A.G. Newsletter #22: The New Camera, Sondheim, Halloween, I Sodi, Payard & The New French

Hey A.G.-ers,

So the word is out: I got myself a new camera! It's an SLR, a Canon Rebel T1i, and you can read all about it here. I have to say, I was a bit resistant about getting an SLR: aesthetics have never really been my forte (I much prefer writing to the visual arts) but now that I have it, I'm kind of hooked. Here are some other pictures that I took that I didn't feature in that post....

Balloons in a tree outside the Greenwich Village Music School:

The last of the summer tomatoes:

A warty pumpkin:

Ok, you get the idea. And actually the best pictures I've taken are the ones you'll see later this week in some great recipe posts. So stay tuned.

Now then, last week (or was it two weeks ago?), I told you about the Not Food Blog I'd launched within my site.

This past week, I put my heart and soul into a post on there based on the fact that a new book of Stephen Sondheim lyrics was recently released. The post, "A Beginner's Guide To Stephen Sondheim," is meant to demystify the work of one America's greatest living artists. I really hope, if you have any interest in musical theater or just music in general, that you'll check it out. And if you like it, please post it on your Facebook wall!

For Halloween this year, Craig put his foot down and said: "I'm not half-assing a costume. I'm either doing it right or I'm not doing it."

I told him that I was going as a bunny rabbit, something that I've done for years and years because all I have to do is buy bunny ears, stick them on my head and I'm a rabbit. He told me to buy him zombie make-up.

Ricky's had a 45 minute wait so, wouldn't you know, this sex shop on 7th Ave. called Fantasy World had both bunny ears and zombie make-up and no wait. And here are the results:

Before we made ourselves up, we went to dinner at a secret neighborhood gem that's not so secret anymore, now that Bon Appetit magazine heralded its pasta as the best in New York. The place is I Sodi and it's a fashionable, hole-in-the-wall with a loyal clientele. Craig and I sat at the bar (here's a shot of the wall across from me):

That kind of captures the mood.

The thing to get there, if you have the room for it, is the lasagna. It's an epic plate of house-made noodles, a meaty bolognese sauce and cheese. Despite its density, it's light as air:

I the housemade tagliatellea all'amatriciana, which is fresh pasta in a tomato guanciale sauce:

(Sorry for the dark picture.)

Again: heaven.

Also heavenly was this almond croissant that I ate earlier in the week at the new Payard on Houston Street:

The name of the game here is BUTTER or, as the French would say, beurre. This is loaded with it but in a very good way; it's rich and flaky and, as befits the work of a master chef, expertly made. Bravo, Monsieur Payard.

Finally, I have to point out that since my last newsletter I've eaten at The New French three times. One day, I went there for lunch (I had the best tuna sandwich in New York) and when Craig home from work after a long day, I said: "We can go wherever you want for dinner" and he said, "New French." So we went back and I had a pretty incredible pastrami sandwich.

Then yesterday, after attempting (and failing) to penetrate the throngs of people at the Halloween parade, we were with our friends Diana, Mark & Jimmy and when the group was polled as to where we should eat dinner, "The New French" was the inevitable spot.

And there's a reason for that: the food at The New French is always top notch, the service is almost always friendly, and there's almost always a table. So it's become our neighborhood staple and I have a feeling there are many more meals there in my future.

Thanks for reading Newsletter #22.... we'll see you back here next week.

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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