This Christmas I presented TLOML with a map of our old neighbourhood in New York, embellished with cards from all the restaurants we used to love. I know, I'm sweet, aren't I? Sadly my ability to execute doesn't quite match my creative ambition, so it looks a little, well, home made. But still, the thought was there and we'll hang it with pride.
Gotham Pizza to the fine cocktails at Tipsy Parson, we were well served in West Chelsea.
A few places were not in our neighbourhood, but made the edges of the map. What map of our New York experience would be complete without Fedora, the cocktail bar we tore it up in a few times more than I care to (or can clearly) remember? And Porchetta - ah, we loved Porchetta, the little 'standing room only' place in the Lower East that sells roast pork and not a lot else.
Some of those haunts we can recreate or substitute easily. Our local Euphorium bakery has supplanted Joe for a coffee and something sweet. We don't miss Gotham Pizza half as much when we console ourself with E.Mono kebabs. Pho isn't quite up to the standards of the East Village but fills the gap when sweaty noodley soups are called for. And we've subbed out Iberian delights at El Quinto Pino with a rock solid local curry house.
But there's nowhere like Porchetta. Fortunately we have some salt that TLOML bought as a stocking filler last year. So this weekend we rubbed an Ocado pork loin with some of this delicious, fennelly, garlicky, sage-y salt and roasted it to juicy perfection.
It was almost like being back in Manhattan.
Except that we ate it sitting at our dining table - rather than perched on our sofa in a too-small-for-a-dining-table Rabbit Hutch apartment. That did rather ruin the authenticity of our slice of NY, but made for a much nicer meal.
As a result - of both the food, and the memories of life without a dining table - I'd say the pangs for Manhattan have been kept at bay