Tuesday, August 21, 2007


So Stacey and I have been planning to go to Belize for about a month now. We were going to leave Saturday the 18th. Well, seems Hurricane Dean has plans of his own. We had to postpone that trip and by the path of Dean it may be a while before Belize is ready for visitors.

Things have a way of working out. It’s always been that way for me, just let it all unfold and deal with it.

I had heard about the Richard Serra show at the MOMA and knew it was only there until September 10. We decided to go Saturday morning and return Sunday night. This is how it all unfolded…

We started like we always do before we go to New York, making a list of restaurants we wanted to visit. After expanding that list to about 10 we started thinking about a place to stay. My cousin Lisa lives in a really great apartment in a really great neighborhood. If it wasn’t the night before arrival we would have planned on staying with her, but not cool calling the night before and asking, hey we’re coming to town tomorrow and we were wondering…….

So we got up the next morning, used Priceline.com and got great room. 60 Thompson is a boutique hotel located at 60 Thompson St. The rooms start at over $300 a night and we lucked into one for half price. We didn’t know at the time about the Roof Top Bar and Sun Deck.

We had been in touch with Lisa and of course she offered to put us up for the night. She was at the beach and wouldn’t be back until about 9 p.m. So it was good we had a room to throw our bags in and to use as a home base while we checked out our SOHO neighborhood.

One of the restaurants on our list was Lupa. This is part of a group that has about 5 restaurants in N.Y.C. It is billed as a osteria romana and is one of the many restaurants under the Mario Batali umbrella. At the time we didn’t know this was was one of his places. We just found it on the internet and I remembered reading good things about it. So this is where Stacey and I headed after checking in and checking out our hotel, which by the way, was very nice.

Check this out for a degustation. Stacey ordered a caraf of Sauvignon Blanc and me a Italian style beer brewed in Brooklyn. This is what we ordered and we asked the waitron to bring it all at once. A cannelli bean and tuna salad with olive oil and mint leaves, a plate of coppa cotta, escarole salad and sweetbreads and fried artichoke.

The cannelli beans and tuna is just as it sounds, a very simple dish, which is the norm for this place. You have the beans mixed with tuna which was probably from a can, which if you have ever had a can of tuna in olive oil imported from Italy, you know how good this can be. Add small, whole mint leaves, mixed and served in a bowl, and that’s it. More is not needed. It’s perfect just these 4 ingredients.

The salad was maybe the best plate on the table, and again very simple. Escarole greens, red onion slice very thin, toasted walnuts with just oil and vinegar dressing. On top was a generous amount of grated Pecorino cheese. Pecorino is one of my favorite cheeses, it’s hard and great as a replacement for any dish calling for parmigiano.

The coppa cotta was beautiful, sliced, house cured meat. Laid out on a long thin serving tray. Places like this are all about curing their own meat and they offered about 4 different choices. This to was sublime.

I haven’t had sweetbreads in a long time and don’t get the chance to eat them in the U.S. very often, so I had to have them. They were fried with small artichoke hearts and served with lemon wedges. Again, simple and wonderful.

After that we just strolled around and tried to walk it off as they say. Whoever “they” are. SOHO was good for walking, so many neighborhoods in N.Y.C. are so crowded it’s a pain to walk around. Tons of art Galleries and lots of vendors selling original art on the street. Then back to the hotel.

We hang out in the room for a few and then like always, realize where we are and head out again. This time straight up to the Roof Top Bar. Two $18 cocktails each and we are back on the streets. But let me tell you the roof was cool. I have never been on a roof top in N.Y.C. and in SOHO the buildings are not as tall so the view was great, even at only 13 stories. It’s a nice place to have $18 cocktails. Check out the photo we took.

View 2 from Roof Top Bar

So we’re footing it around the city and Lisa calls, she’s back and ready to go. We meet her in the lobby of our hotel, which is only about 10 blocks from her place. We sit and chat for a minutes and then up we go for a good view and more cocktails. We were charging the drinks to the room and they automatically add 20% tip, so when we checked out the cocktail bill was more than the room itself. Thank you, thank you very much.

Gotta eat again. We decide on a place we had never heard of until our internet search the night before. The name is Kuma Inn, and the Chef’s name is King Phojanakong. It was only a short cab ride from our hotel. Check out their cool website. They advertise themselves as a Pan Asian Tapas Bar. This was our degustation.

Sierra Nevada beers, pork wasabi shumai, steamed edamame with thai basil lime sauce, Chinese sausage with thai chile lime sauce, seared ahi tuna in a thai chili miso vinaigrette, shrimp shumai, whole fried dorado and pan roasted ocean scallops with bacon, kalamansi and sake.

The shumai dumplings exploded in your mouth. Lisa said the chinese sausage was as addictive as crack. The WHOLE fried dorado fish was a work of art. Scored and deep fried and plated to look as if the fish was swimming on the plate, so we were told. It was a great meal, in a tiny upstairs restaurant that seats only 28. Bet Lisa goes back real soon.

After I went downstairs and checked out the Bulgarian Nightclub, for about 30 seconds, we said goodnight to Lisa, as she was headed to some friends birthday party. Stacey and I walked home which was just what we need after those two meals. Went to sleep with the very loud bass sounds of the bar one floor below us. Good thing we are only staying one night, it’s loud and we can’t afford the cocktails.

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