Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The New Restaurant Confessions

I finally worked out where all our money went. And found a use for the spices we will not get through in the next couple of weeks.

I was musing over how much we eat out in New York. It seemed like a lot, so I decided to make a list, looking back over our Open Table reservations history and flicking through Zagats to jog my memory.  As a result of this scientific research I can shamefacedly confirm that we've eaten at over 65 different delis, diners and restaurants. Over 60 if you don't count pizza slice shops.

Gosh. We've only been here since April - that's one or two new places every week. Can it really be true? And if so how on earth did we manage to eat anywhere more than once, let alone dine repeatedly at Tipsy Parson and El Quinto Pino.

The cliches are true, people really do eat out here as a matter of course. It's incredibly rare to go over to a friend's house to eat. In fact, we haven't had dinner at a friend's even once, and nor have we cooked for others at our place. The closest we've come has been some hastily produced cheese biscuits to eat with drinks at our place, before going out to eat at... Tipsy Parson or El Quinto Pino or some other neighbourhood favourite.

In London I used to cook dinner for friends, and eat at their places, once a week or so. And even in Malibu, many traffic-choked miles away from the throbbing pulse of LA's social scene, we managed to pull off 'eating at home with friends' fairly frequently.

I've asked our few friends in New York about this phenomenom. They reassure me it isn't that no-one likes us. It's that no-one cooks. And as for the absence of invitations we have issued - it isn't that we don't like our friends. It's that we don't have room for a dining table.

We did once get invited to dinner at the New New Yorkers' place. But that's different. They're British. And they live in Brooklyn with room for a dining table and a normal sized kitchen. It's like a foreign land on that side of the water. Happily, London is just as foreign. And since in our absence half our London friends have had babies, I think we're going to return to a social scene that is, even more than ever, about cosying in for a nice home cooked meal in someone's actual home. I can't wait.

Oh, and the use I found for those spices? I decided to make a map of everywhere we've eaten. Using coriander seeds (for BBQ places and ramen shops), peppercorns (for midrange resturants), and cardoman pods (for fancy pants special occasion places).

It's a lot less impressive than I expected. Which is a shame as it took ages. Don't look too closely, by the way: it's not perfect. I thought of half a dozen more places after I took the photo and tidied it away. I also can't guarantee that none of the seeds or pods didn't roll about a bit.

Still, you get the general gist. And it makes me realise what big gaps there are in our culinary map. We've hardly eaten on 'Restaurant Row' (the 40s on 9th Ave) at all! And we've given the culinary hotspots of the Lower East Side and Soho short shrift too.

We've got twelve more nights to eat out in New York and I'm wondering if we can do something about it...

1 comment:

  1. Ha yes.

    Although you may find that all your London friends who have had babies are too shattered to cook, or you have to see them only between 6-9pm because that is the only time of day the baby is guaranteed to sleep, or maybe you can't arrive till 9pm because the baby will be woken up if the doorbell goes...
    Or maybe we were just really bad at settling our kids!