I met a woman last week who has only been out with her husband three times since their first child was born seven years ago. Granted, they also have four and a half year-old triplets, but that still seems pretty extreme to me.
Dave and I get out every few weeks or so, but it’s usually only for a drink after work or maybe a quick dinner. Wednesday night we did the whole shebang – drinks, dinner, and dessert, at three different places. I realized that that’s actually my favorite kind of night out. Experiencing different bars/restaurants, but still focusing entirely on the food! (I suspect Dave would like to mix it up a bit with a show or something non-food-related thrown in. Next time.) But, we had a great time Wednesday night with the added bonus that we tried three new places!
We started with drinks at Pegu Club, an atmospheric bar on the second floor of a building on Houston St., near Dos Caminos. Pegu Club is named after a bar in Rangoon, Burma during the British colonial days. At the New York version, the pretty servers wear kimonos, and subdued lanterns barely brighten the cozy tables. It feels like you’ve stepped into another world – a slightly glam, very grown-up place. Check out the website, and you’ll know what I mean.
Pegu Club well-known in the food world for its carefully-mixed, old-fashioned cocktails using fresh juices and high-quality ingredients. Basically it has taken the artisanal food movement into the cocktail milieu. I drank a French Pearl (actually two French Pearls) – gin, mint, pernod, lime and simple syrup. It was served in a delicate tulip glass and tasted divine. Dave enjoyed a whisky smash, although he did say it was a touch too sweet for his taste.
After cocktails we walked a few blocks to ’Ino, a tiny restaurant and wine bar specializing in pressed sandwiches. We were lucky to get a table, but by the time we left around 9 PM the place was jammed. We started with a plate of bruschetta including the excellent white bean with thyme and fig with arugula and proscuitto. Dave chose a panino with roasted pork loin, while I ate a delicious panino with proscuitto, bel paese cheese and sweet onion. No more alcohol for us.
While I was eating my sandwich I remembered with a happy jolt that
Grom was near the West 4th subway entrance, where we’d go to head home. Grom is a gelato chain that started in Italy a few years ago using only top-notch ingredients (lemons from the Amalfi coast for example). Its New York branch opened last year, and I’d been dying to try it. For my flavors I chose dark chocolate and caramel. Dave had hazelnut and chocolate chip. They were all good, but the hazelnut was to die for.
We were home by a little after 10, but it was really a wonderful night. I think I fell in love with New York again (I didn’t need to fall in love with Dave again!). The food and beverage choices in this city are happily overwhelming. These spots were all within a few blocks of each other and just three of over a hundred places that we could have tried. But even more thrilling was just being out with everyone else – all the different people going about their own lives in close proximity to each other, all ages, backgrounds, and interests. Who knows who else was in ‘ino Wednesday night: singers, actors, writers, accountants, designers, students, trust fund babies, teachers. The variety is endless, and I love it -- it feeds me.