The weeks are flying by around here – between work and some confidential knitting and crochet projects that can’t be shown just yet, I’m amazed and yet not surprised that Labor Day is just around the corner. For her part, Coco is taking it all in stride as she watches the traffic go by like always.
One thing in particular that came zooming up again this past week was our wedding anniversary! Andrew and I have only been married a few years, but we already have a mini-tradition in place: eating at Blue Hill, my favorite restaurant in New York.
It’s below street level in a small space just off of Washington Square Park, which is in Greenwich Village. The park itself is a cool green spot tucked into the heart of that neighborhood, with mature trees and plants shrouding the entrances to the park.
On the night last week that I stopped into the park to wait for Andrew, there were several stone chess tables occupied by locals, who were teasing each other and daring passersby to sit down for a game. Their laughter filtered out over the flowers and lawns toward the bench I was sitting on, and it made for some great listening!
It was a peaceful spot, my bench, until the thunder began to rumble overhead, a few raindrops hit my knitting, and a few flashes of lightning made me rethink my outdoor perch. Since one of my life’s goals is to be smart enough to come in out of the rain, I scrambled out of the park at the closest exit, near one of the many NYU buildings that occupy Greenwich Village.
(PS: Isn’t all the ironwork around the park beautiful? The lamps are also old-fashioned-looking, and really give the park a bit of a idyllic feel.)
(PPS: Did you know that Babbo, one of Mario Batali’s celebrated restaurants, is on the next block over from Blue Hill? The locals sure eat well around here.)
Anyway, I digress. A lot. Dinner at Blue Hill was outstanding – probably the best meal that I’ve had there yet. I felt like a rank tourist taking pictures of the dishes that I ordered, but hey, sometimes you take one for the blog. (At least I didn’t demand pictures of Andrew’s food.)
My appetizer was one of the Blue Hill tomatoes. One of the best parts about dining at Blue Hill is that much of the food comes from the restaurant’s own farms in Massachusetts and New York. So my tomato was accompanied by other farm ingredients, like melon, cucumber, and homemade prosciutto. It was also embellished with a bit of tomato sorbet — yes, sorbet! It was fantastic, the combination of tartness and cool smoothness. And the crust of hazelnuts around the sorbet was an even better contrast.
Andrew had a farm-fresh egg, laid that morning, that was poached and offered with some coppa alongside. They let him crack the egg at the table, a bit of DIY that he enjoyed immensely 🙂
For dinner, I had a “deconstructed” eggplant parmigiana, with slices of eggplant from the farm, underneath tomato preserves and broiled buffalo mozzarella.
This dish was also outstanding, but my favorite parts of it were (1) that orange-colored sauce around the eggplant. It had some sort of charcoal-flavored smokiness to it that was soooo good; and (2) a side dish of quinoa, summer squash, and zucchini that I didn’t photograph, but tasted like silky creamed corn, only with quinoa instead. I’m doing a bad job of describing it, but it was the best quinoa I’ve ever had, hands down.
For his part, Andrew had hake filets over a seafood chowder – also delicious. He may have had a bite or two of my quinoa…who wouldn’t?
Finally – dessert. We each managed to squeeze this course in, made easier by the fact that most of the desserts are small and fruit-based. (Well, except for their chocolate bread pudding. We turned that down.) I had an unusual combination – strawberries with spice cake and rose hip ice cream.
I ordered it primarily to see how the flavors would work together, and the predominant flavor was, not surprisingly, the rose hip. It was delicious, but it was admittedly a dish for an acquired taste: the rose hip flavor was like an intense rosewater perfume. The strawberries were sweet and tender, but were more of an accompaniment to the ice cream. Andrew had the raspberry dish that married the berries with an equally tart passionfruit flavor (I don’t recall now if it was a souffle or custard or ice cream…), and the dish was delicious – tangy without being overly sour.
All in all, a wonderful evening and a perfect way to celebrate another year zooming by!
Hope that you all are enjoying the final days of August and that it’s bringing a bit of a cooler breeze to this hot hot summer. I, for one, am already dreaming of fall knits and wooly projects on the needles. For some reason, I’m getting obsessed with simple textures like basic garter stitch and smooth stockinette – I need to get these ideas down on paper…..
PS: Coco, having felt left out from our dinner plans, made up for it by bringing this toy for me to play with. As you can see, a very loud bark is about to be emitted…