Happy 75th Birthday, Michael!

January 26, 2016

Eleven Madison Park: New Year's Eve 2015

Where and What We Ate During the Blizzard

January 25, 2016

Definitely not out! We originally had a dinner reservation at Chevalier with Jen and Louis on Saturday. However, on Thursday, even though forecasters were still hemming and hawing as to exactly how much snow we’d be getting, it seemed quite clear to us that the weather would not be conducive to going out. So, we canceled. Michael and I then came up with Plan B for dinner that evening. We would call Sarge’s for delivery on Friday afternoon and refrigerate the goods until the next day. Forty minutes after I made the call, the delivery guy was at our door. So, we were all set.

On Saturday, we made a slight change in plans. Instead of for dinner, we had the food from Sarge’s for lunch. We’ve ordered delivery from Sarge’s many times and always get the same things we have when we eat there.

NYC Blizzard of January 2016: Sarge's at Home

Chicken Soup with Matzo Ball and Noodles

NYC Blizzard of January 2016: Sarge's at Home

NYC Blizzard of January 2016: Sarge's at Home

Hot Pastrami on Rye with Mustard

To heat up the pastrami, I steamed it in a double boiler. I ordered several slices of rye bread. Though I had deli mustard on hand, they sent more. As we always do, we shared one sandwich.

NYC Blizzard of January 2016: Sarge's at Home

Cole Slaw

NYC Blizzard of January 2016: Sarge's at Home

Green and Sour Pickles

I always keep soda in the fridge, so the one difference is that at Sarge’s, he gets Dr. Brown’s Diet Cream.

NYC Blizzard of January 2016: Sarge's at Home

For dinner, I assembled a meal using pasta which I always keep in the apartment and other items I brought with me from home. I didn’t take any photos, but here’s what we had. We started with a salad composed of garden lettuce mix, a pretty decent plum tomato, goat cheese, and homemade dressing. I then rustled up a favorite of Michael’s — fried spaghetti, made with butter, onion, garlic, and ketchup. For dessert, we finished the Hagen Dazs Vanilla Bean Ice Cream left over from our postponed Chanukah dinner.

And speaking of postponed dinners, we’ve rescheduled the dinner with Jen and Louis for February 20th.

In NYC During the Blizzard of January 2016

January 23, 2016

NYC: The Blizzard of 2016

It’s unusual for us to be in the city during a snowstorm let alone a blizzard, and this one appears destined for the record books. Here are the previous five record-breakers: February 2006 @26.9”, December 1947 @25.8”, March 1888 @21”, February 2010 @20.9”, and January 1996 @20.2”. The last time we happened to be in the city during a blizzard was the one in January ’96. The only other time was in ’47. And that’s because Michael and I grew up in the city – he in Brooklyn and I in Manhattan. Being just five years old at the time, I have only a hazy memory of tons of snow outside our building on the Lower East Side and of being bundled up in a snowsuit. Michael was a bit older. He told me that his Dad pulled him and his younger brother on a sled from their house to their aunt and uncle’s house several miles away.

NYC: The Blizzard of 2016

Our apartment looks out on Third Avenue. In the morning, there was the occasional car or taxi, and the snow plow came along every so often. Throughout the day, there were some hearty souls who ventured out, including those who had to walk their dogs. Once the ban on all non-essential vehicles went into effect in the afternoon, the road became a snow-covered playground for a bunch of teenagers. We stayed indoors nice and snug.

The snow stopped a little while ago. As I type this, the plows are now busy clearing Third Avenue. I just looked out and can see blacktop.

Addendum: Official snowfall amount for this blizzard is 26.8″ thereby missing the top spot by a tenth of an inch.

At Home: A Dusting

January 17, 2016

At Home: A Dusting

At Home: A Dusting

Sarge’s Deli

January 15, 2016

Yesterday was National Pastrami Day. I love pastrami! Growing up on the Lower East Side in the ’40s and ’50s, for me pastrami was a fact of life. It may come as a surprise to learn that back then, our family didn’t go to Katz’s.  Instead, we went to Gitlitz, a kosher deli on Rivington St., which was just down the block and around the corner from our Norfolk St. building.  A pastrami on rye cost 65 cents.

Nowadays, while we very occasionally go to Katz’s, our favorite place for pastrami is Sarge’s Deli*, just a 10-minute walk from our apartment and, therefore, much more convenient. The style of pastrami is different from that at Katz’s but no less delicious.  To insure that the meat is juicy, we always request “very fatty” and are never disappointed.  Michael and I share one sandwich which is so gargantuan that we split one half and take the other half home.

Pastrami on Rye

Michael always starts with chicken soup with matzo ball and noodles.

Chicken Soup

They give you pickles and cole slaw.

Cole Slaw and Pickles

The traditional drink? Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda, of course!

Dr. Brown's Cream Sodas

In November 2012, Sarge’s was gutted by a massive fire. Happily, like the proverbial phoenix, Sarge’s rose from the ashes and reopened in March 2014 with the interior looking the same as before.

Sarge's Deli

Sarge's Deli

Looking forward to many more years of pastrami sandwiches at Sarge’s!

Sarge's Deli

*Note: Sarge’s is open 24/7 every day of the year. We sometimes get delivery for which there is no extra charge.

Dining Out: October – December 2015

January 7, 2016

Eleven Madison Park: New Year's Eve 2015

New York City
Gabriel Kreuther
Union Square Café
Eleven Madison Park (My Birthday)

Blue Smoke
Tocqueville (My Birthday)
Black Barn

Union Square Café

The Modern Dining Room
Gabriel Kreuther
Eleven Madison Park (Thanksgiving)
The NoMad Bar
Lyric Diner

Blue Smoke
The Gander
betony (Thanksgiving)
Del Posto

Sarge’s Deli

Late Supper:
2nd Ave. Deli
HandCraft Kitchen & Cocktails

Gramercy Tavern Dining Room
The NoMad Bar
Gabriel Kreuther
Eleven Madison Park (New Year’s Eve)

Gabriel Kreuther
Turkish Kitchen

Union Square Café (Last day on 16th St.)

Late Supper:
HandCraft Kitchen & Cocktails

New Jersey

Photo sets for all these restaurants can be viewed on my Flick by clicking here.

Dining Out: January – March 2015
Dining Out: April – June 2015
Dining Out: July – Septebmer 2015

New Year’s Eve 2015 at Eleven Madison Park

January 2, 2016

For the first time in five years, we were not at home on New Year’s Eve having our annual beef fondue and listening to the Classical Countdown on WQXR.*  Michael will be 75 at the end of January, so he decided he wanted to start his next quarter century by celebrating New Year’s Eve with our EMP family (which is where we went five years ago). We reserved for the second seating and arrived at 9 p.m. sharp.

Eleven Madison Park: New Year's Eve 2015

The second seating was fully booked (as had been the first). Beautiful white floral arrangements and balloons gave the gorgeous space an especially festive feel. Music – jazz during dinner and later what would I think would be called popular rock — was provided by a terrific 5-piece band and a songstress.

The menu was a 7-course tasting. There were a few familiar things on it but most of the dishes were new. And since the kitchen is aware of what I won’t eat, they were prepared to make a couple of adjustments for me. Michael did the wine pairings which, as you will see, were incredible.

Michael started with what has become his favorite cocktail: “Satan’s Circus.” I requested a glass of my favorite French Sparkling Cider.

Cocktail: Satan's Circus

French Sparkling Cider (Non-Alcoholic)

The usual Black & White Cookies with Cheddar and Apple were already on the table when we were seated.

Black & White Cookie

Black & White Cookies

Michael had planned not to begin the meal with Champagne instead intending to have a half bottle of Krug on his birthday. However, during a discussion with Sommelier John Ross about pairings, John suggested that Michael have a “splash” of Champagne with the first couple of dishes, a sweet wine with the foie gras (I drink sweet wine, so I said I’d have it too), a white for the lobster and the mushroom, and then a red with the beef.

Well, here’s John’s idea of a “splash” of Champagne. LOL!


Smoked Sturgeon Sabayon with Chive Oil is a longtime favorite and has become a Daniel Humm signature.


1st Course: Oyster Gelée with Potato and Leeks

1st Course: Oyster

Since I don’t care for oysters, I was served Potato and Black Truffle.

1st Course: Potato and Black Truffle

2nd Course: Caviar Benedict with Eggs and Ham

2nd Course: Caviar

I don’t eat caviar, so in my Benedict, the caviar was replaced with Black Truffles!

2nd Course: Black Truffle

Accompaniment for the Benedict: English Muffins.

English Muffins

At this point, the usual House Made Rolls were served along with Cow’s Milk Butter and Amagansett Sea Salt.

House Made Roll

Butter and Salt

3rd Course: Foie Gras Terrine with Sunchoke and Onion

3rd Course: Foie Gras

The wine pairing for the foie totally blew us away! Château d’Yquem 1987! I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised considering that it was New Year’s Eve. But what also stunned us was the bottle size, a Methuselah, which we’d never seen before. Well, not in person.

Château d’Yquem 1987

4th Course: Lobster Poached with Cauliflower and White Truffle

4th Course: Lobster

5th Course: Hen of the Woods Mushoom Roasted with Horseradish

5th Course: Hen of the Woods Mushroom

The pairing for these two courses – both of which, you will note, included white truffles — was a Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2004 which also arrived in a Methuselah.

Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2004

The arrival of our Engraved Knives announced that the main protein was about to be served.

Our Engraved Knives

6th Course: Dry Aged Ribeye and Braised Oxtail, Potato, and Black Truffle

The Pat LeFrieda beef was aged 140 days.

6th Course: Dry Aged Beef

Paired with the beef, the Flaccianello Della Pieve 2004 was decanted from the Methuselah.

Flaccianello Della Pieve 2004 - Decanted

Flaccianello Della Pieve 2004 - Decanted

7th Course: Chocolate Ganache with Bourbon and Honey Ice Cream

7th Course: Chocolate

At the end of all EMP meals, Chocolate Pretzels with Sea Salt (though they normally hang from a little stand).


The clock had been ticking away and, at this point, we were just a few minutes away from midnight. The captains came to the table with glasses of Champagne to toast the New Year and silver-colored tubes which we discovered when blown into released confetti.

Champagne Toast

John Ross and Wine Director Cedric Nicaise climbed up on the divider in front of the bar area holding bottles of Champagne. Everyone counted down the minutes, and at the stroke of midnight, they popped the corks.

Counting down the minutes...

As is the EMP custom, Chef de Cuisine Chris Flint, Executive Sous Chef Dmitri Nagi, and the entire kitchen staff had come into the dining room for the countdown.


On the divider, there were now tiered trays holding assorted goodies, including macarons, and servers circulated with trays of black and white truffle balls.


The band was stationed on the upper level, and a space had been cleared for dancing. After midnight, many of the guests left their tables to walk around. Some took to the dance floor, including Michael and me!The Band

Exquisite cuisine, phenomenal wines, a great band and, of course, being with our EMP family made New Year’s Eve 2015 a truly memorable event.

Eleven Madison Park: New Year's Eve 2015

Eleven Madison Park: New Year's Eve 2015

*Note: When we left our apartment, the Classical Countdown was in the middle of Number 6: the complete Brandenburg Concertos. No surprise to later find out that Number 1 was Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. In fact, this year it was all-Beethoven in the top three slots with the 5th at Number 2 (up from last year’s Number 5) and the 7th at Number 3 (same as last year). Dvorak’s 9th Symphony, From the New World, also maintained its Number 4 rank. Well, at least Holst’s The Planets dropped from last year’s Number 2 (Ridiculous!) to Number 7. Still way too high in my not-so-humble opinion.

To see the entire set of photos on my Flickr, click here.

Eleven Madison Park’s Holiday Card and Gift

December 30, 2015

The card arrived via email.

Eleven Madison Park's Holiday Card and Gift (2015)

We had no inkling that it had any further significance. That is, until a box arrived on our doorstep.

Eleven Madison Park's Holiday Card and Gift (2015)

The return address told us it was from EMP. We had received a gift last year, so we’d been wondering if there would be one this year. And here it was! So, what was inside? Ta-Da!

EMP Holiday Card and Gift (2015)

EMP Holiday Card and Gift (2015)

The game board…

EMP Holiday Card and Gift (2015)


EMP Holiday Card and Gift (2015)

A packet held a die and game pieces, and there were two boxes with cards containing questions and answers.

EMP Holiday Card and Gift (2015)

Instructions? Were there ever!

Eleven Madison Park's Holiday Card and Gift (2015)

Here’s the section explaining the categories:
Maple – Food
Linden – Beverage
Ginkgo – New York
London Plane – ‘90s Pop Culture

Now, you may be able to identify a Maple leaf, and maybe even a Ginkgo leaf. You’re at least heard of those. Unless you are a hobby-botanist or outdoorsman or employee of Eleven Madison Park: The Restaurant, our friends “Linden” and “London Plane: …errr… To make things easier for those of us who are not botanically –inclined…

Pink – Food
Lavender – Beverage
Burgundy – New York
Grey – ‘90s Pop Culture

I think you can now see how this gift related to the holiday card. Also, if the concept of the game seems familiar, you would be correct. For us, it brought back fond memories of the gazillion hours we spent playing Trivial Pursuit back in the day when it was all the rage.

A couple of days later, we set up the game, read all the directions (after all these years, you didn’t expect us to remember how the Trivial Pursuit was played, did you?), and started. Well, it didn’t take us long to discover that Eleven Madison Park: The Game was no walk in the (Eleven Madison Park) park. I’d love to know who was the dirty devil responsible for dreaming up these hundreds of questions. Were they tough? That’s putting it mildly! And we sucked — big time! After several hours of play, I managed to fill widgets for only two categories while Michael just one. OY!

Eleven Madison Park's Holiday Card and Gift (2015)

It was challenging but lots of fun. So, we’re looking forward to spending many hours in 2016 playing Eleven Madison Park: The Game.

Our sincerest thanks to Will, Daniel and our entire EMP family for another terrific holiday gift!

Eleven Madison Park's Holiday Card and Gift (2015)

NYT Sunday Puzzle – December 27, 2015

December 27, 2015

NYT Sunday Puzzle - December 27, 2015

Title: Binary Code

Theme: Each of the clues has the same double letters. The answers are common phrases literally describing the letters.

23-Across PP = Shopping center (PP in center of shopping)
36-Across DD = Dead ends (D’s on each of dead)
46-Across AA = NCAA Finals
64-Across WW = Window frame
82-Across OO = Onion rings
95-Across ZZ = Jazz duet
110-Across NN = Minnesota Twins
15-Down RR = Married couple
52-Down FF = Leadoff double

Once again, despite finishing the puzzle error-free and not having to spend a lot of time working on it, I had to check Rex Parker in order to understand the theme. And I’m still scratching my head about 33-Across: Court, for short = Rhyme?

This is the final Sunday Puzzle of 2015. Here are the statistics:
18 Perfect (23 last year)
13 Finished with 1 error (14)
5 Finished with 2 errors (3)
7 Finished with 3 errors or more (2)
9 Various stages of incomplete (10)

The final Thursday puzzle of 2015 will be on New Year’s Eve.


December 24, 2015


So, winter officially arrived this past Monday, December 21st….


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