Sunday, March 21, 2010

Inadvertent Date Night

I can barely type as I am in a post-sunny-day/food coma, but I'mma gonna try.

Today (Sat) was the first day of Spring, or so the calendars told us. Frankly, I think NYC having a sunny day with a high of 75 was evidence enough that winter has crawled back into its hole for another year. It was a fantastic day, and Mike and I spent it going to the library, running a few small errands, but mostly sitting on a bench in Riverside Park reading the aforementioned library books and soaking up the sunshine.
Once more I applied sunblock before heading out, and I'm glad I did, because I think today I would have come home burned otherwise.

But today was also excellent aside from weather and people/dog watching because Mike and I actually went out to dinner. We never do this, and there are many reasons why, but the most obvious is simply that NYC prices in general are prohibitive. My cooking dinner is a much more reasonable solution, even if I end up buying from a slightly overpriced store.
Additionally, since we moved above 96th street it's hard to find a place to dine at that's worth the cost. Ordering-in is even more of a pain because 90% of deliveries shut down at the 96th street border. So living north of there is something of a convenience challenge.
But now I'm bitching instead of talking about the happy.

Tonight I was talking about going to this new bio-dynamic/organic wine bar that opened about 15 blocks south of us, but right before leaving I thought, "Hmm... Saturday, gorgeous weather... the world will be out in that part of town. No freakin' way." So instead we opted for a small Italian place about 2 blocks from us that I had ordered from many times, but at which we had never actually dined in.
The reason we never dined-in before was evident in the end cheque. Mike tried to say something to the effect of, "Maybe we just won't drink anything beyond water at dinner out in the future." to which I looked at him askance, meaning "have we met" and said, "Did you just tell me I can't have wine with my dinner?"
"Well... maybe just keep it to two glasses."
"I did!"
"Ok then."
Problem solved.

But the food! The food being the point of the post.
We started with two things I had ordered-in before and decided were very tasty: shrimp wrapped in pancetta (with side salad) and short ribs with fried polenta (with side salad). Both were delicious. The shrimp was deliciously wrapped in bacon, so really, shy of forgetting to cook it, that was going to be a hit no matter what. The short ribs were fork-tender and had a lovely rich beefy sauce around them, and the fried polenta could substitute for french fries any day. In other words, I was already doing my little happy dance in my chair by the end of appetizers.
For the main courses Mike had gnocchi (surprise!) in a beef ragú, which I thought was a little salty, but still very tasty. I had one of the day's specials, which was a wide, smooth "rigatoni" with oxtail ragú, which was also delicious. Could have done without the parsley tho...
Many times when I have ordered pasta dishes from this place, I have felt the need to "doctor" them a bit. One dish with eggplant and ricotta salata I always adjust by sautéing an extra clove of garlic in oil, tossing the take-out into the pan, and then adding a splash of white wine and cooking it down a bit. It makes for a much more flavorful dish. But happily, tonight's dishes were perfect the way they arrived, and I was doing a happy dance all the way home.

Unfortunately, I was in such a happy food-bliss-coma that I left the kindly wrapped other half of my oxtail rigatoni sitting right on the table. I had made it home delightfully unaware, and was halfway into pajamas when I realized what I'd done. (And sadly, this is not the first, or even fourth time that I have left food behind when I asked for it to be wrapped... their fault for putting me in a such a happy food-coma state! Right...)
I quickly called the restaurant, and they had held on to the doggie bag just in case (it had only been about 7 minutes after all). The kind server even said she tried to run after us but didn't see us in the street. Well, that's because we live so close by that we'd already turned the corner. But throwing a clean shirt and my sneakers back on, I ran back up to the restaurant and retrieved my bag of leftover goodies! So, lunch tomorrow will probably put me in yet another happy food coma. Unless of course I have devoured the leftovers before I go to bed tonight.

It's entirely possible that that will happen. I'm just that kind of eater.
I can't eat much of anything early in the day without feeling ill, so I graze on lighter fare and then I'm just living for dinner and eating the rest of the night.
Mike is the other way around. He wants to get up and have a massive brunch of breakfast foods (which would all make me rapidly hurl), and then doesn't need to eat again until the next day. It's not the most perfect mix of foodie-types, but we make do.
Besides, I'm happy with my type of eating. Grazing all day, and then eating the really good stuff for dinner, followed by more grazing on cheeses and nuts and chocolate. Maybe with a glass of port.
I can theoretically understand why people like brunch, but considering my body just will not adapt to that style of eating, I will never truly understand it.
I know I'm in the minority, but for me, the whole day is just waiting for dinner.
And if you try to feed me "brinner" (breakfast for dinner) you will end up with a fork in the eye. Count on it.
Now, must oblige the put-off food-coma and collapse next to the sleepy smiling hubby.
Mmmmm... :)


Erin said...

*sigh* I am always leaving my food leftovers at the restaurant. That dinner sounds wonderful! Glad you got an impromptu date. I'm w/ you hubs: breakfast/brunch is my fave meal.

Melissa's Espresso Shot said...

I also like to graze throughout the day, saving my big meal for dinner. The exception is if I have to wake up really early for something.

Jordan said...

I pretty much stuff my face with food from the time I rise till the time I turn off the lights.
And I am also notorious for leaving my wrapped leftovers at the restaurant.

RocknRollGourmet said...

It's nice to know I'm not alone in my all-day grazing and leaving of leftovers.
I could reeeeeeeaally go for some more of that oxtail rigatoni... wish I hadn't eaten it all last night :-/