My friend Ali came to town for a whirlwind weekend of sightseeing, theatre, and good food. We saw the matinee of "Jerusalem," for which actor Mark Rylance won the Tony. It was intense, gripping, and we had amazing seats that had us hanging on to every second of every scene. I also needed my friends to translate some of the British slang for me along the way--yay, new vocab!
All that drama can work up quite an appetite, so we walked from the theatre to Puttanesca (site of a birthday dinner from years ago with ABF). We sat at an outdoor table and dug in to our bread and olive oil---we were hungry!
We started with an antipasti platter--salami, provolone,mortadella, and creamy/salty gorgonzola cheese to mellow it all out-- delicious. It was quite stunning to see, too.
I ordered the half portion (yes, that is the HALF portion) of the Paglia E Fieno (Straw & Hay)--prosciutto bits, peas, and an avalanche of mushrooms. This was perfectly al dente (just a little bite to it), nicely balanced. Wow. I'm not normally that impressed by plain old pasta, but this was not plain old pasta. Deeelish.
We had the pleasure of having two lovely gentleman accompany us to the theatre--J, a friend of Ali's who flew in from the UK, and his friend A, an Australian living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. NYC really is a melting pot, and such a fabulous place to meet fun new people. However, I kept my foodie freak flag a litle low, so I didn't reach allllll the way across the table to shoot A's food..thus...only 3 entrées are featured:
J ordered the Chicken Parm, which in typical restaurant fashion covered the entire plate. It smelled outrageously delectable and J seemed to enjoy every bite.
Ali ordered the Chicken Francese, fried chicken cutlets in a bright, lemony sauce. This got the thumbs up, too. (Sorry for the blur--again, freak flag flying lower that day!)
I ordered the cioppino, the seafood stew with a tomato-based broth. This was really, really good. Tender mussels, clams, shrimp, and a generous fillet of fish on top--I can't remember what type of fish, but it was flaky, perfectly cooked, and I ate quite a bit of it. I know saffron is a big deal, but it doesn't do that much for me. I understand it's tough to harvest, etc, etc, but for me, meh. The tomato-y goodness with the briny seafood is what really pulled me into this dish. Mmmm. Briny.
There was absolutely no room for dessert, and I'm not even a little sad about it!
Puttanesca definitely is at the top of my list--if you're looking for romantic date night, business meals, or just a gathering of newly-formed friends, this is a stellar find. Abbondanza!
Mille Grazie to Ali for the theatre experience, and to our gentlemen friends who refused to let us pay for dinner, AND gallantly accompanied us to our taxis/subways at the end of the night. It was a delicious end to an amazing weekend in the city I'm so blessed to call home!
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