Tom and Genevieve are in town from Ithaca for the long weekend. As such, we got to have the sort of Manhattan day today that we locals only seem to get when we’ve got somebody visiting from out of town.
After being stood up by the superintendent for the umpty-skillionth time (he’s supposed to install a carbon-monoxide detector, and to stabilize the doorknob on the front door), we went out into the cold morning air. We took the subway up to 96th Street and then walked through Central Park to see the Aztec show at the Guggenheim. I know that it’s bad anthropology to say stuff like this, but: what a seriously weird bunch of people they were. The show wasn’t completely satisfying as an art exhibition or as a cultural overview, but it was still interesting. Lots of gold; lots of stern and carnivorous gods; lots of death. (If you’re ever invited to participate in a Xipe Totec festival, decline.) Also a graceful pumpkin of green stone, and a two-foot grashopper carved from carnelian.
Next, chicken soup and grilled cheese sandwiches at some random diner on Lexington Avenue. About which what more could I say? The air was getting colder, the light already fading, and we needed a little something to get us all the way to dinner. It was perfect. And then we wandered a while, and ambled through the racks at Kinokuniya, and then we went home for a bit and put up our feet.
Dinner was Korean barbeque at Dae Dong on 32nd Street, in vast quantities, spicy and garlicky and savory, with fifty little bowls of companion foods crisp and smoky and fresh and pickled. Wrap it all up with a lettuce leaf—shake the water off it first, preferably on one of your dining companions when he’s not looking—and don’t worry about getting the juice all over your fingers.
After that, a dash down to the Village on the subway, and a quick stroll, for dessert at Chocolate Bar. The brownies and truffles are very good, sure; the chocolate-covered patties of peanut butter or homemade-marshmallow-and-banana are quite fine, it’s true; but the spicy hot chocolate is The Thing. Creamy as anything, made with ground chocolate (not cocoa powder) and allspice and cinnamon and ancho chiles and smoked chipotles. Oh my god. I finished the last sip at least an hour ago, and I still feel like I’m radiating a languid sort of joy.
This is a good city, you know? And I am fortunate indeed to be able to partake of its bounty.