Charleston Wine & Food Festival Week Begins with Fig Restaurant

Charleston Wine & Food Festival Week Begins with Fig Restaurant

Therese and I had been looking forward to our week in Charleston for a long time.  We would be attending their Wine & Food Festival, which began on Wednesday night; but we traveled there on Sunday afternoon so that we would have a couple days to do some work on our new house there (yes, we will really be moving to Charleston during the summer – hard to believe it is actually going to happen!).  And also, this gave us the chance to visit some new restaurants, such as the universally acclaimed Fig.

We flew from New York City out of JFK Airport’s Terminal 4, which gave us the chance to stop by the Shake Shack there.  Nothing mind-blowing, but a tasty way to keep our bellies full until such time as we headed to dinner in Charleston.

Shake Shack in JFK’s Terminal 4

For this visit, we tried out a new hotel – the Hilton Garden Inn on the waterfront, facing the Ashley River and the Marina (for those of you who know Charleston, it is on the western tip of the Downtown peninsula, just north of Calhoun Street).  The river-view rooms are the most desirable, and with our Hilton status, we were able to get one (later in the week, we would move to a second river-view room, one with a small balcony).

Ashley Marina and Sunset over the River Seen from Hilton Garden Inn

Sure enough, between flying down to Charleston, picking up our rental car, driving to the hotel and checking in, that pretty much took care of Sunday afternoon.  When it came time to think about dinner, we thought about the hotel’s shuttle, which leaves once an hour and drops off at a spot near some of the best restaurants, at Concord Street and Market Street. This drop-off spot is a bit desolate – the only thing nearby is the restaurant Tabulli across Concord Street – but if you walk up Market Street one block to East Bay, there is lots going on there.  Our eyes were drawn to the roof bar atop the Pavilion Hotel, fittingly named Pavilion Bar – on the spur of the moment, we decided to try there for our dinner.

Duck Confit Nachos and Champagne at Pavilion Bar

It was a cool evening, but between the barriers keeping the wind away and the outdoor heaters, it was comfortable on the roof.  We ordered duck confit nachos to start – Therese asked for the cheese to just cover half the dish, so that I would have a good amount of the nachos (dairy free, you know).  As it was, it came out more like 75/25 cheese to no cheese, but I made do, scarfing up the non dairy ones and then pulling soft cheese off of some others.  Then for a main course, I ordered some chicken salad.  This bar felt like a place that people go for simple hearty food after a night of partying (or before such a night).  As a beginning to our week of enjoying Charleston, it was a good fit.

On Monday morning, we had some work to do – shopping for furniture and meeting a contractor or two.  After driving around for the first half of the day, we headed to a reliable lunch stop – Artisan Meat Share.  We had been there once before, during the “Charleston Insiders” weekend visit in May of 2015.  With their superb collection of cured meats, I thought a nice hearty sandwich there would do it for me.  Sure enough, the Porchetta sandwich (starring an ingredient new to me, ‘nduja) with a side order of pickles was perfect.

Porchetta Sandwich with a Side of Pickles

After lunch, we met with another contractor, this time at our new house.  After a very productive visit, we drove back to the hotel to get freshened up for dinner.  We were going to Fig, one of Charleston’s most famous restaurants, and one that is not easy to get reservations for.  I had tried, unsuccessfully, to get dinner reservations a couple of times previously – this time I tried calling them about five weeks before the date of our prospective dinner night, and that worked (like many restaurants, Fig releases dates to phone orders before they put them on the Internet for electronic reservations).

This dinner lived up to our expectations, without question.  I started with a sort of warm vegetable salad that they call “a la Grecque” – a dish that changes every month based on whatever vegetables are available locally for that month.  For February, it included such things as tiny brussels sprouts, artichoke hearts and mushrooms.  It is covered with a light dressing that brings it all together, and it was very good.  For my main course, I had fish stew Provencal, and holy mackerel, the broth in this dish was extraordinary.  Long after I had eaten the seafood and potatoes, I could’ve kept sipping this broth for hours, it was so good.

Our first day was an excellent start for the week.  We had eaten well, and we had gotten some good starts on the work on our house.  And while the festival had not yet begun, we had seen signs advertising it around town, and we were starting to get excited!

Charleston Wine & Food Festival Poster at Artisan Meat Share

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Baltimore Walters Museum Concludes Valentine Weekend

Baltimore Walters Museum Concludes Valentine Weekend

The Sunday before Valentine’s Day this year was a chance for us to visit Baltimore’s Walters Museum (my first time there).  Unlike the day before, when we got to spend time with our friend Faith (as we saw both the Visionary Arts Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art), we were mostly on our own.  We made the most of the day, eating dumplings at Pinch in the Mount Vernon Marketplace after our stop at the Walters, and then picking up some food for the train ride home from Peter’s Pour House.

We unexpectedly did get to see Faith on Sunday – we had something of hers by accident, and it worked out logistically for her to meet us at our hotel for the exchange.  And then she generously offered to drive us to the museum.  What a nice surprise!

Our first stop in the Walters was on the second floor, at the Chamber of Wonders, their recreation of the Cabinets of Curiosities that were so popular among the crowned heads of Europe during the Renaissance period and thereafter.  The Walters chamber is dominated by the Maerten van Heemskerk Panorama, which combines a narrative on the abduction of the the mythical Greek beauty Helen with depictions of the wonders of the ancient world (the pyramids, etc.).

Near the Chamber of Wonders is the Collector’s Study, a recreation of the study of an art collector.  Glass cases line the walls, filled with small statues and glassware, and paintings hang above those cases.  My favorite in this room may have been the stained glass windows that depicted hunting and jousting scenes.

From there, we moved up to the third floor.  The western half of the floor is devoted to art of the Medieval Period, and within that are a couple of galleries containing Islamic art.  Stylistically, as well as by period, the Islamic art meshes very well with the Medeival art nearby.

The galleries of Medieval art may have been my favorite in the entire museum.  The stained glass that is contemporaneous with that of Sainte-Chappelle in Paris is fantastic (love all those rich shades of blue glass).  The Opening Madonna Triptych is extraordinary – I have never seen anything like it, and while it is rather strange to see the Madonna’s body split in two and opened to reveal the Stations of the Cross inside, it is certainly worth a good long look.

We were keen to move to the eastern half of the third floor and see the Renaissance art galleries, but we felt like it was time to take a break at this point.  We were disappointed to discover that there is no food offered in the museum’s cafe (just a bunch of tables and a vending machine of snacks).  However, while we were down there, we did some shopping in the museum’s gift shop (the globe/ornament and its hanging stand at the top of this post were two of our purchases).

We changed our plans just a bit at this point, electing to head to the top floor to see the temporary exhibit on how the museum’s collection was, well, collected by father and son William and Henry Walters. Some of the earliest pieces purchased by the two are shown here, including a fascinating painting of the interior of Cordoba, Spain’s Mezquita and a lesser-known painting of Claude Monet showing his wife (I presume) lounging in full spring dress on a lawn.

Now we would finally head back to the third floor and the Renaissance collection.  And yes, it was nice to see the museum’s Raphael painting (although I have to say, the Raphael paintings in Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art are far superior to this one).

Not far from the museum is the Mount Vernon Marketplace.  Denied a lunch at the museum (a bag of potato chips and a juice box didn’t quite do it), we decided to have a larger nosh there.  Sharing an order of dumplings from Pinch really hit the spot.

We could’ve eaten a larger lunch there, but we were thinking of how to time things right for our train home.  So after getting a good glimpse of the impressive HMV doggie atop the Maryland Historical Society (see below), we Uber-ed back to our hotel, picked up some sandwiches at the nearby Peter’s Pour House (the memory of those shrimp salad sandwiches makes me wish I had one right now!), and (keeping the same Uber car) made it to the train station with plenty of time to spare.  A full day, a great weekend, let’s do it again sometime!

Giant RCA Dog Nipper Atop Maryland Historical Society Museum

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Bushwick Market Hotel Hosts Sunday Vegan Market

Bushwick Market Hotel Hosts Sunday Vegan Market

Nowadays, it seems like every weekend in Brooklyn, somewhere somebody is having a vegan market.  Last weekend it was the Market Hotel in Bushwick, which is across the street from the Myrtle Avenue stop of the J train, that was hosting more than a dozen purveyors of fine vegan goods, including pastries, hot sandwiches and cosmetics.

Now before we go any further, I have to acknowledge that this event took place in a spot that, for most New Yorkers, is obscure and out-of-the-way.  Even veteran residents of the city like me (I’ve lived here since the Reagan era) rarely find themselves riding the J, M and Z line which services, honestly, parts of Brooklyn and Queens that really no other trains do.  On the weekends (especially if there are service repairs being made), the M and Z pretty much stop running, which leaves the J as the only train that runs through that area.  Luckily, the J stops at Canal Street, where it connects to the N, Q, R and W lines, and those also stop not far from my apartment – so it took me just about an hour to get there.

As I said, Market Hotel, a venue for rock and roll acts that apparently has just recently re-opened after being closed for several years, is right across the street from the subway entrance.  The door to the hall is down the block a bit, and the hall is on the second floor.  Entering the room at 1pm for an event that started at noon, I was pleased to see that it was very well-attended.

The first table I saw was manned by my friends at Riverdel Cheese.  While I was mostly keen on bringing home some fine vegan pastries (more on that later), it was lunchtime and I was hungry, so I got a hot panini – salami and cheese.  This sandwich reminded me so much of a classic Reuben sandwich, in spite of the fact that it had very different ingredients – no sauerkraut and Russian dressing, just tomato and tapenade of some sort with vegan salami and cheese.  It was tangy and sour with hearty sourdough bread, very satisfying.

Salami and Cheese Sandwich from Riverdel Cheese

I was also thrilled to learn from Michaela, the owner of Riverdel, that the shop now carries vegan cakes and cannolis and such from Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, PA.  If you have eaten these cakes before at places in Manhattan like Red Bamboo or Atlas Cafe, you know that Vegan Treats makes some of the best cakes anywhere, vegan or otherwise (I have been a huge fan of their Death by Chocolate and other specialties for a couple decades).

I wanted to bring home a sandwich for my wife.  While not opposed to vegan food, she is not too crazy about veggie meats (or cheeses either).  I chose a burger from Monk’s Meats because it was full of vegetables – radishes, beets and peppers.

Monk’s Meats Burger

With some savory foods under my belt (and in my belly), it was time to go for the desserts.  First up was Gigi’s Doughnuts.  She had available a chocolate with vegan butternut frosting and a raspberry filled – both turned out to be quite wonderful (I showed remarkable restrain and ate them a couple days later).

Gigi’s Doughnuts – Chocolate Buttercream and Raspberry Jelly Filled

The main baker I looked forward to visiting was Peaceful Provisions – it was a visit to them by my brother Chris (which he memoralized on Facebook) that tipped me off to these vegan markets to begin with.  They listed about a dozen different doughnuts and such on their website that would be selling that day.  They are so popular, though, that only an hour into the event, they were already down to just four items for sale: their triple decker brownie and three different varieties of doughnuts (chocolate, strawberry lime and one I’ve forgotten – I haven’t eaten it yet – more of that incredible will-power!).

Finally, I had to visit Gone Pie Bakery.  Their offerings of all sorts of decadent desserts smothered in chocolate make my eyes pop out of my head.  They sell things like chocolate covered pretzels and this time, with Easter around the corner, they had bunny-shaped chocolates filled with peanut butter and caramel (drool).  I couldn’t help but walk away from there with a handful of goodies.

Goodies from Gone Pie Bakery

OK, so it’s not really will-power that has kept me from devouring all these sweets in one orgy of sugar consumption.  My wife Therese suggested that I see if I can eat just one a day, since I don’t really need the sugar as they say.  So I am doing my best to follow that plan (so far so good).  I started it all off with the chocolate doughnut from Peaceful Provisions.  Happy vegan pastry hunting, my friends!

Chowing into a Peaceful Provisions Chocolate Filled Doughnut

 

 

Posted in Bakeries, Brooklyn, Bushwick, Dairy Free, Dessert, Doughnuts, Food, Food Events, Markets, New York, New York City, Pastry, United States, Vegan food | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

American Visionary Arts Museum Dazzles Baltimore

American Visionary Arts Museum Dazzles Baltimore

The weekend before Valentine’s Day found us in Baltimore, Maryland, my wife Therese’s native city, celebrating the holiday a little early and spending time with our friend Faith, who lives just outside of Baltimore.  It all began with a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum, a haven for so-called “outsider art,” art created by artists either untrained or trained outside of academia.

Upon entering the round main museum building, you encounter a ramp, whose inner wall is covered with some art related to one of the museum’s current special exhibits, Yummm! The History, Fantasy and Future of Food.  On this rounded wall where collections of two different groupings of art, metal lunch boxes held by plastic hands, and displays of some of Frank Warren‘s PostSecret collection.  The latter are postcards that are anonymously sent to Mr. Warren that contain very personal information, which are first posted on the PostSecret website and then periodically published in book form.  Here, the postcards selected all have food-related messages, like the postcard of Vincent Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters painting to which the sender has attached the message “I wish I had appreciated our family dinners.” These postcards evoke a number of emotional responses, expressing humor, irony and sarcasm – and occasionally, they cut very deep.

OK, a little tmi.  As in, before we moved on to the rest of the museum’s collection, I needed to pay a visit to the rest room.  But even this became an opportunity to encounter an unexpected part of the museum’s offerings, as I saw, directly opposite the downstairs rest rooms, Robert Benson’s Flatulence Post.  Visitors are encouraged to press the button on the post, releasing a nice juicy disgusting fart noise.  There is also copious amounts of pieces surrounding the post, riffing on the theme.  I found it a lot of fun, but what can I say, I am a boy!

Before exploring the first floor of the museum, my eyes were pulled upward.  Hanging from the ceiling in the museum’s central atrium is Andrew Logan’s Black Icarus, ever spinning.

Andrew Logan’s Black Icarus

Once we entered the first gallery of art on the first floor, probably the initial selection to catch my attention was a bunch of paintings by Turkish-American artist Sermet Aslan.  I was excited to learn that Mr. Aslan is also a restaurateur with restaurants in the Charleston, South Carolina area – next time we are in Charleston, we will have to check out one of his eateries.

On the second floor, one side of the floor (one half of a large circle, perhaps) is devoted to the museum’s permanent collection (or at least slightly less temporary?), including the works of Ted Gordon.  His faces covered with swirling lines remind me of the Spirograph game that we enjoyed when we were kids.

On the other side of the floor was a lot more of the museum’s special exhibit Yummm!  There was a series of short films being shown in a loop, one of which was about Gil Batle, an artist who discovered his talents while serving a prison sentence for drug possession.  His main material, ostrich eggs which he carves, is quite incredible, and the scenes on his eggs, evoking the horrors of prison existence, are at the same time quite beautiful and rather disturbing.

On the third floor, in a corner near the windows, I encountered a piece that I really found fascinating.  Leo Sewell’s Stegosaurus is made out of found objects, including license plates, typewriter cases and many other things which have all been stitched together.  The delight for me was in seeing the dinosaur that Sewell has created, but also looking closer to see the individual things that the artist has used.

Leo Sewell’s Stegosaurus

In the main gallery on the third floor is another of the museum’s special exhibits, the art of Matt Sesow entitled Shock and Awe.  Mr. Sesow had a devastating accident as a child, where part of his arm was severed when he unsuspectingly ran onto a runway and a small airplane ran into him and dragged him for a great distance.  His art (he humorously began painting to impress a young lady) confronts that early transformative experience and uses many symbols to make sense of history – his own history and that of the greater world.

The style Mr. Sesow has adopted in his art – rough, colorful, with perhaps primitive child-like images – has been described as “art brut,” the term that artist Jean Dubuffet coined to describe the kind of “low art” or outsider art that the museum champions.  As with all the artists whose works fill the museum, Mr. Sesow displays a commitment to finding his own particular way of expressing himself, in a cohesive style and using images that are repeated and adapted to meet the subjects of his various paintings.

The other side of the third floor contains the museum’s restaurant, Encantada.  As usual, as I looked at the menu, contemplating what to eat for lunch, I pondered the dairy free options.  Seeing that there were several vegan options, I decided to go that way.  I started with poached turnips that have been arranged to imitate deviled eggs, and then for my main course I had a sandwich using seitan to imitate chicken.  Both were enjoyable, although the sandwich was a bit dry.

As we finished our main courses and entertained the idea of dessert, our server mentioned that they had a vegan chocolate cake, so of course I had to try that.  Dense, rich, chocolatey goodness – a wonderful way to finish off the meal.

We had used most of the day at the AVAM, but we thought we would finish up the afternoon with a short visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art (which I had never visited).  Since we literally only had an hour to spare there (a website I had consulted said it was open until 6pm on Saturdays, when in reality it closes at 5pm), we focused on a couple of areas of the museum.  First, I wanted to see the exhibit of Guerrilla Girl art, pieces that are political statements on the sorry state of inclusion of women artists in the art marketplace and museums.

After checking that out, we explored the museum’s contemporary wing, which included some Matisse paintings I had never seen before.  The rich colors in, for example, his painting “the Purple Robe and Anemones” are quite fascinating.

We had a wonderful day with Faith.  I was so thrilled to introduce her, as a Baltimore area resident, to the AVAM, which she had never been to before, and in turn to visit a new museum for me, furthering my experience of the city where my darling Therese grew up.

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Mini Coconut Layer Cake Vegan Buttercream Frosting

Mini Coconut Layer Cake Vegan Buttercream Frosting

When Therese’s birthday came around last October, she started talking about how she wanted me to make her a coconut cake.  It took me a while to find the time (and ingredients) to do so, but what I came up with was pretty successful.  I used a recipe from Tyler Florence on the Food Network website, with a little bit of adjustment.

First of all, since I was making a smaller cake, using my Wilton 5-Layer Cake Pan Set, I cut the recipe pretty much in half.  And I didn’t do the whole soaking in rum bit.  For the frosting, I used my favorite vegan ingredient, Miyoko’s Creamery Cultured VeganButter, which you have heard me talk about before.  I have used it to great effect for making pastry crust for pies and tarts, and I was curious to see what sort of buttercream frosting it would make.

Well, the thing to keep in mind is that Miyoko’s VeganButter is very sensitive to heat.  That is, it softens very very quickly.  So leaving it out to come to room temperature meant that when I was ready to make the frosting, the butter was almost liquid.  Which made frosting the cake difficult – but I did my best.  When I make this recipe again, or another cake recipe with buttercream frosting, I will just take out the VeganButter just before I need it (10 minutes at the most), knowing now that the heat of the mixer will probably be enough to get it creamy and smooth.

Coconut Cake with Frosting Just Added

While it did not look terribly attractive, it tasted wonderful.  One other thing I changed was regarding the coconut.  In the recipe, they have you toast the coconut and only press it into the sides of the cake.  I did not toast my coconut (toasting coconut is tricky, like toasting pine nuts – if you wait until you see some color, by the time you take it out of the pan, it has burned), and I mixed some into the frosting, as well as pressing some into the surface of the cake all around.

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Boston Freedom Trail Exploring Framed by MFA and Gardner Museum

Boston Freedom Trail Exploring Framed by MFA and Gardner Museum

When Therese had to go to Boston for work recently, she invited me to come along.  She explained that for part of the time I would be on my own, but we would also have time to visit a museum or two together.  So I put together a rough and ready itinerary where we could visit the Museum of Fine Arts on Wednesday afternoon when we arrived in Boston, then I would have dinner on my own. On Thursday morning I would explore the Freedom Trail, and at lunchtime we would re-connect and go to the Gardner Museum before heading home on a late afternoon train.

 

Our Wednesday morning Amtrak train got us to Boston mid-day (we ate lunch on the train), and we immediately taxied over to the museum (which has a coat check room where we were able to leave our luggage as well as our coats).  I did not have a very ambitious agenda for the museum – I thought we would make our way through the galleries of the second floor, eventually arriving at the gallery 252, reputed to be one of the best collections of the paintings of Impressionist artist Claude Monet (my favorite from this visit was definitely his portrait of his wife in Japanese dress, called “La Japonaise“).  Along the way, we saw lots of other wonderful things – lots of American art and furniture, ceramics (some very whimsical), and paintings we didn’t know existed.

In this last category I would definitely place “The Triumph of the Winter Queen” by Gerrit van Honthorst.  The Winter Queen was the title given to Elizabeth Stuart, who was only Queen of Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic) for one winter (the details are complicated, so I encourage you, if you want to know more, to click on the hyperlink of her name).  The painting includes her whole family – all her children, as well as her deceased husband and his brother.  We spent a good deal of time sorting out who was whom and taking in the whole spectacle.

We concluded our time at the museum with beverages at the Taste Cafe.  From there, we Ubered to the Ames Hotel to check in.  It was at this point that Therese and I went our separate ways – she to her dinner with her clients/work colleagues, me to my bachelor evening.  Don’t get too excited – I just walked over to my dinner restaurant, Crudo, had some food, and walked back to the hotel.

Crudo is an Asian fusion sort of restaurant, apparently very popular with the younger crowd in Boston (I was easily the oldest person in the restaurant, I believe).  I had some sushi and some appealing grilled appetizers – octopus with a citrus glaze and grilled pork belly.

The next morning, Therese was off early to attend morning meetings, so I had breakfast solo in the hotel’s executive lounge (part of the perks of being Hilton Diamond members).  From there, I headed out for my morning on the Freedom Trail.

My first stop was decidedly un-freedom-ish.  I had read that Equal Exchange Cafe sells some vegan baked goods, so I thought I would pick up some for snacks for the ride home later in the day.  They didn’t have much, but I bought what they did have: a cranberry muffin and cranberry nut rolls.  I was surprised to discover that the home of the Boston Celtics, TD Garden, was just across the way from the cafe.

Stocked up on snacks, I pulled out my phone and got Google maps going to tell me how to get to the famous Old North Church.  Little did I realize that along the way, I would pass one of Boston’s oldest cemeteries, Copp’s Hill Burial Ground.  I spent about a quarter of an hour exploring the many 18th century (and some 17th century) gravestones.

Down the block from the burial ground is Old North Church, which features so prominently in the legend of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.  The details of what really happened on the night of April 18, 1775 are a little different than the legend, but the important thing for me was seeing this beautiful historic church with its many pews and the nameplates of the people who owned them, some of which are very colorful (it’s hard to beat “William Increase Rideout Gatchett”, don’t you think?).

The gift shop adjoining the church is also an interesting building, with its stone lions framing the entrance.

Circling around the church and heading southeast, I passed by the church’s Memorial Garden, which pays tribute to American service-people who have died in the recent Middle East wars.

From there, stretching out in front of you is the Paul Revere Mall, with the famous statue of Paul Revere riding his horse at the far end of it.  I had to pause and take the iconic photo of the statue with Old North Church in the background.

Classic Photo of Paul Revere Statue and Old North Church

But looking in the other direction is very appealing as well, since beyond the Revere statue is beautiful St. Stephens Church.  This church is the last remaining Boston church designed by architect Charles Bulfinch, and it definitely has a style all its own.

It was back to Google maps for me again, but my next destination was not far – the Paul Revere House.  Yes, my friends, I was doing the total touristy thing that morning.

I am glad I visited the Revere house.  Seeing the furnishings inside, all of which are of the period that Revere and his large family lived there (that is, the late 18th and early 19th century) and many of which actually belonged to the family, is very cool.

Having completed my tour of this house and getting a glimpse of the nearby Pierce Hichborn House (an early Georgian house on the same property which unfortunately can only be visited by afternoon tours), I saw that my time for exploring was running out.  But luckily, my walk back to the hotel to meet Therese would take me past two more Boston monuments, Faneuil Hall and the Sam Adams Statue.

Faneuil Hall

There was a huge line of people outside the former – I never did find out what the event was that they were all waiting to get in for.  I know that Faneuil Hall has a museum as well as numerous shops inside it.  One of these days when we are in Boston for more than a couple days, maybe we will do some shopping and exploring here.

Sam Adams Statue

Most people nowadays when they hear Sam Adams name think of the beer, but I still think of the Sam Adams we heard about in history class, the second cousin to President John Adams who was one of our Founding Fathers.

In another few minutes, I was back at the Ames Hotel to meet Therese.  While a lovely building, this hotel didn’t strike us as being exceptional.  Other Hilton properties in their “curio collection” have definitely impressed us much more, like the Providence Biltmore we stayed in last November.

Anyway, once Therese arrived, we jumped in a cab and headed to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  Once again, we checked our luggage (again), and headed to their restaurant, Cafe G, for lunch.

Cafe G’s menu changes seasonally, and I found a number of options that sounded really good to me.  I went with a lamb chop for my appetizer, maybe the best lamb chop I have ever eaten, and then a salmon entree.  Very good lunch.

The good news at the Gardner Museum is that they have changed their policy on photography.  Previously, you were only allowed to take photographs in the museum of their center atrium; but now, you can take photographs everywhere (without flash, of course)!  So I had to capture some of my favorite piece to share with you, like the ceiling by Paolo Veronese and the Lamentation of Christ by Giovanni della Robbia.

We spent a couple wonderful afternoon hours at the Gardner Museum, and then it was time to think about heading train station-ward.  But along the way, we made a stop at Jacob Wirth to pick up some German sausages to serve as our supper on the train.  Sitting on our somewhat comfortable Amtrak seats, munching on weisswurst with brown mustard, I had to say that, while short, this not quite two day visit to Boston had been a lot of fun.

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Schnippers Supplies Post AMC Empire Twenty Five Movie Lunch

Schnippers Supplies Post AMC Empire Twenty Five Movie Lunch

There are those days when most of us would love to play hooky, to take a break from our regular hum-drum lives and have a little fun.  Therese and I recently got into the habit of doing just this – of taking off Monday afternoon, right at the beginning of the work week, to go to an early movie and then have a late lunch.  With the AMC Empire 25 movie complex not far from where we live, it is the natural place for us to see a good movie, and with Schnippers just a block south of the movie theater on Eighth Avenue, we thought that might be a good spot for lunch.

In the base of the new NY Times Building, Schnippers has a large brightly-lit dining room and a rather appealing menu of sandwiches and accessories.  I had a fish sandwich with fries that was very tasty.  The prices, we thought, are a bit high there for what they are selling.  But it is a very touristy area, so perhaps things are priced high accordingly.  As for the service, considering there were not many customers in the restaurant for lunch, and there seemed to be a bunch of people working there, it seemed strangely hard to get help (as I recall, I was trying to get some mayo for my fries, and it took quite a while to get it).  Luckily, there was one woman working there that day who seemed to be the one person who was attentive to the customers and eager to help.  Probably the most original and therefore slightly interesting thing in the joint was the napkins which have a connect the dot which, when connected, turns out to be the ubiquitous At Symbol.

Next time we decide to play hooky, we will probably pick somewhere else for our post-movie lunch.  There are certainly lots of restaurants in the area to pick from – the base of the Times building itself has several.

Posted in Dairy Free, Food, Lunch, Manhattan, Midtown West, Movie theaters, New York, New York City, Restaurants, Sandwiches, Travel, United States | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment