Munching My Way Downtown

June 15, 2016


The weather’s been radiant, so bright and fresh it pulls me outside, enticing me to wander the city.  Days like these, passing people offer secret smiles to one another; aren’t we lucky?

My day began at Sadelle’s with the best bagel I’ve ever eaten. It makes those soft, slack, silly circles that masquerade as bagels hang their heads in shame.  It’s got such tooth and flavor I’m tempted to simply eat a naked bagel.  But that would be sad when there’s Sadelle’s salmon, supple as silk and barely salty, just waiting to perch on top. Excellent egg salad is also on offer, and it proves another worthy partner to these sublime little rings.


A walk through SoHo, an encounter with that curious black cat on Spring Street, and down the Bowery to Little Italy.  I’m headed for my favorite city shop, Di Palo’s, where there’s always something new to taste, always lots to learn.  Today Lou’s cutting a golden wheel of autumn parmigiano: rich and crumbly, it tastes like concentrated sunshine.  Afterwards some of Di Palo’s just-made mozzarella. Never refrigerated, it sits on the counter weeping milk, too voluptuous to contain its own richness.


Down Elizabeth Street, through teeming streets, to Dynasty, a raucous Chinese emporium that’s like a quick trip to Hong Kong. Tripe, sausage, black chickens, goose intestines…. they have it all.

Pork uterus anyone?


And then a turn north, to dinner at Upland.  I don’t think Justin Smilie has ever made a dish I didn’t like, but for me it’s impossible not order his crazy mushroom: a huge hen-of-the-woods, crisply fried and served with soft fresh cloumage cheese.

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But it’s Justin’s smoked duck with cherries, a new dish, that takes my breath away.  Where has this version of the bird – like the most intense bacon I’ve ever eaten – been hiding all my life?

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And finally, I stop in at Maysville for a nightcap; a little hit from their astonishing bourbon collection is an extremely satisfying way to say good night.

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  • Kevin Jacobs says:

    I love you, your thoughts and your ability to express them. Your an amazing author. Thanks for transporting to a beautifully witness territory I know well but see differently. I needed a distraction from The Orlando news. God Bless.

  • Linda says:

    Love this kind of post, just wandering to various local places!

  • Alice Tipton says:

    Been reading your book, My Kitchen Year, and it is delicious. All your books are enchanting and wonderful. I fell 2 weeks ago and your book called to me because I just retired from interior design at The Home Depot and between the injury and the retirement I was getting depressed. So your book has cheered me up and I am making soup. I love to cook. It is my relaxation/meditation. I am 87 so I worked as long as I could then retired.
    I miss my work and people. In order to keep me sane, I cook for my family every Sunday but now with my injuries I can’t do that yet. Keep up the good work, keep writing and cooking. We love you. alice