April 2010

Posted on April 30, 2010 in Archives

 

April 25, 2010: That duck and an Argentine dinner

So here’s the duck on the rotisserie. After an hour and fifteen minutes at medium heat (with the grill lid closed, it stayed close to 350o), I added turnips to the drip pan and let it all cook for another 45 minutes. For the final 15 minutes, I raised the grill lid and cranked up the heat to high. I did not baste the duck at all, but I did salt it well inside and out and put some garlic and ginger and a handful of cilantro in the cavity before skewering it. Served atop salad greens with fresh orange sections. Delicious.

Yesterday Mikel and I had our friends Ann and Larry and Tom and Ed over for an Argentine feast. I did something that I’ve done so few times that I can count them on one hand: I bought prepared food. I went to El Patio in Rockville, Maryland, to pick up a spinach tart (Pascualina, just like the Ligurian pasqualina, or spinach pie made for Easter Monday), a squash (calabaza) tart, sardine empanadas (also an Easter dish — from Galicia, but they made them specially for me); and an assortment of sweet pastries, including the ever-popular alfajones, which are shortbread sandwich-style cookies filled with dulce de leche and coated with coconut.

A couple of weeks beforehand, knowing little about South American wines, I had bought an assortment of wines (avoiding heavy Malbecs, knowing our meal would be mostly vegetarian) to taste. Further,  we were beginning the festivities at 4:00 in the afternoon, so I wanted lighter wines that we could quaff all afternoon. I made pitchers of cucumber water, which everyone found refreshing, and some homemade lemonade, in case someone wanted to hold off on the alcohol. Ha! And, per tradition for this group (we’ve rented a house together in Provence this coming autumn), we had L. Aubry Champagne (about which I’ve written several times on this blog) beforehand with Spanish almonds and olives.

The winners of my tastings were winners at table as well. For the white, I served Viña do Campo’s 2008 Ribeiro, a Galician wine made from the native Treixadura (70%) and Torrontes (30%) grapes. What a lovely, floral, peachy nose this wine has, with green apple acidity and a nice finish. It perfectly complemented the sardine empanadas and the minerals of the spinach tart. Only 12% alcohol, too. For the red, I chose a 2006 Tannat Reserve from Bodegas Carrau in Uruguay, where tannat has become the national grape. In the Basque region of both France and Spain, tannat produces highly tannic wines that can be agressively acidic as well. At Carrau, they’ve tamed the grapes, subjecting them to a long (15-day) maceration, aging the wine in new French oak barrels for 18 months, then aging in the bottle for at least a year before release. It reminds me of some of the higher end Côtes-du-Rhônes, lighter in color and body, subtle in structure, with a pronounced, juicy, spicy fruitiness to balance the tannins. Great with beef, brilliant with the creamy squash pie, and it even teamed well with my killer salad, which caused Tom (Sietsema,the Washington Post’s restaurant critic), to raise his glass in a toast to Ann and me, “The two best cooks I know.” At only 13% alcohol, it didn’t overpower either the food or our sobriety.

For the salad, I salted 4 cucumbers heavily and let them drain in a sieve in the refrigerator for several hours. I slivered a dozen scallions and covered them with ice cubes. I assidously picked every hint of stem from a bunch of freshly-picked flat-leaf parsley. When guests arrived, I drained the cukes and patted them dry, tossed them with the scallions and parsley, and added four “Kumato” tomatoes, cut into eighths. I peppered the salad and set it on the sideboard to come to room temperature, and served it after the tarts alongside empanadas de carne (oddly, the one unsuccessful of the dishes from El Patio), lightly drizzling it with delicate Ligurian oil. Say what you will about modern hybrid tomatoes. At long last someone has realized that a tomato’s flavor is in the placenta — that jelly around the seeds. And these tomatoes, from Mexico, are full of tomato jelly. Sweet, tart, meaty, and juicy. Yum!

April 23, 2010 A Duck and Grandma’s Sugar Cookies

Mikel has been gone all week so I’m preparing one of his favorite dishes tonight: rotisserie duck. I pulled all the fat from the cavity and put it on a rack in the oven to dry out, to facilitate the crispy skin we all crave on a properly roast duck (I much prefer the old form of the past participle in lieu of ”roasted.”)  I’ll prick the skin of the duck all over and place it on the rotisserie with a medium flame, trying to keep the temperature around 350o. It won’t take but a couple of hours and the last 45 minutes I’ll add turnips and potatoes to the drip pan beneath the duck. If the duck isn’t crispy enough, I’ll crank up the fire near the end.

I always like to shop first, then peruse my culinary library for ideas. And it was in so doing that I ran across a book that I honestly never remember looking through. I must have gotten it from my father the last time I saw him, a couple of years ago, shortly before he died. There is no front cover and the frontispiece is missing as well, but on the last page there is my maternal grandmother’s signature, Mrs. E. D. Martin. The rear cover of the book, pictured, is dated 1926 and shows the book to be a publication of the McCormick spice company ofBaltimore. At the time, my grandfather owned a drugstore inBemis,Tennessee. His family also had an old-fashioned mercantile store that carried everything under the sun in Crump,Tennessee, just north of Shiloh Battlefield, on a large oxbow of theTennessee River. I’m sure they sold Bee Brand products in both locations.

 

As I thumbed through the index of the fragile, yellowed pages, I saw Grandma’s writing several places, including “Tea Cakes” written by the cookie entries. Grandma’s tea cakes were legend. There was always a cookie jar full of them next to the kitchen sink; the “jar” was a wonderful item that I had for years until it finally broke in one of my many moves when I was in my twenties. A clear glass sphere with a metal lid balanced on top of a wire platform. The tea cakes inside were lightly perfumed with either mace or nutmeg – to this day when I smell either of those spices, Grandma’s kitchen all but materializes before me – and they were plump, and ever-so-slightly chewy. The same cookie dough got rolled thin for Christmas cookies that we would decorate with colored glazes, sprinkles, and silver dragées.

 

My father had our mother’s own collection of hand-written recipes, and, for years, we would all call him around Christmas time, asking for the recipe for these and other cookies. One year, Daddy and his second wife (Mama died young, in 1982) transcribed the recipes for my siblings and me and gave each of us a copy, along with a tin of cookies that Lila, his wife, had made, complete with the recipe name and page number for each type of cookie. It was one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever received, and I wrote about it for Charleston magazine several years ago. The essay appears here on the blog but it also has now been included in the just-released Cornbread Nation 5: The Best of Southern Food Writing.

In Mama’s collection, a recipe for “Mother’s Tea Cakes” was obviously written during World War II when there was rationing. It is all but identical to Grandma’s (left, below Fruit Cake), except she substitutes “oleo” for butter, calls for the nutmeg that distinguishes them, and replaces Grandma’s “hot oven” with 450o. Later in the book, among the 4 dozen cookie recipes, is “Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes,” with the butter restored, the nutmeg missing, and the oven turned down to 375o (probably in order to more easily work with four kids rolling and decorating the cookies). I published the recipe in my first book and it appeared on the blog on December 20, 2007.

 

How odd to find the original, in Grandma’s hand, after all these years. To think that it will soon be 100 years ago that she wrote these words is a bit sobering (I am, after all, 60 years old myself). Stuck in the book on the same page as Grandma’s recipe was a newspaper clipping from theJackson,Tennessee, newspaper. The photo on the back makes me think it’s from the sixties. The article claims that “Mrs. Jere Crook ofJackson makes the best sugar cookies, no doubt…. So, throw out all your old recipes for sugar cookies and try this one, doing each step as listed….”

I have no evidence that Grandma ever tried Mrs. Crook’s recipe, or that Mama did. Grandma made her own “baking powder” with equal parts cream of tartar and soda. Her cookie has more sugar, fewer eggs, and a bit of milk. I’ve been making them since I was a child and I’m not about to change recipes, either. 

 

April 16, 2010 Épigramme de Printemps

I’m calling this meal an epigram of spring. In French, as in English, an epigram is an aphorism or a witty saying, but in French it also describes a dish of lamb prepared several ways, usually braised, sautéed, and grilled. The origin of the dish is one of my favorite culinary etymologies: According to the great French food writer, Philéas Gilbert, in the eighteenth century a young marquise was the hostess of an elegant dinner party during which one of her guests remarked that he had dined the previous evening at the home of the Comte de Vaudreuil where “he had had a feast of excellent epigrams.” The marquise, though a regular fixture of Louis’s court, was not the smartest person at Versailles. She demanded her chef prepare for her a dinner of epigrams for the following evening! Her chef was clever and wowed her guests — the same as the night before — with his witty presentation.

Mine is an epigram of spring: Les oeufs d’alose en phyllo au beurre blanc à l’oseille: shad roe in pyllo with sorrel beurre blanc. What could be more seasonal than shad roe, the first of the sorrel and parsley leaves to reappear on last year’s plants, tender shoots of asparagus, and truly new potatoes? I steamed the asparagus, simmered the potatoes, and, for the beurre blanc, used spring Vidalias instead of shallots. Bowing to tradition, I used our last bottle of Muscadet (Mikel doesn’t like it, but I keep it around for oysters in the winter, and it’s the traditional wine of beurre blanc, the recipe having originated in the Loire valley.) for the sorrel butter, whisking in a couple of tablespoons of cream and minced sorrel after the wine had reduced to a glaze and before I whisked in the cold butter. I sprinkled the shad roe with lemon juice before tucking it into butter-painted sheets of phyllo and baking in a 350o oven for a half hour. I poured the butter sauce over the phyllo packets and the asparagus as the plates went to table.

April 14, 2010 R. W. “Johnny” Apple’s Wines and Pottery to be Auctioned

Back in September, I inventoried the late, great Johnny Apple’s wine inventory for his widow, my dear friend Betsey Pinckney Apple, who was always front and center in Johnny’s food and travel pieces as “my wife Betsey.” She has now turned the sale of most of his astounding collection of wines, as well as some of his extensive art pottery collection, over to The Potomack Company of Alexandria, Virginia. The auction will be held in their galleries on April 24-25. Here’s their press release. The pottery photo is theirs; the cellar shots are mine:

For Immediate Release

April 14, 2010:

            Epicures and gourmands who relished the writing of the late New York Times food critic and political reporter R. W. “Johnny” Apple Jr. will be able to own some of his favorite wine when his legendary cellar is sold at auction along with items from his art pottery collection at The Potomack Company in Alexandria, Virginia on April 24-25.

 

            Johnny Apple’s witty and insightful newspaper articles about his international travels and gastronomic experiences were culinary field trips for the armchair food and wine enthusiast.  His cellar held more than 600 bottles of unopened foreign and domestic wine.

 

            Chef Proprietor Patrick O’Connell of the Inn at Little Washington said, “Johnny Apple was one of the world’s most opinionated and discriminating gastronomes. He wasn’t someone who tolerated inferior wines or mediocre food. Now another person may be the beneficiary of his connoisseurship.”

 

           Danny Meyer of Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe in New York City said, “In another life I would have delighted in living in Johnny Apple’s carefully curated wine cellar along with his bottles. Just me, a corkscrew, a couple of wine glasses, and an occasional visit from Johnny himself. To have listened to his erudite and hedonistic musings while perusing his beloved bottles would have been magical. To have cracked open and shared any of those bottles with Johnny would have been otherworldly.”

 

          Vintages in the sale include Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1945, Chateau Latour 1966, Chateau D’Yquem 1966 and Araujo Eisele Vineyard 1992-1995.     The wine will be sold along with almost 100 items from Apple’s extensive and significant collection of Arts and Crafts pottery by artisans such as Rookwood, Roseville and Fulper.  The art pottery collection adorned the tables, walls and cupboards of Apple’s vintage farmhouse near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The art pottery will be sold on April 24 at The Potomack Company’s catalogue auction; the wine sale will be held April 25.

 

           The auction coincides with the recent release of Apple’s book, Far Flung and Well Fed, a collection of articles about his and his wife, Betsey’s, food and wine adventures around the world.

 

            The gallery will also hold its April catalogue auction on April 24 featuring a signed letter by George Washington dated 1785, signed documents by Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and other presidents, items from the estate of St Alban’s School teacher John Claiborne Davis, nautical art and models along with other art and furniture.

 

            The Potomack Company is a fine art and antique auction gallery located at 526 North Fayette Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. For additional information, please call 703-684-4550, follow us on Twitter and visit www.potomackcompany.com.

 

 

April 9, 2010 Perfectly Scrambled Eggs

 

Make no mistake: these are the real deal. But probably not what you grew up with. More French than American. Oeufs brouillés. (Brouiller means to scramble or mix up, but it also means to cloud over or to fog.) I like to think of them as damp eggs. They should be creamy and light.

 

A few months ago on ZesterDaily, Clifford Wright wrote a piece on scrambled eggs. I thought that I had written a sort of rebuttal back then on my Facebook page, but I can’t seem to find it. Wright admitted that he is “not a fan of the classic French method of making scrambled eggs as described by the famed chef Auguste Escoffier. He recommends beating six eggs directly in a heavy saucepan in two tablespoons of hot butter with salt and pepper over moderate heat, stirring constantly until the eggs are smooth and creamy without lumps. The eggs come off the fire and two more tablespoons of melted butter and three tablespoons of cream are beaten into the eggs.”

 

Wright also doesn’t “believe scrambled eggs should ever be made with more than three eggs at a time.”

 

Hmmm….

 

I make scrambled eggs with as many eggs as we have. They’re perfectly delicious at room temperature, especially if you’ve added butter and even more so if that butter is flavored with, say, truffles. I add neither water nor cream to my eggs, but I do add butter, sometimes.

 

I recently posted this cellphone photo of my supper of scrambled eggs on Facebook and a second cousin asked for the recipe, so I posted it thus:

 

“…the most important thing: SLOWLY. First of all, it helps to have just-laid eggs. Go to your farmers’ market and pay the extra money: they’re worth it (but not for hard-cooked when you need old eggs!). Melt some butter in a pan over medium low heat. Beat the HELL out Season the eggs with seasoning of your choice. There must be NO WHITES SHOWING. Pour in skillet and begin stirring (I use a silicone — heat-proof — spatula) and keep stirring the whole time. If you see the tiniest bit of white, use a whisk to beat it back into the yolks. Keep stirring and stirring and stirring. No part of the eggs should get hard. Continually scrape the bottoms and sides and stirring the whole thing and cook until they are done to your liking, but do not overcook them. They should be creamy throughout. At the end, you can swirl in some more butter if you are feeling really French. Put them on warm plates. Thank the Chicken Gods (or the Egg Gods, whichever came first).”

 

I think I’ll leave it at that.

 

In the photo, the eggs are served with wild arugula and redleaf lettuce that volunteered from last year in my tiny stoop garden. And with new Yukon gold potatoes fried in duck fat. Just about my favorite supper. And for dining alone, it can’t be beat.

April 8, 2010 Some of Mama’s Tools

 

I’ve written about my mother’s – and grandmother’s – cast iron skillets before, but when my friend Nancy Harmon Jenkins, from Maine, wrote about her own mother’s “spider” on ZesterDaily.com, complete with a skillet cornbread recipe as much at home in the southern reaches of Appalachia as in New England, I got to thinking about Mama and her repertoire – and her batterie de cuisine.

 

Mama was adventurous, prolific, and talented in the kitchen. She subscribed to all the food and travel magazines in the 60s and was an ardent collector and reader of cookbooks. She cooked from those books, too, and ordered the latest gadgets as they became available. I’ve inherited a bunch of them. It wasn’t that she willed them to me, but that I settled down so much later in life than my siblings, so that when she died, they all had established kitchens. Mama died young – both of my sisters are already older than she was when she died – and when my father gave up their home to move aboard his trawler, he offered me any of her kitchen tools – as well as most of  her voluminous culinary library – after he had chosen what he, an admirable cook himself, wanted aboard.

 

I still have her copper-bottomed Revereware sauce pans as well as several of her cast iron pans. Most of the wine glasses have long since been broken or given to thrift stores. Some of the oddest tools are among my favorites. In this first photo, the top row, from left to right, includes a table crumber, a jar opener, and a tasting spoon.

The crumber, which waiters often use in white-tablecloth restaurants, is one of my favorite tools, but I use it mostly to count out the dog’s pills and when I’m planting tiny seeds such as the basil and marjoram seeds I started this morning. The jar opener comes in handy on those big jars of sour cherries fromEastern Europe that I love but that I can never seem to open unaided. Now that I, too, am 60 and arthritic, I use it more than ever. I think it was my grandmother’s.

You can blow and blow and blow on a metal spoon full of hot broth, but you’ll still burn yourself more than you will if you use a wooden tasting spoon. I use it nearly every day.

 

The second row contains some things I rarely use, but they do come in handy. The carving fork is a real doozy…very well made and a thing of beauty. It most often sees the light of day at big holiday meals when I’m serving a turkey or big roasts of meat. Next to it is Mama’s barding needle (which I see called larding needle these days). Ironically, today’s pigs are leaner and today’s cows are fatter; the needle has slipped out of fashion. I use it about once a year. Next to it, however, is one of my most often-used kitchen instruments, though I don’t use it exactly as it was intended. It’s a wooden tool designed to pull out and push in hot oven racks, but I use it to reach up and grab the rings on the side of some mixing bowls I have on the top shelves that I can’t reach. Kitchamajigs are still made. If you don’t have one, order one. They cost about $2 and are brilliantly designed for lifting, skimming, and draining. The two tiny whisks are perfect for small amounts, and do a much better job than Grandma’s fork, as Mama herself learned. The wooden whisk has so many uses I don’t know where to start, but for sauces and grits, it’s a dream. And, finally, on the far right, this is one of several cake decorating tools that Mama used regularly. For icing cakes, these thin, flat, metal spatulas are tops.

You probably recognize more of the tools in this photo; the sieves on the right are easy enough to identify, though their size and shapes (the one on the far right is conical) lend them to specific tasks (they’re the perfect size to fit down into canning jars). On the far left is Mama’s bone saw. You don’t see many of those in most kitchens. The cheese plane from Scandinavia I’m sure must have been a gift from my father from his trip there in the early 60s – he brought her all sorts of wonderful products of the burgeoning Danish design explosion. I use it on fairly hard cheeses such as Manchego. The wire cheese slicer, on the other hand, is better for medium-soft cheeses. I did not get Mama’s cheese board, which had a glass cover not unlike a cake stand’s. Inside the cheese keeper, she placed a little piece of sponge soaked in vinegar to prevent mold. I use the same trick today in my butter crock, spraying the inside of the water bowl with vinegar (I keep vinegar in a spray bottle for cleaning purposes and for my French fries): I’ve had no mold since I began doing that.

 

The honey wand keeps the sticky golden stuff from dripping on your table and linens, but can you figure out the gray item to its right? It’s made of hard plastic and it’s made like a brush but the “bristles” are hard plastic, and they move about freely in their sockets. I’ll give creidt to the first person who bothers to email me with the correct answer, though, really, I’m not interested in the correct answer if you already know what it is. Mostly, I’m interested in your guesses (and I’ll tell anyone who wants to know, as long as you at least make a guess). Below it is a pot watcher, a glass disk that you put in the bottom of a pot to alert you that the liquid is boiling if you’re, say, in the next room. You can also use its rattle as a monitor to keep a pot simmering perfectly. It’s not hard to get to know the proper sound of rattle vs. rapid boil.

 

Mama would be so proud to know that I’ve continued her waste-not-want-not philosophy in my kitchen. Ironically, she never saw one word of my writing. (Before she died, I made my living as an artist and photographer.) When I wrote my first book, I assembled my own list of needed tools – the old cookbook warhorse, the batterie de cuisine, but my editor wouldn’t let me include it. Instead, I wrote, “no tool ever a cook made.” I still feel that way, but I don’t know what I’d do without my cast iron, my tasting spoon, or my Kitchamajig. Thanks, Mama!

 

April 6, 2010 An Elopement and Splurging in New York

 

 

After nearly 17 years together, my partner, Mikel Herrington, and I were legally married here in the District of Columbia on Friday. We “eloped,” heading down to the courthouse for the “ceremony” after lunching at Central Michel Richard. As we left the restaurant, I noticed their delicious bread in the window and snapped this shot with my cell phone. We then took the train to Manhattan, where we were surprised by our friends David Evans (Lord Evans of Watford) and Vicki Fagg, who is the Principal (we’d say “President”) of the College of North West London, who were dining at Suzanne Latapie’s intimate and charming Upper East Side Bistro Chat Noir.

 

The night before we had dinner at home with our friends Chuck and Bruce, who took care of the dog while we were in New York. Using red-wine-braised short ribs to bolster my sauce, I made a tomato sauce, then added the shredded ribs and their sauce to form a memorably rich ragù for pasta, followed by simply poached pears. This is a recipe adapted from one by Michele Scicolone from The Italian Slow Cooker, which I gave Mikel for his birthday, along with the big, fancy slow cooker by All-Clad, which Michele had recommended to me. Michele’s recipe, for 6 ot 8 pears, calls for orange juice, Marsala, and a cinnamon stick. I made  them for a dinner party a couple of weeks ago and they were a big hit. This time I used sherry and candied ginger. The recipe is simplicity itself. You don’t even have to peel the pears!

 

Sherried Pears Poached in a Slow Cooker

 

4 hard-ripe pears such as Bosc or Anjou, preferably

with stems intact

1 juicy orange

dry sherry such as Amontillado

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

a 2″ piece of candied ginger

mint for garnish, optional

blue cheese, optional

Wash the pears and place them upright in a small slow cooker (see photo) with a removable crock. Juice the orange and add enough sherry to make 3/4 cup. Add the sugar and stir to combine, add the ginger, then pour over the pears in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours, basting with the juice occasionally. You want to cook them until a thin sharp knife slips easily into the pears. Remove the crock from the cooker, uncover, and allow to cool, basting occasionally.

 

When the pears have cooled completely, place them gently in a container in which they can lie down without squushing each other, with their juice. I baste them every time I think about it. Refrigerate until an hour or so before serving and place upright in bowls, surrounded by the sauce (strained if you’re feeling prissy). Garnish with mint leaves if desired and serve with a hunk of gorgonzola if desired. If you have fruit and cheese knives, be sure to give each diner one, along with both a spoon and a fork.

Serves 4.

 

Eleven Madison Park

 

I’ve been a fan of Danny Meyer’s since he first opened Union Square Cafe in 1985, and I was living in New York. Everyone seems to think that Alice Waters is the mother of the modern American restaurant, but I like to think of Danny and Michael Romano, the executive chef at Union Square for 25 years, as the Founding Fathers because of their attention to service, their unpretentiousness, and their delicious American fare. I spent a little time with Michael on International Olive Oil Council junkets to the Mediterranean in the 90s and he’s one of the nicest guys in the business. I have eaten in several of Meyer’s restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern, where Chef Mike Anthony occasionally serves my grits, but I get to New York so seldom that I haven’t been to all of them. I had been in Eleven Madison Park once before, but it was late at night and we only had Champagne. Tom Sietsema, the Washington Post’s restaurant critic, urged me to go. I emailed Mike and told him I was NOT coming to see him this time, but going to EMP, could he offer any suggestions – that Mikel and I would be on our honeymoon. When we arrived on Saturday night (after watching our friend Kevin Chamberlin steal the show as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family on Broadway), we were treated as though we were long-lost friends. I hadn’t received an answer from Mike, but it was obvious he had told them we were coming — the hostess, Jennifer, even knew about my grits. But we watched the dining room throughout out nearly 4-hour dinner and saw the staff treating everyone the same.

 

We let Chef Daniel Humm prepare an 11-course extravaganza for us, with wines chosen by the Head Sommelier Chris Baggetta. I talked with Chris for a good while about the wines we like (as well as ones we don’t). We had Champagnes, Junmai Arabashiri Ginjo Sake, and Gruner Veltliner with the lighter fish courses, and a lovely young Burgundy from Maranges with a torchon of tête de cochon and pickles. For the remainder of the dinner, we stayed in the Rhône Valley, where, I had told her, we were most comfortable: a Brézème with John Dory; a Châteauneuf du Pape with Lobster; a red Beaumes-de-Venise with slow cooked poussin, redolent of seaweed and garnished with blue Hawaiian prawns; and Les Baux with the lamb. We had to pass up on the gorgeous cheeses. Then came the fun desserts. The menu, the dessert plate, and the printed menu of exactly what we had eaten and imbibed were emblazoned with “Congratulations.” Other than that, I honestly think that we were treated no differently than everyone else — and if you told them it were your honeymoon, they’d probably do the same for you. They bring a bottle of cognac to everyone’s table and tell you to help yourselves. The dinner was extraordinary. Here’s the menu.

 

 

 

 

We rarely splurge like this, but it was great fun! On Sunday we got up and went to Sabarsky Café in the Neue Galerie where we dined on delicious Viennese fare before touring the remarkable — and disturbing — Otto Dix exhibition, the first major showing in the US of this towering figure of the Weimer era.

 

Not once did we see all weekend a single one of the predicted clouds. Central Park was gorgeous, as you can see from this photo.

 

In short, a very brief, but perfect elopement. And I didn’t even mention our 3-hour breakfast at Café Boulud!