February 13, 2017 | BITE: My Journal

  Give Me Shelter


Trudging through the drifts with groceries from the East Village, niece Dana Stoddard took this shot


          I ate too much Monday evening. I don’t do that frequently. I’m not a particularly sane eater, but it isn’t often I feel myself breathing heavily, gasping for air. I was actually afraid to lie down for fear I might not wake up. Next morning I stumbled through my workout, but at least I was more or less alive.


          Tuesday was spring-like as Citymeals on Wheels celebrated its 35th anniversary at a cocktail party given by Aby Rosen and his wife, our board member Samantha Boardman, at the Grill in the Landmark. It’s due to open soon in the space evacuated by the Four Seasons.

During Citymeals 35th anniversary celebration, I asked Dana to shoot the bar in what is now the Legend.

          Past Citymeals presidents and early board members came. Marcia Stein, my unsinkable partner in creative fund-raising as executive director for thirty years, spoke. I wasn’t wearing my usual hat, so I limited myself to a few sentences, thanking all who helped along the way to build on the uninformed whim that inspired James Beard and me to raise $35,000 over the phone one Sunday in 1981.

Dana admired Seagram building owner Aby Rosens’ white curls, then took this photo.

          I suspect the hors d’oeuvre were catered. They were varied and fine, but didn’t have the flair you’d expect from the Major Food Group, the designated takeover team standing nearby -- Jeff Zalaznick and chefs Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi. They’d spent months pouring over old menus, finalizing their own for the Landmark.

The Pool is not finished yet, but Four Seasons furniture that sold at auction has been recreated by Knoll.

          Zalaznick gave me a tour of the spiffed-up Pool Room where Knoll has reproduced the original furniture, the new upstairs lounge, and the gleaming new kitchens. Yes, plural. One for Carbone cooking for The Grill. One for Torrisi, feeding The Pool. The color of the wooden floor changes to mark the boundaries. Each stood on his own floor, smiling as Zalaznick gave me the details.

The Ansonia on West 73rd Street in the snow by Dana Stoddard.

          On Wednesday, I brought my work home from the office to avoid commuting in the blizzard. In my early foodie days, I would have brewed a giant pot of soup. I might have softened a bag of mixed beans with a ham bone or a turkey carcass as I suggest in my online recipe for Infidelity Soup. It’s a great winter indulgence even if you are not leaving it behind in your fridge because you feel guilty planning to be unfaithful to your mate on an out-of-town business trip. Wish I had a picture of the soup or even my blissful guy.

          I’ve grown lazy. These days, leftovers and carry-out fuel occasional nights at home. Usually after sending off BITE on Sunday night, it’s tuna salad on a mini bagel.

 My rave for the cheesecake hangs overhead at the Brooklyn Diner next to Carnegie Hall.

          I stayed home Wednesday to binge on Breaking Bad. My next-door neighbor Diane took my niece Dana to Brooklyn Diner before a concert at Carnegie Hall. Dana, used to the Montana humor, got annoyed when the waiter promised to overcook her burger. Diane explained that was just New York sass. The fries were so good, they told me, they had to order seconds.

The two women shared the Brooklyn Diner burger and got a second batch of fries.

          At home that night, I relished my leftovers from Dana’s birthday dinner Saturday night at Via Carota. The chicken that had looked boring all by itself on the plate survived, surprisingly juicy and lemony. With unusual restraint, I ignored the chocolate bar and didn’t defrost the babka.

 Diane trudged around the corner through the snow to Giacomo’s on West 72nd Street to buy food for lunch.


          When I woke Thursday morning, the promised snow was already muffling the minimal traffic. With drifts piling high, I stayed home, calling into the Citymeals Board meeting by telephone conference. Then I gave myself a snow day.

 She spied a just-baked ham and asked to have it piled into a hero and toasted in the oven. It was fabulous.

          Dana took VIA from the East Village with veggies, great cheeses, and an olive bread from the Union Market. Diane pulled on her boots and walked around the corner to Giacomo’s on 72nd Street, where she had them make a toasted hero sandwich with thick slices of their baked ham, tomato, and mayonnaise -- enough for three to share.

It’s difficult to buy anything at Giacomo without picking up a pastry square displayed under your nose.

          Being snowed in justified everything (for those who need justification). In late afternoon Dana took a walk to Harry’s Shoes to buy dressy high heels for Daniel Boulud’s Sunday Supper, Black Tie and Blue Jeans, coming up March 12. (Join us!) She didn’t find anything to fit her narrow feet, but she did scoop up fried chicken and organic blueberries at Zabars, and rugelach at Citarella on her way back.

The storm broke leaving a surreal blue sky over Zabars, just as Dana walked by, ready to shop for dinner.

          The three of us watched Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie in Shelter, a stunning 2014 movie directed by Paul Bettany. It was the only option we could agree on. I offered chocolate treats and Swedish horses. They’re gummies, like Swedish fish, but authentically Swedish, from Sockerbit at 89 Christopher Street.

I haven’t been to Sockerbit yet, but a friend brings me the kind of gummy candies I love – fresher than most.

          My friend Lyn, Dana, and I plan to make lemonade of being dateless on Valentine’s Day with dinner at Laurent Tourondel’s The Vine. I reserved a month ago in the name of the Witches of Eastwick.


More BITES You Might Savor...


     Can’t Get Enough Havana                         Via Carota                             My Four Seasons     























Cafe Fiorello