Monday, July 19, 2010.....
It's been awhile, but Saturday was the perfect day. I headed into NYC with YogaGirl, and my gf, A, for dinner and a Harry Connick Jr. concert. I should have known the day would be great when we had no problems zipping in via the West Side highway. In fact, we got in earlier than expected allowing us to have some outdoor cocktails.
We had reservations at Jonathan Waxman's restaurant, Barbuto, and we easily agreed why he was on Top Chef Masters and well respected from the other contestants (but I'll get to that a little later).
First, we stopped at some bar in Chelsea and had the most refreshing summer cocktail outside -- it had blueberry Smirnoff vodka with lemonade topped with Presecco and fresh blueberries - a wonderful and refreshing summertime drink, but I imagine dangerous since they went down easily.
After 2 cocktails, we headed to Barbuto, but stopped along the way to give our opinion to a bunch of groomsmen asking us who was the hottest in their tux -- I lost count, but I'd say around 8 cuties all just loving to flirt with us and bridesmaids giving the dirty pout face to them for flirting (definitely opposite their counterparts). The guys were definitely funny and an interesting NYC sight.
We got to Barbuto, a little early, but were seated right away. Both Jonathan Waxman and his cookbook were out in plain sight. Because I was buying his cookbook (thanks YogaGirl), Mr. Waxman came to our table, introduced himself and signed the cookbook. I have promised my gf that one month I will cook every course from his cookbook for my Food Pantry dinner.
The restaurant is a very casual place with large garage door type window walls allowing staff to create indoor-outdoor seating. Jeffrey (world's most fabulous waiter) made great recommendations. My gf and I started with tempura fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with zucchini risotto on a bed of roasted baby corn and argula. Yogagirl had some sort of salad and trusted Jeffrey's recommendation about the gnocchi.
He assured me they wouldn't be heavy and they weren't. They were light and amazing. My gf had lamb and Yogagirl had his signature roasted chicken -- every dish was out of this world. I had fresh fruit for dessert and my sister and gf had homemade Italian chocolate pudding which I believe had hazelnut in it. Jeffrey was kind enough to put a candle in my gf's for her birthday. Combine great food with 2 bottles of white wine from Umbria and great conversation and you have the perfect meal.
All the food was amazing, and I didn't notice until telling my husband the next day there wasn't any salt or pepper on the table. But everything, I mean EVERYTHING, was perfectly seasoned. Unlike our last experience with a Top Chef restaurant (Craft can't hold a candle to Barbuto)we were able to have an entire tasty meal and were not given a muffin on the way out.
After a FAB-U-LOUS dinner, we hopped in a cab and headed to the Harry Connick Jr. concert on Broadway. There was a 15 minute intermission, but he played for 2 1/2 hours having special guests sing and play with him. Years ago, I saw his dad sing with him at Tanglewood and got to see him sing again. It's obvious where Harry gets his talent because his dad can bring down the house. Other special guests included his daughter, Kim Burrell and Lucien Barbarin (amazing trombonist) who played with Harry. Even his youngest daughter, Charlotte, told a joke to the crowd.
At the end, he brought the crowd to our feet and everyone was clapping and having a great time, and, if anyone has been to a HCJ concert, there was some definite ass shakin (a definite trademark of his, if not, it should be).
The whole day was amazing and very much needed. I can't wait to cook from Jonathan Waxman's book for friends and will play Harry while cooking to remind me how fun I had Saturday, July 17th in NYC.