A.G. Newsletter #45: Craig’s Final New York Week at Pearl, Bar Pitti, Taim, Bar Centrale, Joseph Leonard and Petite Abeille

A.G. Newsletter #45: Craig’s Final New York Week at Pearl, Bar Pitti, Taim, Bar Centrale, Joseph Leonard and Petite Abeille

Hey Readers,

Last night I cooked an elaborate dinner for my vegan friend Isaac, his friend Kevin, and my cookbook photographer Lizzie and her boyfriend Kyle. I was totally stressed out by the prospect--no butter! no eggs! no cream!--but the end result is worth checking out if you haven't seen it yet. Click here for the full story.

So!

Since we last spoke, Craig moved to L.A. He had a one-way ticket there which was kind of mind-blowing. He's coming back at the end of July for the premiere of his movie TRUE ADOLESCENTS (and if you missed the trailer for that, click here) and then he goes back for good. I join him for that trip back so we can find an apartment (or, fingers crossed, a house!) then I come back here to pack. I leave for good September 1st.

But this newsletter is about Craig's last week here. We made some good choices in terms of where we ate last week. For example, Craig couldn't leave New York without one last lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar:



We shared this along with a Caesar salad, sitting at the counter and chatting with Maria (one of the cooler servers there) about what life will be like in L.A. That's the best time to go to Pearl, by the way, if you can escape your office: lunch. Especially in summer when it's not too touristy or crazy.

Anyway, the lobster roll was excellent as always. I'm going to miss it so much I'm grateful that, in case of emergencies, I know how to make my own. (Though can you buy fresh lobster in L.A.? Is that a dumb question? Don't most lobsters come from Maine?)

Moving on, we had the most AMAZING night last Tuesday at Bar Pitti. I've always thought of Bar Pitti as a place to go for a decent bowl of pasta. A glass of wine. People-watching. Etc.

Well, I was wrong on one count. The bowl of pasta was indeed decent. So was the glass of wine. But the people watching was absolutely absurd.

On this one night at Bar Pitti, we saw (and I'm not kidding) the following people: Fran Lebovitz, Wallace Shawn, Salman Rushdie, Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, Calvin Klein, and Terry Richardson. It was almost as if the spirit of New York was mocking us; "Fine! Go to L.A. with the movie stars and limos and botox. Look what you're leaving behind."

Fair enough, New York! It's a tough trade.

But I'm pretty sure I'd rather eat the tomato mozzarella salad at Osteria Mozza in L.A. than this rather pedestrian version at Pitti:



I mean, I guess it's still too early for perfect summer tomatoes, but those little cherry tomatoes were identical to the ones I buy from the plastic carton at D'Agastinos. And I'm positive the waiter understood us when I said we were going to share one tomato/mozzarella salad, but still he brought us two. And charged us for two. Tricky.

However, all is redeemed by the Rigatoni Pitti. I love this dish. Turkey sausage in a creamy tomato sauce with rigatoni:



Remind me to recreate this when I get to L.A. and miss it.

The next night we grabbed falafel at Taim after meeting a friend for drinks. I've said it before, but Taim has the best falafel in New York. (See here and here.) This is a brutally ugly picture of our falafel sandwich but it should give you some sense of what you're dealing with:



There's a lot of good stuff going on there.

Last Wednesday was our big blow-out farewell to New York night. Craig had gifted me for Christmanukkah with "two tickets to 'How To Succeed In Business'" which didn't actually exist as tickets, it was a simple promise that I kept holding over his head. But since he was leaving for good, I knew I better cash in and asked if we could see "Anything Goes" instead. Craig obliged.

First, though, we had drinks at one of the best secret spots in the city: Bar Centrale. It's truly a place that you have to know about to go to, it's totally unmarked. To find it, look for Joe Allen in the theater district then, when you're there, look at the staircase to the left. Walk up it and push open the door. There you are.

Bar Centrale is famous for its Sidecar, which is citrusy and intense and packs a real wallop. This place is so classy they salt the ice that the little carafe sits in to keep it extra cold:



Buzzed from this, we walked over to the Stephen Sondheim theater and got swept up in the magic of the classic Cole Porter musical. It was a perfect show to see before leaving New York; full of charm and razzmatazz, the essence of the city extracted and put aboard a cruise ship.

Afterwards, we capped the night off at The Burger Joint, but I'm saving that for a blog post.

On the Thursday before he left, we grabbed lunch at Joseph Leonard, which is always nice in the daytime (I've actually never been there for dinner). Here's Craig with his fish sandwich:



And here's my chicken salad with goat cheese; a really light and refreshing bowl of lunchy goodness:



At last, the big day came. Friday morning, we grabbed a quick breakfast at Le Petite Abeille. I had a waffle:



And Craig had an egg sandwich:



That's a great deal, by the way. $5-ish for a big, giant egg sandwich with egg and cheese and I think bacon on crusty bread.

At last, the moment came. Here's Craig with his suitcases about to descend in the elevator to leave New York forever--or, for the forseeable future--to begin life anew on the west coast:



In a few weeks, that'll be me. Crazy!

Until next time....

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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