Confidential Manhattan Prelude

The day started at Tompkins Square Bagels, which is on First and 10th, facing the park, where the lively, attentive staff sell bagels that are hot, fresh, firm, crisp on the outside, and just doughy enough inside to accommodate lox cream cheese spread as delicious as the bagel.  TSB lacks the PR machine of Black Seed, over on Elizabeth, but it’s just as good, and more NYC.

Later that day I had a meeting at Century Club on 43rd and 5th.  High ceilings, what appeared to be Stickley furniture, rooms so silent and beautifully lit, I thought of staying, but it was evident that staff there did not share my way of thinking.

Lunch at Mailino with a finance guy in the restaurant industry, that rare person who not only has a vision that really will revolutionize things, but someone with the skills and stamina to do it.  Crispy, baby artichokes and Bombolotti all’Amatriciana.  First rate food and service.  In a town where pasta is on every block, Mailino excels.  (Nothing like competition to make one play harder.)

Prior to dinner, drinks with N at The Brandy Library on North Moore.  Here is a subdued, subtle, perfect bar with cool jazz and well poured cocktails.

Dinner was at Batard, just up the street, where start to finish, from the short rib and tafelspitz terrine to the veal tenderloin, from the octopus “pastrami” to the duck breast with figs, to the chocolate and cherries to the stone fruits, everything was so good as to be deeply memorable. (Tafelspitz, I recalled today, is a classic Austrian boiled beef dish.  Here it was a few wonderful tablespoons, reduced to their essence, inside a cube of baked dough.)  Made me think of my first visit to the old Bouley many, many years ago.

Heading back to East Village, having a nightcap in a quiet bar was an idea, but that’s just not possible on Second Avenue where one bar after another was crowded and noisy, the bartenders pouring fast.  It hit me that back in the day I’d have gone in anyway, and that I have no memory of anything that was said.  I don’t just mean now, years later, but even back then.  We were talking about getting things done, I think, but we didn’t get anything done, or little of it, and our observations were limited to the little we thought we knew about ourselves strictly.

Then it was time to call it quits.

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