Friday, October 14, 2005

Fancy Feasts, parte deux

Oh, but it doesn't end there. On Saturday, Andy and I went to New York for the second secret celebration. I knew there would be a dinner of some sort, but I had made my wishes very clear. I did not want to know any details, did not want to do any planning -- I just wanted to show up and be happy that someone else had done all the decision-making for me. I knew that Garett was flying in from Berkeley, but that was all.

Our first major stop in rainy, rainy New York was the Modulightor building and Paul Rudolph foundation, which was open to the public as part of the annual Open House New York. We had hoped to go to many sites, but didn't in the end due to rain (and, on Sunday, due to hangover). But the Modulightor visit was worth in quality what it lacked in quantity. It was so beautiful glowing in the evening light. And there was a very large and soft LIVE white bunny perched on one of the white bookshelves:

Here is its hutch:

It was so wet outside that Andy and I decided to just hang out on the couch in the house for a while and pretend we lived there and watched architecture students stream in and out of the living room.

Then we ran back to Howard's house, changed into our fancy duds, and set out for dinner. Andy said we were walking there, and Howard lives in the East Village, so my guesses for the dinner venue narrowed to two: Public , or Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar, both of which I have been wanting to go to for years. As we turned east on 5th street, though, I completely gave up on trying to guess -- where on earth could we be going? Until Andy looked at me sheepishly and said, "I need to just tell you now where we are going so that you can tell me whether we are going the right way or not." Before he could say anything, I guessed, "Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar?!?!" And he said yes, and I squealed and pulled him the OPPOSITE direction from where we'd been heading. Inside, Siobhan, Jeff, and Garett were all waiting for us, all looking so happy and nice and calm and smiling and it was SO good to see them.

We ordered many many things: oysters on the half shell (in season!) from Washington and Cape Breton and somewhere else that I forget -- the Washington ones tasted so much like home; "deconstructed" Oysters Rockefeller (poached oysters with a slice of bacon on top, sitting on top of some cheesy creamed spinach); foie gras sauteed with chanterelles. We had pink Champagne and an Alvarino that Garett ordered for us. Then for dinner itself, Andy, Jeff and I all had their Coquilles St.-Jacques -- caramelized scallops in a sauce of pistachio butter (it must be pistachio season?) that I will remember for years, with the scallops in the middle on a bed of shaved baby artichokes. I have never had artichokes that tasted more like essence of artichoke. It was incredible. Siobhan had arctic char in sage sauce with parsnip puree, and Garett had what was the first dish in a restaurant seemingly created especially for him: roast venison on chestnut puree with black truffle reduction. It was as though the chef saw in a crystal ball what Garett was eating in his fondest dreams and put it all on a plate together.

We were the only ones sitting downstairs except for one other party of three, so we all ended up talking over the tables with each other and toasting each other on our good taste in appetizers and entrees. Then the chef came downstairs and we all toasted him. It was such a warm and cozy feeling on such a bitterly cold and rainy night.

I didn't think the evening could get any better, but then we went around the corner to a wine bar that I love called Von. Whereupon we ordered several bottles of wine, ate a zillion cupcakes that Siobhan had brought from Buttercup Bake Shop (we ate them using her special and ingenious cupcake-eating technique: tear the bottom off the cupcake and plop it down on top of the frosting, thereby creating a convenient and easy-to-eat cupcake sandwich!), and lo and behold, all of a sudden, friends from all points in my life started descending on the bar out of nowhere. Friends from college, from grad school, from Berkeley, from Andy's life previous to knowing me. I don't think I could have been happier at my own wedding. It was just so... moving (to use a word I do not like to use) to see all these people I love come in soaking wet from the rain with big smiles on their faces. And they had kept it a secret! Andy had E-vited them all totally unbeknownst to me. I love that dude so much. And I love my friends.

Here are Siobhan and Ryan and me, gleeful over cupcakes:

(photo by Howard)

And then the next day I was really hung over. Which is the best way to spend the day after one's birthday, as far as I am concerned. We went to dinner with Howard at Frank, and I ate half a roast chicken and about two loaves of bread and a zillion olives and felt much, much better.


At 2:29 PM, Blogger Mona said...

Hey Mrs. Delish! You've been tagged, check out my post from today the 14th with what to do!

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Mrs. Delicious said...

Oh my gosh! I am a little nervous -- my meme skills are not all that honed yet. But I will try!

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Mona said...

And as far as your night goes, sounds like it was a blast! I've never heard of Jack's. I'll have to add it to my list! Yah, being hungover is great, especially after your bday, that just means it was a fun crazy night!

At 9:42 PM, Blogger m said...

deary! you surprised me (kinda freaked me out) by posting a comment to my blog. Who is this Mrs. Delicious? But now I know. I had no idea you had a blog too! Happy happy birthday. and come visit so you can sample some of the crazy food here, too.

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Abigail said...

Aw. I wish we had been able to come. :(


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