Thursday, April 30, 2009
Last night I met friends for dinner at Rayuela, down on Allen St., and had such a great experience I have to share it with you. I'd never been before, but looking at the menu, reviews, website, etc., beforehand, I expected a crowded, hectic LES restaurant with an intimidating and overwhelming menu. Not so. The restaurant was beautiful, service outstanding, and food melt-in-your-mouth.
I think my friend Charlie summed it up when he described our waitress as the greatest waitress he's ever met in his entire life. It was true. She was bizarrely perfect in her friendly but not too friendly demeanor, back-of-her-own-hand knowledge of the menu, and instinct on what we should order. It was really quite odd how perfect she was. She ordered everything for us and it couldn't have been better. We were literally stunned! If you are an aspiring waitress, definitely seek her out for training. I don't even know how to describe it - we could not stop talking about her unparalleled skill.
Anyway, beyond that, the restaurant was perfect for what we needed. As a group of 7, we were whisked upstairs to a central table that was still quiet enough for us to hear each other (very important when half the group doesn't speak English as their first language). The restaurant was described by our waitress as a fusion of flavors from all spanish-speaking countries, thus blending fruits from the Carribbean with spices from Mexico with heartier meat dishes from Spain and so on. We went with it.
We started off with the appetizer special (upon waitress-of-the-year's recommendation), fresh guacamole with jumbo shrimp and lump crab. It was so good I considered ordering a solo portion for my main. The seafood was scrumptious and subtle - a perfect ratio of meat to avocado - and guac a perfect mix of everything that makes guac my favorite food in the world. I'll let you all know what happens when I attempt to put shrimp into my next guac. (Ahoy, disaster!)
Next we had three of their ceviches. Being solely a shellfish eater, I can only speak to the Langostina ceviche, which was lobster done in a spicy pineapple ceviche. Again, out of this world. The other two - a tuna/watermelon and "seven powers of the sea" were spoken of highly by my tablemates. After that, all seven of us licked our plates for the main course; choices ranged from beef to duck to paella. I had the duck breast marinated in a sugarcane sauce atop a corn bread. I am still dreaming about it.
After three courses and three bottles of wine, we knew better than to let our waitress even start talking about dessert. Of course, it was wonderful company - a reunion of friends from the art fair in Holland that we all worked at - which will always make a good meal better, but in this case, it made an already excellent meal just plain outstanding.
For menu, info, etc. www.rayuelanyc.com
Now I don't mean to make light of the recent havoc that swine flu has wreaked, but I just have to post this slideshow for your enjoyment. Be sure to read the comments on the upper right. Happy Thursday and keep knocking on wood!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I am aware that I have not posted anything in four months, but this has been a big transition period, so to be honest, I just wasn't sure what to write about. I couldn't focus on Charlottesville anymore (I moved) or teaching (I stopped teaching) or even cooking (my spare time has really gone downhill...I also don't have a steady kitchen). It felt like a daunting task to become a reviewer of my new life in New York. It's a much bigger city than Charlottesville.
So here's a brief run-down of what I've been up to:
I graduated from my master's program in December, and decided I was ready to go home and leave college behind. My semester of student teaching ended, I quit my job at the Museum (did I even mention that I worked at the Museum? maybe not...) and put my apartment back on the market. I packed everything up (saying goodbye to my herb garden, sadly) and moved back into my old room at my parent's house, jobless and excited. I spent the holidays with my family and relaxed for about 2 days before going insane and desperately seeking a job/internship/hobby/anything to do.
As luck turned out, I ended up finding a fantastic gallery that totally aligned with my interests (prints! prints! prints!) and have been working there since January. It has been a dream, introducing me to many facets of the art world, including a 3 week trip to the Netherlands in March. On the home front, I'm currently splitting my time between Wright's apartment in the city and my parents' house in Rye, which is a great money-saver, but isn't all that great for settling in to any sort of routine. I miss having my own refrigerator.
Alas, I'm hoping that this blog will now transform into a commentary on my life in the city, with various recommendations, reviews, etc., as well as tracking my progress as I attempt to settle into working, find an apartment, and truly enjoy everything that New York has to offer.