Frozen in placeLiterally, due to the g-d Indiana Jones filming that has cut off access to most of downtown New Haven to vehicular traffic, and created minimum 15-minute delays trying to get to or from the Yale campus on foot. Derek was stopped on his way to work this morning by a cop -- not even film crew flunkies, a COP -- demanding to know where exactly he thought he was going as he tried to cross College street. "Um... to work?" Casey has an altercation with the PAs every time she needs to get in or out of the building she lives in downtown. One of them told her to "go find a bar." New Haven and Yale are purportedly seeing enormous financial gains from allowing this production to shut down the heart of the city for a week. I say we New Haveners should get free parking anywhere in the city for six months, at the very, VERY least. Checks in the mail would be even better.
And figuratively frozen in place, too, by this presentation I'm scheduled to give to a jury of my peers in Chicago two weeks from today. I'm supposed to be an "expert" in this stuff, but I've never been so freaked by a presentation in my life! They're paying me! It's terrifying! So many second-guesses about how I do things and so many second thoughts about my chosen career. I need to breathe. Two hours out of my life and it's over.
To take my mind off the whole thing, I've been cooking: key lime pie, broiled salmon, multigrain salad with dressing of pureed cucumbers and feta, warm broccoli and turnip green salad (I know it makes me a rube, but I don't think I like turnip greens -- or any bitter greens, for that matter), some other stuff I'm forgetting now. And buying fresh pickles and prosciutto bread (PROSCIUTTO BREAD! Can you believe such a thing exists?!) from the flea market in New Milford.
And eating: the first hot, buttered lobster roll of the year at Abbott's in Noank, of course; backyard barbequed filet mignon at Kyle and Sabrina's house; kefte kebab and cheeses at Stephen and Moa's; and a wonderful dinner at the new Po in Brooklyn, where I was sweet as peaches and cream to the frazzled maitre d' after he said to a foursome who had been waiting for their reservation for 10 whole minutes, "which table would you like me to kick out so that you can sit down?" I purred about how hard it must be to be so popular after only being open a week, of course we'd be happy to sit at the bar, smiling, smiling, smiling.
Five minutes later we had a table. And we made good use of it. Poached asparagus with truffled egg salad crostini and Cacio di Roma. Tuna with white beans, leeks, cabbage, and chili oil -- the best salad I've had in recent memory. Orecchiette with sweet sausage ragu and broccoli rabe, pappardelle with the sweetest peas and mint and Parmesan all over it, local strawberries in balsamic vinegar with ricotta gelato, and a thin tile of dark chocolate terrine with amaretti crumbles, vin santo and espresso caramel that was barely sweet. Did someone once hear me say I wasn't a big fan of Italian food? I eat my words.
Send me your suggestions for where to eat in Chicago. We'll be there a week. Alinea is already on the itinerary.