Elena and I made some good progress in frequenting quite a few restaurants. Last night we went to a tapas place called Olea. I had a glass of Bojelais from Gamay grapes. It tasted like my wine from this year, green, a little yeasty, bright, with an almost total absence of wood. Elena had a glass of Prosecco. We got oysters; small tuna fish stuffed sweet peppers with a lemon cream sauce; roasted Haloumi cheese with a spinach cream sauce and a pepper butter sauce called, I beleive, harissa. Afterwards we had dinner at Stone Home Wine Bar, a rather trendy looking restaurant. We got a bottle of Gevrey-Chambertin while we waited for our table. Elena wanted to get a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir, but, as much as I hate to say it, there is somewhat of a monotonous cleanliness and simplicity to them. I suggested we try some Burgundy instead. We got an endive, olive, pomegranate and frisee salad with some a cilantro vinaigrette; seared scallops with very tasty lentils in a red wine reduction (I briefly peeked into the kitchen and saw a large box of red Franzia in their fridge); pollack, which is a kind of fish, on top of a fried pollack and potato cake with a leek cream sauce; elk loin, sweet potato puree, bittersweet chocolate sauce, and kale with roasted garlic; a cheese plate with among others, an excellent English cheddar that tasted of hay, pine, and chicken coop.
We got some coffee in the morning at Smooch. This is the kind of hipster place where each piece of furniture is old and dilapidated, yet the shop is kept in a state of perfect cleanliness. Everyone was young and good looking, they sat in their chairs with a kind of pert boredom. I had an espresso and Elena had a small skim late. The coffee was stale and the size of the shot, about 2 ounces, would certainly trouble Joel. But it wasn't bitter, and seemed to be made with some care.
I had gone jogging the night before and went again before lunch. It's amazing all the smells floating around in New York. Fried dough, sweet curry, sautees of meat, sewage and trash, fragrances from cheap soaps, grinding metal, paint... endless smells like no other city.
We had lunch at Maggie Browns and then more coffee at Bittersweet. I bought a croissant for the plane. The espresso here was terrible and I dumped it out in a nearby park. Elena wondered if I'm satisfied with any coffee. I've gotten so used to drinking Joel's amazing and fresh beans that it's difficult to be satisfied with anything else. I had heard of a roaster called Brooklyn Beans, and Elena and I actually tried to walk to it. But it turned out to be a place which was unrelated to that roastery but which had a similar name, and they were out of business anyway.