From September 18th to September 25th, I have been in New York. The reason was to give a presentation on Buddhist Temple Cuisine on the 20th. I’m posting my personal diary accounts of all the food and peeps. I hope you enjoy.
Back for Manhattans in Manhattan
Joe called it a night, and Jonathan, who is a distiller and intimately knows the New York cocktail world, took me to PDT (recently found that this was Food Network Magazine’s #1 Best American Food Destination), which people told me was THE place to start my cocktail research. I was also told that I wouldn’t be able to get in. But Jonathan said it wouldn’t be a problem. We walked into a restaurant, Crif’s Hot Dogs, and Jonathan entered a phone booth. He dialed the rotary dial on an orange phone, and the wall opened up to his left. He told the hostess that he knew the owner, and we were in.
So we sidled up to the bar, and I took a glance at the cocktail menu. WOW! These things aren’t drinks. They’re stories. Jonathan was my guide for all this. I wanted to try a classic cocktail first. I don’t remember the names. But this one came from the 1930s, was bourbon based, and tasted like an adult cocktail–like something my grandfather would have drunk. Manly and sophisticated.
But I really wanted to try a fat washed alcohol, so he ordered me a drink with some bacon-infused whiskey. That was my favorite of the night. It was like drinking the bacon drippings from the refrigerator. But better than that. I got drunk.
A model from L.A. sat to our right and was talking about how she was pining for this guy from London who was leaving that evening. Other than that, she was pleasant to talk to. Another couple sat down next to us, and the woman ordered a Sapphire Martini. Jonathan talked her out of it into something more interesting, and then they started to have a good time.
After two drinks, we headed out to The Summit Bar, another one in this cocktail renaissance. But I noticed Jonathan was hitting the end. He didn’t bother ordering a drink. I ordered some cured meats to help him out, but he left to go sleep it off. So I had a platter of meat before me and a drink called the Gov’ner.
I decided to go home too. My morning had been hazy since I was still decompressing from the adrenaline of the day before. You know that feeling like there’s cotton in your brain. It had cleared up by Shikgaek, but I was crashing fast. I wanted to try to walk home from the East Village to the West Village. On the way, I saw Katz’s Deli, which was closed. But Ray’s Pizza was open next door. Had a simple Margherita slice, which was the perfect drunk food, and decided to catch a taxi home. Good thing I got the taxi. I found on Google Earth that I was walking south, not west.