Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Playing with The Sun

December 18

Last Thursday I had dinner at Sanctuary T with its publicist and then walked the brief mile to QDT, a narrow corridor of a bar where the arts section of The New York Sun was having a holiday gathering.
I was there because my very kind bosses at Nation’s Restaurant News let me have a steady freelance gig at the Sun, where I write the weekly Kitchen Dish column about restaurants in New York that are opening or closing or changing their chefs or offering special deals or festive menus or otherwise behaving in ways that might be of interest to Sun readers.
QDT is a long corridor of a bar and more than one impromptu holiday party was being held there. It was packed, and I was being jostled, elbowed and knocked around by purses more than I’m accustomed to.
I brought this up with some of the Sun revelers and I fear I might possibly have been rude to the paper's new book review editor, David Wallace-Wells. He observed that this was typical New Yorker behavior, and I remarked rather obtusely that that seemed like an outsider’s view of New Yorkers, who I have found are better at managing crowds than most other Americans.
“But David’s a native New Yorker,” someone observed.
David didn’t seem to mind, but I wouldn't stop being annoying for some reason and asked him for book recommendations (he suggested Tree of Smoke). Asking a book review editor for book recommendations is very much like asking a food writer for restaurant recommendations. It’s a tedious question. But at least I didn’t ask him what his favorite book was. The only question more tiresome to a food writer than “what restaurants do you recommend?” is “What’s your favorite restaurant?” How could I have a single favorite restaurant? Why would I want one?
But he was curious to get recommendations for restaurants near The Sun's offices, so I gave him some.
He seemed like a nice chap, tolerant of loud-mouth smart asses like me. Quite coincidentally, he went to high school with Eater’s Ben Leventhal.
Small world.

What I ate at Sactuary T:
amuse-bouche fo grilled gulf shrimp with fired shallots, truffle honey and cantaloupe
bread with lapsang-souchong-smoked oil for dipping
bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes
lamb with blue foot mushrooms, hazelnuts and banana-vanilla bean paste
slow-cooked black cod with lychee tea, asparagus, feta and saffron sauce
gnocchi ccoked in brown butter with Hudson Valley black tea, grilled pumpkin and cranberries
fingerling potatoes cooked in Belgian beer with apple-smoked bacon and shallots
salmon poached in Red Moon tea with caramelized Brussels sprouts, cucumber and kaffir lime sauce
free range chicken ballotine with chanterelles, prosciutto, smoked paprika and goat cheese paste

meringue cloud with tiramisu rooibos in condensed milk
doughnuts (doughnut holes, really) with chocolate and strawberry dipping sauces
cheesecake infused with jasmine tea and topped with Moroccan mint whipped cream

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