Château de Lascaux 2006

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

After a Spring 2009 visit to an architectural gem of the highest order, and possibly the most erotique et fantastique et en meme-temps grotesque bâtiment du 20eme siècle, la Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, I dropped down the hill to the arty farty and over-rated Bohemian 18e arondissement.

Arty farty wine for Montmartre

Paris is a loveable city, and one of my favourites,  although a bit up itself.  All the historical République monuments are interesting and important, but one senses that the French are clinging to an identity that expired with the proof that all men could be created equal under a monarchy.


Keens Steakhouse, New York

Thursday, September 24th, 2009
Keen as mustard (available with your steak...for some reason)

Is there anything that could make me feel more at home on my first night in New York, than an old fashioned English Victorian style chop house that has been around since 1885.  However, comparing this to, say, Sam’s Chop House, is a bit like putting The Oxo Tower up against the Empire State Building.

They are both fine examples of art deco architecture but one is dainty and proportioned, whilst the other is just f##king massive.  I am not sure I have seen a restaurant with so many rooms, so many more covers  than the ESB has floors (there are 102 since you ask and 1860 steps if you walk up – I didn’t).  Keen’s is enormous.  And they serve meat portions to match.


Esquive de Franc Maillet 2005

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Signs of ageing are mostly self generated and excepting wrinkles, are usually related to the people you socialise with, the places you go, and the material goods you consume.  I discovered what seems like yonks ago that BBC Radio 2 plays better music than Radio 1.  In fact it plays much the same music as Radio 1 did in the years when I used to listen in to Simon Bates and Noel Edmunds.  I swapped my exciting Toyota sports coupé for a boring Mercedes Saloon about the same time (and yes, the interior was beige).  Two cars later I have accelerated through an automatic gearbox, which took me a while to get used to, into full-on middle age – yes, a diesel automatic.

I like to think I have taken all this in my stride, but today I realised that I have just passed an altogether much more serious milestone.  I have never seen anyone under 50 wear Ralph Lauren but I looked in my wardrobe today and found five shirts by this venerable, if ageing, New York designer.  And what is worse, I actually like wearing them.

Timmy Maillet?  Ohhhhhh Nooooooo!


Grotta Azzurra, Little Italy, corner of Broome and Mulberry

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Far from grotty

Needing more of a brunch than a breakfast, we pulled in for a typical NY Italian, and I was pleased to see Eggs Benedict on the menu.  But it’s not exactly what you get in The Wolseley.  Firstly, New Yorkers need three poached eggs. Then replace the bacon with prosciutto and add fried potatoes and chillies, and enough pepper to bring dusk forwards by an hour and ten minutes.  Not going to win me the Fat Fighters Slimmer of the Year prize, but should keep me filled up until dinner time.

Gordon Benedict!!!!

Right.  Where are those 1860 steps up the Empire State?  I need exercise.

Grotta Azzurra, 177 Mulberry Street aka 387 Broome Street, Little Italy, New York 10013.
T: +1 212 925 8775

La Pizza Fresca, East 20th Street, New York

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Al fresco, Pizza Fresca

Browsing through the comprehensive wine list, I was delighted, and more than a little relieved, to find a section marked Under $75, full of interesting wines.  What is this New York obsession with pricing wine like its skyscraper condos – way out of the reach of the average man?


Postcards from New York

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Just in case you are casing my joint.  Just in case you are licking your lips, not at the food reviews, but at the prospect of raiding my home refrigerator to feed the dog whilst you pack my telly into my car and drive off into the night.  Just in case you were thinking of reneging on a debt whilst I enjoy a short break in the Big Apple, I must inform you that I have been home for a few days now.  I am just slow at writing up the notes.

Oh bollocks, that reminds me I left the lights on!

A few more postcards to come yet.

Carnegie Deli, 7th Avenue, New York

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Deli belly - Carnegie Deli New York

An authentic NYC deli with authentic (abrupt) NY service, well worth 20% just for the Fawltyness.  Carnegie plays a bit too much on its considerable reputation, the walls being plastered in rarely recognised Very Important Patrons.  It is also expensive.


Yankee Diddle Dandy

Monday, September 14th, 2009

How can New Yorkers afford to attend Yankees matches?

Yee-hah - GO YANKEES!

In addition to watching the game, in true New York style, every opportunity is offered to lighten your wallet. Here is the full shopping list:


Carmine’s Waste Side Story

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Carmine's Waste Side Story

“This is a traditional New York Italian family restaurant” said our Pacific Island looking waiter pointing at a huge canoe full of pasta being delivered to the next table.  A random walk around the pleasant residential areas of the upper west side had allowed us to use the antiquated predecessor to to find an eaterie.