, planning to be out for over 12 hours, so why not take advantage of that?

Without even planning it, the day revolved around food. We had already eaten lunch at Jean-Georges, lunches of tuna tartare and then hake with coconut-milk broth and mango (for me), and mushroom soup with curried chicken and enoki mushroom and then petite filet with brussel sprouts and couscous (for Jim). The lunch was finished with a chocolate cake (or more like a chocolate marshmellow over a graham-cracker crust) with pumpkin ice cream. Everything was superb. The flavors were at once bold but not overwhelming, and the dessert captured the sense of “autumn” more perfectly than I could ever imagine. And this menu, prix-fixe, cost 24.00 per person. I am still swooning.

After that lunch, it was hard to get too disappointed about the play—we were already having such a good time and the meal alone was worth the trip into NYC. Wanting to walk off the dessert, we linked hands and strolled over to Union Square, to check out the farmer’s market. We bought some wonderful spiced hot apple cider and sipped the fragrant drink on a bench in the park, happily people watching, almost in a daze.

From there we wandered to Momofuku Ssam Bar—you know, the restaurant/gourmet fast food joint owned by David Chang. The one with the steamed pork belly buns. They are as good as the hype. Unctuous pork belly is offset by piquant pickles and the perfectly steamed buns make for a chewy, glorious little sandwich. It was probably the fattest sandwich I’ve ever eaten, but every single calorie was worth it.

Finishing our Japanese beers, we headed off for a long walk from the village to the Time-Warner building. Since we were at Momofuko at the tail end of their lunch menu, we didn’t get dessert (which is only on the dinner menu). Passing the Time-Warner building, headed for the car, I suddenly remembered that Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery was in there, a floor below Per Se. We excitedly ran in, and ordered two sandwiches, an eclair, a chocolate tart, and two cookies—a little snack for when we got home. The bakery’s food was fantastic as we munched on it hours later in the apartment, and I can imagine that Per Se is off the charts if this is what Keller offers as ready-made prepared food. Popping in a movie and feeding each other chocolates for the rest of the night, I was actually glad the stage-hands were striking.

*photo yoinked from New York Times website.