Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Delmonico’s – New York

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

I have a “thing” for eating in the oldest restaurants I can find. In London last spring, it was Rules. Since I am New York, despite friends’ attempts to dissuade me, it is Domenico’s, open since 1837. I remember the restaurant being specifically mentioned in movie, Life With Father; when Elizabeth Taylor visits the family, Irene Dunne insists that father, William Powell, take them to Domenico’s. And then there is The Epicurean, the cookbook written by Domenico’s’ chef, Charles Ranhofer, in the late 1800s. I have a copy and adore all 1183 pages, 800 illustrations, and over 3000 recipes. So how could I not eat here???

I would like to think that in its hey-day, the interior would be far more elegant and refined. Not that it was necessarily slouchy, just not as elegant as I anticipated it would be. Jerry and I had decided we were going to order the “classic” dishes; those with the historical pedigree. While perusing the menu, we had martinis. Outside of the classics, the only dish we ordered that was probably not historical was a salad of watercress, Maytag blue cheese, bacon, and some minimal garnish of wine-poached pears, candied walnuts, and walnut raisin toast. The watercress was fresh but the salad was obviously over dressed.

Of the historical dishes, Jerry ordered the “Classic” Delmonico Steak — 20 ounces of wet-aged prime boneless rib eye served with fried onions. The steak was fabulous but the onions were very cold. In honor of my mother, I had to order what would have been her favorite, the Lobster Thermidor. There was no way to prepare for the amazing presentation of this dish; two lobster tails, four small claws topped with caviar, and a single head placed vertically in the center, all surrounded with a redolently decadent Brandy cream sauce. Two additional sides were ordered, black truffled mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. But it was that lobster which blew us away.

Of course the final classic Ranhofer recipe which was a must-try was Baked Alaska. Oddly, I remember Baked Alaska as being a big 1970s dessert and I can’t recall any occasion in the past 30 years that I’ve had it. This version was not bad, banana candy ice cream molded atop a Turkish apricot compote and beautifully surrounded with meringue.

Unlike the service at Rules — or even another classic, Los Angeles’ Musso & Franks — here at Domenico’s it was perfunctory and cold. We sat for several minutes with our menus closed before there was even a chance to order our martinis. Even at that point, I had to ask for a wine list for our entrées. But I will remember that lobster for a long, long time…
Delmonico's on Urbanspoon

Enrico Donati

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

I am not sure what I am more sad about; his passing, or the fact that it happened in April and I am just learning about it the passing of Enrico Donati, who was the last surviving Surrealist.

NY Times Obit ~ April 26.

He apparently was in a taxi-cab accident last July which contributed to his death. This is disheartening to me as I actually me him last July during his sojourn to San Francisco for the DeYoung exhibit. He was having a huge retrospective and being newly represented by Weinstein Gallery, where I bought one of his later pieces. There was a gala dinner held at the DeYoung on the 17th of July and it must have been shortly after that he returned to New York and was in the accident. The picture below is our second meeting — I have another pic that is a print-only of me holding the artwork, Arrival of Alyssa, standing next to Donati at a smaller, private reception the night before the DeYoung dinner.

I am so oddly depressed and crying as I write this, but so happy I got to meet him and thrilled to have the opportunity to talk (a little) about his days with Breton and Duchamp. He was incredibly kind with still a sparkle in his eye and a quick wit despite some hindered movement in his legs. The piece I acquired was from the 1960s and came from a time where he worked with multi-media in Abstract Expressionism; utilizing ground sand, coffee grounds, and “stuff from his vacuum cleaner.”


New York City – for the very first time…

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Despite my various travels, for some reason I had never made it to New York before. And how I ended here is a matter of some serendipity. Having just returned from 2 1/2 weeks in Europe, I read in the New York Times about the first production of Philip Glass’ opera, Satyagraha in 25 years. Being a long-time Glass fan, I had to figure out a way to see it. Checking the calendar, it so happened that the last performance was a mere day-and-a-half before I was going to be in Florida, departing on a Caribbean cruise. My thought? Well, gee, if I’m going to be on the East Coast anyway…  A flurry of e-mails with one of my oldest friends, Jerry, only shows how serendipity works; it turns out that my time line also coincides with his 50th birthday, he likes Glass music, and *poof* there just happen to be a few tickets left!

I arrived a little late on May Day, but still enough time to get in a little face time and meet-and-greet an online buddy (Hi, L!) before Jerry and I headed out for our adventure and #2 on my New York must-do list, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Jerry arranged for lunch in the Trustee’s Room, a fabulous window seat where we had a view of the Egyptian obelisk in central park. The Museum itself was considerably bigger than I had anticipated and reminded me a great deal of The British Museum in its scope of cultures. I was very happy to peruse a Courbet exhibit and much of the permanent collection are paintings I had only read about, most notable for me a pre-Raphaelite Frederic, Lord Leighton, a handful of the Orientalist period likes the works of Jean-Léon Gérôme, and yet another of Parliament series paintings by Manet which affected me so much in London. There were some giant Koons sculptures but overall, it was the magnitude of the classical offerings which was so impressive and I was surprised to see how well attended the museum. A testament to the collection and hope that art is still loved and revered (I’m often surprised by how empty California museums are!).
More pictures on the next page!Metropolitan Museum of Art Balcony Bar and Roof Garden on Urbanspoon