Ibuprofen and Malbec, a relaxing combination. The ibuprofen was for my knees – I had literally been on my feet for more than for five hours straight, mostly standing still, which is hard on my knees. The Malbec (a small glass) was to reset my frame of mind. I was very annoyed. It does happen folks. I had just received a 425 word text (not from any of you or from anything linked with GWC) and the content annoyed the heck out of me. I felt unjustly accused.
To reset my frame of mind, I decided to simply enjoy myself. I took the advice of a colleague’s recommendation (#), and took myself out to dinner on Restaurant Row. There were several reasons behind this.
- I wanted to relax. It’s been a long (but good) week and I was tired.
- I don’t know what was up with New York today, but apparently at 5:45pm, everybody decided to drive their vehicle south. Gridlock everywhere. It was as if the Lincoln Tunnel was the only way out and Manhattan was sinking. Toot toot people of New York. Bronk bronk just doesn’t help. Those are horn noises.
- Having just taken the 5 and 6 trains, I knew the people who didn’t have cars were all escaping north on trains. I decided to wait them out. And maybe keep my eyes out for a life jacket.
- I just wanted to sit down for a while.
- It is pay day.
- It is also second half of bonus day, because I re-upped with GWC early. It saves recruiting costs for them.
- Restaurant Row was not far away from me – a couple of blocks.
I had already pre-decided where to go a couple of days before when I was looking at the Restaurant Row website: Brazil Brazil. It’s Brazilian, and has Brazilian food. And doesn’t cost a Brazillion dollars.
I sat outside. I’ve been wanting to do that a lot. I like watching people go by – cheap entertainment.
I ordered the paella and the waiter asked if I wanted a salad. Without much thought I said yes, and ordered something called the Brazil Brazil salad, not really having read the description, except I saw it had strawberries in it. I guess I figured that if they named it after the restaurant, it must be something they are proud of, so I tried it. I just looked it up, and now I know what’s in it: Organic greens, mango, strawberries, heart of palm and oranges topped with sautéed shrimps and Brazilian sausage in a cachaça sauce. Here’s a picture:
I didn’t know about the cachaça sauce. Stolen from Wikipedia: Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice. [I]t is the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil.
The sauce they made was out of this world. I couldn’t figure out what it was – not so tangy as vinegar, a little sweet, but so good on the greens. The sausages were a complete surprise, too. (Order first, figure out what you got later – the corollary to this is that I always accept whatever I’m given, even if it’s not what I ordered – it’s what I’m meant to have (unless it belongs to another person at the table, then I’ll give it to its rightful owner.)
All in all, I enjoyed the meal. At one point, one of the waiters asked me if I wanted a coaster over my wine glass to keep the fruit flies out. I said, “No, they don’t drink much.” (an old, old joke I probably got from Bazooka Joe (whose website actually says “HEY KIDS! THIS IS ADVERTISING!”) or Boy’s Life (Joke of the Day: RYEN: What is the diﬀerence between a cat and a comma? BILL: Tell me. RYEN: One has claws at the end of its paws, and the other is a pause at the end of a clause.) He said, “I’m going to have to charge you thirty cents extra for the protein.” We laughed, and later I asked if that was per fruit fly, or was it all you can eat. He said it is all you can drink.
After eating, I had to decide between Brazilian flan at the restaurant or finding ice cream somewhere. (What’s behind door number 2, Bob? Hmmm… am I referencing Let’s Make a Deal or Dexter’s Laboratory? In German, LMaD is called “Geh aufs Ganze!” So catchy.)
This is where the closeted English teacher in me pauses and says, “OK boys and girls, let’s make a prediction about what might happen.” Really, if you’ve read any of this, you know I went for the unknown behind door number two. Duh.
In this case, that meant pulling out my phone and Googling “best ice cream in Manhattan” and going to the closet legitimate place (it came up with some schlock chain places near Times Square.) One does NOT put chain restaurant ice cream on top of really good Brazilian food. There have to be standards in this world sheeple! My ice cream probity led me to Ample Hill Creamery in Hell’s Kitchen. (While technically, with three stores, it is a chain, small chains are OK. It’s the big corporate ones I eschew.) It is actually located in this mini food mall, Gotham West Market, (they have some good press) with all kinds of restaurants (except chains). The one I immediately noticed that will bring me back there was one that served sushi burritos, though I found several others with equal allure, like the one where I didn’t know what just about anything on the menu was (El Colmado).
I ordered a small “Hell’s Kitchen Sink” ice cream before I read what was in it (I knew it had chocolate, simply by looking). I’m not a big chocolate ice cream fan (except I can polish off a pint of Haagen Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter without hesitating at all), but this was really good. I couldn’t read the ingredients because the writing on the sign was too small. I have a blurry picture to prove that, but I’ll spare you. From their description:
“The Irish heritage of Hell’s Kitchen resulted in a Guinness dark chocolate ice cream, chock full of mix-ins: brown butter cookie dough, toffee pieces and spiced brownies. An explosion of flavor! We call it Hell’s Kitchen Sink!”
It was already about quarter after 8 at this point, so I headed home.